Samir Nasri has claimed Manchester United were scared at Old Trafford in our 1-0 win (which could have been 2-0 had Wayne Rooney been capable of finding the back of the net from the penalty spot) over Arsenal earlier this season.
Essentially though, United just played the same formation they have done for the past couple of seasons against them, which has seen us beat them time and again. I find it totally bizarre that Arsene Wenger hasn’t found a way to overcome the tactics that Sir Alex Ferguson employs against them, the same tactics that have seen us beat Arsenal 3-1 in our last two visits to the Emirates. That’s not fear, that’s common sense.
“When we played them at Old Trafford they didn’t play their normal way. They were scared,” he said. “They played with three defensive midfielders and they closed the game down. They know that we can beat them. So we have more chances in the Premier League – better than United because I’m convinced of our qualities. Now we can feel we can win the Premier League.”
Firstly, Manchester United played with Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Anderson in the centre of midfield. Are any of these defensive midfielders? Owen Hargreaves is the only player in our squad who you could class as a “defensive midfielder” and we haven’t seen him for years. Whilst Fletch likes a tackle, there’s no way you could call Carrick or Anderson “defensive” players.
That aside, looking at the stats from the BBC: 51% possession to Arsenal’s 49%. 10 shots on target to Arsenal’s 6. 5 corner’s to their 4. Sky Sports stats are different but still show United having more shots on target, same numbers of shots off target, and more shots that were blocked.
So, let’s see just how delusional Nas-er-i (as Arsenal fans call him in their song. Syllables? What are they?) is when you read what was said about Arsenal’s performance at Old Trafford.
According to the BBC: Arsenal’s best efforts fell to Marouane Chamakh, who missed with a header and had a shot blocked by Nemanja Vidic. Gunners manager Arsene Wenger would have been disappointed by the paucity of chances created.
According to Sky Sports: For Arsenal, the sorry statistic of a fifth reverse concealed a desperately disappointing performance which did not get that much better even after Wenger had thrown his star man Cesc Fabregas on in a last desperate bid to secure a share of the spoils.
Arsenal will come to Old Trafford yet again for our FA Cup game, where our “Giggs will tear you apart again” 20th anniversary banner will be aptly revealed, before we travel to the Emirates searching for our third victory there in row. If we were “scared” a few months ago, let’s hope we’re “scared” again, because a “scared” Manchester United has a bloody brilliant record against Arsenal.