By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger admitted as much after the game. The formation he selected meant that there was no real support for the front striker. Adebayor was more often than not isolated.
Wenger said: "Sometimes Adebayor was a bit too isolated up there. Maybe I could have played Theo Walcott up front, or Eduardo or Niklas Bendnter. But I went for a different approach.
"Without Robin van Persie the balance in the final third was not completely right.
“That's my fault. I'd look at that again.
As I pointed in my post match analysis it was indeed very apparent that the formation was not really an attacking minded 4 4 1 1.
It was actually a 4 5 1 formation, as the outstanding Hleb did not play just behind Adebayor as you would expect but much more behind, in the midfield area, in more of a playmaker’s role.
Could not be faulted for the first goal conceded but the same can not be said of the second one. He came out of his area unnecessarily as Gallas was already closing in on Evra. This left his goal unguarded for a simple tap in by Ronaldo. He made the same mistake in a similar situation earlier on but his defenders bailed him out on that occasion. 5
Van De Sar
Could not be faulted for any of the Arsenal goals but can be faulted for his persistency, with the ball so clearly over the line for Arsenal’s equaliser, in trying to convince the referee otherwise. He made a good save from Adebayor’s close volley that eventually led to the goal. 8
Performed well apart from United’s first goal. He was nowhere near Ronaldo when he put in his low cross. When the shackles came off in the second half he became more attack minded. His persistency in keeping the ball in play on the left touch line and putting a very dangerous cross which had the United defence in panic resulted in the dramatic equalizer. 7
Had mixed fortunes. Was instrumental in United’s second goal when he was well placed to receive Saha’s reverse pass and then place it on the plate for Ronaldo to score. However he was at fault for Arsenal’s first goal as he allowed Sagna to steal in behind him and screw the ball to the unmarked Fabregas. 6
Performed well and was solid. Played an important part in Arsenal’s first goal and could not be faulted for United’s second as Walcott did not track Evra’s run into the box as he should have done. 7
Did not have the best of games. He was troubled by Clichy’s runs and looked uncomfortable when faced with fast players attacking him one to one. Was slow to pick Clichy up when he put his cross in for Arsenal’s equalizer. 6
Had a very solid game. Did not put a foot wrong and also ventured forward in the second half. He is becoming the rock in this Arsenal defence. Along with Gallas made sure that Tevez had a quiet game. 8
A solid performance. Very good in the air and did not give much room to Adebayor to operate in. He was lucky that a penalty was not given against him when he was pulling on Hleb’s shirt inside the area. 8
He is beginning to live up to his captain’s role. More importantly the rest of the Arsenal players are beginning to realise it. He was slow by his own admission to cover Roonie’s run for the first goal but he was there where it mattered to score the equalizer. 8
Another solid performance but along with Vidic they only had Adebayor to deal with. His partnership with Vidic looks ideal. One is strong and the other is also good at tidying things up and distributing. 8
Had a subdued game and did not get involved as much as he could have. Kept to his defensive duties well. 6
Also had a subdued game. He was denied space by the tight marking of Sagna and Rosicky as well as the packed midfield from both sides. 6
The little maestro was again the main pivot for a lot of the Arsenal moves. He was, probably by design, more defensively minded in the first half but he was there again at the right position to score the equaliser at the beginning of the second. 8
Performed his duties very well. He balances this United side beautifully forming the anchor on which the more creative players can perform. 8
Plays in a similar role to Hargreaves and has the same effect on this Arsenal side. He was everywhere and anywhere during this game. 8
I was impressed by his strength and tenacity. Supported Hargreaves in the middle of the United midfield helping to keep it tight and competitive. 7
Much improved in this game. He seems to improve the more games he plays. Put aside the theatrics and was positive throughout. This was probably because he was much more focused on the job he had to do. He had only one misplaced pass but did not misplace his beautiful cross for Adebayor which led to Arsenal’s first goal. 8
Was for me anonymous throughout the game. Not the same Giggs we knew. Will this be his last season at United? 5
What a performance again. Top draw. His skill and close dexterous control of the ball is unparalleled in this league. But when used as a second striker the level of his performance is compromised. Kept the ball under pressure from a bunch of United players and found the ball to Fabregas who began the move which led to Arsenal’s first equalizer. 8
Tenacious and dangerous as always. Played the role he was assigned very well popping up at the near post to score United’s first goal. He did the same last season at the far post. 8
Played the lone striker role well but did not have enough support from Hleb or from the other midfielders. His control sometimes led him down and he desperately needs to score a goal. Good run and shot on the volley from Eboue’s pass which eventually resulted in Arsenal’s first goal. 7
Was quite subdued throughout the game and did not contribute much towards United’s overall play. United will need a front man like Saha especially when they play against the strong teams. His influence when he came on was very apparent. 5
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