Daily Archives: February 13, 2014
Arsenal 0 Man Utd 0: Sadly, the Gunners Fail to Turn Up
Emirates Stadium (Premier League)
Player Ratings (via the Independent) – Match Highlights – Wenger’s Press Conference
It was a game where Arsenal was expected to put up a better outing from that nightmarish performance in Anfield. The manager made some expected changes as a more assured Kieran Gibbs replaced the shaky Nacho Monreal and the manager opted for a more experienced head in the form of Tomas Rosicky ahead of the Ox.
As early as the third minute, Wojciech Szczesny handed a simple pass to Mikel Arteta but the Spaniard inexplicably chose to lose the ball in front of his box gifting a chance to Robin van Persie but the Flying Dutchman’s shot was saved superbly by Szczesny. Mesut Ozil glided past some defenders before feeding Jack Wilshere that had a couple of touches before lashing a shot that was blocked by Chris Smalling. Santi Cazorla swung in the resulting corner but an unmarked Olivier Giroud glanced his header wide.
The Gunners continued to press and Rosicky fashioned a chance for himself that was deflected off Nemanja Vidic but the ball was dealt with easily by David de Gea. Rafael made a jinking run on the right flank before swinging a cross that was attacked by RVP in the near post. Per Mertesacker matched the striker pound for pound and blocked the ball from imminent danger. RVP was sent clean on goal by Juan Mata but his wayward shot went wide.
Giroud combined with Gibbs to no avail but he was handed another chance on a platter but he sent Cazorla’s corner wide off the mark.
There was a moment of concern when Giroud challenged for the ball in the air with a brave Rafael but the Brazilian fullback landed awkwardly and required swift medical attention. He earned himself an ovation when he got back to his team to the relief of everyone watching the scary incident.
At the start of the second half, Mata lofted a ball into the danger area that was flicked by Michael Carrick but thankfully, no Manchester United player was in the same wavelength. Arsenal threatened again as Ozil swung in a corner that was headed goalwards by Laurent Koscielny. With de Gea beaten, he had Antonio Valencia to thank as the winger sprung off the ground to head the ball off the line. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was placed in the same situation on Saturday but Martin Skrtel’s header went in. That’s football for you.
The Gunners had a strong claim for a penalty when Vidic blatantly shoved Giroud but all appeals to Mark Clattenberg fell on deaf ears. Gibbs cut in from the left and supplied a pass to Giroud but his effort went wide. It was end to end stuff as Mata latched unto Tom Cleverley’s pass to drill a shot that sailed effortlessly wide.
Bacary Sagna swung in a lot of crosses that was dealt with by Vidic and after blasting a shot over, Arsene Wenger replaced Rosicky with the Ox. Shortly afterwards, Giroud managed to evade Vidic to meet Sagna’s perfectly-timed low cross but his bad night went worse as his touch was rather inconclusive. What a shame!!!
With Arsenal failing to take the initiative, Manchester United almost punished them when Shrek floated in a cross that was headed in point-blank range by RVP. Up stepped Super Szczesny to make a magnificent save that kept his team in the game.
Late on Ozil threaded a ball to Cazorla that sent a shot at goal but de Gea made a good save. At the end, it was a classic case of two points rather than one point gained as the Gunners failed to turn up against one of the weakest Manchester United sides in history. In 11 games against the Red Devils in the Premier League, the Aaron Ramsey-inspired win in 2011 remains the Gunners only victory.
Arsene Wenger spoke about the team’s nervousness going forward and the whole nine yards in his post-match interview but watching this game proved why the Gunners made a terrible mistake by not investing in a new center forward in January. For all his aerial prowess and work rate on the night, Giroud had a very poor game.
He is also renowned for his linkup play with his teammates but those touches evaded him yesterday as he killed attacks times without number. He also had two clear cut opportunities with his head which he wasted and the final straw was that poor effort from Sagna’s cross with a goal gaping at him.
He’s all we have at the moment so the least we as fans can do will be to give him our undying support with the hope that he steps up his game. With Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey gone, the goals haven’t been coming by that easily but Cazorla has done well recently with his purple patch of five goals in six games.
The Gunners had the chance to return to the top of the Premier League but sadly, they failed to turn up.
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