Luck and desire help Arsenal to stunning win over United

Luck and desire help Arsenal to stunning win over United

Arsenal 2, Manchester United 1. Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

A win over Manchester United is always satisfying but for Arsene Wenger and our players to do it in the manner they did on Saturday was wonderful. The result and the performance was as good as an Arsenal supporter could ask for while the game as a spectacle was more than any football fan in the world could have expected. It was brilliant stuff and both sets of players and their managers should be congratulated for playing in such a positive manner.

From an Arsenal perspective it’s no exaggeration to say that this could turn out to be the defining match of our season. And what a match it turned out to be.

The starting side with was exactly the same as the one I predicted on Friday. Manuel Almunia returned in goals behind an all-French back four of Bacary Sagna, William Gallas (C), Mikael Silvestre and Gael Clichy. The return of Gallas to the side was a huge factor in the win. He was inspirational on the day as he won headers and tackles and barked instructions at the team around him. It was wonderful to see.

The manager went for a five-man midfield with Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri on the wings and Denilson shielding the back four to allow Cesc Fabregas and particularly Abou Diaby to push forward and support lone ranger Nicklas Bendtner up top. It proved to be the right move as Nasri scored two goals and Fabregas and Diaby caused all sorts of problems attacking from the middle.

This was a game of many chances, the first coming after just 90 seconds when Michael Carrick fired wide after Almunia handled a nervous Silvestre back-pass. This crazy start ignited the contest as Dimitar Berbatov was denied a goal by the offside flag and Bendtner missed a pair of headers after lovely crosses by Clichy and Nasri.

Diaby then failed to punish some poor goalkeeping by Edwin van der Sar before Rooney blew a glorious chance for United when he fired over the bar from Ronaldo’s cross. It was an incredible miss given the Englishman’s recent form and one which may have given our players a bit of a ‘this might just be our day’ feeling. Cheers Wayne.

Rooney’s miss was punished in the best possible way by Arsenal when Samir Nasri scored the opener shortly afterwards. Fabregas’ free-kick on the right was cleared by Berbatov before the little Frenchman fired a low half-volley which deflected past van der Sar by Gary Neville. On one hand there was a huge amount of luck in the goal but in the other it was a reward for a player who clearly enjoys having a pop at goal. Alex who?

Shortly after we took the lead United went ridiculously close to equalising when Ronaldo’s free kick was somehow headed wide by the retreating Clichy. With Berbatov lurking behind is was vital that the Arsenal defender got a touch but 99 time out of a 100 this would have hit the back of the net. It was another stroke of vital luck that allowed our boys to hold the lead.

Wenger’s men could have even gone into the lead two goals to the good when first Fabregas then Walcott fired wide, the latter after smacking the ball into the turf and over in a very Robert Pires sort of fashion. In between those chances Park Ji-Sung forced Almunia into a fine save to his right before the Spanish goalkeeper saved again from a decent Anderson shot on the stroke of half-time.

1-0 to Arsenal, but as you can probably gather it could have been 2-2 or even 3-3.

Having the lead at the break seemed to inspire the Arsenal team going into the second half and they sensationally doubled their lead in the 47th minute. An immaculate 15-pass team move involving Sagna, Diaby, Bendtner, Denilson saw Nasri fire home spectacularly from Fabregas’ expertly waited pass. A better goal from our boys you’ll be lucky to see this season and it came at the perfect time. Theo Walcott’s run was essential to create space for Nasri and his finish was emphatic. We were in dreamland.

But, just as they did after going behind in the first half, United very nearly scored straight from the restart. Park created space for himself on the left before drifting a ball across to the unmarked Ronaldo, but the Portuguese man missed by no less than an inch. Ronaldo popped up again moments later to force a catch out of Almunia before Walcott scuffed a half-chance at the other end.

As the second half wore on both sides continued to make chances. Almunia held onto a decent header from Rooney before copping an unfortunate kick to the head by Carrick. The Spaniard received treatment and was forced off shortly after but not before Arsenal should have gone three up after Nemanja Vidic pulled down Nasri in the penalty area. Replays showed that the Frenchman’s shirt was pulled by the Serbian but the referee’s view was blocked and it was understandably not given. A very lucky moment for United though.

Bendtner hit a tame shot straight at van der Sar before United drew level in the 89th minute through a tremendous goal by substitute right-back Rafael da Silva. Arsenal hearts were beating fast, none more than yours truly, and things got even worse when the fourth official held up the board to indicate 6 minutes of added time. All I could think about was the Tottenham game and I was nothing short of a muttering mess until the end of the match.

I need not have worried though as Arsenal’s focus and effort in the final few minutes was superb. Fabianski deserves credit for the way in which he athletically claimed a difficult high ball while Gallas and Silvestre did all they could to punt the ball up field. Bendtner fired a tired late effort over the bar after a wonderful pass by Nasri but it mattered not as the referee blew the final whistle to ensure Arsenal ended an absolutely thrilling match with all three points.

I thought the team’s performance on a whole was very good, with maybe only Theo Walcott disappointing. The movement by Fabregas, Nasri and Diaby in the middle was superb and Denilson did a fine job of mopping up in front of the back four. Bendtner had an ultimately fruitless day up front but his tireless effort was crucial in wearing down the United defence and creating space for the likes of Nasri to exploit. As for the little Frenchman, he was the clear man of the match and took both goals superbly well.

There were huge concerns raised going into the game about the lack of leadership at the club but today that couldn’t be further from the truth. Captain Gallas put in a tireless performance while the other players I consider to be leaders in the squad – Fabregas and Almunia – were excellent. The goalkeeper had a tough time of things in the corresponding fixture last season and has looked a little wobbly of late but he was nothing short of brilliant against United. After a nervous start he held shots, commanded his area and made a thrilling save to deny Park in the first half. Well done to him.

Without trying to take any shine off our performance the one message that I’ll be taking out of this game is that luck plays a huge part in modern-day football. If Rooney had taken his early chance, Clichy had got just a little bit more on his header or Ronaldo placed his shot just a little to the right then this may have been a very different game. But as they say, you earn your own luck and the effort and desire we showed was enough to see Arsenal win the best football game I’ve watched in a long time. Magnificent.

So we’re right back in the title race after a fine win in a thrilling game. But, as the hero of the match said shortly afterwards, were we ever out of it?

Have your say on Arsenal’s thrilling win over United by leaving a comment.

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53 Responses to “Luck and desire help Arsenal to stunning win over United”

  1. GunnerCesc4
    November 10, 2008 at 7:11 pm #

    Amazing Win !!!
    Highly satisfying !!!
    Credit to both teams for giving us a wonderful match !
    Arsene Wenger is back again saying about his principles and everything but I just hope he doesnt get too carried away , this doesnt give him an excuse to not sign a few players in january… We have to be consistent throughout …
    Its never been a doubt if we can beat the big teams , its been that if we can be consistent throughout the season …

  2. pavon
    November 10, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    @SF i was hoping that u will respond to this magnificient match right on sunday,chked ur blog throughout the day,neways xcellent reporting back. on other day,it could ‘ve been a diff result.but as u say & as v know,that day was goonerish & v deserved the win nevertheless. P.S- its time bendtner,rooney & ronaldo should ask 4 nasri’s boots. COME ON GUNNERS


    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  3. GunnerCesc4
    November 10, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    Sorry for my ignorance :
    Can anyone tell what was the logo arsenal players were wearing in the middle of their shirts ?!

  4. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    @ GunnerCesc4 – I can’t say this for 100% but I’d assume it was a poppy for Remembrance Day on the 11th of November.

  5. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    @ pavon – Heh heh, I thought about writing yesterday but I stuck to my weekday principles. If I posted on Sunday then you would probably expect me to do it again next week and I like to relax on my weekends.

    Good to see you’re so eager though, gives me a real buzz. Cheers mate.

  6. GunnerCesc4
    November 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm #

    Another question :
    What are those rose like things managers wear , I have seen ’em in many matches and esp Alex Ferguson… Havent been able to figure it out even after 4 years of watching football …

  7. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    @ GunnerCesc4 – They’re poppies too!

  8. Fatboy
    November 10, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    Fantastic game- everything you could wish to see in a game of football. 2 highly skillful teams playing adventurous expansive football on the deck. No real bad challenges and played in a generally sporting manner. 2 superb goals and one lucky deflection. It proves what we knew all along- if we play a team that tries to play football against us, we can beat them. It also proves that our problem this season, as it has been for the 2 previous seasons, is that we struggle against teams of lesser quality who employ physical tactics against us. Sp[anish: I agree about Gallas and Almunia having good games; both were fantastic. Cesc looked back to his best, his vision is unbelievable. I would have to disagree about Bendtner though. OK, I concede that he worked hard, but the 2 missed headed chances in the first half were poor. The second, especially, when he was unmarked and didn’t even get a touch on the ball. One prerequisite for a lone striker is to be able to hold the ball up for supporting midfielders. Bendtner simply cannot do this. He gets the ball, then heads off wide where Walcott or Nasri are running. That would be fine if he drew central defenders, then played a pass back into the space for Cesc or diaby to follow up, but he didn’t do that all afternoon. He hasn’t got a football brain. I know he was probably knackered, but that woeful effort right at the death, where he skied the ball instead of playing it back was awful- not the actions of an Arsenal player I’m afraid. I wrote on Friday that whatever the result, I wanted to see blood and guts commitment from the lads, which we didn’t see at Stoke. The answer was emphatic; they were superb. It doesn’t cover up the shortcomings of the squad, which ultimately falls on the manager to address, but the character of the team was there for all to see. Great.

  9. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    @ Fatboy – Thanks again for your comments. Really appreciate your recent contributions to the blog.

    Just on Bendtner, I somewhat agree with your points. I’m one of the people who thinks he’s going to be a top striker given time but I’ll admit that yesterday he was a bit hit and miss. He’s never going to be able to play the loan striker as well as Adebayor can and he certainly wasted a couple of chances but the most important thing for him to do today was work hard and he did just that. I don’t think you can fault his effort on Saturday, even if some of his decision-making wasn’t ideal.

  10. Alan Goat
    November 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm #

    What a blog!

  11. Jacky Le Tigre
    November 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Love them Gunners

    What a win!

    Marvellous

  12. AR
    November 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    Fantastic game, fantastic result. It was great today at work watching all the Manc supporters trying to dodge me………..priceless 😎

  13. Ivor
    November 10, 2008 at 8:31 pm #

    It was a great play but they need to concentrate on next three fixtures, they’ll be rough.

  14. pavon
    November 10, 2008 at 8:34 pm #

    ohhhh!!!!!now i get the point all my friends who r manu supporters have not called me since saturday……


    Sent on a phone using T9space.com

  15. gunning4u
    November 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    First of all, I have to first congratulate United for playing good football.

    It is refreshing to play an accomplished, footballing side; for a change. United came and passed, were slick in off the ball movement, Park was immense and with better finishing, the result could have been different.

    (Of course Arsenal’s finishing was wasteful as well, Walcott and Bendtner especially.)

    Good chances on both sides, good natured match with both sides competing fairly, good cut and thrust and pace, missed penalty shouts on both teams, and all in all, cracking match.

    United lost the match, but football won. Arsenal can play with and beat anyone if they come out and play football.

    However, United must feel snake bitten as Arsenal were in NO WAY at full strength. United fans have to know this. Look, both teams side by side and you lost to a side who played a forward line of Bendtner and Diaby! Ouch. And the much-maligned Denilson (by outsiders mind you) was brilliant.

    The one hole I see in United is in the center of the park. Carrick is and was shocking. United, as much as the Arsenal, need a beast in the middle like a Yaya, and would Sir Alex have the balls to play Rooney at the attacking mid, where I believe he’d flourish?

    For Arsenal, United’s lack of central midfield covered our lack in the middle. United’s lack of an aerial attack today meant they could not trouble our weakness in the back.

    Cracking display from young Nasri. My goodness if we could ever get Eduardo back to any sort of the form he had before his horrific injury, watch out.

  16. JP. George
    November 10, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    This is an excellent article from today’s Times by Martin Samuel.

    He sums up what most of us think, that for all the good kids coming through at the club, if only we could add two or three experienced players to make us more consistent and proper title challengers!

    From The Times
    November 10, 2008

    Victory raises more questions than answers for Arsene Wenger

    It is unfathomable that Wenger does not put the finishing touches to the talents he has by enlisting more experienced players

    by Martin Samuel

    It was a good result. A mighty good result. But does it now justify every move Arsène Wenger has made in the four seasons since Arsenal last won the Premier League title? Of course not. If there was a genuine challenger from outside the elite four, Arsenal would still be the most vulnerable of that quartet this season. Indeed, the reality is that for all Wenger’s avowed devotion to his young players, what is setting Arsenal apart right now is 11 straight seasons of Champions League football starting in 1998-99.

    This enables them to give top-dollar contracts to world-class players such as Emmanuel Adebayor and pay £12.7 million for the forward who won the game on Saturday, Samir Nasri. Aston Villa could not get near to signing either man. There is the difference.

    Wenger’s expenditure may be dwarfed by that available to the manager at Manchester United or Chelsea, but his resources married to his skill as a manager and an ethos his club have supported for more than a decade, are enough to keep the chasing pack at bay and further indulge his commitment to youth.

    “Arsène knows” is a favourite saying around certain parts of North London and, because he does, he will be well aware that rising to the occasion against United like the upmarket equivalent of a plucky underdog is no replacement for real achievement. Arsenal are without a league trophy since 2004 and have few supporters as future champions in this campaign.

    So, in the circumstances, Wenger will also know that one win against United is no more significant than one defeat by Stoke City, no matter the hyperbole prematch. Those toasting Saturday’s victory as if crisis had been averted – and this includes Wenger – are as misguided as the ones who were itching to start work on his obituary after losing the previous game. There is a reason Wenger asks to be judged at the end of the season. It is the whole that matters and all Saturday’s result confirmed is what the rest of us know: that a team with tremendous potential exists at Arsenal. We also know their youthfulness can lead to inconsistency; and that they are a class apart from the teams beyond the top four, but may lack the experience to win the league.

    The criticism directed at Wenger comes not because his ideas are unworthy but because, when the Arsenal board say he has money to spend and could even pay £30 million for one player, few understand why he does not pick a target and attempt to put the finishing touches to a team that could then match any rival in Europe stride for stride. In that way, beating United will raise as many questions as answers, particularly if Arsenal go on to complete a fifth season without a league trophy.

    With no competitor coming through, perhaps the time Wenger’s philosophy will be truly tested is in next season’s Champions League, if Arsenal finish fourth and have to prequalify against an equivalent team from one of Europe’s big leagues. It is a puzzle.

    When the tingle from this result subsides, the extent of Wenger’s vindication will depend on whether one feels Arsenal are worth more than the prize for best turned out, and on whether a manager who once went a season unbeaten is settling for an unquantifiable reputation as the defender of the beautiful game. He previously had that, and more.

    We all believe that Arsène knows: what cannot be believed is that he is comfortable offering no further proof of this presumption.

  17. jebo
    November 10, 2008 at 8:37 pm #

    of course i’m amazed on the win, but i think we seemed great because of man utd’s failure to play well. in my opinnion the team spirit and desire to win was great but the lads didn’t played as they used to…and to realise that i didn’t want to remember the missing players….job well done and this should inspire them all..other wise????

  18. Jay
    November 10, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Brilliant performance from front to back – Gallas was awesome. Cesc was stunning. Denilson and Diaby had blinding performances.

    Bendtner will never be a goalscorer. Nasri was simply sparkling.

    I didnt think we would win before the game and on another day, Rooney, Ronaldo would have scored the chances but never mind.

    It brings pride but regrets. Beating Man uTd after losing at stoke, Hull and Fulham. Team has the all the talent in the world but doesnt always show it.

    Anyway back to the positives – Tactics were spot on and im glad adebayor didnt play coz he hasnt been up for it this year. Walcott was effective without being brilliant.
    Im so Proud of the boys, for defying the odds and getting our tile surge back on track.

  19. rilub
    November 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    What a game! There is no doubt in my mind that Arsenal are the finest footballing side in the land, and it is a pleasure to watch their attacking, precision-passing game. I am a football fan first, a Liverpool fan second, and I am watching my team hoofing long balls aimlessly up the middle and chasing like lemmings. No comparison!

    Giving away possession by persisting with this type of football is a lesson in futility, and until teams learn that accurate passing and possession leads to goals, we will have to suffer with mediocrity…

  20. nige
    November 10, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    Of course no one needs me to say that saturday at the Ems everything was lovely – apart from the fact that I lost my voice (which of course is irrelevant). The guy behind us apologised to my partner at the end of the game for his language which basically managed to use the f-word, c-word and quite possibly some x y and z words as pronouns, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositions. It was that sort of occasion.

    All credit to the guy – he managed to keep it up for all 96 minutes, and his only moan vis a vis Arsenal was about Bendtner – who was frustrating I’ll admit.

    But we had it all – the desire, skill, quality, passion, noise. Even Sir Alex F-Word was restrained as far as I could see from the opposite side of the stadium. Maybe all those extra stewards he asked for had put glue on his seat so he could leap onto the pitch as he did last season.

    And to tell the truth we had some of the same quality against a much poorer Fenebache team. The difference between the goal and the miss is fractional – and in midweek the chances didn’t go in. Yesterday we had far fewer chances (the Bankrupts had more shots than we did) but it all worked. Last wednesday any one of half a dozen shots could have gone in. Because they didn’t the crowd got quiet, and we were outshouted continuously by the Turks.

    So, where are we now?

    The club is not falling apart, we are still six points of the lead, and there are many occasions when we can play the most wonderful elegant football in the universe and end up scoring and winning. We can do it against the top teams (and lets put all our emotions aside for a second and recognise that a team containing Ronaldo, Rooney and Berbatov is a team with a sensational forward line – and that’s ignoring Tevez who can also be brilliant), and we can do it against Blackburn, Bolton and the like.

    It’s just we have let it slip a few times – and we just need to stop doing that. Really it is not quantum mechanics – and I have no doubt Wenger can put it right with the team he has.

    Denilson is looking like he is meant to be there, Theo is stunning, and Nasri is Pires II – which is exactly what we have been waiting for. Diaby is remarkably back to what we saw when he first came – I must say I thought he had lost it forever. But he is an extraordinary player, and I think we’ll see a lot more of him. Ramsey was brilliant plus brilliant plus brilliant against the Turks, and Bischoff is coming good in the Reserves. Hopefully he’ll play this coming week.

    If only we could generate the passion and noise and enthusiasm that we have seen from Fenerbache supporters – that would be good, because I think we are getting a side that deserves far more support.

    Maybe yesterday people might have realised at the end that the world doesn’t end if you wait for the final whistle. We stayed – as seemingly did most people, and we cheered the last red shirt off the pitch. Then my partner and I wended our way out from the upper tier, walked to Arsenal tube and got a seat on the underground. It took no more than 20 minutes for us to get from our seats to geting on the train. Is that too much to ask people to do?

    Enough rambling – but there is one mor thing. There were some great points made yesterday by commentators to this blog. It may sound silly and naff but I genuinely feel honoured that anyone should take up their own time to respond to stuff I write here, and of course I read everything written with much interest and do consider it.

    There are several points in recent posts that I will come back on but there was one point about the way the site is moderated that I wanted to mention.

    I take the point that for a comment to appear you have to wait for me to get back to the site to post it. Yesterday (saturday) I was out from 9am, going to the game, and then eventually on to a friends for an evening meal out, getting back home at midnight – so no moderation until 11am sunday. Yes it does stop any flow and correspondence.

    But among the 10 or so comments waiting for moderation were several spam emails. Some days there are long tirades against me calling me a racist – and I don’t really want to publish either sort of comment.

    So, what I will do is try and find a way to ban from publication people who fall into either category, and then make the commentary unmoderated for a while, just to see.

  21. Gibbs
    November 10, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    GREAT blog, GREAT win by a GREAT Arsenal team! I think it’s gonna be hard for Rosicky to get into the first team if Nasri keeps playing like this! Im happy with Clichy, i love his spirit, he is the only Gunner (besides Sagna) that gives 110% everytime, Ashley Cole actually did us a favour by leaving the club!

    I’ve noticed that we lost all 3 games this season to defensive teams and demolished all those who played attacking football! Maybe its just a coincident, i don’t know!
    Anyway, i think the 4-5-1 formation is working for us, and we should play it more often with either Ade, v.Persie or Eduardo as lone strikers!

  22. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    @ nige – I’m not sure what you ean by there being racist comments on the blog. I’ve not seen any – perhaps you copy+pasted your comment from another Arsenal blog and forgot to alter it?

    At this stage no comments are moderated. Spam is automatically blocked but I moderate as I go and there is no way I will tolerate racism or aggressive comments.

  23. Spanish Fry
    November 10, 2008 at 9:33 pm #

    @ JP. George – It’s a good article. I particularly liked this line:

    “Those toasting Saturday’s victory as if crisis had been averted – and this includes Wenger – are as misguided as the ones who were itching to start work on his obituary after losing the previous game.”

    I think it’s just a case of the media exaggerating things. Wenger’s job is safe but every Arsenal fan would agree that one or two new players in January would improve the side. For now though, let’s just worry about who we do have and work from there.

  24. nigep
    November 10, 2008 at 9:41 pm #

    uumm whoops wrong perosn aimed at there.

  25. harresh
    November 10, 2008 at 9:44 pm #

    They tell you to never believe what you read in the newspapers, but it is difficult sometimes! It is in your face on a daily basis, and it is difficult to divorce yourself from the speculation and comment that is oozing away like pus from a bloody wound.

    This has been a month when my two Arsenal supporting work colleagues wrote off their team and wailed that they “did not know what to do,” after the recent Stoke defeat. After a week of newspaper headlines that predicted the end of the world at the Emirates, I began to believe that Fabregas, Walcott, and the rest would not be doing much this Saturday night apart from licking their wounds and preparing their applications for Celebrity Big Brother.

    It seemed that the post- Keegan meltdown has calmed down on Tyneside, although we must not forget that Newcastle still have an interim manager. I get a sense that it is now Arsenal’s turn to suffer the onslaught of anger, doom and phone-in bile.

    I had forgotten how irritating can Sky Sports be, and how Jamie Redknapp has as much charisma as the women who drones away on the Circle Line to tell you that “We will be shortly arriving at Victoria, change here for the Victoria Line.”

    The stadium was gradually filling up as Redknapp and his Sky buddies debated the decline of Arsenal with as much sincerity as wet fish. They debated the future of Arsenal as if the club was due to be shut down and the whole of the playing staff had the ability of a League Two outfit, apart from Cesc Fabregas.

    It was suggested that everyone was criticising Arsenal because they have high expectations for the Gunners. I would have believed that statement if it had not been stabbed with a smile.

    It was a relief for the football to get started, or I would have left the pub. The Arsenal team, which seemed to be always introduced with the ‘health’ warning that they were without their star players, kicked off with their usual passing game. There were hiccups but we have to remember that the Gunners were playing Manchester United and not a pub team from Croydon.

    There were some suicidal passes but some sensational attacking play. It was pleasing on the eye and inspiring on the brain. I just wish that my lowly Championship outfit would turn on that style, in that awesome way.

    We all know what happened next. There were two sensational goals from Nasri, and intelligent support play from Denilson and Diaby. It was a pleasure to witness football as it should be played, and Arsenal fans should enjoy those moments. If you want to mangle up a famous phrase, you should be pleased with this football team bearing these gifts.

    It is difficult to believe that Arsenal fans believe everything that they read in the newspapers. They can read the graphs of Arsenal’s league positions since 2003, and can meditate over the spreadsheets, which have the pluses and minuses of Arsene Wenger’s spending over the past decade or so.

    They can rant away on the football phone-ins and their newspaper columns that their team is going to the dogs, and they can call for their manager and board to be sacked. However, it would be a sad state of affairs if we watched the Arsenal faithful turn on their team like certain other supporters do to their beloved clubs.

    I know that the current set up with Arsenal will change like it has done in the past. One of the most noticeable things about this month’s Arsenal versus Manchester United fixture was how the two teams lined up without the macho one-on-ones from five years ago. Some people miss the Keowns and Vieiras but I always want the football to do the talking.

    I am also not as gullible to assume that this sensational win means that Arsenal are the Premiership, European, FA and Carling Cup champions in waiting. There will be more highs and lows but this result will hopefully quell the hunger of the media and certain commentators to feast on Arsenal football club, when there is so much more to come from this exciting group of players.

  26. KURUPT
    November 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    GR8 win I was so happy and drunk but LOVED every second of it hahaha was jumping around like crazy after the match.
    But the reason WE won WE actually took shots from outside the box instead of tryin to walk the ball in it was gr8 to see so happy WE got NASRI……

  27. son of a gunner
    November 10, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    i looked at replays of the 2nd goal and it was amazing to see 1. The walcott run across with a set of sperm like defenders following him . 2. The 360 degree turn by fabregas was sheer genius. and 3. the back lift and the follow through of samir nasri’s right leg as he let go was so firecely powerful that you can almost see intent written all over it.
    Lastly, bendtner requires praise for having the guts to stay atop and make his presence felt.

  28. Mike
    November 10, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    Arsenal is playing tremendous ball right now; let’s see how it holds up. The trend of late has been to collapse late as the money and fitness dries up.
    http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/11/starting-eleven-football-blog-roundup_10.html

  29. MoMONEY
    November 11, 2008 at 12:51 am #

    Villa next will be a battle…

  30. AgentDavis
    November 11, 2008 at 12:54 am #

    Indeed a fantastic win! I wonder if AW will spend any money in January? He has a good team that could be a great team and holding silverware come May but will he make the necessary adjustments?

    In any event – beating Man Poo feels is a wonderful thing!

    COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!!

  31. Fatboy
    November 11, 2008 at 2:06 am #

    The Times article brings into sharp focus what we’ve all been saying for ages- we have the basis of a great team, but it lacks 2 or 3 quality, experienced, older players to complement the outstanding youngsters. We’re light up front (albeit Eduardo is set to return) and we’re desperately short of a DM. It’s unlikely that a quality DM will be available in January, but if we have to pay over the odds to prise one away then it’ll be money well spent. We’ve shown we can compete with the best footballing sides in Europe, but we need some steel in the middle of the park to overcome the bruisers in the bottom half of the Premiership. That’s where we lost the championship last season and the season before- it’s not a new problem. AW can whinge all he likes about the over-physical approach of these teams but it’s a fact of life in the Premiership. In fact, it makes the Premiership the fantastic spectacle that it is. It’s a prerequisite of a champion manager that he can assemble a squad that it equipped for all the challenges he knows he’s going to face, and Wenger has been in England long enough to know that Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan and the rest won’t try to compete against us by playing football. And why should they, they know they’d be outclassed. Wenger inherited a tough team in 1998, but he’s also bought in some tough cookies- Vieira and Manu Petit being the best. He must be able to see where we’re falling short. The result at the weekend shows our philosophy works against the talented teams. We now need to equip ourselves for the battles. If we can stay in the race until January and then bring in a battler or 2, we may have a real chance of winning something. If we don’t, we won’t.

  32. Jonathon
    November 11, 2008 at 3:09 am #

    What a match, what a match, what a damn match. It was this matchup that made me fall for the Arsenal. I was giddy when they initially signed Samir, even had him as my wallpaper, and I’m happy that he got the opportunity to smash United.

  33. tony blair
    November 11, 2008 at 3:45 am #

    wat r u talking about “luck and desire help arsenal win ” it was pur skill and passion u idiots !!

  34. delly
    November 11, 2008 at 3:53 am #

    the game was fantastic…it is the best that i felt about our defence ina while…i must disagree with some of ur assessment of cesc’s performance…he was great defensively and runned tirelessly…but his passing was somewhere from his best…i did think his overall contribution was great and he was good with the telling passes…come on u gunners

  35. A2Gooner
    November 11, 2008 at 4:01 am #

    My favorite quote from the weekend came from Marcus Buckland at the end of the Premier League Review show, when he referred to Arsenal’s victory as a reminder that, “Form is temporary; Class is permanent.”

  36. Demetrio
    November 11, 2008 at 6:20 am #

    As i said before, this was a must win game for Arsenal if we are to have a realistic chance to win the title. The main reason we beat Man U is because our lads wanted it more. When teams have their backs against a wall, no matter what the talent level of the team, they commit themselves to the cause more and can almost always get the win. I think some of you are looking too much into this win. I wont be convinced until i see the same results in the next 3 games against Villa, Man City and Chelsea. I still don’t think we have the depth to compete, but if luck turns to our favor, and we can get to January having not lost another game and have not tied to many, i think Wenger can add at least 2 experienced players to the squad which will make us real title contenders. Wenger has already said they lads are tired in the previous 3 games. If they are tired now, they will be half dead come the business end of the season. Don’t be too convinced about anything until you see more then just one result.

  37. Spanish Fry
    November 11, 2008 at 7:22 am #

    @ tony blair – The explanation for the headline is in the second-last paragraph. We played well, for sure, but this one certainly could have gone either way. That’s all I’m saying.

  38. darragh
    November 11, 2008 at 7:36 am #

    Nasri was awesome on Saturday. So happy. Made my weekend. Went to Villa park on Sunday – what a terrible game to watch! Don’t think Arsenal have much to fear this Saturday.

  39. Spanish Fry
    November 11, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    @ darragh – Hull, Fulham, Stoke. They weren’t much to fear either…

    Let’s just make sure we get the points.

  40. Gibbs
    November 11, 2008 at 7:54 am #

    @SF
    Im confident that the storm has passed! I think we lost against Hull, Stoke and Fulham b/c of complacency, i think they’ve thier lesson! I think they’ll take every game seriously from now on.

  41. Spanish Fry
    November 11, 2008 at 8:02 am #

    @ Gibbs – I certainly hope so. Just reading your comment before, I agree with your sentiments on 4-5-1. It seems the manager does too; he has pretty much indicated that he’ll be keeping the side how it is until Adebayor and RVP return. I think the 4-5-1 helps Denilson and gives our midfield more of a platform to attack.

  42. MoMONEY
    November 11, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    Demetrio speaks the truth once again… This squad can compete with anyone but it cant sustain it for the entire league… We could maybe have a chance in the Champions League but unless we make some January signings we dont have much of a chance in the league…

  43. Gibbs
    November 11, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    @SF
    Denilson will be great in the future (maybe in 1-2 years), 4-5-1 is great for him and i’d love to see it more often even when Ade and v.Persie are available, but Wenger will inevitably go back to 4-4-2 when Ade and v.Persie return, and i think Diaby (not Denilson) should play in CM along with Cesc. He is a complete midfielder, he defends and attacks well. We’ll have someone that can switch from protecting the back 4 to supporting the strikers at any moment, we need that type mobility in the team!

  44. Spanish Fry
    November 11, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    @ Gibbs – Agreed. In a 4-5-1 Denilson is useful but when it comes to 4-4-2 Diaby is the right choice. Hopefully Wenger will give him the chance to keep playing once Ade and RVP return.

    @ MoMONEY – I don’t agree that we wouldn’t have a chance if we don’t spend. It will certainly improve our chances but I think with a bit of luck with regards to injuries we have a squad good enough to challenge for the title.

  45. MoMONEY
    November 11, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    If we are lucky enough to get Eduardo and Rosicky bask to full strength then we may compete… I would rather add some steel to the midfield and not leave it to chance… Whats with the De Rossi rumors? I thought he was Roma through and through? That would be the perfect signing IMO but I dont know how realistic it is…

  46. butterfingers
    November 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    The match I’ve been waiting for since the pre season is on fox sports 1 @ 6.40am and thats the kids in the cc at last I will be able to watch vela play and the likes of ramsey and wilshire will be good. Also hope merida gets a run out. Can’t see our big dane playing cause if gets injured we are fucked. Bischoff will be in for sure also does anyone know how long almunia will be out for as fabianski might not play and we might even see mannone in goal.

  47. Spanish Fry
    November 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    @ butterfingers – ‘Young Guns’ reckons Bischoff probably won’t start. They think he’ll probably be on the bench and Ramsey and Coquelin will start. They also reckon Fabianski is a certainty to start.

  48. Gibbs
    November 11, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    @butterfingers
    Almunia will be available for the game against Villa according the club’s website.

  49. ramugunner
    November 11, 2008 at 5:18 pm #

    Good post as always SF.

    Luck and desire was very important to that stunning win. I thought Gallas and Nasri made the difference that night although every players contributed their part. There were some nervous moments and careless lapses but a win against Manuutd playing a beautiful way is always sweet. I had a big celebration on that night but I do not need to be too much excited. To win trophies esp league we need to have consistency and force to beat so called smaller teams in the Northern part when playing in a wet, muddy pitch. Remember we won home and away against Manu and ended up scrapping the 4th place hardly. After a resounding win against Fenerbahche at Istanbul we were crushed by a championship side, Stoke United(hmm). It will be good for us if players and Arsenal fans do not get carried away after an impressive performance and a huge result, maybe season determiner as you guys said earlier.

    Lets now concentrate on our next game against Astonvilla, who I think are the best team outside big four in premier league. I have a lot of respect for O’neil and his players. They are one of the few teams who play football here in England. They have a good defence and attack with good pace. Laursen and Carew are dangerous in the air which makes me scared seeing our defense weak in corners and set-pieces. Agbonlohar has more pace than any of our CB’s by a country mile, so Clichy has to cover him. Young is a good left midfielder who can be dangerous in his day also set-pieces. I would highly appreciate if Almunia can come forward and show some command around his 6 yard box (watch what Fabianski did against Manu to take a dangerous cross). The team that played against Manu is the best team available at the moment, so Wenger should start with the same starting line-up. I have no doubts about the Bentdner’s potential but his finishing should improve. I thought he was outstanding except for his finishings. He held the ball well and made good runs which scared the backline of Rio/Vidic after a long time. A goal against Villans will certainly boost his confidence which is always good for the team. He is far from being in the same rank with RVP and Ade but he has potential and passion to be a top drawer.

    If any Arsenal fans or players are over-celebrating the win last Saturday and saying now we can challenge for title is totally wrong. This team is far from being a title challenging team. We need to find ways to beat teams like Boro, Hull, Stoke etc.. to have any chance for league title. Since we have already lost three times, we must collect at least four points each from Chelsea and Liverpool from home and away. I think we have a good chance to beat Chelsea this time around esp if we have both Ade and RVP or at least one of them available to play. Carvalho, Essien and Drogba were alwyas the top performer when playing us. Essien and Carvalho(not sure) both will miss when we play and Drogba is not in his best form (Also we don’t have Senderos, hehh..). Anelka is in hot form but he does not scare me like Drogba’s head given our CB’S being good in the ground. Bring on Chelski Moskow now!!!!

    Cesc form has worried me for few reasons. This team has been developed around his passing game and playmaking art. It’s true that Arsenal always look a far better side when he is playing good. He is the player with Euro cup winners medal at age 21 which is a good start for his career. There is not a single question about his world-beating talent and vision. We need to have the same Cesc who was destroying every team he faced even Milan last season. We need to have the same Fabregas who was scoring wonder-strikes and assists after assists. A player like Flamini would make Cesc happy and this team will reach a point of perfection. De Rossi of Roma has been recently linked to join us coming transfer season but I have a big doubt. He is a wonderful player and a great winner. He can make even bigger impact than what Flamini had to our midfield. He scores freelkicks and crackers more often which none of the Arsenal players are capable of doing bar Van Persie. Actually we don’t need a big big player but a defensive midfielder who can play rough and tackle, like Gattusso and Mascherano.

    I always love watching our young gunners play who can produce romantic football any time they get a chance. Keep an eye on Coquelin(if he plays), Ramsey, Wishere, Vela and Merida, all of them having potential to get to a big stage. We might also get a chance to see Bischoff for the first time. Fabianski and our defense ahould be careful about the aerial threats our young guns will face. I am giving up my work for today to watch our beloved kids play. Hopefully they will make me happy.

    Come on you Young Guns!

  50. jay-jay
    November 11, 2008 at 10:27 pm #

    Am so thrilled by the win over United, it shut up our critics, ensured that everyone knew we were wanting the title and also made United eat their words, thanks Nasri!

  51. Ivor
    November 12, 2008 at 4:06 am #

    I come from Croatia and all of my friends are fans of Chelsea and Man. Utd.
    Maybe there is more fans of Portsmouth than Arsenal but I don’t care Gunners are brilliant,they keep telling me that the club brings useless players and how they don’t know to shoot outside the box.
    And yeah,I hope that Eduardo will get fit for sake of Croatia,you did beat us to bone in Zagreb.

  52. Ivor
    November 13, 2008 at 12:24 am #

    Congrad on victory over wigan,good game by young guns.

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