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Arsenal Vs Man Utd – Match Report

by on January 22, 2012

Arsenal lost there third consecutive Premiership match in a row after being defeated by Manchester United 2-1 at the Emirates this afternoon. Man Utd took the lead late in the first-half through Antonio Valencia’s header but the Gunners responded midway in the second-half through Dutch international Robin Van Persie. But nine minutes from time England international Danny Welbeck scored the winner for the Premiership champions after great work from Valencia.

England U-21 winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was handed his first start in the Premiership for the North London club which meant Andrei Arshavin dropped to the bench. Czech captain Tomáš Rosický started for the Gunners in Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta’s absent. Arsenal’s vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen returned from a calf injury and started at left-back.

In the early moments of the match Chamberlain was showing his skill by winning the ball of French international Patrice Evra but his cross couldn’t find anyone. Theo Walcott was given time after Man Utd’s Phil Jones fell to the ground injured which meant Walcott had time but his end product wasn’t good enough. Good work from Chamberlain again saw the highly rated teenager get passed Evra and laid off Walcott just inside Man Utd’s box but the England international’s effort was high and wide.

Evra got passed Alex Song with ease and cut it back to Nani who was at a tight angle and Wojciech Szczęsny denied the Portugal international. Welsh midfielder Ryan Giggs was given time and space and produced an excellent cross in to the Arsenal box and Valencia beat Vermaelen to head past Szczęsny. The Premiership champions were in the lead just before half-time, Giggs wasn’t closed down quicker enough.

At the start of the second-half Arsenal made a change taking off Johan Djoruou for Nico Yennaris and the youngster went to right-back for the Gunners.

Five minutes in to the second-half Chris Smalling slipped which meant Rosický played in Van Persie, the Dutchman controlled well but his effort went wide of the Man Utd goal. It was a great chance for the Arsenal captain to put the North London side back in to the game, Van Persie should have done better with the chance. More good work from Chamberlain who found Ramsey on the edge of the Man Utd box and the Welshman found space but his effort was always going over.

Rosický’s shot was blocked by Evra in the Man Utd area and it looked like the French defender used his arm to block the ball. Maybe you could say Arsenal should have had a penalty. Danny Welbeck used his pace to get past the Arsenal defender and his chipped effort went over Szczęsny but German international Per Mertesacker made a last-ditched clearance for the Gunners to deny Welbeck.

Laurent Koscielny made an excellent challenge and quickly started an Arsenal move after passing it to Rosický just inside the Gunners half and the Czech captain played a switching pass to Chamberlain. The highly rated England U-21 winger ran at the Man Utd defence before playing a lovely ball to Van Persie. The Dutch striker tried his luck from a tight angle and his effort went past Anders Lindegaard in the Man Utd goal. Van Persie’s goal had put Arsenal back level but minutes later was the talking point of the match.

Arsène Wenger decided to take of Chamberlain who was impressing for Russia captain Andrei Arshavin which I didn’t understand. The look on Van Persie’s face after seeing the substitution said it all really. Former England international Paul Scholes found Valencia with his pass and Valencia got passed Arshavin to easy to work his way in to the Arsenal box. Then Valencia played a quick one two with Park Ji Sung, when the winger received the pass back from Park Ji Sung Arshavin was still trying to win the ball back for the Gunners.  Valencia cut the ball back to Welbeck who had space and his strike from close range put Man Utd in the lead again.

Arsenal’s third change was Park Chu-Young on for Aaron Ramsey with minutes to go, Park was making his Premiership debut. The North London side kept going to try to find another goal but couldn’t find one.

Manchester United won 2-1 at the Emirates and were deserved winners in the end. Arsenal played much better in the second-half but were very poor in the first-half which Man Utd controlled very well. Arsène Wenger’s decision to take off Chamberlain for Arshavin was hard to understand. There were a couple of positives to take from the game Chamberlain’s performance impressed me a lot and has to start against Aston Villa in the F.A Cup. Rosický looked bright and worked his socks off in Arsenal’s midfield today as well. Nico Yennaris made his Premiership debut for the Gunners after coming on and played well.

You can follow me on twitter @AFC_93.

Opinion from @CookieElGooner:

Following on from Brendan’s excellent summary of events I will now try and explain why we came out of the game with 0 points, again. In fact we’ve now lost 3 league games in a row for the first time since April 2007. One of the reasons for this is undoubtedly due to our lack of any full backs, it is much harder to retain possession without them as they offer another option to pass to further up the pitch, this has shown with 49% possession today, a dismal 45% against Swansea and just 47% against a Fulham side who were struggling at the time. All these were well below our average possession count. Since our players are so used to having the ball it could explain why we’ve conceded 7 goals in our last 3 games, great sides are always good off the ball and constantly look to win the ball back by pressing the opposition.

You only have to look at the current Barcelona team, widely praised by football fanatics for their ability to win the ball back quickly but also for their ability to make runs off the ball to create chances.  This is something we certainly lack at the moment, a key ingredient to any team but something which Arsene Wenger seems oblivious to.

It’s all very well people saying “oh we need Hazard” , with Arsene Wenger/ the current board in charge Arsenal fans might as well say we need to sign Lionel Messi. It’s not going to happen whilst we keep losing games from positions where we look like we can go on and win it. Big players wont want to join Arsenal anymore, we’re becoming a feeder club to the likes of Man City/ Barcelona.

It’s like going out with a girl who used to be the most beautiful (Arsenal), but she’s not what she was and now all your rivals are going out with girls more beautiful than yours. Not quite the same anymore is it? There were also Twitter rumours that Hazard was at the Emirates today, the only hazard I saw was a fat lazy Russian who ultimately cost us the game by not tracking back, same old story.

Best Performers:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Without a doubt our best performer today was this “young man” (tribute to Ray Wilkins.) Chamberlain has everything you could want in a player, pace, skill, strength, stamina, vision, technique and an eye for goal. The fact that he ruined the Manchester United captain with some excellent skill in the first half, before laying it off for Theo sums up the difference between the two Southampton graduates. Chamberlain also had more touches of the ball than Walcott, despite coming off with 15 minutes to go after a bad decision to replace him with Arshavin.

The superior amount of touches show his desire to fight, and also how he is entrusted with the ball by his teammates more than Walcott. Grabbing an assist also shows end product to his game. He was given a rating of 7.0 by WhoScored.

Nico Yennaris:   The versatile English midfielder/full back of Chinese and Cyriot origin really impressed me today with his marauding runs and hunger that comes with a player being given the chance to impress, something which lacks in Walcott due to the absence of competition for places in his position. A couple of weeks ago I heard someone compare Yennaris to Xavi, a very expectant comparison considering his age but one which was certainly reflected in his passing accuracy after todays performance.

Whilst the 25 year old Swiss International Johan Djourou was troubled by Nani all half and only managed an 83% pass accuracy, the England u19 international manged a 94% pass accuracy against the same opponent and dealt with the tricky winger rather better than the former did. Encouraging signs for him.

Worst Performers:

Johan Djourou:  In my opinion this guy should not be at Arsenal FC. He’s cost us points countless times from winning positions and looks like a player who is not tactically or defensively aware of what he’s meant to be doing! Today Djourou had 40 touches, had an 83% pass accuracy and made 1 tackle compared to Yennaris’ 43 touches, 94% pass accuracy and 4 tackles. A shocking stat.

Theo Walcott:  He’s not the next Henry and never will be, I mean it when I say there are non-league footballers with better technique than him. Having been introduced to football at the age of 12 he’s never going to have the same passion and love for the game as others. His decision-making in key areas of the pitch sometimes is so poor its unreal, and 3 league goals this season justifies that.

I honestly believe that we need a marquee signings to achieve top four status, that shouldnt be the case but it probably is. Someone like Reus would’ve been perfect but as we know he’s going to Dortmund at the end of the season, anyway night Gooner, have a good week and our next match report will come after the cup game next week against Villa. Hopefully we might have made a new signing by then, I doubt it. Anyway rant over.  Keep the faith.

You can follow me on Twitter @CookieElGooner


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  1. Epsilon Shila permalink

    Gunners will be champs anytime soon.

  2. Lying just to cover up a manager’s bad decison is a horrible thing to resort to. Please stop lying to the fans. Alex was not cramping. Read alex chamberlains post match interview and it’s clear that this was not a forced change

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  1. Arshavin and Djourou not solely to blame, criticism has to go where it’s merited. « savagegooner

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