2-2 at the Emirates against the Man Ure

Not the ideal outcome for both sides; but the shared points was probably a fair result at the end.

Both of the challenging sides looked evenly matched throughout and the Man Ure left wings made the speedy Arsenal right side vulnerable at most times. Both goalkeepers were probably responsible for at least one of their goals which they have conceded – van der Sar for getting caught out for Cesc Fabregas’ equaliser and the panicky Manuel Almunia for Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty-box lead. I’d have ordinarily said that it was Louis Saha’s good backpass which created the goal but I’ rather say that it was either of the defensive midfielders’ (Flamini and Gilberto Silva) lack of reading of the game.

Interestingly, the Arsenal went behind right at the stroke of half-time which was typical of the type of goals the Man Ure loved to score with. William Gallas was rather flat-footed for the dangerous Rooney but it may not really matter much as the Gunners bounced back, thanks to some loose defending by the Man Ure defenders. Cesc Fabregas is actually more clinical than anyone could imagine and took his chance superbly.

With Fabregas scoring right at the commencement of the 2nd half, the game looked balanced as the Gunners took their attacking verve to near-peak efficiency but couldn’t grab the lead.

It was then left to substitute Louis Saha to thread a pass to Patrice Evra to smooth it pass a fallen Almunia and to the onrushing Cristiano Ronaldo who finished off.

At this point of the match (close to 85 minutes gone), the severest mental test is on for the young Gunners. To be defeated at home in the Emirates Stadium is unthinkable – and the morale which would have been damaged as a result would put paid to all the hard work all season up to this point. So, when Evra knocked an Arsenal cross against the crossbar,it may be ‘one of those days’ for the Arsenal.

Eduardo da Silva showed the Arsenal fragility of old – lack of calmness and the will to make chances count when he hit a wild shot after the Man Ure scored the 2nd time. William Gallas also kicked the ball aimlessly wide whilst in the Man Ure box. That was to be the last of his crazy antics as he scored a useful goal at the stroke of injury time. Initially, I thought that the linesman got it dead wrong again when the game actually went on with the Man Ure whores (being manure as they are) kept the ball in play. It was palpable relief when the linesman signalled a goal.

If I tell you that I’m impressed with the way the Arsenal played today – I’m being too generous. It was a fine performance but nowhere near what the team can actually play. For example – I can’t understand what Adebayor is doing upfront. His headers weren’t near their targets, and effectively did not make van der Sar work much. His attacking moves were easily called for offside and his runs were easily thwarted by the large cunt in  the form of Rio Ferdinand. I was wondering aloud how useful Robin van Persie can be in such situations with his clinical finishing trait coming in handy when midfielders such as Flamini would not shoot for goal well.

Tomas Rosicky was okay; Aliaksandr Hleb was also ok and looked the more useful player than Adebayor; Cesc Fabregas – happy for his equaliser but it wasn’t his best performance; Mathieu Flamini was doing a lot of post-halftime attacking but can’t be the only defensive midfield anchor working, especially with the speed of Carlos Tevez and Rooney.

I honestly felt that Kolo Toure should have done more with the chances he has had in the game but he’s still a centreback and his shooting can’t be reasonably expected to hit the target all the time. There’s nothing that Bacary Sagna could do with the Man Ure second goal since it should have been Flamini or Gilberto Silva’s responsibility to clamp Evra down. Eduardo looked decisively useless when he was put on and Theo Walcott probably felt that he should have been slotted in much earlier in the game but not this time – with Emanuel Eboue looking much-improved with his crosses and darting runs and offering cover for the novice Sagna well. I’d offer that Arsene Wenger did not make the right changes by taking off the crafty Tomas Rosicky or the hard-working Hleb.

So, the Gunners should be satisfied that they hadn’t lost at home since it would be a severe morale damper. Yet, I think that the Arsenal would surely face a severe test when playing in the return leg at the Old Trafford ground of which the imposing and intimidating atmosphere would be harsh on the young Gunners and any football neutral can be sure that the Man Ure be willing to make home advantage count to their advantage. I’m just saying that it was a judgmental waste that the Gunners did fancy their chances of winning today but did not do enough to realise it.

To say that it was a waste that the Arsenal drew today is being too nice when wording it. And this whole week should better not go by with Gallas or some other senior player shooting his shit-cannon by saying that the team passed the mental test and showed that they are championship material etc… with Arsene Wenger seconding that notion. This young team had better wake up and come to grips that not every team visiting the Emirates is another Slavia Prague. Hell, it may even be bad when the young team visit the Czechs later in the first group stage game (Champions League) when playing away from home. I think that both teams did not play very well today but they took their chance when presented with the appropriate opportunities and that was the difference.

One last word – senor Almunia looked nervous throughout the match and never looked decisive when chasing down either Evra or stopping Rooney’s goal. To me, his time keeping goal for the team is probably up after the Liverpool mistake and these 2 goals conceded today. I always feel a tinge of discomfort whenever the ball comes within yards of his vicinity  – well, actually all the time he kept goal for the Gunners; and today is a fine example of what his standard is possibly like. Welcome back Herr Lehmann?

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