1. Park Ji-Sung does it again. It doesn’t matter how much people bitch and moan about him, he still keeps coming up with the goods. 4 goals in the last 6 league games is a record any striker would be proud of, let alone a battling midfielder. In the last five minutes he was running with all the energy he did in the first five minutes. Good on him.
2. Sir Alex set up the team similarly to how he did last year, with just one up top. This season it worked better than last, with United deserving all three points, despite having more nervous spells in the second half. Arsenal forced just one decent save all game, which came as a surprise, given that Samir Nasri is apparently the best thing since sliced bread. That’s what they were saying about Gareth Bale ahead of him coming to Old Trafford and being marked by Rafael too. Weird.
3. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m gutted Dimitar Berbatov got dropped. He’s the highest scorer in the league and gets dropped to the bench for the biggest game of the season. What message does that send to the player, Ferguson? Or the fans? There was room to have Rooney on the left and Nani on the right accommodate Berbatov in the centre, with the indifferent Michael Carrick left on the bench. Disappointing.
4. It doesn’t help Rooney’s case when he can’t even score penalties any more. He hasn’t scored from open play since our game against Bayern Munich in March, nine months ago. He’s had his injuries, he’s had his issues in his private life, he had his ambition crisis, but it’s a piss take when the best paid player in the country can’t even hit the target from the penalty spot. Unlike him to bottle it though and his general game was decent today, but he’s a lucky boy that we didn’t go on to concede a goal or more! My line of thinking is that any designated penalty taker should score every time (take them like Owen Hargreaves in the top corner and no keeper in the world will ever get to it), but at the very least, should be hitting the target. Desperately disappointing from any player, let alone one earning £180k a week after holding the club to ransom!
5. After all the fuss Wenger made about “anti-football” and one of our players being on the pitch just to foul last season, it was interesting to see the tactical fouling game Arsenal played tonight, taking it in turns to kick our players. They committed a massive 17 fouls in the game but spent the opening half hour or so repeatedly fouling, but it was never the same player. We’ve been given an easier ride against Bolton (16 fouls) and Stoke (7 fouls). “Same ol’ Arsenal, always cheating” the chant rang around the stadium repeatedly – not for the usual diving, but for all those cynical fouls. Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out before the game that Arsenal could give as good as they got and weren’t little angels. Wenger obviously wanted to prove that point.
6. Evra is a “cant” apparently, whatever one of those is. Translation? That was about as inventive as the away ends’ chants got. He was kicked from pillar to post, Reyes style, but got the last laugh. It’s no Keane vs Vieira battle but I do enjoy us having a player who gets under their fans’ skin so easily. Gwan Paddy, call ’em little boys again!
7. But no laughs for Arsene Wenger tonight, with him blaming the pitch for the result. It’s a fair point. United players had to play the game on a different pitch to Arsenal, so I see what he’s getting at…
8. Can you imagine how many points we would have won the league by last year with a fit Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand? The pair of them had a fantastic game. Not a lot gets past them and that defensive security is making a big difference to our season.
9. Oh Nani. So great, yet so frustrating. We certainly see more end product now than we used to but there were too many occasions tonight when his decision making was poor. Rooney tore a strip off him on one occasion in particular, when Nani chose to blast it from a tight angle instead of trying to find Rooney or Ando in better positions. It was his ball that lead to the goal though, so what can you do?
10. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but looking at the table is bloody fantastic. 2 points clear with a game in hand? Magic. Don’t know how we’ve managed it but things are looking good.
The RoM Manchester United 2022-23 season preview is now available for just £6. It includes exclusive interviews with Patrice Evra and Kleberson, articles from the country's best football writers about our expectations for the season ahead and our brightest talents, as well as proposed transfer business and which youth players to keep an eye out for. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.