Daily Archives: January 23, 2012

Arsenal 1 Man Utd 2: Arsene Wenger shows off his tactical gambling skills

I’ve spent over 20 minutes looking for the best possible way to start this post but writer’s block tends to chip in when an idea pops up.

Arsenal is a club that’s renowned for his undying support from its fans yet the way the club is run has raised questions. The club has a very shrewd, principled and stubborn manager that has let his ego consume the club in recent times.

It has been obvious for ages that Arsenal is an injury prone club and dire replacements are needed in certain areas of the pitch. Enough with the ranting, here’s a detailed match report.

Arsene Wenger made three changes from the side that capitulated in the Liberty Stadium last week. Thomas Vermaelen was deemed fit enough so he replaced Ignasi Miquel, Tomas Rosicky got the nod above Yossi Benayoun while the fans got the chance to see the Ox in the biggest spectacle of them all.

The Ox started brightly with very good movement on the ball and off it. He fashioned a chance for Aaron Ramsey but his first touch was too heavy.

Manchester United lost Phil Jones as he succumbed to an ankle injury so he was replaced by Evil Twin Rafael. The Ox made mince meat of Patrice Evra before teeing up Theo Walcott but his shot was tame to say the least.

Luis Nani was ripping Johan Djourou apart on the left hand side but his selfishness cost his side a few opportunities. However, he had a shot that was saved in Wojciech Szczesny’s near post.

Wayne Rooney dived to the ground like a sack of potatoes expecting a penalty but Mike Dean was having none of it. Manchester United had a lion’s share of possession in the first half and they got their reward when Hugh Giggs Hefner swung in a cross that was nodded home by Antonio Valencia.

Arsene Wenger handed a Premier League debut to youngster Nico Yennaris to sure things up at the back as Nani literally made life very miserable for Djourou.

Arsenal had an incisive breakaway when Rosicky robbed the ball off Chris Smalling to release the dependable Robin van Persie but he lashed his effort wide. Oxlade-Chamberlain created a chance for Ramsey but he sent his shot over Anders Lindergaard’s goal.

Laurent Koscielny made a slalom run from the back to tee up the Ox but his shot missed by a lick of paint. Danny Welbeck almost put the visitors two up but Per Mertesacker used his long legs to great effect by clearing the ball off the line.

Koscielny showed great determination to halt Rafael’s charge goalwards before launching a counter attack with a pinpoint pass to Rosicky. The Czech captain fed the Ox who in turn gave a cushioned pass to van Persie. Van Persie hit it first time and his drilled effort beat Lindegaard to level the contest for the Gunners.

At 1-1, the visitors were clearly rattled and it seemed as if the tables were about to turn on them…until Arsene Wenger’s moment of madness.

In his bid to salvage a point for his team, Andrey Arshavin and Park Ju-Young were stripped and ready for action. The equalizer made Wenger delay their entry for a few minutes but I, 60,000 fans at the Emirates and billions worldwide were bewildered and perplexed when Wenger withdrew Oxlade-Chamberlain for Andrey Arshavin.

I forgot to add that the expression on Robin van Persie’s face painted a vivid picture for everyone to see how confused his boss was at that point in time.

To add insult to injury, Arshavin failed to track Valencia well as the Ecuadorian fed Danny Welbeck who thumped in the match winner late on.

Szczesny (7.0) did okay.

Djourou (5.0) had a stinker at right back and was rightly replaced.

Vermaelen (6.5) was a breath of fresh air but he should have done better in tracking Valencia for Man Utd’s first goal.

Mertesacker (8.5) put up his best ever performance in the sacred Red and White. He won almost every header and he kept Arsenal in the game with his goal line clearance.

Koscielny (8.5) was a colossus at the back.

Song (7.0) was a bit sloppy but he recovered well.

Ramsey (7.0) had a fair game by his standards.

Rosicky (7.5) was ubiquitous in midfield but should’ve converted the chance he had instead of feeding RVP.

Walcott (6.5) was peripheral in the first half but came to life a bit in the second. His finishing was woeful though.

Oxlade-Chamberlain (9.0) was Arsenal’s shining star of the night. He marauded both flanks confidently and gave an assist for Arsenal’s equalizer.

Van Persie (8.0) did what he was born to do in the right end of the pitch.

Yennaris (6.5) definitely put up a better outing than Djourou and sent in some quality crosses.

Arshavin…oh my word! 🙁 …He needs to be packaged with a big ribbon back to Russia with love from Arsenal.

Park didn’t play long enough to get a rating. For the records, he made his Premier League debut with barely five minutes to go. What a shame.

When I look into this present lot, I can only express my sympathy for an exceptional talent called Robin van Persie. This guy has been a phenom for Arsenal upfront but the defending at the back has been simply atrocious.

Just like the way I couldn’t begrudge Cesc Fabregas when he moved to the club after his heart, I won’t point any fingers if van Persie chooses not to extend his contract at the club this summer.

The only world-class players that can be rated up with the stars in Arsenal are van Persie, Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere. A faction of the squad is filled up with overpaid underperformers.

So it’s three losses in a row for the North London giants and Europa League football is getting assured with each passing game.

A Manchester United fan on my BlackBerry Messenger said:

“I really 8-2 see Arsenal fans cry, but we 1-2 win the League”


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