Keep your chin up, Arsene Wenger… it’s Sir Alex Ferguson who has reason for worry
He [Ferguson] has to convince his stuttering side that they can succeed without Cristiano Ronaldo and remain among the European elite. And it might just work, even if three of the four Barclays Premier League games they have so far contested have exposed worrying deficiencies that could seriously undermine their chances of becoming the first team to win four successive English titles.
For Wenger, however, there should be no such concerns, and when the anger subsides he will be able to reflect on this defeat with a fair amount of satisfaction. Ferguson was among those who thought Arsenal might struggle this season and here at Old Trafford was proof that they will not; that Wenger was right to have faith in his fast-developing players; that they will, indeed, challenge for the big prizes.
After Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1, The Daily Mail‘s Matt Lawton wrote a scathing piece which tore our team to shreds, whilst praising Arsenal’s manager, players and style of play at every opportunity.
Whilst United were poor for large chunks of that match, what should have been more alarming was how little Arsenal tested us. We didn’t play very well but other than the goal, Ben Foster only had one good save to make in the 90 minutes. That’s hardly the sign of a team playing explosive football.
Regardless, in the next league game we saw another victory for Manchester United, another defeat for Arsenal. How could this be? United are stuttering and struggling in the absence of Ronaldo, whilst Arsenal ‘proved’ they would not struggle after scoring a goal at Old Trafford and losing. Hmm.
Manchester United were easily the better team on Saturday, playing against a team who had the second best form in the league so far this season, even when we went down to ten men. I wonder how many teams there are who continue to attack their opponents when playing away from home with ten men for over half an hour? We had more possession, we had more shots and there was only ever going to be one winner.
In contrast, Arsenal were losing 4-1 to Manchester City at one point on the same day, and whilst United are proving to be able to adjust to life after Ronaldo, are Arsenal missing Adebayor? They certainly could do with a striker who’s scoring as many goals as he is at the moment.
I’m not naive enough to think a game or two makes the season. That’s why I’d never say our performance against Arsenal defined our season, just as our performance against Spurs didn’t. But how bizarre that Lawton would choose one game to make such strong claims about the Champions and last season’s fourth best team. It’s alright Wenger, Ferguson is the one that needs to worry? I beg to differ.