Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Manchester United displayed weaknesses which augur well for the real battle in April

By Eros

Let me start by saying well done to Man Utd, they deserved the win and in all honesty 4-0 was kind of flattering for the Arsenal. It could have been much worse if Rooney had his shooting boots on.

Another point to make clear is that we did NOT have a reserve side out there, we had 11 players that a lot of us, including myself, thought that could give United a game.

Wenger played the best team available to him on the day so anybody believing that he went there to lose is deluded! If that was the case then Hleb and Cesc would simply have been saved for Wednesday!

I travelled with some friends all the way to Manchester to watch the game and we got the team news quite early on. When we saw the team line up we started breaking it down as follows:

1) Why are United playing 5 in the middle at home????? We thought if Gilberto and Cesc win the midfield we’ll win the game.

2) We have to press high up and make United by-pass their midfield by making them play the ball long. Without Flamini that is going to be difficult since we all knew Gilberto will not provide the necessary pressure.

Edy and Nicklas need to step up and make it difficult for Rio to get the ball to Carrick or Anderson, we need to frustrate them and be patient. Rio may do something silly!!!

3) Traore and Hoyte are in the team, It’s obvious that United are going to go for the diagonal ball over their heads and try and get behind the defence.

This was never going to happen if Sagna and Clichy were playing! We need to push Nani and Park back on to their fullbacks, force them to defend.

Sure enough most of the above were true! United played through Carrick – who had a wonderful game and was my MOTM – there was no pressure on him by the forwards however.

He was able to spread the game beautifully and give Anderson – another one that had an excellent game – time and space to play. We had no chance with 2 vs. 3 in the middle especially with Flamini on bench!

The first couple of goals came from good United play in the wings. It was almost like Traore and Hoyte were not prepared for the diagonal balls coming towards them and constantly seemed to loose the flight of the ball, the united wingers were having a field day!

Traore and Hoyte froze

They did not tackle, didn’t get close and certainly did not fight.

They just froze! I don’t know why but they did.

Hopefully this is going to be a reality check for both as to what is required to play at that level.

Gallas seemed to get agitated every time united got behind our defence, he lost concentration and that disorganised the whole unit.

Kolo Toure was not ready to play in this game; I hope he is a lot better on Wednesday when he comes up against AC Milan or we could be in for a long evening.

I pray that Cesc was ill on Saturday! He seemed exhausted, could not get any rhythm going. He gave the ball away too easily!

He has not looked right since he came back from injury, but there have been encouraging signs over the last few games. We need him to get back to his best for the run in if we want to stay top of the pile.

The game was disheartening! It’s the second time this year we got mauled in a cup tie and I have to admit it’s not a nice feeling!

Having said that, while watching the game I was never thinking how are going to beat his team? Or we have no chance against them in April!

On the contrary I saw a few things that were encouraging for the upcoming league game

Wes Brown was almost man marking Hleb, leaving a huge hole on the left when Hleb drifted in, that can never happen if Clichy or Sagna are on the pitch.

If it does, United will get murdered on the wings much like we were on Saturday. If Hleb gets more space then he will hurt them through the middle.

Carrick is not going to be allowed the same time and space again, Flamini will be all over him like a rash and even if Falmini does not make it I am sure that Wenger will get someone to do that job properly next time.

Arsenal are going to have a lot more attacking options in their arsenal for the league game. The best form of defence is to attack them; the less they have the ball the less they can hurt you.

Off the ball movement was non-existent on Saturday, first time I have seen Arsenal so static. I am sure that it won’t happen again any time soon.

A few issues have been strongly debated after the game:

1) Nani’s juggling: I didn’t think it was disrespectful, I think if you can keep the ball in any way then you do it. Having said that he should not get upset when he is fouled, what does he expect a free route to goal?

2) Gallas: Lucky boy should have been sent off.

3) Adebayor: I was embarrassed by the dive, so were most of people around me, please, please, please don’t do it again.

4) Eboue: High, reckless challenge I hope it was not intentional, not sure it wasn’t. Only seen one replay of it, united friends assured me however it was.

He needs to screw his head on straight and stop his histrionics or he is going to be looking for a new club very, very soon.

5) Evra: As dirty as they come, should have been booked twice in the first 10 minutes, His first challenge on, I think, Hleb was atrocious!

A special mention to all the Gooners that travelled up there who I though were in fantastic voice whatever the scoreline on the pitch was.

They did not deserve such a heartless performance! The team needs to repay them big time. Starting with tomorrow against AC Milan and hopefully a huge payback will be on offer on April the 12!!!

Cant wait….

Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea: Six factors that will affect the outcome of the title


Anonymous said...

if united are complacent and think they can beat our first team 4-0 then they will get a very big shock. that was about as far away from a typical Arsenal performance as I have seen this season. united were good but in reality they could have beaten us if they had been pretty bad. even the our good players just weren't trying - as you say, no movement or tackling as we have seen all season from these guys. they were saving themselves for the Milan game. admittedly that puts pressure on the Milan game but they know where their priorities lie and its not in the FA cup.
considering a draw might suit us more than them, I think we have the upper hand for the next time we play them.

Anonymous said...

I am a Man Yoo fan, but your observations are solid. When the real Arsenal turn up, it will be a completely different game. I was watching the game in a bar in Hong Kong and I sensed within the first five minutes that something was not right with Arsenal.

Fabregas didn't play well,but this has to be a blip. Having watched every Man Yoo game this season (every Premier League game is shown live in Hong Kong, involving up to six channels showing football at the same time), he will soon have a strong contender for the best young midfielder in the Premier League, and that is Anderson. When I watch him, he reminds me of how I felt when I first say Gerrard as a young player.

Good luck against Milan. I hope all the English teams get through.

Anonymous said...

I'm and united fan too (here to understand my enemy) this one from Manchester though for what its worth. Can't argue with much of the above. A good objective article. April will be a different game obviously no arguement with that. 12 games is plenty for this to switch around several times more but obviously I'd rather it was us 5 points clear.

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel Eboue. The kid's definitely lost his way. He must be feeling down with all the current criticism going his way. His current form is bad and his temperant antics on the field have not won him any favours. However, if he gets his head right and puts in the maximum application, he is still a hugely talented footballer. Yes, he lacks cunning and creativity. He is hardly an assistmeister but the current team have more than enough in Fab,Hleb,Rosicky. But, he can be a powerful marauding winger if we all remember his pre-season and early season form. Eboue is a powerful lad with pace and armed with a tricky and rather skilful jinkling style of dribbling and he can get past players. He did consistently power past a few decent fullbacks on a consistent basis in the Amsterdam tournament, esp against the Inter team. And we thought we finally had a messiah on the right wing did'nt we? He is never gonna make the sharp or incisive through pass with his "footballing brain". But, he can still play to his strengths which other squad members lack. He was like a whirlwind, an "elemental force of nature" if I remembered the description correctly from you Myles. He just needs to produce it more often. I find that he needs to rediscover his confidence and sense of adventure in taking on defenders. He needs to have his head right. When tackled, get on with the gameplay fast and try harder next time around, instead of writhing on the ground feigning injury and getting sympathy marks from the referee. The kid just needs more bottle and stand up to be counted, and have the right attitude. He did put in a few good assists last season, where this season has gone horribly wrong for him. He could mixed it I remember, his crossing is average, like Glichy sometimes, but with his ability he can power off into byeline positions to cut back a pass or make runs from wide positions between defenders towards the edge of the box to square passes. He can be effective, and he needs to be for the crucial period of this season as long as Rosicky is always injured and Walcott is not ready.

Anonymous said...

To anon 7.23pm on Eboue

We found your thoughts on Eboue interesting and would like to publish them here on Arsenal Analysis.
If you agree then please leave a message on this comments section and your name (or nickname).

1970's Gooner

sikatinavra said...

i want to delete from by memory this game...ALL I WANT IS TO WIN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE..step-by-step

Anonymous said...

Should there be a Salary Cap in Football?
Personally I think there should be! It’s just getting to be stupid money in football at the top of the premiership!
It’s always the same teams at the top proving that football success is based purely on money which ruins the idea of it being a sport! They’ve done it in rugby, basketball, hockey and American football and it makes the sports more competitive and better to watch!
I do a little Spread Betting from time to time and most matches don’t hold much surprise who is going to win, its boring! I want to see a team at the bottom pulling off an amazing season beating last seasons winners in a close fought battle!
Make things fair! It shouldn’t be about money!
All there is all that money in the premiership and barely any of it stays in the UK so it’s not even helping the economy!
From my Spread Betting (or more precisely Football Spread Betting) if I ever win big (which is never, I’m unlucky) it’s still nothing compared to the average premiership players weekly wage!