Arsenal 1 Man Utd 2: We Just Can’t Beat ’em
I’ve been out for a couple of days due to work related issues (as always) and this is the first article in a long while that I’m publishing with my phone. After the debacle at Swansea, you would have expected the Gunners to show some enthusiasm against a Manchester United side that was struggling with form and injuries. The stat boys say that Loius van Gaal’s team had picked up 39 injuries already this season, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw a backline that contained the likes of McNair and Tyler Blackett with Antonio Valencia playing as a make shift right back.
Sure, the Gunners had injury concerns of their own but you’d have fancied them to rip such a shaky defense apart. Arsenal began the game well and dominated possession but for all their good work, there was no end product. Many shots were aimed straight at David de Gea but the undoubted chance of the game arrived when Alexis Sanchez pressured de Gea into making a hurried clearance that was intercepted in midfield. Danny Welbeck teed up an unmarked Jack Wilshere but instead of passing the ball to a Sanchez in a better position to score, or at least blast the bloody ball in the net, the poster boy played it straight at de Gea, much to the disgust of everyone connected with Arsenal.
It’s misses like that always come back to bite you in the ass, and as expected, it did. Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs failed to communicate well which saw the goalie make a tame punch to Valencia (injured himself in the process). The Ecuadorian fired an opportunistic shot that was going wide but Gibbs guided the ball to Arsenal’s net. A sting in the tail but was I surprised? Hell no!
Santi Cazorla had come on for an injured Wilshere and also had a chance to end his wretched run in front of goal when Welbeck cushioned a neat header for him but he fired the ball straight at de Gea. Arsenal’s moment of anguish arrived late on when an unfortunate Nacho Monreal was allowed to mark both Angel di Maria and Shrek (where the hell was Per Mertesacker). The Angel threaded a neat ball to Shrek and the England captain waited for Martinez to commit himself before executing a neat chip to put the game beyond doubt. Unbelievably, that was also Man Utd’s first shot on goal.
Arsenal had summoned Olivier Giroud for the yet again ineffectual Ramsey and the striker almost made an instant impact when he nodded a corner kick over the bar. He wasn’t to be denied a second time when he latched onto Mikel Arteta’s lovely dinked effort to slam a shot past a hapless de Gea. Of course, it was too little too late. Di Maria even had a late chance to kill off the game but his finish was rather awkward. In the end, it didn’t matter as the Gunners lost yet again to Manchester United side with frailties at the back. De Gea might have won the man of the match award but in all honesty, it was more of a case of Arsenal’s wayward finishing rather great saves from the Spaniard.
One might ask, what does Arsenal have to do to win games like this? Why is Arsene Wenger so stubborn to persist with the same set of players that have been shite all season long? Why does Jack Wilshere hold onto the ball far too long? Why do we suffer so many injuries? When will Danny Welbeck start scoring again?
Players like Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla need to sit games out for a couple of weeks to reflect on their bad form. Right now, they tend to get on the end of very insightful attacking moves but their finishing has been atrocious. Many people have seen how vocal Lukas Podolski has been due to his lack of game time. Isn’t it high time for the manager to give him a run of games to at least get a chance to prove to everyone what his made of?
I can’t deny that I am happy to see Giroud return to first team football because despite the fact that Welbeck is one of the hardest working players I’ve seen wear the sacred Red and White, he isn’t the natural goalscorer that would give you 20 goals a season. Yes, Giroud’s record against the top-tier teams of the Premier League has been shambolic but you can trust him to give you goals against the Leicesters, Tottenhams, Swansea and co of the league, something Welbeck hasn’t been able to deliver.
But hey, I’m no Wenger, just a Process Engineer working in an oil and gas company whose passion for the club makes him write about ’em.
It’s sad to see things pan out this way but football is an unforgiving sport because it’s a home clash against Borussia Dortmund that comes up next.
Try to enjoy your Sunday doing the things you love. Don’t worry about Arsenal till Wednesday at least.