Sign in

I forgot my password
Not registered?
Register now
Posted: 22/01/2012
By Adam Pembrey

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United: 3 defeats leaves Arsenal reeling

Team: Szczesny, Djourou, (Yennaris) Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen , Song, Rosicky, Ramsey (Park), Walcott, van Persie, Chamberlain (Arshavin)

The Short Report

Arsenal lost their 3rd Premier League game in a row against Manchester United at The Emirates Stadium. The side restored some pride from the drubbing in August but frankly that is of scant consolation. The only source of encouragement came from Alex  Oxlade-Chamberlain who was controversially substituted just before United’s second.

The AL Report

I think many of us didn’t know what to expect from today. On the one hand we were probably a bit terrified about anything close to a repeat of the game in August, and on the other we were hopeful of a repeat of the same fixture last year where we took all 3 points against most expectations.

The reality was somewhat more logical and inevitable Arsenal were outmatched quality wise and it took its toll. For the majority of the first half we were under the cosh, however a mixture of solid keeping, last ditch defending and a bit of luck kept the score at 0-0 until stoppage time when Giggs was one against one with Djourou and floated over a cross far too easily to Valencia at the back post who rose above Vermaelen, to nod home. The Belgian should have done better but the goal highlighted our current crisis in the full back department.

The one Arsenal player who was causing Manchester United problems was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was making his first Premier League start. His pace, power and directness was the only thing causing Manchester United even the most mild discomfort.

After the break though, with another youngster Nico Yennaris coming on for Djouorou who was having a torrid afternoon, Arsenal finally started to play and it almost paid off when Chris Smalling gifted the ball to Tomas Rosicky who squared the ball to van Persie who somehow smashed wide with the goal at his mercy.

It wouldn’t be long though before the skipper made amends. The imperious Koscielny made an outstanding tackle in the Arsenal penalty area, with the ball finding its way to the outstanding Chamberlain who slipped a beautiful pass into the Dutchman who shot  time across the goal and in to the bottom corner via the post.

Arsenal were in the ascendance and Manchester United were rocking. Then though Arsene Wenger made a decision that shocked just about the entire stadium and viewing public. He took off Chamberlain and replaced him with Arshavin, even van Persie was caught on camera looking bemused.

Shortly after the decision was to prove costly as Arshavin was at fault for United’s second goal. Valencia picked the ball up on Arsenal’s right and was one on one with the Russain, who he ran at and went past far to easily, getting into the box and squaring for Wellbeck to score. Others were culpable too, Vermaelen should have been there and Wellbeck wasn’t well marked however one can’t help but wonder if Chamberlain would have been a little more tenacious and prevented Valencia getting into the box.

Arsenal pushed hard for an equaliser, much to the Chagrin of the official Mike Dean who awared United a free kick whenever the home side challenged for the ball it seemed but ultimately it wasn’t to be and the side succumbed to their third league defeat in a row.

Man of the Match

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just gets my vote ahead of Laurent Koscielny because he was a constant thorn in Manchester United’s side. Many players would have found the occasion and responsibility too much to bear but he relished it and showed everyone what he can do.

Player Focus

Aaron Ramsey is starting to frustrate me a little bit. Seems to waste possession too much by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and really needs to start contributing more in terms of goals and assists. He was fairly anonymous overall and didn’t repeat his great performance from  this fixture last year.

Moan of the Match

Yet another blatant dive by serial cheat Wayne Rooney, which went unpunished by the referee and I have no doubt will be glossed over by the press and media.

The Final Word

Today was a symptom of everything that is wrong with Arsenal at the moment. Crippled by injuries, a lack of quality, a lack of belief, a lack of fortune and a lack of points.

I think we restored a little pride from the match in August however we need more than pride at the moment. There are too many under-performing players and not enough options in attack, it’s a sad indictment that this wasn’t seen as an upset and the fact that Arsenal ‘only’ lost 2-1 might be seen by some as a relief.

I hate being negative so I’ll end on a word for The ‘Ox’ Alex Chamberlain. What a first start that was? This boy looks like he could be something special and we are very lucky to have signed him. I look forward to seeing more of him in these last few months.  


Follow me on Twitter @AdamPembrey


Darren Bowser wrote on 22/01/2012 19:24

There were a few performers, Koscielny, Rosicky and Chamberlain who for an 18 year old making his full premier league debut was fantastic especially in the circumstances of a team playing without confidence. The substitution of Chamberlain was baffling and relied the supporters, Van Perise looked on flabbergasted. Okay bring on Arshavin if you must but why Chamberlain and not Walcott who offered nothing all match? Arshavin's defending cost us a goal but it was Wenger who killed the momentum with that substitution, I tout until that change Arsenal were ,it's likely winners after a much better second half. Wenger may well have lost Van Persie on the back on this match. Incredible that Arsenal refuse to invest let alone spend the profit of previous deals. Final plus point was Yennaris, that seemed a good call at right back and the lad did well showing good mobility and pace.

Albo wrote on 22/01/2012 20:25

Come on Darren, I'd be first to criticize Arshavin and think he is now redundant at the club, but look at Song and Vermaelen for that goal. You're placing blame on the wrong player when those two - whose main job it is to defend - decided to usher a path for Valencia rather than defend properly.

Leave a Comment

To leave a comment or Register now