Arsenal vs Manchester United, 1-0: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on May 1, 2011 22:30
“When the season kicked-off and I looked at every single element of the two squads, I saw two teams on the same level and no difference in quality”.
How presumptuous to quote my own self, eh? But as I was saying in the chat room before the game started, I knew that the team was not going to disappoint us today and that a win was more than possible.
See this hurts, in a way, because today I saw the same fighting spirit, the same determination and the same positive attitude I saw when we played against Barcelona here at the Emirates. And had we played with the same fighting spirit in every single game of the season, yes, we would indeed be first and with a comfortable margin.
The reason why we don’t show up when we play against bottom-of-the-table teams and the reason why we give away so many leads is a mystery, a mystery that I’m afraid I have no explanation for but as I was saying yesterday in the preview, there is one thing for sure, we are second to none.
Having said that, today’s game proved wrong two theories of why we are not winning anything: referee decisions and the financial power of the other teams. And that’s because we won a game in which a number of referee decisions went against us and played a team that has invested more than we did in the transfer market in these last couple of years.
Of course it would be foolish of me not to mention Aaron Ramsey’s impeccable game and I just laugh at all the stick I was getting when way back in 2008 I wanted Aaron to be given more regular starts in the team, to be preferred to the likes of Denilson and Abou Diaby. Aaron is special and today’s game, today’s goal show that he is fully recovered from injury and ready to play an important role in midfield next season.
Incidentally, although I could be wrong of course, this is the first time we played with this set-up in midfield and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Alex Song was back to his old self as every element in the middle of the pitch knew what his job was and didn’t interfere with the rest.
To conclude, yes, there were some tense moments in the last 15 minutes of the game and this will probably not help us get back in the title race but at least we can finally archive a day of football with no regrets, with no ifs and buts. Whether this will be the case next week and the week after as well is all to be seen but in the meantime, I want to enjoy this victory knowing that when the team I love is at its best, it’s indeed the best there is out there.
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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Szczesny: 8 – Produced a couple of very important blocks including a 48th minute save to deny Wayne Rooney from a set piece and one in the 76th minute when Nani tried his luck from the right.
Djourou: 6,5 – Sad to see Johan prematurely abandon the pitch. He was having a so-and-so game as he was very good in the first half but was a little bit shaky in the second when we were put under pressure. Not all convinced with the way he lost Hernandez in the 53rd minute and failed to challenge Vidic from a corner minutes later.
Koscielny: 7,5 – If we are to forget the way he horribly gave it away in the 40th minute, Laurent had a brilliant game at the back. Fantastic, the way he won the ball and came forward in the 82nd minute, top class.
Clichy: 7 – I am still convinced we need to put pressure on Gael by bringing a new left back in the summer transfer window but if he can perform like today, I’m happy. I am not sure if his challenge on Michael Owen was a penalty, that would maybe change my rating but let’s not forget this was maybe the first time he won the personal dual against Nani.
Sagna: 7 – Solid at the back and was a big plus when we surged forward from Theo’s wing.
Wilshere: 6,5 – Made a number of uncharacteristic mistakes in the first half such as the missed chance in the second minute but did well in the second period.
Song: 7 – Loved Alex today, sitting slightly deeper and doing what he does best, easing the pressure off the defensive department.
Ramsey: 8,5 – Brilliant first half but it’s in the second that his show started. Phenomenal run in the 52nd minute concluded with his shot blocked by the Manchester defence and cool to give us the lead four minutes later. Welcome back Aaron, I always knew you were special.
Nasri: 5,5 – Quiet game for Samir, most likely not at his best after the injury. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious ahead of our last three games of the season.
Walcott: 6,5 – Excellent on the right as he delivered a number of very interesting balls including, of course, the one ended with Vidic’s hand ball.
van Persie: 6,5 – Was this the first time he didn’t score in 2011? Still managed to make an impact as he assisted Aaron for the goal.
Arshavin: 7,5 – Wow, was that Andrey out there? The way he fought, the way he won balls and the way he never gave up was terrific today.
Squillaci and Eboue: No Vote – Sebastien did well after taking over from Johan with Emmanuel coming on with eleven minutes to go.