No Excuses – United Were Better On The Day

Arsenal 1 – 3 Manchester United

0 – 1 Almunia (33 o.g.)
0 – 2 Rooney (37)
0 – 3 Park (53)
1 – 3 Vermaelen (80)

Before the match at Villa Park, I observed that winning both of the home games and drawing the away games would give Arsenal a desired eight points out of a possible twelve. That tally is not possible, seven the best that can be hoped for. And it will be seven gained the hard way with a win at Stamford Bridge an absolute must if the title challenge is not to disintegrate before our eyes.

Arsene‘s concern over the result is plain to see, his comments a public castigation of his charges:

It is difficult to take but easy to explain because we were poor offensively and defensively cohesion-wise. We delivered an off-the-mark performance completely and that is why we were well beaten today. We gave them always too much room, we were naive.

Which pretty much covers the whole of the performance. Do you castigate an individual for their performance or do you look collectively and ask whether they were on their own or one of many who were below the required standard? Sometimes the individual does require a kick to the rear.

Other occasions beg the question as to whether or not that individual playing to a higher level would have covered for deficiencies elsewhere. On this showing, the latter is more relevant and unless there had been a substantial rise in the performance level of three or four individuals, yesterday was still a fixture which would have been lost.

Delivering the required improvement to produce a win at Stamford Bridge is going to be the focus of this week’s training, the manager in his own words, will not be distracted by an transfer dealings today as the January window draws to a close. No doubt yesterday’s defeat will bring howls that this cannot be the case, the manager has lost the plot.

In itself, the cries for new players are the ultimate exercise in futility, trying to get a deal done within such a short space of time not impossible but certainly extraordinarily hard if the groundwork has not already been laid.

The opening minutes saw the teams trade half chances. Arshavin shot wide having been freed on the left whilst Rooney mis-hit an effort, Song blocking Carrick immediately afterwards. As the half progressed, openings were at a premium and the sense was that United had started better but Arsenal were clawing their way back into it, Arshavin going closest and looking the only menacing forward in red.

Nani bucked any thoughts of Arsenal dominating the game, quite possibly playing the best game of his United career; certainly his best against Arsenal.The opening goal gave him a sense that it was his afternoon, clipping the ball over Almunia and watching as the Spaniard turned the ball into the net, his vain attempt to turn the ball to safety going horribly wrong.

Four minutes later, Nani broke, found Rooney who scored on the counter-attack. As with the Champions League semi-final, two United goals in quick succession gave them supremacy in the match, a lofty position that they would not drop. Both goals were avoidable. Both came from the same source, suggesting that the initial lesson was not learned. It also notes that the Arsenal left had been identified as a weak point, Clichy’s rustiness in his search for match-sharpness being duly noted by United and worked on.

Any notion of a famous fightback disappeared after the break. Park and Rooney found themselves outnumbering Clichy as the Arsenal offside trap was clinically broken and the Korean scored. Defensively, it was shambolic, the source once more an Arsenal attack which broke down, United strode through relatively unhindered – OK, entirely unhindered – and found the back of the net quite easily.

Vermaelen popped up with another goal, his second in three games but it was nowhere near soon enough for a fightback to begin. If nothing else, he managed to keep a thousand fantasy football managers happy by earning points, one of the few Arsenal players to do so.

The disappointing aspect of all three goals is that there was an element of self-infliction for all three. Almunia is being criticised for the opening goal; he had to try to stop the ball with United queuing at the far post to give Nani’s work the finish it deserved with little guarantee that the covering defender, Sagna I think, would have been able to prevent the deadlock being broken.

Even so, with a decent contact being made, the expectation is that a goalkeeper will be able to safely turn the ball over the bar; an error in judgement on this occasion. Equally, the tracking back by the midfield, Denilson in particular is getting some criticism, eyes were gazing upon the ball rather than concentrating on where the danger behind them was.

Chances were created in response but it was an afternoon with an all too familiar feeling about it, too reminiscent of the Champions League semi-final with Arsenal undone by counter-attacking football. The mental issue highlighted by Wenger is a key issue which has to be faced up to since this weekend’s opponents have a similarly strong hold over Arsenal, the last three meetings seeing twelve goals conceded.

Arshavin had opportunities, selfishly shooting on occasion when a team-mate was better placed. However, he is a striker and therefore has a selfish attitude. Had he passed and the chance been spurned, no doubt the Russian would have received brickbats for not seizing the moment.

No doubt that the defeat is damaging; the litmus test of a season is how well you play against your closest rivals, an indicator of what the true level of the team is. There has been an accusation in the recent past that Arsenal are ‘flat track bullies’, able to decimate the weak, pounded by the strong. This season has seen some credence to that in terms of results yet the title is won in all games not just half a dozen.

Backing the team is essential now. Good players do not become bad overnight. Mistakes happen in all walks of life, Arsenal were publicly punished for theirs. Players are rightly being criticised for a sub-standard performance but like them, we have to pick ourselves off the floor. We have to get behind them, ready to face the moral turpitude which is seeping through football otherwise known as Chelsea, next weekend.

’til Tomorrow.

476 thoughts on “No Excuses – United Were Better On The Day

  1. Oofus, it’s interesting…

    It does seem as though we are resorting – if that’s the right word – to crossing into the box, too hurriedly, and too often.

    Often it seems we’d be better off keeping it on the deck, just as I think we should opt for the short corner more than we do. If we can’t get to the byline to whip it in low; then try to recycle it, play to our strengths and keep looking for that final slide rule pass that gets us in.

    Crossing on the break is one thing, into and over a backpeddling defence – as Eduardo’s goal at Wham shows. But crossing into a packed box of defenders who know exactly what’s coming – is mostly futile. With our present starting lineup the best we can hope for with that sort of a cross, is for (someone like) Eduardo to gobble up a badly cleared second ball. Sometimes it’s as though we cross into the box to get a final product from a period of possession. More patience needed, I think. Don’t be afraid to put your foot on the ball and move it back inside. But then, when you’ve got tens of thousands of people baying at you to get the ball in the box, it might seem like the easy option.

    Anyway, the reinstatement of Bendtner may change all this of course. I wonder if he starts on Sunday…

  2. After the third goal, i said Wenger out!!!!

    Like 1,000 of fans in the stadium…and hundreds of thousands around the World.

    And you spend time to do that…ur a real cunt…get a life Zap, ur pathetic.

  3. Good article…………on this site u mentioned that we don’t need a striker u still think that?? we played 4-6-0 yesterday.

  4. Hiddink is not someone I’d give this squad to as he’s not someone I trust would help further the Arsenal ethos. Besides, it’s taking a step back with a manager who doesn’t understand the league. He’s good at putting teams together for the short term but he’s not what I would call a forward thinker. If Wenger were to be replaced I’d like it to be someone that thinks about the structure of the club and the future of it as well.

  5. Nothing like a bit of Cocteau Twins when your down.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym4us6eG01Q&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  6. I think we need to be more patient after we concede. Go for the equaliser, by all means, but don’t go for broke when there’s still half the match left to play. The period after a goal can be a time of weakness for both teams. It makes sense to try to take advantage of that, but also to avoid being taken advantage of.

  7. Ritesh has been found out.

    Shame on you.

    Shame on you for calling yourself a supporter.

    Shame on you for not supporting the team and Manager.

    Shame on you for jumping on the Le Grove bandwagon and bringing your filth on here and to The Home Of Football.

    Hang your head.

  8. good article……….on this site u said we dont need another striker.do u still think that??….we played 4-6-0 yesterday…….

  9. I agree with you G4E, but it’s football, shit happens. And that’s exactly what happened, we played better at OT, unfortunate to lose. But yesterday, we should have nailed them. Carrick, Scholes, and the other c**** were their for the taking, and we blew it. And it’s been going on for quite a while now, and we should have learned from our mistakes by now.

    I have a better feeling for the next game. I expect us to beat the Chavs.

  10. Gallas and Vermalaen shouldnt have come out of our half against them mancs. thats exactly what they wanted and we fukin did it, we mugged ourselves.

  11. Was thinking the same thing, Pz. We should have been more patient trying to equalize. But we made the grave error of committing too many men forward, and they hit us at a counter again. We should have held the defense better.

  12. We didn’t concede the last two goals because Gallas and Vermaelen were up for set pieces. They each went up with the play. Personally, I think one of them should stay back when the other goes up.

  13. Ritesh@ 7.46 pm – After the third goal, i said Wenger out!!!!

    Shame on you.

    Hang your head.

    Shameful.

    With fans like this………….

  14. You’re right, gainsbourg69, I was being unfair to Cheryl – but that’s the price she pays for marrying Ashley Cole.

  15. I hope you’re right Emperor G because it’s about time we bulldoze someone.

    I’m so pissed off Ateeb, and I didn’t even comment yesterday because of that….I thought I would be better today but I’m still pissed off just as much as yesterday.

  16. Ritesh @ 7.46 ‘After the third goal, i said Wenger out’!!!!

    Disgraceful.

    Hang you’re head.

    With fans like this…………………..

  17. @ ateeb to look at the positives . we created the chances unlike with chelsea or manutd(CL) and also i think we need just one motivational guru or speaker sort of thing. that motivation is generally provided by fans but our neo-fans like ritesh argue about whats wrong in booing the team and players and managers

  18. “Like 1,000 of fans in the stadium…and hundreds of thousands around the World”

    Testifying to what thousands of people might have been saying at a particular point in time, in a place in which you yourself were not present? And you talk of delusion…

    …oh, Poliziano, yes, Gallas and Vermaelen are a great threat from corners – I just think we might benefit from mixing it up a bit more.

    I think patience went out the window on Sunday when we found ourselves 1-0 down despite having dominated the first fifteen minutes and carving out two clean cut opportunities. The fact that we hadn’t taken advantage of these openings seemed to have a maddening effect and we all bombed forward as if there were only ten minutes of the game left to go.

  19. Apparantly John Terry was asked what he would do if he lost the England captaincy…He said he was going to cross that bridge when he came to it.

  20. Its a cliche in football that you are vulnerable after scoring and the same is true after conceding. To that end we didn’t show enough patience after they scored the first and tried to get straight back in the game.

    Having said that take nothing away from the Utd for the second goal they scored, it was classic counter attacking football and was clinically finished even if we did make it rather easy for them.

  21. what and not cesc?

    btw i want to ask u guys this question, say we don’t win something this season, cesc leaves..will u forgive him?

  22. i think vermaelen will be the captain of arsenal b4 too long..unless his grandma’s uncle’s father’s sister was born in Barcelona and it’s discovered by Bojan Krkic and Pedro that he has Barcelona DNA

  23. for me cesc is a humble and modest person. he wont shout at the players who err and certainly people wont be afraid facing cesc in the dressing room.
    if cesc leaves best of luck to him, if he leaves in a decent way and verminator for captaincy after cesc

  24. els – I don’t have to trust u mate, i know myself better.

    LimparAssist – oh and you’re so tough eh? talk shit and you’ll keep getting the shit from wenger, cheers!

    Stringfellow Hawke – you must be one of the “i trust in wenger” guys. Keep trusting 😀

    Wenger lost the plot and he is simply a stubborn old man now. Time for a change.

  25. @ ritesh 7:46 pm

    you didn’t ask for wenger’s head in the heat of the moment after the “third goal”…..you repeated your bile at 11:43 a.m.

    “I hope Cesc leaves as he does not turn up in big matches. Big players make you win big matches. He is just a midget who runs around when you are playing crap teams.

    And yeah, I want Wenger out.”

  26. AG – that’s exactly what we plan on doing….i.e. “keep trusting”

    please go back to le moan. you are certainly not welcome here.

    AKB

  27. Yes! Sack Wenger bring in David Moyes. Lets make banners and take them to the Liverpool game.

    Or should we start our revolution from a blog?

    How about Le Grove?

  28. amerigooner @ 1:37 p.m.

    “I only hope another beating doesn’t ensue, how much more of this can a supporter be expected to endure????”

    honestly, you don’t have endure it for a moment longer. here are some options for you. trust me, we’ll learn to live without you:

    http://www.mcfc.co.uk

    http://www.chelseafc.com

    fooking plastics

  29. poli,

    do you even no my opinions you fool!

    I will continue to know more about arsenal and football then you ever will, your opinion matters about as much as adrian durham to me you are both deluded but in an opposite direction.

    but very similar.

    prick!! don’t address me again..

  30. Isn’t ritesh that glory hunter who says one thing on le groan and comes to tint over here (at least while the going’s good)?

  31. It’s funny how nobody clamors for Lorik Cana anymore. I’m watching Sunderland vs Stoke as we speak, which barely qualifies as a football match. If we had him we’d be playing with 10 men each game. At least Denilson will remain on the field.

    Song has won over fans, Diaby has won over fans, and Denilson will too.

    On a side note, I cannot believe we lost to Sunderland earlier this season.

  32. Absolutely gutted but now is not the time for epitaphs there are still 14 games to play. Save tne post mortems for the end of the season. There are no excuses. We were very very poor, indisciplined and naive and didnt get the basics right. Being calm, not playing to our strengths and altering our game in response to Utds threat.

    The hardest thing to swallow was making that fake looking Ronaldo wannabe twat Nani look world class by gifting him a goal and watching him run the length of the pitch unmarked twice and making Rooney look like Messi. The reruns on Sky are making me sick.Once the midfield was lost the defence was non existent in the end and dragged from pillar to post, no shape or cohesion. No one calming the team down.

    Hard lessons to be learned and plenty of mirrors to be looked in. We outplayed Utd at the beginning of the season with this same squad and were robbed. They have out thought us in the reverse,not battered, outclassed or outmuscled. Down but not out. Bring on the Chavs. When we do them over the doomers wont know what to do with themselves.

  33. “On a side note, I cannot believe we lost to Sunderland earlier this season.”

    Especially as Denilson wasn’t even playing!

    Nor was Clichy, for that matter. I suppose that one must have been all Almunia’s fault.

  34. Yeah, it’s a tough one LA. Maybe more patience is needed. Moving the ball back inside and trying to rebuild the attack would surely be more effective than getting it in the box against a defence that’s totally settled and in position – the fans might see it as a sign of indecision though.

    I’d still like to see Clichy and Sagna drop a shoulder and have a go a bit more often, even against a negative team.

  35. clichy d.d

    you would have to be very thick to tell someone to go and support another team! it is an insult!

    you don’t change you’re football team you shouldn’t say that to even the most deluded. it’s wrong.

  36. This is the BBC from London

    The Met Office has issued a severe troll warning, manifesting itself over London, N5 where an air of defeatism has formed into a particularly and damaging cloud.

    There will be a deluge and heavy flurries of these pre-pubescents, causing widespread flooding and rising of anger.

  37. I know you wasn’t clichy!!

    all I’m saying is nobody wants to support them clubs on both sides of opinion

    we are all arsenal with different opinions, there is enough of us!!

  38. I’ve been reading youngguns for 2 years now, but some of the people on here write the most fuckin’ hilarious stuff. I mean it…I laughed out loud. It’s witty, sarcastic, and just plain funny. It took me over an hour to read all these posts! Some of them aren’t so funny, but a few are pretty awesome!!

  39. I tend am an admitted pessimist by nature, and everyone has their own little personality quirks, but reading the positive comments on this and a few other blogs has softened the blow of this loss, and helped me to maintain an even and objective perspective on the team’s current and future prospects. It will be VERY TOUGH TO WIN THIS YEAR, but this squad has a tonne of quality and I still feel that we have a better team spirit this year, than last year. I wasn’t even close to being this optimistic last year. Not even close. I’ll admit that. There is still something to believe in, in my opinion. I’m talking about the players as well as the manager and his staff. I am not a devout follower of Wenger by any means, but he still has injected enough in to this current squad, that I believe they can keep fighting. This year is a bit different for me than last year. I will say that much.

  40. Maybe we’re abit naive. We don’t know how to commit the professional foul to stop a fast counter attack. Imagine Wenger needing to teach the boy Denilson to handball the next time he has to go down due to an injury (not resulting from a foul). Only Gallas, Vermaelen and the more experienced players are street smart enough to go for it.

  41. Milo (and the rest): I understand your pessimism.

    Just remember that the worst day being an Arsenal fan is infinitely better than being a ManU fan, even on the day they won the double… and be thankful.

  42. let’s just look at the remaining tough fixtures for all the three sides –

    for arsenal – chelsea away
    spuds away
    birmingham away

    liverpool n city home can be won easily

    for united – chelsea home
    city away
    liverpool home ( tough for them)
    villa away
    everton away

    for chelsea – united away
    arsenal home
    spuds away
    liverpool away

    clearly , we’re better off as far as that is concerned.now if we get some decent result at he bridge , well and good but even if we dont it wont be the end of the world for us…and on top of that , both chelsea and united have tough CL matches and that can have an affect on the league performance too..we’re very much in the race – just that we’ve had a much tougher first half to the season

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