Sunday, 31 January 2010

Men v Boys II

May 2009, Champions League Semi-final and Arsenal get blown way by Manchester United 3-1. Basking in their glory, United defender Patrice Evra mentioned that it was 'men against boys'. Like an improved version of an old model, Sunday's clash of the titans was mark II. Both teams started very well: the usual high intensity that comes with Arsenal and Man United. The best chances came initially to Arsenal and Andre Arshavin - who on three occasions had opportunities to put the set up teams Fabregas and Nasri to score. With all his effort and endeavour it wasn't the Russian maestro's day.

The game was nicely balanced, with a sense that the first goal would be essential to who wins the match. It came from United and with skill from Nani that proved the faith Sir Alex showed in starting him, playing on a weakness of Gael Clichy being susceptible to the pace of Villa's Ashley Young.

Stepping in between Clichy and Nasri, then past Denilson and producing a shot come cross only to put tipped in by Almunia. The mood changed at the Emirates, as if they knew they where already beaten.  Four minutes later it was 2-0 a counter attacking move with Carrick, Nani and finally Rooney finishing beautifully for his 100th Premier League goal.

Game over when JS Park 3-0 with the freedom of The Emirates to score - another painful and frustrating day for Arsenal fans who are facing the realisation the league is slipping away.

Vermaelen got a consolation goal but no more than that. It's back to the drawing board for Arsene Wenger whose team need to get back to winning ways quickly before the knives come out about their in-ability to make the next step and last the pace of the title race. As good as Arsenal have been without a leading striker, the match was evidence that they require a target man to offer a plan B then playing to feet and through the middle of defences!

Arsenal fans need to keep the faith, 'In Wenger We Trust' still must resonate, they are still in the race for the title, it has become tougher but not impossible - next Chelsea a true test of their character.

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