Thursday, November 08, 2007
Manchester United are running scared and Liverpool are lacking in quality
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I wonder if we are going to look back at them with regret or whether it will be just the tonic this young squad needed. More like the second as you will see what I mean.
Sir Alex confirms we are the best team in the league
The United game is probably the worst we had in the league this season. We did not keep the ball well enough and that made life very difficult for our midfield because if the ball is not moving at pace then the usual spaces created are not there any more.
Hargreaves had a good first half protecting his back four and constantly biting on Cesc’s heels, however the Spaniard got his own back in the second half when he made him look at best ordinary.
Clichy had the most difficult task of the afternoon. He had to balance his forward runs with keeping half an eye on Ronaldo. He did it quite well. However he was out of position and duly punished for Manchester United’s first goal. I am not saying that it’s totally his fault as that’s the risk you take when you play attacking fullbacks.
Sagna was again impressive and hopefully put to bed once and for all the notion existent only in some Mancunian eyes and blogs that Wes Brown is a better player!
Hleb was a constant pain in Utd’s backside and looked dangerous as always. The free role suits him very well.
But even though we conceded twice, Gallas and Toure were superb. Their partnership is growing with every game and Gallas looks to enjoy his role as a captain and starting to show his Chelsea form in n Arsenal shirt. Very encouraging for the future.
It was a very exciting game but the real fireworks came after the game and continued well into this week. Sir Alex started throwing everything he’s got at this Arsenal team.
First it was the referee, then it was security at the Emirates, then it was an alleged dossier that Arsenal asked his security to prepare and finally it’s all the foreign players!
Arsenal have thrown more fuel to the fire by saying that the United bench provoked the crowd repeatedly.
All this whinging from Ferguson is annoying, but complimentary at the same time.
He knows he has a real battle on his hands to retain the title. He also knows that this Arsenal team has got unbreakable spirit to go with its footballing ability. But what really got to him was that his team were not good enough to defeat a below par Arsenal.
All he is trying to do is to convince first himself and then his players that they have a chance of retaining the trophy!
We left Liverpool off the hook
As I said in my pre game post, Liverpool’s best chance of scoring was a set piece. And I was right, baring a huge hole in our wall. We could have played all day and I m sure they weren’t going to create much.
Benitez set his stall out to contain our midfield, but realistically how long can you keep players like Cesc and Hleb out of the game?
Not very long and as it proved. Bendner had a chance to become an instant hero but he fired over from 5 yards facing an open goal, Cesc did something similar earlier on in the second half.
Masherano should have been given his marching orders for a horrible challenge on Hleb, as should have Carragher for several yellow card offences, hugging the referee in one occasion to avoid a yellow card!
As I again said in the post before the game Arsenal players need to ‘be out of action for a couple of months’ for any dirty tactics to be given any merit.
For all my complaints however, we had enough chances and should have walked out of there with all three points.
Mascherano and Gerard did quite well, but other than that the Liverpool squad is severely laking in quality. My opinion on Benitez is that he is a very good coach and tactician but he is terrible in the transfer market. Kuyt, Crouch and Voronin are not going to win you much.