What a disappointing result… we played so well in the first half… we dominated in midfield, created chances and played very well. Arshavin put us one up after firing a 25 yard screamer into the top left corner of the goal… I really didn’t feel like ManU were going to be able to rescue the game… they had nothing.
The second half starts up… Rooney gets played in… Almunia rushes out needlessly and the trap was set… Rooney started falling before he was touched, then he hit Almunia… penalty. Is that not deception? Is that not fooling the ref? Regardless of the contact, he conned the ref… he played for the foul… which is the same mindset Eduardo had the other night.
He stepped up, buried the penalty… 1-1.
The second incident came from a Giggs freekick. He fired the ball into the area, about 8 yards out… Diaby, unchallenged… headed it into our net.
1) What the hell was Diaby thinking about on any defensive level. Was he trying to head it back to Almunia… was he trying to head it out wide… did someone from the Old Trafford mind control department fire a brain jam at him? It was a ridiculous mistake and one that at this moment in time, feels unforgivable…. I thought we were best friends Abou?
2) What was Almunia doing? Is there a keeper in the Premiership who wouldn’t have come for that? Is there a keeper in the youth team that wouldn’t have come for that? What has happened to Almunia this season? He fucked up in Hungary, he fucked up at Pompey and today… he fucked up twice. These type of incidents should not be happening to a keeper supposedly in his prime. He cost us today… and now we have to wait two weeks to make amends.
What I want to know is this… is Arsene Wenger a man of precedent? 2 years ago he dropped Lehamann after his two clangers at Fulham and Blackburn. Two years on, Almunia has opened the season with 3 clangers, plus a fourth if you include his horror show in Hungary. Does Wenger have the guts to drop his Spaniard for the often erratic… but talented Fabianski? Well… it’s no more a risk than dropping a very good German international for an inexperienced Spaniard… who could have also been described as erratic.
As for the team… well, it’s all very well playing good solid football when you’re winning… but jeez… did we fall apart after we lost our goals. We could hardly string a pass together, I think I counted one shot… we were a complete shambles.
Another gripe I have…and I mean no disrespect to Bendtner here… but when you’re playing ManU… you may only get one chance… so why stick Bendtner on? Why not Eduardo… the Crozillian is skilful, creative and clinical. Why did it take until 80 minutes to get him on the pitch? Crazy if you ask me…
I’m not happy with Arshavin and his limited contributions today… I’m not happy with Diaby and how chronically useless he was and I wasn’t particularly enamoured with Denilson and his very sloppy game in the second half. Football is about how you react when the chips are down… and today, I felt we collapsed. As for ability… I think we are sorted. We dominated ManU for a majority of the game with Nasri, Cesc, Walcott and Rosicky out… my only problem was the lack of character we showed after we conceded. Where was the urgency, where was the drive…?
I was pleased with Song today, he performed admirably in the middle of the park. I thought his first half was very solid… but his passing dropped with the rest of the team after we started losing. Eboue played pretty well, his work rate was right up there with the best and he was at the heart of some tidy moves in the first half. The back 4 can’t really be faulted bar the full backs poor crossing.
In conclusion, the defeat hurts because we handed it to United. We pretty much dominated without Rosicky, Nasri and Cesc… which is very encouraging. Lady luck had clearly been taking Brown paper bags from the Glazers today… and it’s not often I will put games going against us down to luck. Still, lets not beat ourselves up over this… we’ve just dominated possession against Premier League winners / European Cup finalists. Next up will be Man City… another very important game. Hopefully by then we’ll have everyone to choose from bar Nasri… that really is exciting don’t you think?
Chin up Grovers, we’ll smash them at home!
Almunia: Having a shocking opener to the season. If he were a pupil at school and I was his headmaster, I’d be on my second parent meeting of the term. I think it’s gone beyond the last chance saloon and he should be dropped. 4
Clichy: I thought he played well defensively, making some nice interceptions, keeping Valencia pretty quiet. His crossing was very weak though, you might as well not get in the box if you’re a striker. 6.5
Sagna: Did a very good job keeping the impressive Evra quiet… lost his rag a bit late on, but who wouldn’t if Mike Dean was reffing their game? A solid performance defensively, but when it comes to crossing it’s all a bit Sunday league. 7
Gallas: Continued to play well with the Verminator… but struggled towards the end when the midfield started to lose its shape and dicipline. He was also the man who was offside in the build up to RvP’s late disallowed goal. 6.5
Vermaelen: Everyone was looking to see how he would cope against top opposition and he didn’t disappoint. I thought he kept Rooney pretty quiet and did a good job over all in the middle with Gallas. 7
Denilson: I thought he had a reasonable first half, his passing was ok, he made some pretty good interceptions and helped Arsenal control the midfield. However, I was less than impressed with his second half contribution and his lack of pace really does get shown up against stronger opposition. His passing was very poor and his game went down hill very quickly. Watching Denilson under pressure is tough viewing… 6
Song: I thought he had a much stronger first half. Although he doesn’t always come out of a tackle with the ball like Vieira used to, he does enough to get in the way and make a nuisance of himself. He’s also started to read the game a lot better. However, he started making some rash mistakes when the pressure started to build… and asking him to be creative when you’re chasing a lead is like asking an accountant to write a bit of stand up… it’s just not going to happen. 7
Diaby: What a shocker this man had? The header was beyond a joke… you couldn’t put that down to anything other than being a retard. You wouldn’t expect that in a Sunday league…
‘Well, he is young and he probably didn’t realise that heading into his own goal was a silly thing to do…’
I’m sure we’ll be reading that on some websites today… but after trying to fathom what he was doing with my football team, we all decided that mistake was one of the most shocking own goals we’d ever seen. As for the rest of his game… inept isn’t the word. He was truly diabolical today… his touch was off, his speed of thought was that of a man who’d just come out of a 17 year coma and his threat to United was minimal. 4
Eboue: I actually thought he had another very solid game for us… he involved himself in a lot of the play offensively in the first half and he covered a lot of ground, burning up plenty of energy in the process. His dive was pathetic… if you’re going to make a cunt of yourself diving, at least get a penalty and at least dive well… what he did was embarrassing and led to fits of laughter where I was watching the game. 6.75
Arshavin: Plenty of people are saying that the Russians game is to do nothing then pop up with the goods… well, I have to disagree… he was a lot busier last season and had a lot more of the ball. He looked pretty disinterested, and bar the goal and a couple of half chances, he was anonymous. He did very well to dummy Fletcher, and the challenge was a stone wall penalty… but if we’d got the penalty… you have to cast doubts on whether Arsh would have been motivated enough to get his second. He’s got to pull his finger out and start imposing himself on games for longer than 5 minutes. 7
Robin: Not his best game for the club. His finishing was pretty poor today and due to his lack of confidence, he seems to playing with caution. Robin… start doing what you built your reputation on… banging it when the goal is in site. He takes an age to get a shot off and when he does, invariably it’s not on target or its a tame effort. He went close with a free kick that was tipped onto the bar, and Foster pulled off a fantastic save at point blank range in the second half to deny him… a goal is in order and pretty sharpish… he had one disallowed in the 95th minute which was unlucky. 6.75
Arsene Wenger: I don’t think there was too much I’d disagree with regarding the starting line up. If Eduardo was a fitness risk, I’ll accept that… and maybe Rambo is a year off starting against United. However, why Wenger chose to bring Bendtner on when we were chasing a game is beyond me? Surely you bring on your most clinical creative striker? Or perhaps you bring on your 18 year old super star in waiting who can create something out of nothing? It was a silly decision and had everyone baffled. If Eduardo wasn’t capable of more than ten minutes, then frankly… what was he doing on the bench? Wenger took far too long to make his subs… and when he did, they were the wrong ones. Fair play to his behaviour at the end of the game, he did a good job of mocking Mike Dean when he refused to go to the stands after being sent off for kicking and empty bottle at no one (go figure)… instead deciding to stand above the tunnel with the fans. That was pretty funny. 6.75
Mike Dean: What a piss poor performance from the referee. The most inept display I’ve seen in a long time… dishing out yellow cards for fun, missing handballs and tackles in the box that would make Vinnie Jones wince… it was a truly horrible day for the ref. 3