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Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0

They do not come much bigger than this, pre match we had speculated that this was our most important game since the 2006 Champions` League Final. An all English tie against the reigning champions of Europe at Old Trafford and the nerves had well and truly set in as I came into the office for the morning. It proved to be an error on my part as the prospect of concentrating on work was very slim. By the time we had fought our way through the Manchester traffic to be greeted at the ground by a giant façade of Rooney holding the European Cup aloft, the tension had well and truly kicked in. Outside the ground, leaflets were being distributed to United supporters advertising flight options` flights to Rome on May 26th. I hope somebody communicates that message to the team; it always baffles me how stupid football supporters can be at times in willing fate against them. There was a whiff of the 1987 League Cup semi final about it when Tottenham led Arsenal at half time at White Hart Lane and the public tannoy system announced ticket details for the Final. Witness also, Arsenal fans pre emptive cries of "ole" as they led Wigan by a single goal in the 2006 League Cup Semi Final, we all know how that turned out!

The team line ups made for interesting reading, with Scholes dropped in favour of the metronomic Fletcher and the more tenacious Anderson, it was clear United were going for a high energy pressing game. The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric as the team emerged and the away fans, curiously positioned in the Upper Tier behind the goal on this occasion, rather than the shoehorned corner we are used to, submerged themselves in the 'United Colours of Arsenal` flag, paying liturgy to the multi national canon of cannons. But within seventy seconds of the start, hearts were firmly planted into mouths as United roared at us from the off. Fletcher flighted a precise cross to the back post; Rooney climbed above Sagna and looped his header towards the far corner, only for Manuel Almunia to brilliantly claw it away from the goal line. Minutes later, our mood went from impish to mawkish as Rooney`s cross field ball seemed to have been covered by Gibbs, but he lost his footing in the area allowing Ronaldo on the ball in the area, but the Portuguese pony lashed his shot across goal. United were in again on 16 minutes, with Diaby leaving Gibbs stranded against Ronaldo, the United number 7s low cross found Carlos Tevez all alone in the area with the crowd taking a collective intake of breath, only for Almunia to pull out an outstanding point blank stop. He was up again smartly to close the angel for rebound.

However, the Gunners could not keep relying on the heroics of Almunia and his defence let him down badly from the resulting corner. Carrick had time and space at the back post to put Anderson`s corner back into the danger area, Silvestre could only toe poke the ball as far as John O`Shea who lashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range. It was nothing less than United deserved. Their high octane pressing of Arsenal in all areas of the pitch was embarrassing when compared to our own lethargy. Song, Nasri, Fabregas, Diaby and Walcott were all passengers, all except Nasri were hustled off of the ball by a hungrier United side and none of those five players applied any sort of pressure to United. This left Toure and Silvestre in something of a quandary, when Anderson and Rooney moved into space between midfield and defence, the midfield were so lackadaisical in tracking them that the defenders then did not know whether to close the ball down and cede space or whether to hold their positions and allow the man on the ball time. Denilson must surely be considered for the second leg. The Gunners build up play on the rare occasions they had the ball, missed zip and guile, the two things Arshavin clearly brings to the table, Arshavin is one of our few attacking players not afraid to release the ball first time. His colleagues look like pretentious arse holes in comparison, demanding at least three arty strokes of the brush before administering a lick of paint. The away side did manage to break out of their own half long enough to register their first effort; Walcott bombed past Evra and pulled the ball back to Adebayor, with pretty much his only contribution to the match that was not an absolute disgrace, he tucked the ball back to Fabregas whose low shot was held by van der Sar. It might well have been the only time I can remember Cesc facing the goal with the ball, with his advanced position and United`s impressive and relentless pressing, he was often forced into a position with his back to goal. I`ve a feeling the experimentation with Fabregas in the "Stevie Me" role is over. If it isn`t, it should be. His first goal against Boro emanated from a move started by him in a deep position, his two assists at Wigan arrived when he moved back into central midfield, ditto his assist in Villarreal. Hopefully, with van Persie back, we can abolish this experiment.

There was time for yet more heroics from a goalkeeper who, in the past, has reserved his biggest mistakes for the big games, not so last night. Tevez played another dinked cross which was met by a firm Cristiano Ronaldo header which was brilliantly stopped by Almunia, who was again up quickly to thwart the follow up. I hope this marks a sea change in his Arsenal career. My lingering question over him was his aptitude for big games. Another performance similar to this next Tuesday would go a long way to convincing everybody that he is Arsenal number 1 material. The mercy of the half time whistle arrived and we slumped in our seats again reflecting on how fortunate we were to still be in the tie. (Though a friend of mine did riposte that there is nothing lucky about good goalkeeping, it`s their job after all!)

United`s game plan was clearly to win the tie inside the first thirty minutes, most of their success of late has come in bursts of play. The 22 minutes it took them to rip Spurs apart, the last fifteen minutes against Aston Villa, the first ten minutes in Porto. United are a team running low on steam of late, but they play in devastating bursts of adrenaline fuelled frenzies. Arsenal are a team that tend to start games very slowly but finish them strongly. The answer next week surely relies on Graham`s 89 Anfield blueprint, be sure not to concede in the first half then hit a fatigued United in the second half. 1-0 will take us into extra time, so we need to compose ourselves and be sure not to go too gung ho. United predictably could not attack us with the same ferocity in the first half, but through Fletcher and Anderson snarling at our midfield and Ferdinand and Vidic being given an incredibly comfortable evening by the increasingly idle Adebayor and with Walcott unable to find space. Adebayor did produce one brief flicker of endeavour when he chested Toure`s long ball down past Ferdinand but volleyed over the bar. After yet another lazy pass which trickled out of play, Adebayor was roundly booed by the away supporters and, though I didn`t join in myself, I can`t say as I blame them overly. Eduardo`s name was chanted with gusto shortly after the chorus of disapproval.

I`ve defended Adebayor to the hilt this season but I simply cannot watch a player play as he has in two consecutive semi finals and let it pass without comment. The man`s ego far, far outweighs his talent at the moment and his work rate, once upon a time his redeeming feature, has halted to a level that is not close to acceptable. He has now been dragged off in two semi finals when Arsenal have needed goals, which speaks to how highly his manager has thought of his non displays. It`s time to send the man a very stark message, hopefully with van Persie fit next Tuesday; we can leave this moron to wank over Beyonce and A.C. Milan or whoever else is feeding his overly furtive imagination on the substitute`s bench. The manager needs to speak in harsh tones now; Adebayor might think he has become some kind of demi God and that we should all get a semi on at the mere mention of his name, but he has a mere spec of dust on the history of this football club and a tiny slither of one key on the piano that is Wenger`s reign. If he thinks this club should be beholden to him, it`s time the manager let him know to think again. Once Henry entered his preening, supercilious my shit don`t stink phase, he was shipped out. What a shame that last season`s two most prominent attackers in Europe in the shape of Ade and Ronaldo spent the evening behaving like such fannies. Ronaldo wildly gesticulating like a whining child every time one of his somersaults was ignored by the referee while Adebayor was the by word for disinterest. Both represented everything that is acerbic about the modern footballer, the bizarre sense of entitlement, the swollen egos and an example of how supporters should not worship footballers, they should worship football clubs instead.

Ronaldo did provide one moment in the game that reminded us all that, when he`s not throwing his broccoli across the dinner table and blowing raspberries, he actually is one hell of a footballer. Fabregas was caught in possession deep in his own half, Ronaldo took the ball and smashed it against the cross bar from twenty five yards out. The Stretford End crossbar will no doubt still be reverberating with the ferocity of the strike. The Gunners tried to roll the clock back to May 2005 and perform a mugging on United in the shape of a richly undeserved away goal. Fabregas floated in a free kick which Bendtner attacked with more gusto, desire, guts and belief than Adebayor has shown in his last two games combined, beating van der Sar to the ball but heading wide. Ferdinand cracked a rib in the collision with his goalkeeper which, as much as I feel unsporting saying it, also gives us a glimmer of hope for the second leg. If we can replace Adebayor`s entropy with van Persie and unleash him on a Ferdinand-less defence, then we might just have a chance. Ferdinand is one of the top three centre halves in Europe right now and his loss is a big blow for United. The final whistle sounded and I don`t think either set of fans know how to feel. It`s a bad result, I cannot see us keeping a clean sheet next week and the lack of an away goal looks very ominous. Yet on the other hand, we are incredibly thankful to our goalkeeper this morning that we are still in with any sort of chance, United might feel satisfied with the result but disappointed they have not put the tie to bed. United`s fatigue could be a weak point for us to expose, Ferguson is already complaining this morning about the comparative importance of our fixtures this weekend which shows it worries him. I thought all members of the back five can take heart from their performances, but the midfield is really going to have to protect them much better than they managed last night. To be honest, the suspicion lingers that Arsenal are just not quite cut out for ties such as this, when you view the curriculum vitae of opponents who have knocked us out of the big competitions in the last three years. However, twenty years ago we went into a certain game needing a two goal victory with the odds firmly stacked against us. This morning, I`ll be willing to take inspiration from anywhere.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday April 30 2009

Time: 11:08AM

Your Comments

Actually the match fixture should read Manchester United VS Manuel Almunia
stukazufuss
Actually the match fixture should read Manchester United VS Manuel Almunia
stukazufuss
Fair comment LD, in addition to our GK i thought young Gibbs once again had a good game along with Silvestre. did you not see Diving Ronnie run two paces without the ball fall on the floor and wailed to the ref for a free kick on the edge of the box; (surely a red card for acting or at least an Oscar) i think he thought Webb was the ref and expected a penalty even though no one was near him and it was just outside the box. I was also impressed with Song, he seems to be improving all the time.
alwaysgunner
Fair comment LD, in addition to our GK i thought young Gibbs once again had a good game along with Silvestre. did you not see Diving Ronnie run two paces without the ball fall on the floor and wailed to the ref for a free kick on the edge of the box; (surely a red card for acting or at least an Oscar) i think he thought Webb was the ref and expected a penalty even though no one was near him and it was just outside the box. I was also impressed with Song, he seems to be improving all the time.
alwaysgunner
Diving Ronnie? I'm not even sure why he bothers to stand up!
RadioactiveD
Diving Ronnie? I'm not even sure why he bothers to stand up!
RadioactiveD
Excellent write up, have to say that there were two passengers in this game,Ade and Diaby. Gibbs impressed me with a performance ahead of his age. Fabregas was way under par and was IMO not at the races at all. Silvestre though had a good game and had few if any moments of madness.Nasri and Song were good and so was Toure but the man of the match was with out a question Almunia, we have him to thank that we are still in this semi.
Armory
Excellent write up, have to say that there were two passengers in this game,Ade and Diaby. Gibbs impressed me with a performance ahead of his age. Fabregas was way under par and was IMO not at the races at all. Silvestre though had a good game and had few if any moments of madness.Nasri and Song were good and so was Toure but the man of the match was with out a question Almunia, we have him to thank that we are still in this semi.
Armory
I'm tempted to say Song and Nasri played well, but given the complete lack of pressure on United's players in the final third of the pitch compared with Fletcher and Anderson was galling. The difference between us and United is not Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and Berbatov, it's players like Fletcher and Park who press the game and make United take the intiative. Song and Nasri just weren't doing this to anything close to the level Fletcher and Anderson were. Silvestre did have a good game after a slightly rocky start, he made some crucial interceptions as United don't have centre forwards that are particularly pacy. I was disappointed with Walcott, though I think United played him well, forcing him high up the pitch with his back to goal. We are going to need to play two strikers in the second leg because Fabregas and Walcott were too often with their backs to goal, let Bendtner and van Persie perform that role in the second leg and occupy the centre backs, then we can get Cesc and Walcott in positions where they can actually do some damage.
Little Dutch
I'm tempted to say Song and Nasri played well, but given the complete lack of pressure on United's players in the final third of the pitch compared with Fletcher and Anderson was galling. The difference between us and United is not Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez and Berbatov, it's players like Fletcher and Park who press the game and make United take the intiative. Song and Nasri just weren't doing this to anything close to the level Fletcher and Anderson were. Silvestre did have a good game after a slightly rocky start, he made some crucial interceptions as United don't have centre forwards that are particularly pacy. I was disappointed with Walcott, though I think United played him well, forcing him high up the pitch with his back to goal. We are going to need to play two strikers in the second leg because Fabregas and Walcott were too often with their backs to goal, let Bendtner and van Persie perform that role in the second leg and occupy the centre backs, then we can get Cesc and Walcott in positions where they can actually do some damage.
Little Dutch
Nice write up Tim, and spot on about Adebayor. If him being in the team is essential to our tactics, then it's time to change the tactics to get him out. Surely it's time to get Eddie in there, he's much more urgent and a far better finisher than anyone at the club. We're certainly up against it now .... and if we're gunna go out, I want us to go out swinging.
Rocky7
Nice write up Tim, and spot on about Adebayor. If him being in the team is essential to our tactics, then it's time to change the tactics to get him out. Surely it's time to get Eddie in there, he's much more urgent and a far better finisher than anyone at the club. We're certainly up against it now .... and if we're gunna go out, I want us to go out swinging.
Rocky7
Agreed LD, Cesc behind the striker is simply wasting the talents of one of the best players in the world.
Rocky7
Agreed LD, Cesc behind the striker is simply wasting the talents of one of the best players in the world.
Rocky7
I'm sorry to say this fellow Gooners but I really can't see us getting through the tie. Maybe we can beat the likes of Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool by raising our game in a one-off game but it seems to me like whenever this team plays the very top teams then they have too much nous for us. It sounds awfully pessimistic but I think we're going out but at least I know one thing: we'll give them one hell of a match next Tuesday in a fantastic atmosphere.
Gooner_Vin
I'm sorry to say this fellow Gooners but I really can't see us getting through the tie. Maybe we can beat the likes of Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool by raising our game in a one-off game but it seems to me like whenever this team plays the very top teams then they have too much nous for us. It sounds awfully pessimistic but I think we're going out but at least I know one thing: we'll give them one hell of a match next Tuesday in a fantastic atmosphere.
Gooner_Vin
Sorry forgot to say great write-up.
Gooner_Vin
Sorry forgot to say great write-up.
Gooner_Vin
Spot on about Ade about his attitude but also I been saying for ages the guy couldn't trap a wet bag of cement if it landed right in front of him....his touch is crap and has been for a long time.
radarman
Spot on about Ade about his attitude but also I been saying for ages the guy couldn't trap a wet bag of cement if it landed right in front of him....his touch is crap and has been for a long time.
radarman
I didn't watch the game live because I just didn't have a good feeling about it and I didn't want to watch a CL semifinal at OT with Silvestre starting. But I taped the game, read some of the gooner blog reactions and then watched it. Turns out Silvestre overall wasn't the disaster I expected but my general expectations were confirmed. That's TWO semifinals now that AW has messed up in his team selection or formation. We have one of the world's finest attacking CMs and in a semifinal at OT for the CL, AW wastes his talents by putting him out of position. What's worse was how several of our players just didn't seem hungry for it. I can't look at Ade's face anymore. Notice how much he smiles and laughs during a game, and how many times he says "the most important thing" is for him to "enjoy myself." He doesn't fight for his team anymore, he's no warrior. Give me a misfiring hard worker like Bendtner any day. And Diaby always plays like he's at a neighborhood park on a Sunday afternoon showing off his skills to a bunch of schoolkids. Almunia was imperious, Gibbs was superb. Yes, Song worked hard and got "stuck in" as you guys over there say but I too didn't see him or Nasri pressure MU as much as their midfield did. It's not losing that troubles me, it's the fact that in both semifinals it was a case of boys v. men, our opponents fighting hard all over the pitch for it and only some of our players doing the same. Also, remember not so long ago we had a team that was well organized and disciplined, conceding very few goals. Gallas gets injured and all that collapses.
jaelle
I didn't watch the game live because I just didn't have a good feeling about it and I didn't want to watch a CL semifinal at OT with Silvestre starting. But I taped the game, read some of the gooner blog reactions and then watched it. Turns out Silvestre overall wasn't the disaster I expected but my general expectations were confirmed. That's TWO semifinals now that AW has messed up in his team selection or formation. We have one of the world's finest attacking CMs and in a semifinal at OT for the CL, AW wastes his talents by putting him out of position. What's worse was how several of our players just didn't seem hungry for it. I can't look at Ade's face anymore. Notice how much he smiles and laughs during a game, and how many times he says "the most important thing" is for him to "enjoy myself." He doesn't fight for his team anymore, he's no warrior. Give me a misfiring hard worker like Bendtner any day. And Diaby always plays like he's at a neighborhood park on a Sunday afternoon showing off his skills to a bunch of schoolkids. Almunia was imperious, Gibbs was superb. Yes, Song worked hard and got "stuck in" as you guys over there say but I too didn't see him or Nasri pressure MU as much as their midfield did. It's not losing that troubles me, it's the fact that in both semifinals it was a case of boys v. men, our opponents fighting hard all over the pitch for it and only some of our players doing the same. Also, remember not so long ago we had a team that was well organized and disciplined, conceding very few goals. Gallas gets injured and all that collapses.
jaelle
Jaelle - interesting to read your piece given you watched the game without the emotional rollercoaster when watched live. I have to agree that in two semi-finals running AW has got it wrong. The more I think about it, the more I realise that we are patently the weakest out of the remaining semi-finalists and highly unlikely to win this tournament. In my book, Ferguson got his tactics right and Arsene got his wrong.
Gooner_Vin
Jaelle - interesting to read your piece given you watched the game without the emotional rollercoaster when watched live. I have to agree that in two semi-finals running AW has got it wrong. The more I think about it, the more I realise that we are patently the weakest out of the remaining semi-finalists and highly unlikely to win this tournament. In my book, Ferguson got his tactics right and Arsene got his wrong.
Gooner_Vin
A nicely balanced and entertaining report as always. Last night must have been the umpteenth different midfield permutation and we still haven't found something that works satisfactorily enough. After the first 20 minutes or so we made a slightly better fist of the defensive side of the game but without any creativity at all. Ade as a target man isn't even in Kevin Davies class at the moment - not that that should be the way we seek to play the game but it is something we have come to rely on too much over the last couple of seasons. Walcott is totally redundant in such games when he is denied the space he needs to play the game he does. We need someone there who can at the least keep Evra and Rooney busy away from our defensive third even if they aren't having much luck in the attacking third. I suppose it would be very unpopular to point out that Silvestre played well - but he did you know!
Amos.
A nicely balanced and entertaining report as always. Last night must have been the umpteenth different midfield permutation and we still haven't found something that works satisfactorily enough. After the first 20 minutes or so we made a slightly better fist of the defensive side of the game but without any creativity at all. Ade as a target man isn't even in Kevin Davies class at the moment - not that that should be the way we seek to play the game but it is something we have come to rely on too much over the last couple of seasons. Walcott is totally redundant in such games when he is denied the space he needs to play the game he does. We need someone there who can at the least keep Evra and Rooney busy away from our defensive third even if they aren't having much luck in the attacking third. I suppose it would be very unpopular to point out that Silvestre played well - but he did you know!
Amos.
It wasn't so much tactics, it was the players on the pitch that let us down last night.
shewore
It wasn't so much tactics, it was the players on the pitch that let us down last night.
shewore
Comparing with our last league game against united at the grove, Bendtner played the leading strikers role in the same 4-5-1 but was so much more effective than ade. Everytime ade did get hold of the ball it was played back into the midfeid, with those extra touches LD mentions. I think we missed Arshavin but would be hard to pretend he wouldnt have been crowed out much the same as Walcott, and would have offered even less defensive support...
MeetTheGunners
Comparing with our last league game against united at the grove, Bendtner played the leading strikers role in the same 4-5-1 but was so much more effective than ade. Everytime ade did get hold of the ball it was played back into the midfeid, with those extra touches LD mentions. I think we missed Arshavin but would be hard to pretend he wouldnt have been crowed out much the same as Walcott, and would have offered even less defensive support...
MeetTheGunners
Yep, Silvestre did have a very good game last night. The whole back five did, it's just a shame the six players in front of them didn't.
Little Dutch
Yep, Silvestre did have a very good game last night. The whole back five did, it's just a shame the six players in front of them didn't.
Little Dutch
I am pretty sure that Arshavin would have given Evra and Rooney far more to do than Walcott managed yesterday - even Bendtner did for the time he was on. True Arshavin doesn't offer much defensively but claiming that he would have offered less defensive support than Walcott might be stretching his lack of defensive nous a little too far. But Arshavin wasn't eligible so the lack of creativity in the wide areas we had before he joined was the problem we again struggled with last night.
Amos.
I am pretty sure that Arshavin would have given Evra and Rooney far more to do than Walcott managed yesterday - even Bendtner did for the time he was on. True Arshavin doesn't offer much defensively but claiming that he would have offered less defensive support than Walcott might be stretching his lack of defensive nous a little too far. But Arshavin wasn't eligible so the lack of creativity in the wide areas we had before he joined was the problem we again struggled with last night.
Amos.
Wenger did indeed get it wrong, and neither did he do anything about it during the game. It was patently obvious in the first 15 minutes that it wasn’t working. Our best form of defence is attack and to attack using our own strengths. Since when did we start worrying about nullifying the opposition’s potential? We needed that away goal and we didn’t look getting it at any time (was Adebayor playing last night?). I think our only hope is to go for 1-0 at the Grove and try to win the penalty shoot-out.
Sir Henry
Wenger did indeed get it wrong, and neither did he do anything about it during the game. It was patently obvious in the first 15 minutes that it wasn’t working. Our best form of defence is attack and to attack using our own strengths. Since when did we start worrying about nullifying the opposition’s potential? We needed that away goal and we didn’t look getting it at any time (was Adebayor playing last night?). I think our only hope is to go for 1-0 at the Grove and try to win the penalty shoot-out.
Sir Henry
How do you try to go for a 1-0? Surely it's much the same game as trying for a 2-0? Tactically it's an easier game for United but an early goal from us could make it a different game for them. I fear we just might not have the creativity in the side to score freely enough though.
Amos.
How do you try to go for a 1-0? Surely it's much the same game as trying for a 2-0? Tactically it's an easier game for United but an early goal from us could make it a different game for them. I fear we just might not have the creativity in the side to score freely enough though.
Amos.
I hope it is an all London Final. You definitely have a bigger task than us though.
crazyforchelsea
I hope it is an all London Final. You definitely have a bigger task than us though.
crazyforchelsea
How would we feel having won 1-0 and going to Old Trafford for the second leg? Do we think United would be capable of beating us by 2 clear goals? I wouldn't hold out too much hope for us. Perhaps our salvation could come from them having to field a full strength side going away to Boro this weekend but I'm clutching at straws here.
Gooner_Vin
How would we feel having won 1-0 and going to Old Trafford for the second leg? Do we think United would be capable of beating us by 2 clear goals? I wouldn't hold out too much hope for us. Perhaps our salvation could come from them having to field a full strength side going away to Boro this weekend but I'm clutching at straws here.
Gooner_Vin
Good write up LD. Harshest words of criticism for Diaby and Adebayor. What a poor performance from both! I really hope RvP is fit for the 2nd leg. If not,, our chances look bleak. I was impressed by Nasri - good effort and tried to add some creative bite. Cesc was anonymous, and Wenger should stop experimenting with his position. Bendtner should start the return leg.
prits
Good write up LD. Harshest words of criticism for Diaby and Adebayor. What a poor performance from both! I really hope RvP is fit for the 2nd leg. If not,, our chances look bleak. I was impressed by Nasri - good effort and tried to add some creative bite. Cesc was anonymous, and Wenger should stop experimenting with his position. Bendtner should start the return leg.
prits
Bit of a worry there are saying Eduardo and Silvestre are out for Saturday and not certain for second leg with Manure also RVP will be just an outside chance of being fit also. Hmmm?
alwaysgunner
Bit of a worry there are saying Eduardo and Silvestre are out for Saturday and not certain for second leg with Manure also RVP will be just an outside chance of being fit also. Hmmm?
alwaysgunner
Don't get me wrong fellow Gunners, but,,,isn't that what u call Toothless Agression and Possession without Penetration? :-) (let me tell ya I was rooting for my fellow Londoners last night!).
Tambling
Don't get me wrong fellow Gunners, but,,,isn't that what u call Toothless Agression and Possession without Penetration? :-) (let me tell ya I was rooting for my fellow Londoners last night!).
Tambling
Im starting to worry about Arsene. Last year against Liverpool in the quarter final he moved Toure to right back and played senderos instead of Eboue and we conceeded 2 goals in that tie from that side of the pitch. This year in 2 semi Finals he has played Fabregas in an alien position in search of defensive solidity. In the big games we need our gaffer to come through for us, when things arent working he needs to react before things go wrong. Arsenes never been the greatest of tactitians but he used to stick to his beliefs im not sure he believes in this squad of players as much as he says.
iceman10
Im starting to worry about Arsene. Last year against Liverpool in the quarter final he moved Toure to right back and played senderos instead of Eboue and we conceeded 2 goals in that tie from that side of the pitch. This year in 2 semi Finals he has played Fabregas in an alien position in search of defensive solidity. In the big games we need our gaffer to come through for us, when things arent working he needs to react before things go wrong. Arsenes never been the greatest of tactitians but he used to stick to his beliefs im not sure he believes in this squad of players as much as he says.
iceman10
when was the last time we kept a clean sheet and beat United at home?
luckys_10
when was the last time we kept a clean sheet and beat United at home?
luckys_10
Milan beat United 3-0 in the second leg after losing the first. alright they had two away goals, but we can definetly win this 1-0 atleast..
luckys_10
Milan beat United 3-0 in the second leg after losing the first. alright they had two away goals, but we can definetly win this 1-0 atleast..
luckys_10
Fergie thinks you have a great chance on your own patch. But the big question is .......Can you score two more goals than them?
quietman
Fergie thinks you have a great chance on your own patch. But the big question is .......Can you score two more goals than them?
quietman
I looked for you, young Dutch. Several pints in Altrincham beforehand, then we headed to the Quadrant, just around the corner from the cricket ground. Then found myself near the back of the East Stand next to the Mancs. Sadly the performance on the pitch didn't match the performance off it. Great work by the travelling Gooners. Keep the faith!
FatOldDave
I looked for you, young Dutch. Several pints in Altrincham beforehand, then we headed to the Quadrant, just around the corner from the cricket ground. Then found myself near the back of the East Stand next to the Mancs. Sadly the performance on the pitch didn't match the performance off it. Great work by the travelling Gooners. Keep the faith!
FatOldDave
We do need another attacking midfielder. I would guess that we will sell Adebayor. That would be a great oppertunity to move Walcott up front. He is truly average on the wing.
Tom14
We do need another attacking midfielder. I would guess that we will sell Adebayor. That would be a great oppertunity to move Walcott up front. He is truly average on the wing.
Tom14
I was sat in the Stretford end where i had to endure a loud manc crowd who stood up for the whole game. The guy next to me was obviously annoyed at my presence because i wasnt cheering. At half time he said " it must be hard to clap your own team" and then clapped ironically in my face through the second half to make a point. I really wanted to slap him, but it would of been a foolish move considering i was amongst the opposition. They do say keep your friends close and your enemies closer...
paul_ownz
I was sat in the Stretford end where i had to endure a loud manc crowd who stood up for the whole game. The guy next to me was obviously annoyed at my presence because i wasnt cheering. At half time he said " it must be hard to clap your own team" and then clapped ironically in my face through the second half to make a point. I really wanted to slap him, but it would of been a foolish move considering i was amongst the opposition. They do say keep your friends close and your enemies closer...
paul_ownz
"Outside the ground, leaflets were being distributed to United supporters advertising flight options` flights to Rome on May 26th" did you not go to the home game against Boro?, because they were handing out the same leaflets,i have one in front of me now...i thought the same thing as you when i got hold of it...that its a bit premature to start advertising flights to Rome..i bet they gave them out at the bridge too......theyre just a company trying to drum up business....bout the game it was very poor on our behalf,and we are very lucky to still be in it,hopefully we can turn it round at home, but i doubt it.......we live in hope though
fran merida
"Outside the ground, leaflets were being distributed to United supporters advertising flight options` flights to Rome on May 26th" did you not go to the home game against Boro?, because they were handing out the same leaflets,i have one in front of me now...i thought the same thing as you when i got hold of it...that its a bit premature to start advertising flights to Rome..i bet they gave them out at the bridge too......theyre just a company trying to drum up business....bout the game it was very poor on our behalf,and we are very lucky to still be in it,hopefully we can turn it round at home, but i doubt it.......we live in hope though
fran merida
Agreed with all the good points made on the write-up except for this - "... relies on Graham`s 89 Anfield blueprint, be sure not to concede in the first half then hit a fatigued United in the second half. 1-0 will take us into extra time, so we need to compose ourselves and be sure not to go too gung ho..." We cannot go into the game playing for a 1-0 or even 2-0 and thinking we can keep a clean sheet becos AW is no Graham, the current team play to score and win and the '89 team play not to concede and not to lose. We're also no Evertons or Fulhams, our current players are not equipped to play the entire match defending in numbers and stifling opponents. We have to capitalise and maximise our strength - playing a high tempo quick passing offensive game. Our players need to play as if there is no tomorrow and hunt and chase every balls like hyenas. Giving man u midfield and defence lots of work to do is also another form of defence of our own. only then we stand a chance...
Temasek
Agreed with all the good points made on the write-up except for this - "... relies on Graham`s 89 Anfield blueprint, be sure not to concede in the first half then hit a fatigued United in the second half. 1-0 will take us into extra time, so we need to compose ourselves and be sure not to go too gung ho..." We cannot go into the game playing for a 1-0 or even 2-0 and thinking we can keep a clean sheet becos AW is no Graham, the current team play to score and win and the '89 team play not to concede and not to lose. We're also no Evertons or Fulhams, our current players are not equipped to play the entire match defending in numbers and stifling opponents. We have to capitalise and maximise our strength - playing a high tempo quick passing offensive game. Our players need to play as if there is no tomorrow and hunt and chase every balls like hyenas. Giving man u midfield and defence lots of work to do is also another form of defence of our own. only then we stand a chance...
Temasek
i remember the 2005 semi between Milan and PSV. 2-0 down after the first leg, PSV played the perfect game at home to go ahead 2-0 only to lose it in stoppage time. we can definetly learn a thing or two from that game about controlled aggression and how to go about this game. for that matter, the way Villareal played vs us in the 2nd leg in 2006, just shows that if yu have faith in ur own abilities and beleive that you can do that, it is not impossible at all..
luckys_10
i remember the 2005 semi between Milan and PSV. 2-0 down after the first leg, PSV played the perfect game at home to go ahead 2-0 only to lose it in stoppage time. we can definetly learn a thing or two from that game about controlled aggression and how to go about this game. for that matter, the way Villareal played vs us in the 2nd leg in 2006, just shows that if yu have faith in ur own abilities and beleive that you can do that, it is not impossible at all..
luckys_10
We need to play sensibly. Our defensive record at home isn't as poor as it is away. ManU's scoring record isn't as good away as it is at home. But they are tight defensively playing away. They'll be looking to play on the counter so going 'gung-ho' would play into their hands. We need to play a controlled game much as we did in the PL encounter at the Emirates earlier in the season. - without conceding the late goal we did in that one!
Amos.
We need to play sensibly. Our defensive record at home isn't as poor as it is away. ManU's scoring record isn't as good away as it is at home. But they are tight defensively playing away. They'll be looking to play on the counter so going 'gung-ho' would play into their hands. We need to play a controlled game much as we did in the PL encounter at the Emirates earlier in the season. - without conceding the late goal we did in that one!
Amos.
Been doing some travelling and just read the article now. LD, effing brilliant piece, as usual. I believe. We'll beat the Mancs next week, of this I have no doubt, my only fear is that we may gift them a goal thus making our job that bit more difficult. It is important that the home support mirrors the patience the team must show. We have to draw them out, wait for our chances if any, bench the lazy chance waster called Ade, and pick them off once they tire in the later part of the game as they are bound to. We can afford to rest players this weekend, they can't, we have more than a passing chance of getting the desired result. Lets go get them!
deledudu
Been doing some travelling and just read the article now. LD, effing brilliant piece, as usual. I believe. We'll beat the Mancs next week, of this I have no doubt, my only fear is that we may gift them a goal thus making our job that bit more difficult. It is important that the home support mirrors the patience the team must show. We have to draw them out, wait for our chances if any, bench the lazy chance waster called Ade, and pick them off once they tire in the later part of the game as they are bound to. We can afford to rest players this weekend, they can't, we have more than a passing chance of getting the desired result. Lets go get them!
deledudu
Walcott will only perform if he has the ball....is it me or are the other players blanking him ?....
radarman
Walcott will only perform if he has the ball....is it me or are the other players blanking him ?....
radarman
And by the way...who said recently that Diaby will not even make the bench ???.....
radarman
And by the way...who said recently that Diaby will not even make the bench ???.....
radarman
 

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