It has been way too long since we celebrated there; I hope we make some new good memories today.
With those words, I ended the post yesterday and when the final whistle was blown, I could not explain the lovely secretions that went through the whole of my body, which led to a barrage of unsynchronized displays of joy. Everything came out, smiles, laughter, screaming and I think I might have shed a little tear. It was lovely, it was really lovely.
To be honest, I am couldn’t stay calm yesterday. If the players have been accused of having a mental block when they play United, then I am sure this block extends to the fans. The commentators did their job of reminding us how often we have failed to win at Old Trafford. Even when Ramsey was introduced late on, the jibe was still thrown. Any Arsenal fan in the world that stayed calm throughout that game needs to be tested.
We showed a lot of purpose when the game started, but I feel Man United had a better grasp of the first half. We scored first, Nacho placing the ball beautifully behind a surging De Gea after some great work by Oxlade. I feel this has been Oxlade’s best season in an Arsenal shirt and he was one of our best players in the half. Sadly, yet again his development seems to be stunted by another injury.
Rooney scored, then again, he always does. I feel we have improved as a team when we defend corners but we have not defended crosses into the box from open play extremely well recently. The ball that found Rooney should have been cut out, same way we should have cut out the cross that found Harry Kane for his winning goal at WHL. Expectedly, they had the momentum after they equalized and we did well to end the half all square.
The approach to this game was in no way similar to how we edged our last victory during our last trip to Manchester. While that was won largely on the back some really good defensive set up, we really went for this one and we were rewarded when Welbeck pounced on Valencia’s error to score our second which turned out to be the winner.
Best thing about the game for me was that we stood up. Several times we have gone to big away games and just faltered, we played like we deserved to be there and we wanted more from the competition. We had several other chances to put some daylight but like he has done outstandingly all season, De Gea protected United.
At a time when the standard of refereeing in England is so poor, it was nice to have a referee that was not scared to make some extremely tough decisions. Whilst it was unbelievable how long it took for Fellaini to get his yellow card, the referee made sure he wasn’t late in dishing out yellow cards to the divers.
Not many referees would do that at Old Trafford. You don’t see players getting for booked for simulation outside the box and Di Maria really needs to hide his head in shame for his performance last night. The decision not to award United a penalty for “JanuDive’s” dive looks like an easy one when you watch in in slow motion. However, how many times have we been undone by dives like that especially from Rooney? How Rooney himself didn’t get a card for the number of times he was in the referees face contesting almost every decision too is worrying. Like Di Maria, someone needs to send Rooney off for that attitude one day so he can learn.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by Welbeck’s contribution to the game before he scored. On a cup night when we needed to score, I wasn’t sure starting him was the best decision especially considering the form Giroud is in. However, his goal vindicated the manager and I was particularly happy he celebrated especially considering Van Gaal’s comments about him when he sold him.
Danny has his positives, and I think to really appreciate what he brings to the pitch one might have to reconsider what you measure him by. He is not going to be a Costa, Rooney, Suarez etc kind of goal scorer, but he will give offer you something else in areas those players cannot. His defensive work especially after he scored was amazing, and his pace will always make him a threat to pounce on opportunities that fall to him. If Wenger can get him to add more goals to his game, we might have a really good player on our hands.
Have to run, work starts in a few minutes. I’m sure there are United fans around you wherever you are, don’t fail to rub it in. We haven’t had nights like yesterday in a very long time.
Interact with us on the comments section below or on Twitter @canoncrested. Follow us, we always follow back.