Most United fans I know have dealt with the crushing blow Arsenal delivered us in injury time on Saturday, and accepted the draw for what it was, a good result. We’d have taken a 2-2 before kick off, away from home against the in form team in the league, and in a game which was pretty even, taking a point will do. Of course it would have been incredible to take all three points from the Emirates, but the draw is more suitable for the way the game panned out, and we’d be wise not to focus too much on the time their equaliser was scored.
There are several positives to be taken from the game, and we need to pay more attention to them. Firstly, the Gooners had to work bloody hard to scrape just a point at home against us. Whilst elated with an injury time goal, I’d be feeling rather concerned if United had only just managed to salvage a point at home against Arsenal.
Secondly, for all of Arsenal’s possession, they created little to nothing in the first half, and their five man midfield could not get past Anderson and Hargreaves. Whilst being credited for their one touch passes and free flowing football, the second half saw Arsenal giving the ball away right, left and centre, unable to pull off their quick passing against us.
Thirdly, it tells you an awful lot about a game if the Man of the Match award is given to a defender. Whilst of course Gallas will receive plaudits for bagging the equalising goal, it can not be awarded for that alone. When the two best teams in the country meet, and the home side finds a defender as their best player, it certainly indicates which side were the more domineering. I’d have fully expected one of our defenders to be our best player, having to deal with the onslaught Wenger’s kids were supposedly going to deliver. However, it was our midfield man Anderson, our very own kid, who had the best performance for us.
Finally, Ferguson has addressed my favourite point today, and it is in relation to the reaction of the Arsenal players and fans at the final whistle. Of course, an injury time goal which prevents a loss is going to be a happy occasion, particularly against a title rival. But there was something rather desperate about Arsenal’s post match antics. The United players left the field with their heads hung, disappointed to pick up just one point at the Emirates, whilst in contrast, the Arsenal players remained on the field, hugging and cheering. It was quite remarkable to see a team who are supposed to be our title rivals so happy to only draw with us at home.
Sir Alex has today said the rejoicing didn’t end there, as they continued to celebrate their one point in the dressing room. “At the end of the Arsenal game, our players were in the dressing room feeling absolutely sick,” he said. “That’s twice in two years they’ve turned the game around and got something in the last minute, so we were definitely disappointed to come away with a draw. Meanwhile, their dressing room was elated. They were celebrating as if they’d won the World Cup, which I found very interesting. Our players took something out of that, psychologically. I think we’re a better team than Arsenal now. They’re a young team and they’re going to be a very good team – there’s no question of that – but we went there when they were on top form and they hardly managed a shot on goal. There were definitely a lot of positives for us.”
Sir Alex Ferguson is the master of the mind games, whatever attempts Wenger, Mourinho and Benitez have brought to the table over recent years, and this certainly is a heavy shot on the Arsenal team, who will have hopefully realised the error of their ways. To be so openly ecstatic about picking up a draw at home should, on reflection, feel rather embarrassing to Wenger’s kids.
The game showed us what we knew already, that Manchester United are a superior team to anyone else in the league. It is a long season, and of course cannot predict the future. Chelsea fans all over will have been feeling foolish for their over confidence at the start of the season, and I’m sure John “five points is a lot to catch up” Terry can vouch for that, and it is not a trap I want to fall for. However, at this point, I can see no other team posing a serious threat to us retaining our title.
A point will do, and whilst you may have woken up with a sore head on Sunday morning, at least you won’t have felt the embarrassment of an Arsenal fan, who woke up working out what celebrating a draw at home to United actually meant. Thanks for the laugh Wengerboys.
[edit.] This article has caused quite a stir with the Wengerboys. It’s almost as if they feel they have something to prove. Maybe they would like to be reminded of the comments their legend and hero made six months ago. When Spurs scored a late goal at White Hart Lane against the Gooners, making the scoreline 2-2, Henry said, “What makes me laugh is the way Tottenham always celebrate whenever they get a draw against us…I was amazed to see their reaction at the full-time whistle. I had to look twice at the score on the TV because I thought they had won it the way they were celebrating.” My my, how things change when the boot is on the other foot. Just as Henry and co. laughed at Spurs back in April, Fergie and co. are laughing at Arsenal now. Awww, it’s kind of cute when you think about it.