Manchester United vs Arsenal, 2-0: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on March 12, 2011 23:15
It was not easy to write yesterday’s preview and it is not easy to write today’s post-match article because as it is, the English Premier League is the only remaining competition we are competing in.
Deep inside, everyone was expecting a positive response after Tuesday’s Champions League exit but what we witnessed, instead, was a movie seen many many times with Arsenal enjoying possession, seeing plenty of the ball but with no goals to show for it. Unlike the opposition, quietly sitting back to then hit on the counter knowing that our defensive department will sooner or later suffer a lapse in concentration, as they in fact did.
I think the picture that best describes today’s game is when Rooney dispossessed Bacary Sagna for a throw-in with our right back looking at the referee wondering why no foul was given. Because I’m afraid – as we discussed early on – the Red Devils wanted it more and looking at Rooney winning the ball in midfield and defending on the edge of the Manchester United penalty area was admirable.
The same cannot be said about our players although they did show heart in the final part of the game. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, expecting every single Arsenal player to be a Gattuso or a Wilshere or a Rooney in terms of determination and tenacity. Or maybe that’s just how it is, players with an uninterested body language not understanding how crucial winning the game and staying in the Cup was.
Johan Djourou’s injury is like rubbing even more salt into the wound and I am devastated that of all people it was him suffering the injury as not long ago I was watching one of his interviews in which he was so “happy” remembering last season’s knee injury and how he fully recovered from it. And now this.
As it was the case on Tuesday, all we can do is to look forward and move on. I will say just one thing. If this Manchester United side is so poor as many wanted us to believe before today’s game – and even more when the line-ups were out – I just don’t want to have them in front of me when they are at their best.
To conclude, Nigel Winterburn said last month that questions will be asked if we don’t win anything this season. I’d say let’s ask the questions now because this season is no different than the last one, and the one before and the one before. It seems our season ended with the League Cup defeat. Hopefully I am wrong.
As always, whether you agree with my ratings or not, submit your own at Arsenal Interactive and make sure to share them on Twitter and Facebook.
Match Video Highlights
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Almunia: 7 – Cannot really blame him for the two conceded goals although questions will be asked on his position when we conceded the second. Manuel – just like Tuesday – had a very solid game and the 78th and 97th minute blocks respectively were top class.
Djourou: 7 – Could have done better when asked to mark Javier Hernández when United took the lead but went on to have a solid game and made a vital interception when they doubled the lead. Shame that those around him were not as solid as he was.
Koscielny: 6 – Poor game. Had no idea that Fabio was running behind him when the Red Devils opened the scoring and when he noticed the Brasilian it was too late. Better offensively as he surged forward in the 47th minute and was only denied by a superb Van der Sar.
Gibbs: 4 – I don’t think I ever witnessed such a shocking defensive performance this season. Almost all moves Manchester United made this afternoon came from his wing as he had no answer to Rafael. Terrible, terrible the way he defended when Wayne Rooney scored, allowing Rafael to cross without any pressure whatsoever.
Sagna: 6,5 – Good game in the defensive department and surprisingly delivered at least three very good crosses in the offensive department.
Diaby: 4 – I am sorry Abou. I defended you when many were accusing you of not caring, I cannot anymore. You are not a regular, you were gifted a regular place because Alex Song is out injured. All I ask for is to show some urgency, tenacity, heart.
Denilson: 5,5 – Again substituted “early”. Did well in the first part of the game but that’s because his job was to pass the ball sideways, his strongest weapon. As soon as he was asked to do something worth mentioning, such as using all his “experience” to stop Fabio – even if it meant a yellow card – who surged forward when they took the lead, he just let him go.
Wilshere: 7 – Poor Jack will probably be on Twitter tonight, saying sorry to the fans for yet another disappointing performance. Don’t Jack, you have nothing to apologise for, others should.
Arshavin: 4 – Started brightly but nothing more. Some of his passes and decisions was terrible to say the least.
Nasri: 6 – I believe Samir tried, at least more than other players. Great work on the left in the 44th minute ended with a fine low-drive shot saved by Van der Sar and again the Manchester United goalkeeper saying no to the Frenchman who did well with a volley on minute 56.
van Persie: 6 – Our first shot on target came in the 24th minute and that’s because Robin tried his luck from long range. It would be nice to see others do the same. All in all, no big impact from the Dutchman but again, at least he tried to be dangerous from long range.
Rosicky, Ramsey, Chamakh: No Vote – Not that much better than the players they replaced but both Tomas and Marouane forced saves from Van der Sar. And of course it was great to see Aaron back on the pitch, welcome back young man.