Patrice Evra Theo Walcott

Evra shows Walcott who's boss

With a European tie looking comfortable, with a home leg to play, it would be understandable for Manchester United fans to be feeling somewhat confident about their side’s prospects this season.

With the first of what are seen as 4 defining matches to be played consecutively, opening up with a victory away to Schalke was the perfect start that would have been hoped for.

However, with United’s less-than-stellar away record this season, combined with a trip to Arsenal following the European exploits, there would naturally be a bit of concern regarding fatigue and, at such a crucial stage of the season, even nerves affecting performance, with the undoubted pressures associated with maintaining league form at such a critical point. And so it was, that we were treated to a largely flat performance from Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. A showing that lacked forward drive, failed to produce opportunities and ultimately deservedly lost 1-0, blowing the title race wide open. As such, here are five things that may be taken from the game.

1) Should we fear Hernandez suffering “burn out”?

It is only natural when someone consistently produces top form, that they become a first choice within a team. This is made more incredible by the fact that this is Chicharito’s first season in the Premier League, and has usurped the league’s top scorer in Dimitar Berbatov for a starting berth to partner Wayne Rooney up front. However, we must also remember that this being Hernandez’s first season, fatigue may well be a real threat, particularly in the latter stages of the season.

When we also consider the work rate he possesses during matches, combined with the fact he has been used so regularly of late and it is easy to see why precautions might be needed in making sure he does not become tired out, especially when he will have not been used to such schedules while playing in Mexico. When we also consider that Berbatov is an option as well as, dare I say it, Michael Owen, then the logic of using the young Mexican so frequently becomes questionable. Not to say that he was terrible, the effort was undeniable, but Sunday appeared to be one of those days where it simply did not happen for him, and with a lacklustre service, the sprightly performances we have become used to was not evident.

2) The Midfield was lacking without Giggs

With Ryan Giggs rested, reasoned as being out with flu, it gave Ferguson a chance to make some changes to midfield on Sunday afternoon, utilising Anderson, and giving Valencia a rest in favour of Nani on the right wing, one would have hoped that there would be an air of freshness about the middle of the park.

Unfortunately this was not to be, as United struggled against an Arsenal side that looked to keep possession and were passing the ball around with efficiency. United on the other hand, failed to impose themselves in the middle, giving the ball away regularly and generally lacking an attacking edge that was so effective mid week. Michael Carrick was unable to control the game as he had done so well against Schalke, and Nani failing to deliver the form that made him such a threat earlier in the season, meant Arsenal looked the far more likely side to score. Of course, with Giggs having been in such sparkling form of late, finding it significantly lucrative centrally, one must wonder if United missed his influence on the game, his superb passes and ability to set up play as well as providing another attacking option as well as the fact United lack suitable cover for his type of play.

As well as this, Rooney and Hernandez lacked the service necessary to produce clear cut chances, and an Anderson showing that was largely anonymous led to the North London club largely controlling proceedings. That said, offensively both sides were hardly at their peak, with Arsenal producing only 2 shots on target. Despite this, Arsenal looked to be the far more creative side, and as such looked the more likely to get a goal.

3) Arsenal deserved to win

The general consensus of opinions regarding United’s showing on Sunday was that they “failed to turn up”. Such a critical game after a European trip away would always leave room for error, particularly as few would be rested when the importance of getting results at the business end of the season is so high, requiring the best squad available to be put to use as much as possible.

However, Ferguson’s men certainly looked as though they were lacking such energy levels and it was felt that with Chelsea having been so fortunate the day before, the pressure was on to deliver a performance that would keep the title advantage firmly towards Old Trafford. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Vidic was lucky not to concede a penalty for what was considered a blatant hand ball, but it failed to shunt the players in to gear and, despite a brighter start to the second half, Arsenal found themselves in the lead through Aaron Ramsey.

After this, an equaliser rarely looked likely, as Berbatov and Owen were brought on to try to lift the team offensively to no avail. On a day where crosses were poor, and chances failed to materialise, United needed a lifeline, and could well have got one when Owen appeared to be brought down inside the box late on, only to find his appeals waved away. It was not United’s day.

Continued on page two.

17 responses to “Five Things We Learned – United – Arsenal at Emirates”

  1. united4evra says:

    2 months ago we had the perfect team – Berbatov was the best starter in the PL – leading PL scorer, in fact scoring as much (or more) as Messi and Ronaldo (if you do not count penalties). We also had the perfect impact substitute – Chicharito – who could enter at any point – outrun the tired and confused defenses – and score nearly every time he was let in. Then, out of the blue, SAF decided to make a starter out of the perfect impact substitute and a impact substitute out of the perfect starter. Now United scores only 1 goal scored in 3 PL games (although starting 2 strikers) – even with Rooney back in full form. You can’t win the PL if you score once every 3 games.

    • Dee says:

      I totally agree. I prefer Berbatov as a starting striekr. He needs build up for him to do anything fruitful. I think letting him in in the first half, maybe even risk him as the lone striker, then Hernandez coming on later. Being the impact striker that he is, we’d not be blamed for expecting something.
      On Rooney’s role, I think he wasnt exactly in top form yesterday, but his role for the team in the past few weeks has been worth alot of praise. He looked tired yesterday and just dint have that edge that we need oh so much.

    • Zayd says:

      I disagree about him scoring as much or more as Messi or Ronaldo, fact is he scored big numbers but in few games, as opposed to Hernandez who’d get goals over more games. However, berbatov needs to be used more.

  2. redmanutd says:

    ferguson out!! he is to blame for this defeat. dont think he’s can go all d way…Our away record is pathetic. If we need to win championships then d away record shud be decent. and like last year, we’re choking at the wrong moment. we need a new manager.

    • Dimitar Berbatov says:

      Ferguson Out???!!! Are you crazy or something….Please don’t insult yourself and this great club by saying such stupid stuff…..

    • Spectrum says:

      redmanutd – Are you crazy ? I’d gladly swap Wenger for Ferguson any day. As an Arsenal supporter, I envy your side.You’ve got a team who have the right attitude, and the will to win, and you’re coached by a manager who still has a similar mentality, along with a tactical brain, and an ability to motivate. He’s also still on top of his game, unlike ours. Be grateful for all the success you’re having under him. It could be a lot worse – you could be stuck with Wenger.
      “In Arsene we rust.”

      • Zayd says:

        Ferguson out due to one defeat? Madness. Fact is united are still challenging on two fronts this season.

  3. devilnani says:

    Fuck off you pretender..join a shitty or loserpool blog or at least grow a set of balls to show your support to the real team you are supporting..

  4. goonergerry says:

    A very fair report. There is only one reason we out performed you for once in midfield – the fact that you played away in Europe in midweek and we did not. You looked a little short physically- not a lot- but lacking a bit of sharpness. Next week I fully expect you to beat Chelsea- because you are the best out there at the moment.

    • Dee says:

      Veeery true. United wasn’t sharp enough, we just weren’t getting to the ball fast enough, weren’t passing accurately, it was just a very blunt performance from the squad.
      Either I’m all praise for Fabio….best ban United had on the pitch. Combined his attacking and defending pretty well.

    • Dee says:

      Veeery true. United wasn’t sharp enough, we just weren’t getting to the ball fast enough, weren’t passing accurately, it was just a very blunt performance from the squad.
      Either way I’m all praise for Fabio….best ban United had on the pitch. Combined his attacking and defending pretty well.

  5. Baldrick says:

    Yes, we were outplayed. Rooney was pretty static and we were second to every ball. We deserved to lose with that kind of performance. Fabio was in my mind the only player really going for it last night, and despite being yellowed for his shoulder charge, an Arsenil player does the same a mere few minutes later and doesn’t even get a talking to. Bias? Perhaps, but that’s another story.

  6. Jim says:

    redmanutd – call this a hunch, but I’m guessing you’re very young, or very stupid. get a grip, new manager indeed. Who do you suggest one of the managers of the teams sitting below us in the table?

  7. Dee says:

    On point report. When we went into the half time break, I was sure we’d come back and win it. Simply because Arsenal hadn’t capitalised on all the posesion and chances they had. I hoped for a change of tactics, more offense, and relying less on counter attacks.
    We did try and put it into practice but lost concentration for a bit, let fatigue slip in and conceded a goal. We started attacking, but weren’t sharp enough. All in all, watched a fair football match and the better team won. Lets rally up the troops for Chelsea now

  8. Biodun says:

    Saf…is to be blame,why d he bliev dat much in that anderson…the guy is a flop

  9. Denise Williams says:

    Personally I think there is a risk of over playing Hernandez. Actually I don’t think Fergie has managed his strikers well at all this season. Berba was playing so well then he was dropped consequently his confidence has suffered. Personally I feel united’s strike force has suffered due to Fergie’s poor man management. Rooney was picked when badly out of form. Berba dropped despite good form and has now lost his confidence. Hernandez I feel has been relied on too much for his own good. Owen has been completely excluded and has not been given the playing time he deserves. I am sorry but Fergie is to blame for this and he needs to be questioned.

  10. Football says:

    No pressure on the gooners, whilst the red devils have the head hunters breathing down their neck.