Glad that game is over and done with. I was very surprised to see Van Judas (VJ) start and finish the game, but it was good to see the supporters giving him a hard time.
I loved our commitment – some might call it healthy aggression – and focus in the first half. The first goal came early and this is often not an advantage in these sorts of games, as it can be hard to stay focused and keep momentum when that happens. Theo was marginally offside but he took his chance very well.
It was a surprise not to see Wilshere start, but both Ramsey and Rosicky – either of whose position he would have played in – did very well in the first half. Not scoring a second goal during the first half, and us slacking off a bit, gradually gave MU a chance to get back in the game. Despite some excellent saves by Szczesny, we still got undone by a lack of concentration / poor defensive play from Sagna, culminating in him fouling VJ in the penalty area. VJ took the penalty and Szczesny had no chance: 1-1.
The second half lacked the intensity and concentration/focus of the first part of the first half, and although we had plenty of shots on goal, we never created good enough chances or lack lethalness to win the game. We clearly wanted to win and committed many players forward, and by doing so, we left a lot of space behind our midfield, which is so dangerous against a team like MU. They had the best chances in the second half and could/should have scored the winner on a few occasions.
But, having now played all the top teams twice this season, it is clear that we are on one hand, not lethal enough, and on the other hand, not solid enough at the back. Arsenal conceded goals in all games against MC, MU and the Chelsea, and we scored never more than one goal in any of those games. Ultimately, this means us losing a lot of points against the top teams, with just two points out of 18 this season.
Today, we swarmed around the MU goal like bees, but we lacked penetration, invention, power and believe. Having watched Bayern and Dortmund power themselves into the boxes of their Spanish opponents last week, it is obvious that we need to invest in this area.
All in all, today’s performance was more than a bit disappointing and it is hard to take much encouragement from it for our remaining games. It seems that we are on our very last legs and the finish is still too far away….
I will also say, though, that we still have not got the best formation for our team/ the Arsenal way of playing football. Arsene just does not seem to be able to get this team to play on a higher level. Some will say it is because we do not have enough quality players, and no doubt, there is truth in this. However, I also feel that our 4-3-3 system without a proper DM and not using dedicated wing-play, is not working for us very well.
We need to look at the bigger picture, which is 26 points out of 33; so, we are on a good run and this draw might prove a very valuable point for us in the end. I don’t think we deserved more, and we could even say we are a tat lucky to end up with a draw.
But the other part of the bigger picture is that we look tired and lack stamina and quality in midfield and up-front, and possibly at the back as well. This team can work hard and there is plenty of growth in it, and that goes a long way, but we need to add real quality this summer, AND get the formation/style of play right, if we want to make a step improvement.
These were the questions I asked during the prematch report:
How will Nacho and Cazorla – I reckon they will start on the left today – cope against the strongest opposition in the PL?
How will the ‘fluid-three’ up-front work, or will Pod play in the Giroud role and stay centrally?
Will Theo finally have a good game again and show us all what he is capable of – might he even start in the middle today?
How will Aaron and Mikel cope in the double DM-anchor against the Mancs, and will the Mancs target Arteta as our ‘weakest’ link again?
How will the back-four cope with the Mancs’ versatile attackers?
Will Szczesny have a top game today?
Will we be able to dominate the game and play our passing game?
So, over to you fellow Bkers, and don’t hold back! 🙂
Written by: TotalArsenal.