Arsenal vs Manchester United: Preview and Starting Eleven

May 1, 2011

Approaching today’s game would have been so different and wonderful had we won the Carling Cup final and the last 6 Premier League games. Now, it is only a game where we need a win to at least finish third and in the process make the title race interesting for some more weeks. Sadly we won’t be involved! The game which should have been the title decider (in a way it still is if Manu wins) is now only a game to restore our pride.

If you take a look at the league table, Man city are in a very good position to finish third provided they win all their remaining games and we lose even one of ours. Not likely to happen but we can be in serious trouble if we don’t perform in any of our remaining games.

To be honest, my heart is saying that we will win this one because we always perform when there is nothing nagging us in the back of our minds. We might have looked short on confidence in the last few games, but today, I feel we will get the response from the team, which should have come after the Carling Cup final defeat.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are looking quite strong. They, for one, have a much better defense than the likes of Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland and are better equipped in attack. It will be difficult to score as well as difficult to defend. The devils approach will be simple. They will get bodies behind the ball and score on the counter using the speed of Nani and Rooney. And they do know how to finish clinically. They will have no problem in defending all day and score a poachers goal. They have done it before and they will do this again.

We will have to be intelligent in our play. Draw them out of their half and then exploit the gaps using Walcott’s pace. Keep things simple. Make sure that mistakes are’t made becaue United will be waiting to pounce on it. One thing is for sure, we will have to give a massive performance if we want to take the three points.

Arsenal! Remember how you beat  Chelsea, City and Barcelona and forget what has happened in the last month.

As far as the starting eleven is concerned, there is nothing much to choose from. The same team that featured against Bolton is on the cards again.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, RVP, Walcott.

I am tempted to start with Arshavin, if he can give a performance to remember and therefore shut the mouths of those who want him to be sold.

I hope Fabregas has his mind on the game as there have been reports of a break up between him and his girlfriend.

Arsene Wenger in his pre-match press conference talked about the frustrations and disappointments of this season and how the top four spot is not yet confirmed and how the focus is to win our games. He said: 

“We have to watch that. I am convinced that is not done. Even being in the top four is not done. We have to fight like mad. It is not a massive concern maybe because if Tottenham come up then Manchester City or Chelsea drop as they all play each other. But our focus has to be to win our games.” 

I hope the players focus on their game and finishing third or possibly second and not on what Tottenham and City and Chelsea are doing. 

That is all for now as there is nothing else to discuss. Enjoy the game and have a good time. Looking forward to a good game!!


Player Ratings: Man Utd 1 – 0 Arsenal

December 14, 2010

Well we didn’t get to see the performance we were expecting from our team. And I am still disappointed, not in the loss but the way we showed up. We made United look so much better where in fact they were not that good.

As for us, our whole team was all over the place. None contributed in any department as we failed to get our game going. Our passing was poor and we failed to keep possession. We also didn’t create much as United easily broke us up.

The defense was decent on most occasions but on few they had no clue what was happening. Once or twice they were very easily opened up. The goal that we conceded was also down to a defensive error when no one picked up Park unmarked in the danger area.   

The midfield was also anonymous throughout the match as we failed to get a foothold. There was one brief spell in the second half where we looked dangerous but we couldn’t keep it up. I still think that had our midfield stepped up a gear, the scores would have been different.

In attack too we lacked creativeness as we had only one decent shot on goal.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny: He was our best player yesterday. He did start nervously which can be expected and it affected his distribution early on. As a whole he had a good game.  Caught everything and made some crucial saves that allowed us to stay in the game till the very end. Can’t be blamed for the goal as it were the men in front of him that were at fault. 7.5

Sagna: A solid game from the Frenchman in defense. Upfront didn’t contribute much but he did try to get forward often. His crosses weren’t that good but did make some crucial interceptions. 6

Squillaci: Still not convinced from his overall contribution. I have said again and again that he does his job but he is not aggressive. He should be a leader on the field with his experience. His clearances  are also weak and sometimes he is slow in reading situations. 5.5

Koscielny: He did well in keeping Rooney quiet. Made some vital interceptions and used his aerial ability. He still needs to raise the level of his game though. 5.5

Clichy: All will be pointing the finger at Clichy but I believe he did well. He was always alone on the left against Nani and none supported him. And still he was good on most occasions but a few times made some crucial mistakes that will be highlighted more. Partially at fault for the goal as he allowed Nani to come in but I feel he had no other option. 5.5

Wilshere: Tried hard but couldn’t make much impact. Lost possession plenty of times and couldn’t support the midfield. Also didn’t help Clichy against Nani. 5

Song: He started slowly and in the first half didn’t make much impact. In the second his shielding of the defenders was better but still didn’t help control the midfield. Did misplace a lot of passes upfront and never really created much. His work rate though was very good but he needs to be effective along with it. 6

Rosicky: He also tried hard but things didn’t work out for him. He was supposed to lead our midfield and failed to do so.  Was anonymous for major parts and didn’t contribute anything of worth upfront. 5

Nasri: He was never brought into the game often as he was tightly marked by United. And the irony is that the few good moments that we had came through him. Still I feel he failed to lead us when it was required. 6

Arshavin: Another poor game from him. Tried to do the hard things when he could have kept it simple. Maybe two games a week is too much for him. 5

Chamakh: Worked hard but never got the delivery. He still needs to improve his goal scoring instincts though. His contribution at the back was decent. 5.5

Subs:

Walcott (6) looked lively and gave us some pace. Delivered in a couple of good crosses. Fabregas (4) didn’t do much except gave the ball away. He shouldn’t have been brought on. Van Persie (4.5) also didn’t contribute much. He still needs games to get to his best.


Man Utd 1 – 0 Arsenal: We did it again!!

December 14, 2010

We did it again. We bottled up big time and have gifted them an easy win.

Highlights of our game were sloppy passing, poor clearances, no possession, poor final balls, bad defending as a team and no control over the midfield. We allowed Manu to take control of the match. For us no one took the responsibility to lead as every one was giving away the ball as if they will score an own goal.

The first half especially was very poor. We improved somewhat in the second half as there were some good moments. The problem was they were far too less and United never really panicked. They were tearing us part on the counter with Rooney single handedly controlling the midfield and Nani the wings for Manu.

United got the opening goal when Rooney picked up Nani on the wing. He coolly drifted into out danger area, picked a pass and Park put it into the far corner with Szczesny trying his best to stop it. Our whole team was ball watching as they realized pretty late that Park was challenging for the ball unmarked.  Apart from that Rooney missed a penalty and Szczesny made some brilliant saves from Anderson and Rooney, to keep us in the game, when our defence was  sleeping.

For us, we had only one decent shot on goal that really tested Van Der Saar. Nasri was the shot taker and on the rebound Chamakh had a difficult chance to equalize but the ball was deflected for a corner by Vidic. Other than that we never really threatened united.

I will leave the ref out of this although he was also very poor and not consistent.

For us only Szczesny was the outstanding player as his saves allowed us to stay in the game till the final minute. No one else really did much out there.

I won’t go into the analysis of the game as it was a very poor performance from us. I don’t know what was wrong but it seemed that the players did not come out with a free mind. None of our better players were brought into game often and none seemed to take the initiative to make things happen for us. Had we played better for only half an hour we could have put Man Utd on the back foot. The dissapointing thing was United didn’t play that good, it was us not playing that allowed them to dictate the game.

Final word is if we keep up showing like this when it matters, then I feel things won’t be in our hands in the end. Still, all is not lost. Although we do need some quick measures to solve the problems that we have been ignoring for quite some time now. Or else we will always be dissapointed.