Battle 12/17 – Arsenal v Man United: A big test of our metal and maturity

After a cracking win in West London another formidable test awaits. Imagine having played at one of your bitterest rivals and get humiliated in all aspects of the game by them. MUs game at Anfield was a 90 minutes nightmare from start to finish. They were outsmarted and outplayed. They were battling with swords whilst the Scousers had machine guns, granates and drones. Rangnick said after the game his team were six years behind. Six years!!

Like us they have tried to breach the gap between Klopp and Guardiola with spending money on top players. They also kept changing managers since the loss of Red Nose and the gap got bigger and bigger. Like us they need to modernise and change the culture, the style of play and the sort of players they need to succeed: players who work hard and with discipline and respect; players who are natural passers and are comfortable with the ball in tight spaces; players who are intelligent enough to understand complicated game structures and instructions; team players.

I think that Arsenal are two years ahead of Man United at least. Ten Hag has a much bigger job to do than Arteta. Except for the totally and rightly sidelined Greenwood and just one or two others, they don’t have natural passers of the ball who are comfortable with it in tight spaces. They’d struggle enormously to play the Klopp-Peppy sort of football and it looks like there’s no other sort of football that will overcome these two masters, whether they or we like it or not.

I believe Arteta has the vision and leadership to get us back to the top but it will take at least another 2-4 years to get there. The board are backing him and there is a long term plan. The way we played against Citeh, Pool and Chavs in recent months shows that we, unlike our opponent, are on the right track. Yet there is still a lot of ground to be made up.

Although I believe we are well ahead of MU today, I am still wary of the individual quality they will put on the pitch. We were the better playing team at Old Toilet but still lost. Something similar could happen today. They have great attackers and if we give them lots of space to run into they can hurt us. This time we need to take our chances and be much more ruthless. MU will be hurting from the Pool game criticism and will also be lifted by the new manager announcement. They had a bit more rest than us and the deeply saddened Ronaldo is back. This is not going to be easy and only our A Game will do.

The starting eleven is likely the same as v the Chavs. We need two in deep midfield again and allow our attackers and full backs to move and pass freely and do the damage.

This will ultimately be a big test for the team’s metal and maturity.

Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!!

By TotalArsenal

37 thoughts on “Battle 12/17 – Arsenal v Man United: A big test of our metal and maturity

  • The teams
    Arsenal: Ramsdale, Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares, Elneny, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Nketiah.
    Subs: Leno, Lacazette, Holding, Tomiyasu, Pepe, Sambi Lokonga, Martinelli, Azeez, Swanson.

    Manchester United: de Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Alex Telles, McTominay, Matic, Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Ronaldo.
    Subs: Bailly, Jones, Maguire, Mata, Rashford, Lingard, Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Garnacho.

  • Pleased with the line up. White and Gab the CB pairing, two natural full baxks, Xhaka and Elneny in midfield, and Ode and the Academy Boys in attack. Hoping for a very good game by Ramsdale today.

  • Morning Total, the game starts at 7:30am here so I dont’t have time to chat right nowb but I wll come on after the game. Hoping for a continuation of our new found spirit, it would feel soooo good beating Man Useless.

  • Penalty every day of the week.

    I thought we were going to be screwed by VAR then.

    GET IN!!! 2-0

  • Hey guys, weird first half but we are leading and all to play for. What a raw diamond Tavares is; there is a bit of Eboue about him. Saka and Ode are running the show up front. We will see a bit more from ESR in the second half, I reckon.

    CoyrrGs ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽

  • Rob Holding needs his own theme song when he comes on.

    He’s a rock. Feel so much more comfortable holding onto a lead when he comes on in the last 20mins. Shame we didn’t have him 10-15 years ago.

  • Great comments, Oz. Ahhh really happy with this huge win. It was nervy and we rose our luck at times, but the best football was played in red and white and in the end we deserved the win.

  • So happy for Xhaka T. That goal was a pressure releaser. He was incredible against Chelsea, box to box, one of his best performances ever on Wednesday.

    A word about El Neny…. I’ve been saying for years that he’s not good enough, just a warm body on the pitch… serviceable.

    But seeing today subtle parts of his game that have improved…. complete credit to Arteta. He has him passing forward, turning quicker, and feeling more involved in the build up and attack.

    No coach has brought that out of him before this. I expect him to score soon.

  • Agreed both midfielders were fantastic, Oz. We are missing Partey but not as much as feared. And yes Arteta has done great with Mo.

  • Well; that was a wonderful way to start my day here in Canada. You are so right Total we most certainly rode our luck for a good part of the second half – I was wishing and hoping for their penalty to hit the post and “lo and behold” it did just that. Quite why Ronaldo never took the penalty is beyond my comprehension – but it was a stroke of luck for us that he didn’t.

    The positive comments on El-Neny are well deserved – and what about Xhaka his all round game has improved immeasurably and his goal was an unstoppable rocket – the way in which he interacted with the crowd after his goal was a joy to see.

    The penultimate game of the season against Tottenham is going to be a huge nail biter for both sets of fans.

  • What a joyous day the lads have given us. I was just so tense during the game (something about wanting so bad to beat Manure) and couldn’t take eyes off the screen. Had to attend to certain stuff afterwards.

    The injuries to Tierney and then Partey did disrupt the stability our young team had enjoyed. All it took was time (a few games) for them to re-develop trust in the replacements and new formation/tactics and we were on our way. Of course, a duel against tough rivals like Chelsea and manure helped to refocus the boys too. As it stands, we are back in form for the run-in, after that disastrous 3 game losing run.

  • That was an absolute beast of a game. I had couple of heart attacks during the game. phew survived to love another day. Huge huge 3 points and wipes out the bad results of palace and Brighton.
    This victory was due to our two mod fielder Xhaka and El nenu. They were excellent and Elneny assist to xhaka for yeh third goal was a beauty. Credit to xhaka. I thought holding should have been bought early for Nuno. He was a bit of a liability in second half. How Bruno Fernandez didnt get a red for such a late challenge on Nuno studs up is beyond me.
    Great win and hope Saka is alright. Life will be good for the next week ,😂

  • There were some good individual performances by the boys too. There is no way Arteta isn’t up there, vying for man of the match. What a performance and its been so, the games he’s played. Whoever whispered in Arteta’s ears that we’d need experience for this phase of the season and with the injuries, has done well. Lokonga would come good but for the slump we suffered, we needed older heads in midfield. Xhaka too was immense, but we already know how good he can be when the going gets tough. His goal will make him feel good for some time; and he may just start getting a taste for it.
    I was surprised Holding has not started, seeing as Ronaldo did for the visitors. He would have kept Ronaldo honest or, at least, alert others the danger. He is a proper defender and it is commendable how Arteta has kept his fringe players interested when they come on..
    Honourable mentions will include Nketiah, Saka, Ode and Martinelli, when he came on. Overall, great team performance and a crucial 3 points that have put us back in the driving seat for 4th place.

  • Clearly, some bit of rivalry going on there between our Portuguese lads and the Visitors’ – Tavares and Cedric for us and Bruno Fernandes and CRonldo, for the visitors.

  • Can never fault elneny. He always presents and makes himself available. An energiser bunny that just keeps going.

    So good seeing tomi back.

    Sometimes all you need is a bit of luck. And we got it today. And we deserved it because we were on the wrong side of it against brentford and south.

  • A great result even if we rode our luck in the second half. There were some great performances which others have highlighted but, my MOTM was Aaron. If it was not for him we would surely have lost today.

  • You can say the same about De Gea, for Manure and certainly to an even greater extent. To be frank, I don’t recall too many crucial saves by Ramsdale at critical moments, in the scheme of the proceedings.

    As for Elneny, fans were given a taste of the African flair he possesses, with some shimmying and drop of shoulder moments, with Ole’s ringing out.

    Well, Brentford have ensured Spurs remain 5th, albeit with a 0-0 draw. You cannot underrate the impact on their nerves that our win over United must have had.

  • Eris, I’m not saying that Aaron made a lot of saves but those that he did kept us in the game, e.g. Dalot’s shot that he turned onto the post. I agree that De Gea also kept them in it until Xhaka’s thunderous strike and Elneny is playing better than ever.

  • Hello, Gooners. What a great week of football is behind us! 🙂

    Orthodox Christians may be celebrating Easter today but we have seen our resurrection spread across the whole week.

    Big Wednesday was followed with Big Saturday Afternoon.

    We had entered the week in a bad mood, so bad that Arteta’s calls for Jesus as our saviour were wrongly interpreted as his desire to sign Gabriel Jesus.

    Now, I have to say that our performance v United didn’t deserve a 3-1 victory per se, especially with a few VAR-calls and non-calls going our way when the game was still undecided. We were still tired from the Chelsea game, pressing was not good enough, we didn’t release the ball quickly enough (dip in form for Ramsdale in this department didn’t help) and having both Cedric and Tavares in our starting 11 with Saka playing through pain meant we didn’t have balanced back four. That makes this victory even bigger Arteta’s success with players like Ødegaard, Saka (the second best RW in the league and only because Mo Salah plays in that position), Elneny and Xhaka leading the team by example and dragging those who underperformed over the line. Kudos for Xhaka who has been playing like a true leader this season.

    Our position ahead of the last four games is much better than it was.

    We can win four out of the remaining five games, get stuffed at Spurs Toilet Seat and still finish above them! Why? I don’t believe they can win all five remaining games given that one of them is at Anfield where Klopp will do whatever it takes to keep the title race open until the end. In case we win our four remaining fixtures, Spurs have to win all five games to finish above us. Not even a draw at Anfield will do for them.

    Speaking of Spurs, they have picked 7 out of possible 24 points in Big 6 fixtures – six against Pep’s City and a point v Klopp’s Liverpool. Both Chelsea and United have done a double over them and it’s not forbidden for us to do the same.

    We have picked 9 out of possible 27 points v Big 6 – Ws v Spurs, Chelsea and United – and that’s the difference on the table.

    Against the rest of the league, each Arsenal and Spurs have picked 51 points, with a note it took us one game fewer to do so (51 out of possible 72, Spurs 51 out of possible 75).

    We have dropped 10 points to Palace and Brighton combined, three more against each Brentford, Everton and Soton and two I regret the most – Burnley at home). It says a lot about how young and inexperienced our squad is, how dips in form took us by surprise in a few occasions.

    Arteta deserves a special praise for being able to shuffle cards when needed. Especially with our front three – Auba (until being frozen out), Laca, Martinelli, ESR and Nketiah all tasting both spells in the first eleven and sitting on the bench waiting for the right moment. Saka and Ø have been the most consistent of all.

    Arteta was without Partey, Tierney, fully fit Tomiyasu and Laca for two of our biggest games of the season, on the back of three defeats. That’s four first-teamers. He won both games with seven goals scored (the last time we won both at Bridge and v Manure at home was in Ronaldo’s final season of his first spell at United).

  • Admir, I somewhat confused by you comment – here are Arsenal’s last five games:-

    West Ham A
    Leeds H
    Newcastle A
    Tottenham A
    Everton H

    At this point in the season none of these games will be easy, especially the three away games. But the reality is that fourth place is back in our hands – four wins and a draw at Spurs will do the trick.


    Spurs have the tougher run in, and their game at Anfield will be the toughest of them all – if they do lose at Anfield and then beat us we can still take fourth spot by winning our other four games. It’s all if’s and but’s however I believe the p[probabilities are in our favour.

    Leicester H
    Liverpool A
    Burnley H
    Arsenal H
    Norwich A

  • While it is not beyond the realms of imagination that we can drop points to any (one) of our remaining opponents, it cannot be Spurs. That is not even an option this season, especially as there will be two games left for us, after that fixture.

    I am not even thinking of anything but a win against that lot. We need to put paid to that resurgent debate as to who rules North (nay,) London.

  • GunnerN5,

    our West Ham game takes place between two Europa League semifinal-legs for the Hammers. Their only natural CB Dawson has been sent off v Chavs today and they have already started playing with heavily rotated starting eleven. They might be forced to play Declan Rice as CB in back three with two FBs on the either side of him.

    Leeds look more solid under March but I still think we have enough in the tank to win that one.

    Which leads (pun intended) us to arguably key encounter – Newcastle away. Newcastle have won 10 out of last 14, are heading to top half finish and have enough quality to make our life difficult. Bruno G and reinvigorated Joelinton with crazy-skilled Saint Maximin might be the biggest obstacle to Champions League football for us.

    If we win those three, a draw at the toilet seat would 99,99% make us a CL club again.

  • Sorry, sure we have one game left after Spurs.

    I agree, Admir and have held the view, that Newcastle could be our most difficult game in the run-in. A draw would be a good result there. A win would be a huge bonus.

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