Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
What a game of football that was.
Arsenal showed up, and how. There’s been a lot of talk this last week about a lack of quality and application, but a superb Arsenal somehow conjured up an answer to both accusations yesterday. They were supremely committed, snapping about the park and keeping up a staggering tempo, and in terms of quality, who can argue? It was a fantastic performance.
We watched Arsenal finally wake up yesterday. The rain lashed down biblically and Arsenal produced a miraculous transformation in form. Perhaps today’s not the time to wonder how we can go from the ridiculous to the sublime in such a short period of time – so let’s just celebrate a fine performance, made especially fine by the quality of the opposition.
It was a match helped by United, who attacked as wilfully as Arsenal did, and will this morning be ruing some missed chances that would have made things so different. That’s football though, pure and simple: we took our chances and they did not.
Across the board, Arsenal were up for it. Gallas was fired up at the back, Clichy and Sagna excelled, Fabregas and Diaby were excellent, and Nasri – well the fact he’s now being spoken in the same breath as Pires says it all. He was absolutely magnificent and made Dot Cotton look like a chump. His second goal was particularly sweet, and he now has 5 goals in 10 starts. If he keeps that up there’s no reason why he can’t get at least 15 goals this season.
Some people think Bendtner was decidedly average – I disagree. Yes, he missed some good chances but he led the line on his own, against Ferdinand and Vidic, and put in a huge effort. I think he did alright.
A word about the United fans. Ahead of the minute’s silence, Arsenal announced that the players’ shirts had been emblazoned with poppies and that they’d be auctioned off for charity. The United fans started clapping – and the Arsenal fans reciprocated. A lovely touch that I think should not go unmentioned.
So overall, whatever Wenger did and said to the team made a difference this week. My biggest hope now is that we can use this as a springboard, to kick-start some consistency and good form. For all the sweetness of yesterday’s result, it will count for nought if we go back to our old ways next Saturday against Villa.
Enjoy Sunday – I know I will.