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Wenger satisfied as critics silenced

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Phil McNulty | 18:03 GMT, Saturday, 8 November 2008

Arsene Wenger's face was a study in satisfaction as he reflected on a game that was a victory for his principles as well as his football team.

Arsenal's manager has endured a troubling 10 days, with a draw against Spurs and the acrimonious aftermath of a defeat at Stoke City causing previously adoring supporters to openly question him for the first time.

But, after the Emirates reverberated to the sound of Wenger's name and Manchester United were beaten, he was able to answer his doubters in typically eloquent fashion.

Wenger sat tracksuited in the opulence of the Emirates media theatre and admitted he knew what defeat would have meant - but he drew huge pleasure from a win that meant even more.


If Manchester United had beaten Arsenal, the inquest about his methods and his team would have continued unabated, complete with questions (admittedly ludicrous ones) about whether Arsene's era had run its course.

A deserved victory in a magnificent game may not have banished all the doubts - remember Arsenal have lost to Fulham and Hull as well as Stoke this season - but Wenger was given a measure of vindication by an outstanding performance.

The Emirates was an uncertain place to be before kick-off, with Arsenal fans expressing genuine fears for their understrength team against a United side reinforced by the return of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

The contrast could not have been more stark as the final whistle sounded at the end of six minutes of stoppage time and an encounter that was played in gloriously cavalier fashion.

Faith was restored in Wenger, remember the mantra "Arsene Knows", and the man himself was able to reaffirm that he had never lost faith in his players.

He said: "If players have the right quality they will always have the right answers."

Wenger's studied principles still cause heartache for some Arsenal fans, including one poor individual who parked himself alongside the press box shouting "kick it away" for the entire period of stoppage time.

They were wasted words.

Arsenal do not do "kick it away" - it was like pitching up at a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic and ordering them to play a selection of Motorhead classics.

But he and the rest of Arsenal's fans got their victory and they celebrated in a style that gave the lie to the supposed silence that occasionally falls on the Emirates.

It was highly charged occasion, with both crowd and players roused by the criticism aimed - some justified - at Arsenal and Wenger since the loss at Stoke.

Wenger rightly took the opportunity to answer those criticisms but there was never a hint of gloating and he was generous to the defeated Manchester United side.

There was no getting away from the fact that Wenger saw this as compelling evidence that he will eventually be rewarded for his refusal to bend from his purist stance.

Why shouldn't he? It was that good and Arsenal rolled out every quality that makes them such a wonderful team to watch.

At the heart of the win were two men who may be small of stature but are giants in terms of football ability. The epitome of the Wenger philosophy.

Cesc Fabregas, helped by the workhorse Abou Diaby, was the creative force, while two-goal Samir Nasri is an indentikit Wenger player.

Even William Gallas, who is not a natural captain, led by example as he helped repel United's predictable late surge.

Wenger knew his captain had been questioned and offered intriguing thoughts on leadership, saying: "I don't agree any more with people who say you need a leader. Football is so quick that you need shared leadership.

"The time when centre-backs could just talk is over because the game is too quick. You need 11 leaders and everyone can take the initiative at the right moment."

Another Wenger principle and an admirable one but surely Arsenal would have benefited from a leader at Stoke, a symbol in the mould of Chelsea's John Terry or Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard?

This was not a day when Arsenal's players needed lifting. They will come though and this is when a flaw in Wenger's theory may be uncovered.

We know Arsenal, inspired and lavishly gifted, can beat anyone on their day and even Sir Alex Ferguson can have no real complaints about defeat.

But the questions I posed in a previous blog can only be fully answered once those subdued, almost resigned, displays like those we saw at the Britannia Stadium are banished even further into the background and do not impinge on their title chances.

Manchester United, and in Ferguson they have a manager whose footballing principles are as deeply ingrained as Wenger's, came to play, to attack and were beaten.

Arsenal must cope with those contrasting fierce, physical wars of attrition that will come in the months ahead if they are to last the title course better than they have in recent years.

Wenger, however, deserves huge admiration for the way he insists his team goes about its business - although Stoke manager Tony Pulis might be keen to know his thoughts on the otherwise outstanding Gael Clichy's awful tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo.

And after the stress of recent days, Wenger had every right to bask in a success achieved in the style he enjoys, and a public confirmation of his insistence that Arsenal will challenge for the Premier League title.

United played their part in the spectacle, but there was a lack of cutting edge when it mattered - a strange charge to level at a side with Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo on the pitch and Carlos Tevez and Ryan Giggs arriving later.

And it will be a source of concern to Ferguson that United have visited their three main rivals - Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal - already this season and come away with only one point.

But this day belonged to Wenger, Arsenal and their supporters, who threw their full weight behind their depleted team and proved beyond question that the Emirates can generate an electric atmosphere.

This was never an Arsenal crisis but questions were rightly posed. They delivered a performance that went some way to answering them.


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  • 1. At 7:58pm on 08 Nov 2008, HattonPower wrote:

    As a Man Utd fan, I'm not actually too downbeat dispite losing.... At least it was a great game...

    Neville should not have come CLOSE to the starting 11 against a team like Arsenal, it was like a red rag to a Raging Bull (aka Nasri)...
    Berba had minimal influence (again), while Rooney was wasteful and seems to have got over his 'purple patch'...

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  • 2. At 8:28pm on 08 Nov 2008, 2 of 3 wrote:

    I told my mates that it's easier for us to win against Man U than against the likes of Stoke. We know that Man U will play football (not kick-the-player) and if it's football that's being played we're in with a shot. I was, however, concerned about the number of key players out and so didn't think we'd win this time.

    Needless to say, I'm very pleased with this result.

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  • 3. At 8:34pm on 08 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Just to start on Manchester United, maybe we got a glimpse of their future with Rafael's lively cameo and goal.

    Sadly, Gary Neville had an afternoon he will want to forget instantly.

    Neville is a consumate professional, but even he will find it difficult to reach his peak again at his age and with such a lengthy injury break in recent times.

    No-one should ever write him off, but there may some long-term significance in his replacement by the youngster today.

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  • 4. At 8:35pm on 08 Nov 2008, sam2samsam wrote:

    I also agree that Neville shouldnt have started either. The injury has taken a lot out of him, he just doesnt seem the same anymore.

    Berbatov shouldnt always start, Tevez should at the moment. Sir Alex only starts him due to £30.75 m spent on him.

    An rafael did what £90 million pounds of strikers (assuming Tevez signs permanently) couldnt do. SCORE!!

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  • 5. At 8:42pm on 08 Nov 2008, MikeMcKenzie1875 wrote:

    Excellent blog again.
    Arsene Wenger is too principly based to bat an eyelid at any media spins on things i think

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  • 6. At 8:50pm on 08 Nov 2008, Koki147 wrote:

    Well Arsene, this team can play any team and beat them, but only when you play five across the midfield. That is until you get your chequebook out and buy an essien or makelele type of experienced player.

    On a lighter note its always good to beat the mancs now do it to chelski and the dodgy scousers and bring the title home.

    Nasri is great, he is Hleb with a finish so i'm not missing hleb, just a dependable and experienced holding player.


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  • 7. At 8:58pm on 08 Nov 2008, Chefuberjuice wrote:

    As an Arsenal fan im absolutely thrilled!

    especially with Nasris display which was sublime. he is starting to show his class (as long as he stays fit long enough)

    i hope not another Rosicky!!

    but theres no chance of a league title if we can only turn on the gas against the big 3

    we still need to splash the cash on a holding midfielder and a commanding centre back in January

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  • 8. At 9:00pm on 08 Nov 2008, Emmnues wrote:

    Yes Arsenal needs to show they can grind out a result against teams like Stoke but today's performance emphatically confirms once again that ARSENAL are the KINGS of ENTERTAINING ATTACKING FOOTBALL.

    The shortcomings of this Arsenal squad is clear for everyone to see but Wenger knows, he WILL fix it - yes he can! Just as Spurs were elated with the 4-4 draw, Arsenal can feel very proud of this victory.

    I remember that after the Spurs draw, this and other blogs hailed Redknapp as a genius even though all Spurs got was a draw. I hope you will devote this entire week in praise of Wenger's genius...

    Lest I forget please remember to lambast Fergie for being silly to have thought the creaking Neville was good enough for this game. Do not also forget to praise Clichy for showing grit in the tackle on Ronaldo!

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  • 9. At 9:00pm on 08 Nov 2008, antgel wrote:

    Fabregas was the joint-worst Arsenal player on the pitch, tying with the hapless Bendtner. I don't know what game you were watching, but your Fabregas-fawning is so 2006. I have been saying for a while that he is going downhill, and now most people are starting to see it (I tend to see trends quickly).

    Of course, he may just be jaded, and suffering from having no great midfield partner, but he is a shadow of the player he was two years ago, and he is certainly not improving with time.

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  • 10. At 9:03pm on 08 Nov 2008, PhLlatin wrote:

    Arsenal win and the stock markets go up Hmmmmmm I wonder if there's a connection :)

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  • 11. At 9:15pm on 08 Nov 2008, Pike wrote:

    'There was a lack of cutting edge when it mattered'

    That’s putting it lightly, Utd were complacent in front of goal and they paid for it by being deservedly beaten. Had van Persie or Adebayor been playing it may well have been a bigger margin.

    Says something about the strikers when Rafael had to show them how to put the ball in the net late on, it was a stunner wasn't it.

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  • 12. At 9:21pm on 08 Nov 2008, Francesc_FabrePASS wrote:

    Well.I think arsenal showd fighting spirit,character,nd were sharp til d very end.Sumthing dat killd us agains stoke,spurs n fernebache.But lets face it,we stil nid a strong,creative central midfielder,a mobile defender,nd a keeper!IN ARSENE WE TRUST!!!

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  • 13. At 9:21pm on 08 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    Fabregas going downhill? I like that. I am sure every major club in the world would love him to be going downhill with them.

    Maybe he is not at his best, but he was still involved in Arsenal's two goals today and made a significant contribution.

    By the way, Wenger told us afterwards that he thought Bendtner was "outstanding."

    Good description of United as being "complacent" in front of goal. There was certainly a carelessness about them.

    Rooney and Ronaldo were guilty of awful misses, including one from the England striker when it was still goalless.

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  • 14. At 9:27pm on 08 Nov 2008, Braatski wrote:

    I love Arsenal and have and strangley have glowing repect for this matchup with ManU. Both teams have such quality, they never back down and always aggressively attack. This what we love about both teams. Every year it is a match not to miss. Arsenal had the luck today, both teams had chances. Great match, but even Arsenal's passing was not sharp, and ManU missed their chances.

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  • 15. At 9:29pm on 08 Nov 2008, gilles_v wrote:

    There's been much talk of the Wenger ideals and principals which may end up harming Arsenal more than helping. In my opinion, and I'm not even an Arsenal fan, the man has done more to revolutionise the English game than just about any other.

    Before Wenger joined 12 years ago there was still a drinking culture in British football and the Premier League regarded poorly compared to the leagues in Italy, Spain etc. Changing aspects from training techniques to diet, what Arsene has implemented has transcended English football and his one-touch football is admired all around the world. But it has never been willingly loved here.

    I'd argue Arsenal play in the wrong league, they'd be more suited to a more technical country - their football will never be truly accepted by the English psychology, it will forever be too foreign.

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  • 16. At 9:29pm on 08 Nov 2008, gilles_v wrote:

    There's been much talk of the Wenger ideals and principals which may end up harming Arsenal more than helping. In my opinion, and I'm not even an Arsenal fan, the man has done more to revolutionise the English game than just about any other.

    Before Wenger joined 12 years ago there was still a drinking culture in British football and the Premier League regarded poorly compared to the leagues in Italy, Spain etc. Changing aspects from training techniques to diet, what Arsene has implemented has transcended English football and his one-touch football is admired all around the world. But it has never been willingly loved here.

    I'd argue Arsenal play in the wrong league, they'd be more suited to a more technical country, their football will never be truly accepted by the English psychology, it will forever be too foreign.

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  • 17. At 9:44pm on 08 Nov 2008, redforever wrote:

    I was surprised at how many times United lost their shape at the back when Arsenal countered. I think it may be the pace that they do it at.

    Ferguson has always advocated getting his full bakcs forward, and when facing the counter he relies on centre midfielders to cover the gaps. Today that didnt happen. I question the quality of Anderson. He is obviously good, but not quite at the level to compete against the top teams, and I didnt see him offering the cover to his back four that their system requires.

    Its easy to remember the squandered United chances, but take a look at the game again, and note how many times one pass would have released an Arsenal player clean through. Really the score could have been 6 or more for Arsenal.

    As a Liverpool fan I am happy with the result, obviously, but more satisfied with the way that United were exposed.

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  • 18. At 9:46pm on 08 Nov 2008, shesaidz wrote:

    Not sure why there's this talk of Arsenal's resurgence and a fully deserved victory - did we watch the same game?

    It was open, it was end-to-end, and if anything neither team deserved to lose. On a different day Nasri's shot doesn't deflect in, and Rooney and Rooney (the latter especially) are less profligant in front of goal.

    That's the best Manchester United have played at the Emirates since Arsenal moved there. We've been closer to victory in the previous two seasons, but that was ground out through a stifling defensive gameplan, the likes of which should be reserved for Chelsea and Liverpool. Congratulations Sir Alex on not being afraid to play this time around, this game could easily have gone the other way.

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  • 19. At 9:51pm on 08 Nov 2008, princesomi4guner wrote:

    hurry! finally am now a member of the family(blogers). man u. a great team any day but arsenal won 2day because is our day.n b:games btw d big 4 could go either way & 2days game is no exception.nasri d new kid on d block

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  • 20. At 9:53pm on 08 Nov 2008, collie21 wrote:

    United are trying to be too clever in front of goal and too cavalier in letting Neville anywhere near the first team. I have never understood his role in the united team, ever, not from the time he started. I just don't like him as a player. He is definitely past it now. Ferguson after the game was as gracious as he is going to get in saying at least they were beaten by a team playing football. I don't agree Berbatov is a waste of space, but I think he still has a bit to learn about the United style. Rooney, Ronaldo seem to showing the imaturity of young winners. They think they have done it all and want to be stylish now, instead of just getting the damn job done. I hate to say it, but I think the league could be already decided. Unless Fergson sticks now with Rafel de Silva, and they can get 9 points from the next 3 matches with Liverpool Chelsea and Arsenal, but at present I don't see it happening. For all fergusons talk about his young team, Uniteds are not exactly ancient either are they?

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  • 21. At 10:00pm on 08 Nov 2008, skaw19 wrote:

    im a utd fan and today was a brilliant end to end match which proved utd and arsenal are still the best footballing teams in britain.
    However im dissapointed we lost utd did what they never do away from home against the top 4 and dominate the ball . We had the mighty pass and move arsenal team on the rack for large periods of the game. They had to result to counter attack football which i admit they did very efficiently at their home stadium. I definitely think utd should have won, however we shot ourselves in the foot with our wasteful finishing. But dont worry utd will be back and rise up the league we do have a game in hand remember

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  • 22. At 10:04pm on 08 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    Sorry Phil, I've rarely rated you as a sports journalist and your report of Today's match and this blog provides ample evidence of why, please explain how Arsenal dominated the match at any time Today? they won yes but if United had got an equaliser then it would be scarcely any more than they deserved, more possession, more shots on goal prove that.

    If Nasri's shot hadn't taken a deflection it was going nowhere, that was the sum total of Arsenal's "cutting edge", for you to sit there and honestly say that either side clearly "deserved" to win that match honestly beggars belief and I wonder which match you were watching, i saw two sides play out a thrilling match that could've gone either way, a draw would have been a perfectly fair result, indeed had United won Arsenal could have had no complaints, Rooney was guilty of at least one glaring miss, as was Ronaldo.

    As for Bendtner, for me he isn't a Wenger player, he's a big clumsy "striker" and I honestly can't see what Arsenal see in him.

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  • 23. At 10:04pm on 08 Nov 2008, skaw19 wrote:

    in response to the happy lpool fan we left those gaps because we had to attack with numbers because were always behind. If you look at the stats utd had more shots on goal, more possesion and more territorial advantage. I rest my case.

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  • 24. At 10:09pm on 08 Nov 2008, Gabri1985 wrote:

    As a United fan i am of course disappointed with the loss but at least we lost in a great game of football.

    What i find more worrying then the amount of chances we seem to be missing is the back four and GK, Van Der Sar is becoming worse and worse not blaming him for any of the goals though, we need to get a regular right back and Rio and Vidic need to sort things out as the second goal was there fault.

    Giggs and Neville are past there best now and shouldn't be taking part in games like this, both have been fantastic players for us , Giggs being one of the most exciting british footballers ever, but maybe this should be there last season. Scholes still has a big part to play for us though.

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  • 25. At 10:16pm on 08 Nov 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    For those asking why Neville is in United's team, watch Celtic's goal in midweek, Rafael wandered off upfield when the ball was headed for our box.

    The fact is at the moment United don't have a proper class right back, Neville is probably too old to knock the rust off from his long term injury, Brown is not a first choice class right back, positionally he's suspect and his distribution isn't the best. Rafael is a fantastic talent but he is at least a year or so away from being an outstanding first choice.

    Even so i still think United have it in them to retain what they won last year, they're handily placed in the league with all their big four aways played, in Europe they're all but in the knockout phase. I'm not concerned at all.

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  • 26. At 10:20pm on 08 Nov 2008, red_fab_fred wrote:

    I think people looking for answers in regards to 'the Arsenal crisis' are looking in the wrong place. Arsenal have always been able to get good results against Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool because these are teams that will come at them both home and away because taking 3 pts off a rival is so vital in winning a title.

    From what i saw today i still think Arsenal will struggle to keep their place in the top 4 this season. For me the squad is too thin and lacks experience but what concerns me the most is that over the next few months the english playing conditions will not suit Arsenal brand of football. I think during the winter months is where they will really see the hole left by Hleb and Flamini.

    I am however equally worried about my team Man Utd. We have lacked a consistentcy and (dare i say it) a harmony within the squad. I think there are 4 major factors behind this;-

    1. Ronaldo and the summer transfer saga has clearly broken the close bonds that the squad used to have. I can't imagine that every single player in the squad was willing to welcome him back with loving open arms. Certain players were willing to forgive and forget, so that has almost created 2 camps within the squad.

    2. Berbatov for me as much as many pundits keep saying he was 'born to play for United' is not a Man Utd player. He doesn't have that aura about him that Cantona had. Cantona was a leader in a way that Berbatov isn't and sadly will never be.

    3. Gary Neville is not the current best right back for his club or country. I know Wes Brown has been struggling with niggles recently but Rafaelhas been in much better form than Neville. I think that Rio ferdinand performs much better with the armband and it will be difficult for Fergie to strip it off Neville but it needs to done. I admired Houllier for stripping Hyypia of the captaincy and giving the captaincy to Gerrard.

    4. Hargreaves time is running out in my opinion. He should of by now forged one of the best midfield partnerships the Premier has ever seen with Carrick. But the fact that he is never fit has made me believe this will never happen. Too much is currenly being asked of Anderson who for me has played too much football in the last year and needs a rest.

    I would be very suprised if Chelsea don't take this title at a canter.

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  • 27. At 10:22pm on 08 Nov 2008, EntertainAtAllCosts wrote:

    For those few knocking the performance of Bendtner, just put yourself in his situation today.

    In leading the front line for long periods on his own, he singlehandedly kept the United centre halves honest for the enitre 96 minutes. At no point in open play did either defender begin to attempt to forage forward, even at the death.

    The ground he covered was immense. And yet at times, and in particular late on, he showed great speed to reach the ball before the quick Ferdinand.

    If nothing else, you need to recognise his effort and commitment.

    And presumably he'll be needed for Tuesday night. That'll need some recovery.

    Just thought I'd stick up for the young man.

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  • 28. At 10:23pm on 08 Nov 2008, princesomi4guner wrote:

    I've been a guner fan since 1996 and have never been so happy 4 le professeur(wenger) 4 d fact that he has proved his loud mouthed critiz beyond reasonable doubt that his young squard can still mount an assult on d PL tittle thereby asserting a positive and consummate consequence of his football principles.Guner 4 life.

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  • 29. At 10:26pm on 08 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    To Chad Sexington. I felt Arsenal deserved to win, and I might add pretty well every one of my media colleagues felt exactly the same way.

    United played their full part, but there was just something missing up front about them today.

    Arsenal were down on strength in attack, but I gave them the edge because I just felt they had a bit more about them as a team.

    Not much, but enough - but certainly not a bad United display though.

    Are you not concerned by your results away to your big three title rivals?

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  • 30. At 10:31pm on 08 Nov 2008, rav0987 wrote:

    People may not agree, but i think united slightly missed Fletcher today. His hustling in midfield, is exactly what Arsenal cant play against. Too many times anderson and carrick sat back while the ball was played around them.

    Also, this match just proved that gary neville is no longer good enough to be United's starting right back. He looked off the pace completely.

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  • 31. At 10:32pm on 08 Nov 2008, skillachi wrote:

    This is a joke how did arsenal deserve it, utd had 23 shots comapred to arsenal's 15 & 54% possession, the better chances and were extremely unlucky with a very deflected goal from arsenal!

    I seriously question the neutral reporting of a lot of bbc journalists!

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  • 32. At 10:48pm on 08 Nov 2008, thewelshboycott wrote:

    The problem for Arsenal (as well as Liverpool) is lack of depth. Chelsea and Man U have squads with world class cover in every position.

    Not so at the Emirates and Anfield. Every absence of key players will mean dropped points. The table has an odd look to it at the moment. Liverpool are playing beyond themselves and will falter, whilst Arsenal are too erratic.

    Neither Man U or Chelsea have hit the consistency which both will do in the run up to Christmas.

    Wenger's real problem is getting the inhabitants at the Emirates to realise that third place is all they can realistically achieve. For Liverpool it's fourth!

    The league's top places have never been more rigidly fixed. It's the usual choice of Man U or Chelsea.

    The only potential excitement is the remote hope that Villa or Everton could challenge for fourth. Yawn.............

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  • 33. At 10:49pm on 08 Nov 2008, secretlysomeoneelse wrote:

    Thanks for the article, Phil.

    Great spirit from an under-strength and under-pressure Arsenal.

    Very impressed with the movement of United's front 4 - especially Berbatov.

    Arsenal definitely targetted Neville - probably in part because Ronaldo wasn't coming back to help out his full-back. In fact, thinking about it, with 4 attacking wide midfield players on show, that's probably why it was such an open match.

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  • 34. At 10:50pm on 08 Nov 2008, U2165263 wrote:

    As a frenchman, what an advert this was for the premiership. only these two team could put on such a game. Im immensly happy for the gunners and particularly Wenger. Here is a man who will only play football the way it is was intended to be played. as a sport. as entertainment.

    This man should be applauded for how he manages his team. football is a passing game. you win the games with your feet, and your head. not your hands. to me and the rest of europe that is not football.

    I feel that is what Engalnd are lacking. you do give praise to grit and hard work, comes naturally to the enlish. but you do not applaud tactics that are more suited to rugby league.

    Man U may have lost 2 out of 3 of the big games, but no one beats the other 16 teams like man u do. plus they have all three return matches at home.

    that kid rafael..saw his last game and though he was outstanding. considering his age he should be playing for us. great find by fergie, great buy, and just watch him become better and better

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  • 35. At 10:53pm on 08 Nov 2008, chorleyboy wrote:

    To Phil Mcnulty.
    Regarding Sexington, I just reckon he got it right.
    I am more concerned that part of my licence fee to the BBC is being wasted on biased reporitng against Manchester United.
    For sure, any other team who attacked like United away from home, would have been deemed unlucky not to come waway with at least a point.
    Then again, I suppose the jealousy does reach the BBC regarding Man United, so its no real surprise to read this article.
    Would we all rather see a boring match, like no doubt we will see when Liverpool travel up to the Emirates?
    I have just watched United attack and attack and attack in two tough away games in a matter of three days and its refreshing to see.
    Pity more teams like United, and Arsenal fair enough, dont play the game to the enjoyment of the neutrals

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  • 36. At 10:56pm on 08 Nov 2008, NewZwangendaba wrote:

    Please this is not politics, but extreme hapiness, and I ask all to share that with me.

    With an OBAMA win and an Arsenal win, I am on top of the world here in the USA.


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  • 37. At 11:01pm on 08 Nov 2008, U2165263 wrote:

    There are a few comments regarding manu having more chances. you can shoot and miss by 30 yards and end up giving away a throw in and it will still be counted as a shot! so not an exact picture.

    having said that if the boot was on the other foot, i would say that a draw was more fair.

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  • 38. At 11:03pm on 08 Nov 2008, Pike wrote:

    Utd certainly missed Fletcher; he has been their most consistent performer this year. But that is no excuse for the careless finishing from Ronaldo, Rooney & co.

    I agree with the above poster, Utd are trying to be to cavalier, one of the main reasons for the success was that they would win ugly as well as in style yet in recent games we've seen soft goals conceded which is highly uncharacteristic and something that needs sorting.

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  • 39. At 11:06pm on 08 Nov 2008, visualchristoff wrote:

    Sure that was a terrific game and all. Chelsea comfortably notch a little bit nearer the titile and Aston Villa quietly and surely notch their Champions League place/

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  • 40. At 11:08pm on 08 Nov 2008, Suspect_ZN wrote:

    Excellent post, Phil.

    Maybe the BBC should introduce age verification on its website, to keep the childish comments at bay.

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  • 41. At 11:33pm on 08 Nov 2008, Michael Casserly wrote:

    I can never understand why people can never be genuine in their comments about Arsenal. A lot of people are saying yes Arsenal won but its because Man U strikers missed their goal scoring opportunities, for some reason it could have been because maybe just a little bit that Arsenal team defended well today? No for some god forsaking reason it could never be that.

    It could never be that Arsenal had a lot easy chances to score as well which they did not.

    The only victory today for Arsene I could really observed is the fact that I hear no one talking about the fact that 6 out of the 11 Arsenal players were French and the back four was totally French. People are so focused in proving Arsene principles wrong that they did not even notice.

    I do not support Arsene with this, but I do believe he was forced in to a corner where he had to build his team like this. Please tell me is Samir Nasri better than Ashley Young, one can say that the Samir is probably better defensively or that Ashley is probably better crosser of the ball. The point is that overall they are basically the same quality player. I can tell you this if Arsene Wenger went to buy Ashely Young over Nasri I guarantee you that Young would have cost at least 5 million more that Arsenal paid for Nasri. One could come up with all sort excuses why: the premier league is a better league than the French league what ever it may be. There is no excuse that could persuade any one to pay 5 million extra for him (Young), may be 1 or 2 million yes is quite understandable but 5 million and more is holding the buyer at ransom. The English has to do something about the pricing of players.

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  • 42. At 11:51pm on 08 Nov 2008, Arshavin the Genius wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 43. At 00:02am on 09 Nov 2008, Different Game wrote:

    Stoke manager Tony Pulis might be keen to know his thoughts on the otherwise outstanding Gael Clichy's awful tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo.


    Is Ronaldlo crocked? Oh he's not? Adebayor still is.

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  • 44. At 00:10am on 09 Nov 2008, goodbet2 wrote:

    I have become a fan of Arsenals football but not the club Since Arnsen has been at the club. It will come to us all after the passage of time when we will loose our edge but we need to wait quite a bit longer before we jump in with both feet at every slip that Arsenal make.
    It is well documented that Arsenal are short of a few players and real strength in depth. Wenger needs to be able to get over his fear of spending money and being prepaired to work with a larger first team squad before Arsenal will really look like staying at the top of the table right through to the end of the season.

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  • 45. At 00:59am on 09 Nov 2008, MostlyRubbish wrote:

    I am so tired of the over-dramatised analysis of Arsenal's form recently - and I speak as a Liverpool supporter! Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have transformed from English football's historically ugliest team into unquestionably its finest ever exponent of the beautiful game. Whether Arsenal win the championship this year or not is less significant than the fact that Arsene Wenger has transformed not just Arsenal but Englsih football as whole. He has set a new benchmark, which every manager and supporter admires, and which every young footballer around the world wants to be a part of. Shame on the dimwitted Arsenal 'supporters' who have been criticising Arsene Wenger, but in footballing terms don't know their arse from their elbow.

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  • 46. At 01:17am on 09 Nov 2008, Vegan_Utd wrote:

    Arsenal fans should not get too carried away. They did not look solid at the back and Man Utd created a lot of very good chances. Until they can sure things up defensively they will continue to drop points all year. All the great arsenal sides in recent times have had that defensive solidarity and physical presence which the current side lacks.
    Going forward Arsenal were breathtaking at times; They created many chances and took them. Man Utd failed to take their chances so you have to say that Arsenal deserved to win.
    I agreed with most of the article but I did take exception to the comment that compared Gael Clichy's tackle with some of the heavy handed tackles by Stoke last week. Clichy's tackle was mistimed and reckless and he deserved the yellow card that he received. Last week Griffen put in several similar challenges and didn't get booked while Shawcroft's studs up tackle from behind which injured Adebayor was not even punished with a freekick. The article neglected to mention Rooney's blatant assault on Walcott in the first half which he did not get booked for. Nor did it mention Carricks professional foul on Diaby that prevented a goal scoring chance - no freekick, or Vidic's shirt pull on Nasri - again a no call. Despite this, I thought the referee had a fairly good grip on the game while weeks match against Stoke was a different story.

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  • 47. At 01:17am on 09 Nov 2008, nibs wrote:

    Arsenal don't get carried away, ManU aren't a world class side, their squad is Uefa Cup standard or thereabouts.

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  • 48. At 01:22am on 09 Nov 2008, nibs wrote:

    Barca scored 6 for the 3rd time and people keep on talking about 2nd rate sides the likes of ManU Arsenal or Liverpool.

    Open your eyes.

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  • 49. At 01:26am on 09 Nov 2008, Vegan_Utd wrote:

    Also I've read with interest the comments on Bendtner. He is a player I've been watching closely for a while and I look forward to seeing him get more opportunities in Adebayor's absence. I don't think he plays well in the system where he is the loan striker. He likes to drift out wide and drop into midfield to get touches but when you're playing with one up you need that player to stay up and hold the line a bit more. Efan Ekoku was calling the broadcast that I watched and he made a comment along these lines as well.
    I believe he plays much better when he has another forward along side him because this enables him to drift and be more creative. This is his natural game.

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  • 50. At 01:31am on 09 Nov 2008, nibs wrote:

    Rio Ferdinand is a typical example of a footballer made 100 times the player he is by the press. Rio Ferdinand a good defender? You're having a laugh! Today for those who watched the match, if any decent striker was in Bendtner's shoes he'd have scored five and that's a fact.

    Ah and btw for those who have seen Messi play, that Ronaldo guy isn't as good as his little toe.

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  • 51. At 01:34am on 09 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    Oh if only Arsenal had true english grit like the admirable one who never dives Gerrard or the stone wall that is Terry (as long as Carvalho is playing). Blah blah blah, the media never tire of this sad argument despite Arsenal having the finest batch of english younsters coming through who will not just have "english grit" but technical excellence aswell. Its ironic that in years to come the man who supposedly ruined the english game will be held up as its saviour, mark my words, names such as Wilshere, Frimpong, Lansbury etc will be Englands best chance of a world or euro cup. Why? because they will be technically gifted footballers who received the best education possible despite what bitter little people like mr Bentley might have you believe but of course he expected to start ahead of pires and ljunberg at their peak. Oh well David

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  • 52. At 01:35am on 09 Nov 2008, blindgrandma wrote:

    great game from the 2 best teams (in terms of fluid football and attacking attitude) in the premier league

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  • 53. At 01:36am on 09 Nov 2008, nibs wrote:

    I have another comment to make regarding the England players yesterday. Wayne Rooney hit a couple of pigeons, Theo Walcott taken out of the game and had a couple of blunders, Michael Carrick quiet to outright shocking, Rio Ferdinand - Bendtner should have scored five need I say more. Oh and Gary Neville what is he doing on a football pitch?

    Let's be honest, the big games are the ones big players are judged upon, and the truth is nowadays you can't go very far having English players in your side. Get rid of them.

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  • 54. At 01:40am on 09 Nov 2008, nibs wrote:

    It's a shame Barca cannot play soon against any of the so-called 'quality' English clubs, especially in the state they're all in.

    We'd have such a good laugh. And the funniest thing would be the pundits ending up with egg all over their face.

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  • 55. At 01:48am on 09 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    People forget that a very poor Barca side tore man u apart last season over two legs but just lacked the killer instinct, now with them running rampant i'd love to see a rematch or even better an arsenal barca champs league draw, wouldn't that be fantasy football?!

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  • 56. At 01:52am on 09 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    Arsenal do not do "kick it away" - it was like pitching up at a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic and ordering them to play a selection of Motorhead classics

    Excellent comment by the way Phil.

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  • 57. At 01:53am on 09 Nov 2008, Ranbir wrote:

    Arsene isn't British, so of course he is put under question a lot more.

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  • 58. At 02:39am on 09 Nov 2008, bayernoatcake wrote:

    You mention Wenger not moving away from his purist forms, I think he did vs Stoke and he got punished for it. That day his tactics were garbage, today they were spot on. Good performance and result. I'm surprised that Arsenal won after the dire performance at our place, so well done to Wenger for turning it around!

    ps-I see Walcott and Sagna went to the miracle workers to be fit fo this game ;)

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  • 59. At 02:51am on 09 Nov 2008, ayjayz wrote:

    Tactically naive by United I thought. Boring as it may be, if they hadn't been flinging players forward and leaving massive gaps in the midfield for Arsenal's passing game to take effect the result may well have been different. Maybe we're beginning to see the consequences of Queiroz's departure now?

    Given their poor record so far against the top sides domestically it will be interesting to see what happens when they come up against some of the European heavyweights in the latter stages of the Champions League.

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  • 60. At 03:08am on 09 Nov 2008, ollisforunited wrote:

    Its strange to think about the fact , that if United hadn't wasted their chances all talk from Phil and other commentators about Arsenal deserving their victory would have fall silent. The fact is, that United for wast majority of the game had to penetrate eleven defenders (Just look at the match statistics: 20% in Unites penalty area against 40 in Arsenals) and United leading by far on goal attempts. Fabregas made a good turn for Nasri to fire home, but He actually played more passes astray then I've ever seen him do.

    I've seen Arsenal over recent years play far better against Man U and not getting the victory.

    They had five or six counterattacks where they were were four against two and three United players and they actually squandered them all with bad passes and bad decisions. Thats not quality for me.

    United lacked the final cutting edge to day, but some of their penetration play was as good as I've seen them at the Emirates. And bear in mind that they in periods had to do it against eleven defenders. It just seems that because the end product didn't materialize people seem to neglect the quality of some Uniteds approach play.

    Tell me when a visiting side has last enjoyed superior posession at the Emirates for large periods of the game?

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  • 61. At 03:33am on 09 Nov 2008, Tribesman wrote:

    they in periods had to do it against eleven defenders.

    What a ridiculous comment, i didn't realise united played bolton today, be gracious and take your defeat like your manager did. Arsenal could just have easily scored 4 or 5 as could have united but to say united played against 11 defenders is just laughable, grow up.

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  • 62. At 03:45am on 09 Nov 2008, Cameron wrote:

    C'mon now. Let's not get too carried away with this result. It was a magnificent match, end to end for nearly the entire match without mid match lull.

    I'm a Gooner so I would like to congratulate my team for winning the match but to be fair there was certainly some nervous moments. Man Utd were fortunately for Arsenal very wayward with their chances early on.

    Carrick had a lot of time before hitting it wide, Rooney was closer to hitting the corner flag with his couple of efforts, especially the one where Ronaldo picked him out. Ronaldo's free kicks were very tame. And Gael Clichy's header very nearly sailed in. And Park also had a decent shot well saved.

    So there was a fair amount of luck involved in this victory.

    I personally would not describe Bendtner as "outstanding". I think he was ok, but looked like he didn't know what to do when it came time to pull the trigger. Certainly not ruthless with his chances, and maybe could have done better with a couple of missed headers, but he did do the lone striker roll fairly well.

    The Arsenal V Man Utd games are the highlight of the EPL in my opinion, because there is such a "hate" factor involved because of recent years fiery and spiteful matches, i.e. The Battle of Old Trafford. But I say "hate" in a fond way (if that's possible).

    The games against Chelsea and Liverpool just don't drip with the anticpation that these games do and so it always makes for a make or break type match. At least from Arsenals' perspective.

    But I still believe the cracks are still there at Arsenal, as the 6 mins of time added on were 6 very nervous minutes indeed.

    The Gunners would still benefit from having another quality centre half and central midfielder as Fabregas is looking like a player with a little to much expectation resting on his shoulders.

    Nasri has eased that concern a bit for now with his brace but can or will he do it when Arsenal travel to the north east against those outside the top 4. I hope so, I really do, but I do still have my doubts.

    Congrats to Arsenal and Man Utd for a truly classic encounter that was pure footballing entertainment.

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  • 63. At 04:08am on 09 Nov 2008, Crumbs wrote:

    Arsene Wenger's job in question? That's a sick joke, and one that sums up exactly what is wrong with football at the moment. As soon as a team that is classed as good, start s losing, its always the managers fault and it only takes a couple of ridiculous loses to initiate that. The fact is that Wenger is the second best manager in the world behind Ferguson, and coming from a Liverpool supporter, that's saying something! To even question Wenger is absurd, he's a class manager and only if Arsenal look like dropping out of the top 4 should he ever be questioned.
    To one comment made earlier, saying Man Utd are a UEFA CUP side at best... What is wrong with you? Manchester United are clearly the best side in Europe and you are a fool to write them off at all and undermine them. I'm sure everyone on this forum has ignored your comment for it's sheer stupidity.

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  • 64. At 04:12am on 09 Nov 2008, Crumbs wrote:

    Is Nikosbg for real? I've never seen such tripe made out to be serious comments on football in my life. You clearly dislike English football and especially Man Utd, so why even bother comment? It's bias to the point of cringing and completely wrong. You sound Greek so why dont you crawl back to your WONDERFUL FOOTBALLING NATION and leave us with the awful league that is the premiership? Ok, thank you! BYE

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  • 65. At 04:48am on 09 Nov 2008, Cameron wrote:

    I agree Kihiro87, clearly NikosBg has a dislike of the EPL and Man Utd in particular. Basically if you don't agree that Barcelona is the best and only team worth watching then you must be naive and stupid.

    I am a Gooner and "hate" Man Utd too, but credit where credit is due, Man Utd are clearly a great football club with a squad that is as good as any in the world.

    The fact that Man Utd are the European Champions League holders kinda says that they are a little bit better than the UEFA Cup team they are suggested by NikosBg to be. I can't think of any players they have lost since May can you ?

    Anyway, Barcelona a current champions of no competitions and there a not holders of any cup, unlike Manchester United.

    So it would appear that Man Utd as much as I hate to say, "better" than Barcelona.

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  • 66. At 05:17am on 09 Nov 2008, Parag wrote:

    What a performance by both sides... thanks for playing the game the way it deserves to be played.

    And as a gooner, thanks for coming out with flying colours...

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  • 67. At 06:11am on 09 Nov 2008, Francesc_FabrePASS wrote:

    Dere is lot of rubbish flying in here.Dose criticising phil 4 sayng arsenal deservd 2 win r plain stupid.Yes,manu creatd chances,but futbol is bout goals.Clearly i fink dey lackd leadership.I mean,garry was awful.Arsenal also missd a lot of chances 2 so wots d fuss?2ndly,u lot tokn bout a deflected goal,y didnt manu try 2 skore deirs?N wud u say liverpool didnt deserve 2 beat chelsea?3rdly,u lot tokn bout spaces in defence cause of attacking,is dat rily an xcuse?If manu had playd defensive tactics,dey wud ve lost by up 2 8goals,bcos deir defence was plain rubbish!Pls,let us think b4 we talk.Phil,WELL DONE!!!

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  • 68. At 06:16am on 09 Nov 2008, tgbutd wrote:

    "48. At 01:22am on 09 Nov 2008, NikosBg wrote:
    Barca scored 6 for the 3rd time and people keep on talking about 2nd rate sides the likes of ManU Arsenal or Liverpool.

    Open your eyes."

    You must be ashamed and embarrassed to utter such words.Wake up and smell the coffee mate, Barca scoring 6 for the 3rd time just re-iterates the delapidative state the Spanish league is in at the moment.It's awful and pathetic like the french league.
    And by the way our eyes are open to the most exciting league in the world(EPL), and we are clandestinely feeling sorry for the La Liga. NikosBg just get yourself some big spectacles, there might improve your sight which is surely blurred at the moment.

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  • 69. At 08:04am on 09 Nov 2008, Virtuet wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 70. At 08:24am on 09 Nov 2008, Virtuet wrote:

    Open your eyes."

    You must be ashamed and embarrassed to utter such words.Wake up and smell the coffee mate.

    Offensive stuff how come I get moderated ?

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  • 71. At 08:43am on 09 Nov 2008, Virtuet wrote:

    Yesterdays games involving Man U, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelonal were all entertaining because all the teams played attacking foorball in Real Madrids case even when a man down. But it is far more common for a British to be negative and concentrate on stopping the opposition playing (i.e when Man U beat Barca last season) than it is a for Spanish team. Open attacking football like we saw yesterday Man u v Arsenal is more rare in the EPL than in the Spanish league. I am sure Wenger and even Ferguson would agree.

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  • 72. At 08:48am on 09 Nov 2008, sportszombie wrote:

    arsenal fan here...I don't in all honesty c us winning the league this season...yet the game was important as the season was seemingly disintegrating and it gives confidence to the fans and the players...yesterdays match was amazing and a couple more goals and people would have called it a classic...I wish more teams played more open football especially Chelsea and L'pool...ultimately its a sport and must entertain and too many managers are over cautious IMO

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  • 73. At 08:49am on 09 Nov 2008, nivek2105 wrote:

    The very first comment on here states that Rooney was wasteful and seems to have got over his 'purple patch'.

    Maybe, but let's look at how he got over it. He had one poor game, at Everton, and then was immediately dropped for Tevez. Before that he wasn't just an average player having a purple patch, he looked positively world class and was bossing games. But being dropped knocks your confidence and makes you desperate to prove yourself. No wonder his game has lost its swagger.

    Then there is Tevez, three times South American footballer of the year and admired by many top coaches and players, including Diego Maradona. But apparently not by SAF, who prefers a lazy Bulgarian smoker.

    That is the problem, having blown his entire budget on Berbatov and merely succeeded in breaking up the rhythm of a Premiership and European Champions League winning team, SAF will never admit he is wrong.

    If I were Tevez I would be looking to the future elsewhere, because both he and Rooney deserve better than this.

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  • 74. At 08:59am on 09 Nov 2008, The Lone Rangel wrote:

    Bendtner is not good enough for Arsenal. The fact that he's the first alternative for Adebayor is the prime reason why they're not realistic Premiership contenders, despite yesterday's (well deserved) result. The lack of strength in depth and strength in general has, does and will continue to cost them against the more physical outfits.

    As far as Utd go, surely I can't be the only person who thought Spurs utterly mugged them for Berbatov? Whilst prolifc against the lesser teams of the Prem, he's consistently failed against the bigger sides, and hasn't played particularly well against them for Utd. He's the very definition of a flat track bully.

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  • 75. At 09:15am on 09 Nov 2008, zatknight wrote:

    Gallas in my opinion is a "natural captain" whatever that means. It is no coincidence that since Gallas left Chelsea they have not won the league. There is nothing any so called leader could have done about Arsenal's defeat to Stoke or Spurs. Unless you are suggesting a "natural captain" turns into an invisble second goal keeper.

    I often find it quite comical when so called "Chief Football Writers" like yourself make comments about football when you have never played to this level. The bottom line in football and any sport is that the team who takes their chances WINS. Arsenal took more of their chances Man Utd did not!!! On another day it could have been the reverse.

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  • 76. At 09:43am on 09 Nov 2008, visualchristoff wrote:

    Rooney 'purple patch' was down to England manager Capello who has shaped the England side around Rooney and given him the confidence and self control he so desperately needed.
    SAF acknowledge how much better he was playing with self control!
    But Rooney is drifing back into 'headless chicken' mode.

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  • 77. At 09:48am on 09 Nov 2008, SportsFan wrote:

    A majority of possession and a host of wasted chances to draw or win a game but you didn't take them. United fans - welcome to our world. We've accepted it happens now and again and so should you.

    Is Samir Nasri better or worse than Ashley Young as a little englunder asked? Well the case is arguable both ways, but the picture is there aren't any other truely decent left-sided English players. Joe Cole is just a very good player who could do a job anywhere in midfield. Actually - I'm wrong - there is another; his name is Jack Wilshere and he's at Arsenal. Then there's Frimpong, Randall, Simpson and others - as someone has pointed out, there will be much humble pie being eaten in 3/4 years when Arsenal provide the majority of English players - with good old fashioned English grit (which until Capello arrived was only good for English roads) and a level of technical ability we don't have in comparison to most of our European counterparts.

    Back to Arsenal, United may have had a handful more chances, however, we were missing our 3 best strikers - RVP, Ade and Eduardo. That's a bit like you missing Tevez, Berbatov and Rooney. They cost £90m combined whereas I think our strikers, minus Eduardo, were picked up for about £10m combined. That is Wenger's genius. When we played Sunderland recently, their team cost more than ours but Arsenal compete for the title and play in the CL year in year out. I say again, genius.

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  • 78. At 09:49am on 09 Nov 2008, fake_finn wrote:

    I think that true Arsenal fans have never questioned Wenger's style and decisions, even in the face of the bad defeats we have suffered this season. The players that he brings in and nurtured are more than capable of taking on the mantle of any players who chose to leave for a 'bigger' club.
    Nasri epitomised this against Man U with a display superior to any that Hleb ever produced. With Denilson, Ramsey, Vela, Walcott and Wilshire all building up to reach their enormous potential, not to mention the (hopefully imminent) return of Rosicky and Eduardo, I think the remainder of the season for Arsenal will be much stronger than the early season has been. If we can beat Chelsea and Liverpool then the league is wide open. I Wenger we trust.

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  • 79. At 09:52am on 09 Nov 2008, keeaannoo wrote:

    united are creating chance after chance every match but because they dont have a proper goal scorer they cant finish teams off.
    i dont undrestand why fergie bought another player who is similiar to tevez and rooney???!!! he should of bought e'too instead, and barca were willing to sell him for around 20m, his record is unbelievable, this season alone he has scored 16 in 15 games.
    however we (united fans) shouldnt get carried away with this lose, we still got to play chelsea arsenal and liverpool at home, and we didnt play poorly, it was one of those days and also to be fair arsenal played good and took their chances

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  • 80. At 10:04am on 09 Nov 2008, fake_finn wrote:

    It seems to have been overlooked in many accounts of the game I have read, but I think one of the kay factors in the win over Man U was a fantastic, not to mention incredibly brave performance by Almunia. A moment of madness taking the backpass at the start, but after that he produced some great saves and held every ball well. The scoreline could have been very, very different if he hadn't made 6 saves (to Van der Sar's 2).

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  • 81. At 10:16am on 09 Nov 2008, madeiraman57 wrote:

    A great game and probably a fair result, though as a 51 year Manchester United fan I think on any other day with some luck a draw would have been had.
    The whole game was too open.yes great end to end stuff, but no 'cool ' heads on show and not enough hustle or composure by the United midfielders.
    I agree with a couple of bloggers who said Fletcher was missed, also, sorry to say but Neville hasn't the pace now to stay with young legs, this fact alone had Rio playing out of position too often and sapped his energy no doubt.
    United's front 3 didn't do their job and if there is a 'rotation ' policy, then Tevez should start and at least be able to show his skills early on in games.
    A re- think is needed at OT - how we miss the Portuguese coach !!

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  • 82. At 10:29am on 09 Nov 2008, Robbie wrote:

    For me the difference yesterday for Arsenal was the crowd. I think collectively 60,000 people were not going to allow the league season to end yesterday, and screamed, sung, and shouted their will on to the team. I really hope we can create an atmosphere like that every week, now we know it can be done at the Emirates.

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  • 83. At 10:35am on 09 Nov 2008, nivek2105 wrote:

    In reply to #79, Fergie didn't buy another player who is similar to Rooney and Tevez. Both of those two work hard and play for the team, whereas Berbatov is selfish and lazy.

    United are incredibly lucky to have Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez, three of the world's best players in one team (for this season read squad). The utter folly of dislodging one of them with an inferior player will cost United this year if SAF persists in playing Berbatov.

    And a reminder for those spoilt Johnny Come Lately United fans who think building a team is a case of assembling a fantasy football XI, United won the Champions League last year, not to mention the Premiership. That is something that Barcelona failed to achieve with Eto’o and Spurs failed spectacularly to achieve with Berbatov.

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  • 84. At 10:49am on 09 Nov 2008, back_to_oblivion wrote:

    am happy for the result and it gives more pleasure that it came during the right time, arsenal really deserved this Boost , But i would love to see the response from the pundits/fans/bloggers after another arsenal defeat( its more likely ). They will be shouting again for a change in wengers policy and arsenals weakness, its a fact that arsenal does not have consistent form and they lack consistancy.. and some one righty said '' arsenal shows consistency in inconsistency'' !! fans and the media will celebrate this win and they forget about the shortcomings, i still stand by my opinion arsenal does not have the grit and expereince to win any championship they are bunch of weak and immature individuals who cannot stay together when things does not go thier way , they need some matured and expereinced players in defence and central midfeild plus a genuine Number 9. but am enjoying this win for now and expecting more wins soooon

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  • 85. At 11:02am on 09 Nov 2008, EntertainAtAllCosts wrote:

    Good point raised in #82 by furiousbakerrr, although I would add that arriving in time and staying for the entire game every game is something which all supporters should do.

    I am still to fathom why so many choose to leave before the end of the game (particularly when the side is ahead!). Though, it was good to see not many left early yesterday.

    Yes, I know there are traffic issues, but having paid for 96 (or whatever) minutes, why see only 70 or 80 of them?

    Part-time fans critical of the team not performing for the entire 94 minutes against Spurs, should look at themselves. You wouldn't believe how many I know left that game not knowing the final score.

    Although recognising they are 'professional', I could easily expect the distraction of an emptying stadium and lack of support at the end of the game will have some effect on the players. Let's face it, a major benefit of being at home is, or should be, the support of the home crowd.

    Or maybe I'm just on a rant because of all the times my view is impaired and when someone choses to leave their seat and file past during the game.

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  • 86. At 11:04am on 09 Nov 2008, EvertonFc87 wrote:

    After the Fenerbache game, if you had predicted the outcome of the game to be 2-1 to Arsenal, many would have laughed.
    Lets not forget that van Persie, Adebayor and Eduardo (1st, 2nd and 3rd choice strikers) were not available to Arsenal yesterday. Fabregas was also below par, and United were able to call on Giggs and Tevez to come off the bench, and Nani was an unused sub.

    On paper, United had a 'stronger' starting XI and a 'stronger' squad, yet Arsenal defied the odds and succeeded.

    Everyone will have their own opinions as to why this has happened, but put simply, this is football, and this is why we love it.

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  • 87. At 11:13am on 09 Nov 2008, Dave I wrote:

    I think this game was up there with the all time classics of English football.
    I would go so far as to say that anybody who didn't enjoy this game doesn't like football.
    It's not coincidence that all the classics are played by footballing teams.
    There was only one bad tackle (Clichy), so where does that leave the purveyors of the get stuck in type of football that teams like Stoke etc. produce.
    Just because the only way you can win is by clogging, doesn't mean it's right.

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  • 88. At 11:17am on 09 Nov 2008, footiefan011 wrote:

    arsenal have once again distracted the critics with a win over another top 4 club..... i dont know if anyones noticed but most top 4 clubs are supposed to beat each other at some point

    its no good winning against chelsea liverpool and man utd if theyre gona lose to stoke fulham and hull

    we all new that on theyre day arsenal are kings of entertaining football so why is everyone so amazed by them doing it now

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  • 89. At 11:31am on 09 Nov 2008, SWLGooner wrote:

    It's very true that it's harder for us to play Stoke than good teams who play open football, but it seems to me that the solution is there. We need steel.

    This match SHOULD galvanise Wenger into making sure this sublimely talented but soft-centered team can reach their potential. We just need a CDM and a solid keeper...

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  • 90. At 12:30pm on 09 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    phil, you claim Arsenal fully deserved to win and that's fair enough - it's your opinion.

    but i honestly don't see how pointing out that virtually all your football journo colleagues thinking the same adds even the slightest shred of weight to such a claim.

    when i go to work tomorrow no-one will be very interested in telling me how good Arsenal are. they'll just be thrilled that United lost.

    as for the fact we've only taken a point from the three biggest aways, yep that's a downer. but these things go in cycles; the 1990 league champions hadn't beaten us in the league on their own field for about 7 years for a start off, and last season United came out on top in a thrilling match with the Arsenal at OT - all told we took 13pts from the 6 fixtures last season, so it was an exceptional haul.

    in my opinion the title is not won on the outcome of these fixtures at all. it is won on the outcome of all 38 fixtures. United have so far dropped 4pts against Newcastle and Everton that could well prove very costly in the final reckoning. on the other hand, we won at Portsmouth - again, these things go in cycles.

    a win at City is at the top of my wish list.

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  • 91. At 12:43pm on 09 Nov 2008, MatTheGunner wrote:

    Good post and a very accurate one by Vegan_Utd. Also worth mentioning is one united fan who posted that Webb was biased towards Arsenal yesterday. Well your fellow supporter Vegan Utd clearly pointed out that this wasn't the case. Great game of football by both sides who went at it from the first minute. As a Gooner, fairplay to United for making it such an exciting game to watch too. What pleased me was our defending at set pieces which was way better than it has been on several occasions so far this season. There's still quite a bit of work to be done on the defensive side because on another day united would have score four but this is a good win for us and hopefully we can move on now.

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  • 92. At 1:04pm on 09 Nov 2008, Dismas wrote:

    Good game yesterday

    Arsenal grafted hard. Continually put pressure on united. I think Clichy was man of the match. Still united were better in build up but did not put anything away. As has been said before Rooney and Ronaldo were wateful and Berbatov actually got little service.

    From early on it was obvious that this was a game that Tevez would have thrived in. Jostling under pressure. I don't think I have ever seen anyone better at snatching back a seemingly lost ball at close quarters. It was very disappointing that SAF only brought him on near the end and brought Giggs on before him!

    Park, Carrick and Fabregas were wasteful in the midfield but Nasri was stunning.

    As a united fan the defense worried me. Neville left gaping holes which left the normally secure Ferdinand and Vidic stretched. On top of that neither had a good game. Rafael came on and was inspirational again but he is not the finished article, and for that matter neither is Anderson. However, Anderson did run his socks off and covered well for Carricks errors and laziness (not something I would normally say about him).

    In all the big players, Cesc, CR, Rooney, Berbatov, did not perform but there where excellent performances from Nasri, Clichy, Rafael and yes, Anderson (who at least showed heart)

    Well done Arsenal.

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  • 93. At 1:07pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    erm good as this blogg is and interesting where is the 606 thread on this match and the views thereafter?

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  • 94. At 1:14pm on 09 Nov 2008, sensationalbodhran wrote:

    Just as well Fergie isn't a referee as he would be most inconsistent.

    In May he said that the penalty given in the United V Chelsea was never a penalty, as the ball had hit the players arm. He said daft decisions like that were ruining the game.

    Yesterday he claimed a penalty when the ball hit Clichy's arm, in a similar incident.

    Would this not be ruining the game as well?

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  • 95. At 1:27pm on 09 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    good point sensationabodhran

    Ferguson's point was no doubt intended to highlight the inconsistent call on these incidents

    for instance, Liverpool get penalties when their own players head the ball out for a goal-kick, it seems :-)

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  • 96. At 1:33pm on 09 Nov 2008, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    In defence of the Arsenal fans who questioned Wenger, I think they are perfectly within their rights to do so.

    Wenger - indeed no manager - can be immune from questioning at times when things go wrong.

    Where I feel it crosses the line is when some suggest his time is up, or we get the time-honoured "he's taken us as far as he can."

    This is nonsense. Where would Arsenal find a better manager than Wenger?

    He can be questioned and criticised though. It is the price on the ticket of managing such a high-profile and successful football club.

    I should add that the huge majority of those supporters who have questioned Wenger's tactics and approach have done so very reasonably.

    It is a very small minority who have even hinted his time might be up, a view that I believe is hopelessly wrong-headed.

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  • 97. At 1:37pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    it can be no coincidence in so far as the context of this game. It does not mean we will the league of course and as someone said earlier congrats to man u for such a sporting game played in good spirit and yes on another day they would have taken a few more of their chances.

    saterday was when Arsenal had a bit of good fortune though they did work hard to get the result.

    I would like to mention about this issue concerning Arsenals so called inabilty or backbone to deal with the likes of HULL or STOKE. The results from these two sides over the weekend put into perspective the realism behind these two teams results against the Gunners. Hulls victory was well derserving I am not a fan of Stoke at all.

    This weekend Hull lost to a side which I am sure they would have been confident of beating having got results against Arsenal and Spurs and nearly grabbing the points at OT against Man u.

    Stoke managed a bore 0-0 draw against a wigan side, who either dealt very affectivly with the long throw merchant or perhaps Stoke were on this occasion not able to get the " lucky flick ons " leading to such calamatous goals being conceeded by the so called Big Boys.

    In perspective then, Hull caught Arsenal napping! and played well to get their win, Stoke it now seems were very lucky! and the Long Throw failed on saterday to bare any fruits for them. So are we now to assume that Stoke are totally out of thier depth when it comes to actually playing football? and no I dont mean fancy footwork, I mean ball to feet, not playing for " throw ins " which appears to be their only way of getting the ball in the net.

    The fact mention was made of some of the " clogging " going on could perhaps suggest that managers of several clubs have indeed wised up to the young guns wont like the physical side of the game not because they cant " hack it " but the refferee fails to award free kicks/fouls when these teams play arsenal but when they play man u or chelsea its a differnt story, therefore these so called lesser teams do not go in for dodgy play as if they do they will know they will concede free kicks etc. I shoud say its just a theory which perhaps is escapeing the attention of some who seem to of cousre " admire " Stoke. It will be very interesting to see just how the others deal/cope with stoke.

    as for HULL, well after such wonderfull displays against the Big Boys, they slip up by palying a potential minnow ( no disrepect to Bolton either ) but could it be Hull can hack it against the Big Boys who will play football, but themselves also trip up against a more physical side etc.

    As for Stoke by all means praise thier efforts but do not gloryfy in their tactics for perhaps wanting to boot players of the park and to have thier goalkeeper rant " Arsenal lack spine " is utter nonesense and his side can take no pride in what they have brought to the PL and I for one hope they go down as quickly as they came up.

    I suppose want i am asking is:

    how did stoke manage a 0-0 against Wigan? yet managed to win at Arsenal? it certainly was not as a result of good football as displayed by others.

    Rant over: well done The Arsenal and well done to Man U for making it such a great game and niether side are out of anything! its still all to play for.

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  • 98. At 1:57pm on 09 Nov 2008, goonergetit wrote:

    The right questions were not correctly posed. This is the views of the media that have a high opinion of their own opinion, which shows why they are journalists and not football coaches. The Hull defeat was a fluke, we should have won, Hull had two great goals, Arsenal suffered disastrous arrogance, cat v mouse, watch the game. Tottenham was a fluke. If Arsenal have a failing it's youthful arrogance. The French people are a frugal people, they don't waste money so easily, go to France if you want evidence. A Socialist background which fosters community and teamwork, team ethic, trust and belief. The right wing media witch hunt of Wenger is exactly what it is, a right wing agenda, he is revolutionising the game in England, with his way, he is showing how you don't have to go slinging your bling around, that there is another way, and it's great to watch also! it's based on belief spirit and desire always essentially something that has always been Arsenal, if the media think that they can force our destiny then go and have a look at the statue's placed at the Emirates because of Arsne Wenger.

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  • 99. At 2:05pm on 09 Nov 2008, goonergetit wrote:

    Goodbet2, you state that it is well documented that Arsenal don't have strength in depth and are short of a few good players. When we have a fully fit squad the dilema facing Wenger will be keeping his squad together and picking a team! We'll have the strongest squad in the premiership by far, so let's leave that keyboard alone until you've had a good think about what you're going to type with your fingers ! Are you one of the fan's that Boo's the Arsenal?

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  • 100. At 2:53pm on 09 Nov 2008, MOEMAX wrote:

    As an Arsenal supporter I have always had faith in Arsene since a year after he was appointed. When we lost all our strikers before the game I trusted that Wenger will come with a strategy to play Man U. I still believe though that we need a strong and hard tackling central middlefielder in the make of Gattuso or Alonso. anywhere God willing, we will tale the title to the last day

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  • 101. At 3:01pm on 09 Nov 2008, radiantTeddy wrote:

    I think this's not a real victory. although such victories are good, we will lose when stoke and similar clubs play with arsenal. still I see inconvenience in our club, arsenal. look at carefully the midfield. do we have like flamini? how can we overcome when gungle clubs attack us? I think we have hope in January.

    I would like to hear something from wenger about january. unless, believe me we will not succeed. to say like this is ofcourse painful. but you yourselves can judge it from what is happenning.

    let us see in the future.

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  • 102. At 3:02pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    comment 98:

    leaving aside the " flukes " etc which if taken out of context would be met with a barrage of " bitter gooner " etc as we have seen when ever mention is made of our bad luck at times.

    Your description of the english v french ethic is spot on! when looking at the wider picture and of course not wishing to hyjack the blogg with matters not directly related to footy you have made such a valid point and a very good description of what is possibly going on in the uk in general not just in footy.

    as u say in the UK there is much mention of " team " ethic but cut through that veneer and the underbelly is totaly different
    individualism is personifide by the media working as a team for the good of all is to frowned upon.

    liked ya post whoever you are.

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  • 103. At 3:50pm on 09 Nov 2008, paul hewson wrote:

    Neville had a poor game, but has been slated before by sections of the london media and abu fan base.

    he has always come back stronger and in this era of no leaders, he is one of the best around.

    what surprised me yesterday was not Mr McNulty's anti man u rants, but the Woolwich fans celebrating again at the end like they have won the world cup. 4 days after the boos

    clueless fans which is such a shame when their club plays such good football.

    anyway, as long as we sign Joey in the january transfer window and get some bit back in the middle of the park. we will be okay come May

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  • 104. At 3:56pm on 09 Nov 2008, billybrag wrote:

    It's a shame Barca cannot play soon against any of the so-called 'quality' English clubs, especially in the state they're all in.

    We'd have such a good laugh. And the funniest thing would be the pundits ending up with egg all over their face.


    There's truth to this although I believe that apart from Chelsea, all top 4 teams would beat Barca on their day and I say that because Chelsea to me seem so over-rated. Never should have been in the CL final apart from own goals by Fernabache and Liverpool, were defensively rueful in the first half of the final and should have been put to bed by the end of 45 minutes and got totally exposed and torn to pieces by Roma in their latest midweek game. Arsenal are great but very unpredictable and Man U are looking a little disinterested or are lacking that hunger, it seems.

    I can see Liverpool, Arsenal and perhaps Man U going far in CL this season, but not Chelsea, who could however win the P because of the dog like mentality of skipper JT.

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  • 105. At 4:04pm on 09 Nov 2008, kev1999 wrote:

    I believe Sir Alex has gone a little soft with his long term players, and this is costing United massive dropping points
    Take Giggs at Liverpool, he cost United there winning goal, by getting caught when he should have put the ball out for a corner
    Far to slow in a game like that.
    Yesterday at Arsenal, Neville, it was embarrassing, i felt sorry for him, Arsenal knew he was a weak link and both goals were down to is lack of being fit for a massive game like that
    We had the same with McClair years ago
    Great players in there prime, but age beats us all
    Sir Alex of the mid 90s would never have played these players in such massive games
    Hes got to close to them as friends along with Scholes
    With football you have to move on
    Great players know when the time is up
    Cantana and Keane knew when that was
    Fair play to them

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  • 106. At 4:05pm on 09 Nov 2008, hesbighesred wrote:

    I don't think this win means very much at all.

    I mean, is anyone really surprised? When have Arsenal EVER had a poor record against their direct rivals? When has that EVER been their problem?

    Never under Wenger anyway. It'll mean something if they can go on very solid run of results against poorer teams, putting away a few physical sides in the process.

    Arsenal have had the same weaknesses for ages, and have further weakened themselves this summer by not replacing Flamini.

    Watching yesterday, nothing's remotely changed. Sure, they can cut through anyone, but there defence is far from solid, and does not receive any protection from what must be one of the lightest weight midfields of any top side in the world.

    At no point were they in charge of the midfield battle, at no point did they look comfortably in charge of the game, and even at 2-0 they may have countered very well, but were also completely unable to stay compact, force Man Utd into areas they don't like, and consistently win back and keep possession.

    I'll always fear Arsenal as a team to play, but until they can actually add the aspects to their game that don't look great on MOTD they will not be challengers for any top trophy.

    Compare and contrast with Liverpool beating Chelsea and indeed Man Utd. We never looked quite as spectacular as Arsenal in attack, though we were hardly much less effective, but in both cases the opponent hardly had a sniff. We didn't just win, we controlled those games, and when we had a lead we did a very good job of killing off the games.

    I do like Arsenal, like the way they play, but increasingly I think Wenger is blinkered/limited in his's not even to do with the money, it's to do with his ideology. He seems to honestly believe that a good enough attack does not need to sully itself with proper defending, and that to me is actually quite a disrespectful attitude. Football is not just about pretty passing and goals, and just because Arsenal look the best on MOTD highlights does not actually mean they play the best football.

    Attack means nothing if you can't win the ball back, or stop your opponent scoring.

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  • 107. At 4:10pm on 09 Nov 2008, thierry_no14 wrote:

    Just having a quick read through the comments and certain opinions shock me, and moreso the fact that people actually believe what they are saying. Dont get me wrong everyone is entitled to an opinion but "fabregas is going downhill" "this isnt 2006"

    He was a stunning player last year and still is, at 21. I wont lie, i do think to get the best out of him we need someone, Marcos Senna perhaps...

    I think bendtner was disappointing with the chances he missed, but remember when we first signed Adebayor, the open goals against Pompey and Bolton he missed. Give Niklas some time. Under Wenger he always has a chance.

    A good artice Phil, suprised that some people have criticised it, views are shrouded by their footballing support for united i think.

    A deserved win for the arsenal, i think the possession ended 54 46 to united and if you are to look at clear cut chances and hypothesise about what would have happened if they went in, then it would have ended up a high scoring game no doubt, but Bendtner should have had 2, so there is only so much united fans who think they deserved a win can say.

    ARSENE WENGERS RED AND WHITE ARMY, its like 1998 all over again.

    Arsene knows....

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  • 108. At 4:31pm on 09 Nov 2008, Tony wrote:

    We can deal with the physical teams though when we try. Have you already forgotten us beating our two biggest bogey teams of the past Blackburn and Bolton away from home, and very comfortably as well!

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  • 109. At 5:08pm on 09 Nov 2008, bargeye wrote:

    I cannot see why arsenal are all of a sudden the darlings of english football.
    manchester utd play brilliant open attacking football and have won trophies in the past ,present and future because of this.
    Arsenal won a home game in november......big deal.
    The fans that booed them last week cheered this week. I am shocked at the pundits on television and in the print media this morning making out that arsenal swept man u away?
    arsenal will win no silverware for yesterdays victory. they were very very fortunate. Cesc turned an unfit 33 year old whos best years are long gone so hes now a "maestro" yet again.
    i despise fickle football fans.there optimism shrouds there inability to see that arsenal are still the same arsenal. they easily could of thrown away that victory yesterday onli 4 complacency on the part of utds attackers.
    it semed to me that Man Utd were afraid to be heavy handed or put vital tackles in because wenger all week in his own way has being influecing referres all over the land and yet no one seems to have mentioned this? Clichy intentionally chopped down ronaldo and squueky clean arsenal had double the fouls tally at home.....good luck at the reebok and ewood park

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  • 110. At 5:46pm on 09 Nov 2008, BigShifty wrote:

    Arsenals weaknesses are pretty well documented so no point in saying it again....
    But in time they will surely be absolutely devastating, as the current crop gets more experienced and Ramsey and co start to light up, I can see them outplaying everyone.

    Whether they can hold onto fabregas etc could be key to their progress though, if they leave, the 'youngster cycle' will be back to step 1 again instead of starting to finally bear fruit.

    Gary Neville -- never liked him in his day and would be surprised to hear anyone say he should still be captain now, mentality and experience says a lot but if he is not performing he is not leading by example.

    Rafael while not complete, is infinitely exciting, and he is supposedly worse than his brother, bugger it sell evra and get them both playing, its what Wenger would do...

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  • 111. At 5:47pm on 09 Nov 2008, The Trawler wrote:

    the point made by hesbighesred is surely tongue in cheek

    i've watched Liverpool on the tele this season a number of times - Marseille, Wigan, Stoke, Liege (was it?) and frankly they were largely abysmal for large parts of all of them and clearly second best for long spells of at least two of them

    the notion that Liverpool somehow dominated Manchester United at Anfield is also overstretching the point by a distance. in reality, i'd guess that United could've sat there doing next to nothing for another couple of hours and still took the points but for Brown's own goal.

    now by all accounts Liverpool did indeed play very well at Chelsea. but it's interesting to note that there is just the merest hint over the last few matches that the luck they've been positively dripping in over the first couple of months of the season has started to turn - although the Gerrard dive the other night suggests there is still some left for them.

    if i'm honest, what worries me is that the 3-0 beating of WBA does suggest that they'll handle the bad luck that's long overdue for them by making life a bit more comfortable for themselves in the easier fixtures. however, their squad does not look like a champion squad to me - far from it.

    Liverpool no doubt got a huge boost from beating Chelsea. ultimately i'd expect it to be United who benefit from it more, though. and hopefully Arsenal will take points off the pair of them as well.

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  • 112. At 6:02pm on 09 Nov 2008, Rita Cocking wrote:

    Could someone please explain to me why Wes Brown does not seem to be getting into the United first team at the moment? Is he injured,because if he is ,I have not hear about it.Surely,it would have made more sense to start the match against Arsenal with Brown,and have Gary Neville on the bench.Gary,bless him,is obviously not firing on all cylinders just yet,and it can't be doing much for his self confidence.

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  • 113. At 6:46pm on 09 Nov 2008, barca4ever wrote:

    Please forgive Nikosbg. He dosen't remember that we played 1-1 with basel from Switzerland at camp Nou. ManU and Arsenal are great clubs and i wouldn't want to meet them at the early stages in the champions league. The advert for football was good. Congrats to both teams.

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  • 114. At 6:57pm on 09 Nov 2008, allboyz wrote:

    lol....Gunners all the way..the best team in ENGLAND....

    ARS is the only team on earth that shows how football should be played...both as a sport and entertainment....

    NOV 8TH game against the Reds...the funniest part of the game was " when Rooney played a shot and went past the touch line for a throw - very funny.

    Next up Wigan - AW must NOT play Kolo in that game, else Zaki will completely destroy his career. Kolo has still not recovered fully from the multiple waist twisting he got from Zaki in the last African Cup of Nations.

    Cheers 2 all Gunners

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  • 115. At 7:07pm on 09 Nov 2008, bargeye wrote:

    man united are a more exciting side than arsenal.
    look at there goal difference for the past 2 seasons and the amount of silverware and acolades their players picked up.
    arsenal are just.........arsenal really.
    just because Hansen and Gray are so overlyimpressed that they can string a few passes (unpressurised most of the time i may add due to opposition not being alowed contact due to wengers crybaby antics influences refs) 2gether.
    There a good side no doubt however der overated and der lack of silverware proves dis.

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  • 116. At 7:24pm on 09 Nov 2008, SuperStrikerShivam wrote:

    Manchester United shall win the Premier League, not Arsenal. They haven't got consistancy, and United do, yesterday was a one off and if you get beaten to Hull at home, and fulham then Stoke, you've got no hope, as they have a lack of strikers.

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  • 117. At 7:35pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    to 115:

    I suggest you read the blogg properly? or is that beyond your capabilities, at least make the effort to read some of the responses before comming out with the utter nonesense you have written.

    And from what you have written you are not a supporter of the game at all. I assume you are one those who come the end of the kick offs etc you only bother to read and listen to how marvelous man u are and disregard other teams, their efforts etc. You also strike me as the sort of person that should man u go trophyless for 2 seasons you will jump ship, change your shirt colour or pressure your parents into buying you some new kit in the sales to adorn your sorry over large frame down the local park or school playground.

    You talk utter nonesense but thats hardly surprising due to your age and obvious lack of any interlect at all.

    as they say " children should be seen and not heard " now toodle of to bed its Lights Out for You i think.

    Ps: dont forget to take the teddy will you.

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  • 118. At 7:37pm on 09 Nov 2008, mokokoconfiance wrote:

    As an Arsenal fan I think its to our best interest to ignore the media spin which is there to dis-stabilise than construct a better arsenal. There don,t like us we should learn to not read there articles. I have faith I my team and we can win any team that come to play the game of football and not kickboxing. Football is entertament not war. I have never seen were journalist would praise players for kicking another professional player, I hope it happen to our English national team and see the song there will sing if our players are being subjected to the treatment the Arsenal player do undergo.
    Go the Gunners.
    In Arsene we trust.
    Remember he is a consultant to the FA and I don't see any team in the UK which would not cherish to have Him.

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  • 119. At 7:39pm on 09 Nov 2008, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Gooner here. Arsenal will win the mini-league of the top 4 sides. We usually do. However, there are no play-offs in the PL. It is the Stokes and Hulls you have to beat to win the PL.. We need players who are mentally and more importantly physically strong. The PL is a hard place to be. You have to be able to take care of yourself, otherwise you get out-muscled, out-kicked and out-scored.

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  • 120. At 7:43pm on 09 Nov 2008, elliot18 wrote:

    i dont understand why arsenal fans r sayin that adebayor is not that gd n misses too many chances for how many goals he gets. if u look at the stats im sure ronaldo missed as much as adebayor last season n probably more. im realistic all these fantastic footballers r human there just very gd at what they do. adebayor has everythin pace, movement which bendtner really struggles with and a work rate that is phenominal,evrytime adebayor is on the ball somethin will happen. enough about adebayor. i also think that wenger knows what he is doin with his squad but he does need to get his checkbook out, we need someone like micah richards who's versatile and determined to improve and hes also english. we also need a comandin midfielder like diaby, n i feel that yaya toure would be an excellent buy. i have no doubt whatsoever that arsenal r the best team in the world but they need to turn up with a determination like they do when they play the big boys cause if they do that they win everythin, what i would think about doin is playin the big players for the big games and the carling cup team against smaller teams in the premiership. that will also make the big players think oww r place isnt secured n that may make them fight more to win these sort of games versus stoke and hull. owww n u man u fans that say had alot of chances in the game, well we arsenal fans have been sayin that along time but it dont ring u silverwear if u dont put the ball in the net in the end. i also think man u need another mid and a stricker because uve got knowone who will get in behind defences apart from ronaldo. uve got berba n rooney n tevez who all of them like to drop deep n get the ball. walcott is class and is goin to be a star of arsenal football club. come on u arsenal!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 121. At 7:48pm on 09 Nov 2008, mokokoconfiance wrote:

    FabulousRedsReds i do think Brazil have been winning the world cup by out-muscled, out kicking the other teams. we are in football were you have to kick the ball not another player that is a foul. Do you remember when this style last give us the world cup.

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  • 122. At 7:56pm on 09 Nov 2008, Goonerview wrote:

    From reading all the comments, here are my two cents!:

    Bentdner played well, - he wasn't sharp infront of goal, but considering he was on his own up front, he was a handful.
    He took Vidic and Rio out of the game, pinning them in and stopping them from moving forward.- thus giving space for Fabregas and Nasri to create chances!!

    "Fabregas going down hill"- you have got to be joking?

    Walcott played well, considering he was evidently not 100% fit!, he held the ball and forced the line when he could and showed alot of maturity.

    Was a close match, considering our recent injuries, a draw would have been a good result, but im very happy with the win!!

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  • 123. At 8:06pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    to 118:

    I think you are spot on when you say ignore the media frenzy. I am sure AW does a good job to try and ensure the players do not get to distracted by those whom forever seem to enjoy undermineing The Arsenal at any given opportunity.

    to 119:

    I agree somewhat with what you say, however, as we have seen others have slipped up against the so called whipping boys and to be honest I think the days of any team running away with the EPL are now over, same can be said for anyone particular domminance. Of course we needed to beat those teams you mention, but that wont always be the case, slip ups will happen not just to The Arsenal either.

    Hull so nearly completed quite an amazing treble of thier own, but now look at thier result against a side who they must have assumed they would win haveing so to speak played the " best "

    Stoke also have slipped up, the long throw did not work against Wigan, they obviously dealt with it, though ive not seen how they dealt with it.

    just because we are Arsenal we are not guarenteed a win all the time, however, its about the effort, the commitment, what we dont want to see is heads dropping , because things are not going our way, or some of playmakers are having lumps kicked out of them. Ok so no one remembers the losers so much, but when proper perspective is applied and analasis (without bias ) the true reason for the defeat will be exposed. And that reason is not always because we the Arsenal were outplayed, outfought, lacked spine, etc etc, though agreed lack of adequate mentality when the going gets tuff is just critism on some occasions.

    We did well to win against man u, i was not at the game but on reading some of the posts from both gooners and man u supporters alike it seems on this occasion it was our day, fortune smiled upon us and so we can savour the momments, however we must now attempt to repeat this in the games ahead otherwise this euphoria will soon evaporate into yet further critism of the team and AW, not by me i hasten to add, as a supporter, yes i admit, an armchair one I happen to want to give AW every chance to implement his changes and carry out his style of management, hes done an exceptional job for the club and in many respects has done a good job for football in general and the worldwide profile of the EPL in its wider sense.

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  • 124. At 8:07pm on 09 Nov 2008, gringo Loco wrote:

    Well there are a lot of one eyed writers in this blog.

    I'm neutral and live 1/2 a world away in Bolivia.

    Arsenal deserved to win and had the game under control until the last minutes. There was no dubious penalty to save MU and the Gelled tumbler was well below form. He'll be world player of the year for last year, but will not repeat.

    There is a small gap at the top of the table with the season nearly 1/3 over. This gap will not be easy to close for either of yesterday's protangonists.

    Arsenal should invest their whole budget in Mascherano, the best defensive midfielder in the world.

    When they get their whold squad fit again, they'll be awsome as will Chelski.

    I cringe everytime I see Joey on the pitch. He should be banned for life. Cloughy wouyld have had him playing with the stiffs.

    As far as the various leagues are concerned at the moment in the Champions League it is
    Spain 32
    England 31
    Italy 27

    Lets' wait until the knockout stages to see who is better, The EPL big 4, Barca or Juve who had a stunning win in midweek.

    Whoever finishes above Chelski will win the EPL

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  • 125. At 8:08pm on 09 Nov 2008, fuggle47 wrote:

    I think there are many Man Utd fans being bitter about the result. It's crazy that Man Utd fans are claiming they are getting a biased coverage from the BBC! This is just simply a bitter comment, prying for a finger to point the blame of defeat at! Man Utd are arguably the most favourably covered team by every television organization!

    Whilst many Utd fans have moaned about their team missing chances to win the game, Arsenal had plenty that they wasted. But that's football - a goal only counts if the chance is converted - something that Arsenal know only too well...

    Lastly - whoever doubts Fabregas is a fool!

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  • 126. At 8:15pm on 09 Nov 2008, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    mokokoconfiance - Arsenal have a better chance of winning a cup competition than the league. Having said that, we are no Brazil. The only Brazilian we have would find it hard to make it into any Brazilian national side. By the way, Brazil has been literally kicked out of a World Cup. Portugal did just that in 1966.

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  • 127. At 8:16pm on 09 Nov 2008, AFridge wrote:

    I'm a Liverpool fan and i must say that was a brilliant game from a neutral viewer and i must say Arsenal deserved the win.

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  • 128. At 8:23pm on 09 Nov 2008, gringo Loco wrote:

    comment 126
    It was Hungary who kicked Brazil out of the 1966 world cup.

    Portugal were for me the favourites to win until they loist to England. They've paid us back in the last couple of competitions.

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  • 129. At 8:36pm on 09 Nov 2008, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    cactus99 - Nope it was Portugal who put Brazil out of the 66 WC in an ugly match of attrition and footballing 'violence'. Hungary did beat Brazil but that was not the end, until Portugal.

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  • 130. At 8:51pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    what exactly constitutes a " chance " if my understanding is correct the game could have ended up 52-42 to man u.

    " we had at least 20 chances to score "

    but erm from where, by whom, and how and from what distance and position etc.

    bring on Motty erm second thoughts please dont.

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  • 131. At 9:29pm on 09 Nov 2008, gringo Loco wrote:

    It was Hungary who kicked Pele out of the world cup in 1966, Portugal just finished them off.

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  • 132. At 9:36pm on 09 Nov 2008, gringo Loco wrote:

    To quote "Pretty Woman" the modern footballer is paid "obscene amounts of money" and sometimes when striking at goal, hits the corner flag or worse, it goes for a throw in.

    What constitutes a shot at goal, exactly that, a shot at goal. What constitues a shot on target, one which if not deflected or saved would be in the onion bag.

    The players on display yesterday, should have done better, when attempting a shot at goal, some are on better than 100k per game, at least they should be on target or else they are grossly overpaid. It doesn't matter if they were wearing red or blue.

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  • 133. At 9:46pm on 09 Nov 2008, TotalFootball91 wrote:

    I think Tevez should have started the game. The tempo and pace didnt suit Berbatov. Tevez runs his little socks off and is itching to play. Berba's 3 performances against the other teams in the big four have been lacklustre at most.

    United need a Van Nistlerooy (still in my eyes the best finisher ever to grace the premiership), a proper poacher who will get the goals, whether pretty or not. Ruud was criticised for never scoring outside the box from open play (his only goal that wasnt inside the area as I remember was a free-kick in a pre-season friendly...?).
    Tevez, Rooney, Berbatov; in my opinion not out and out strikers

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  • 134. At 10:07pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:


    There is considerable confusion as to what is a genuine chance resulting in a glareing miss.

    If the player is one on one with the keeper etc and then rounds him, and thus has an open goal, that could be deemed a " chance were we should have scored.

    A player rises up from a corner and the shout is " he had a free header and should have done better " as it was either on target and aimed directly at the keeper or it went wide of the mark, but no matter free header or not you still have to beat the keeper? so its an opportunity to score not a " chance " missed.

    I think many get far to carried away with what they deem to be a certain goal and subsequent miss to bolster comments, post match to explain the loss or lack of goals scored. And all managers do this.

    I agree if its a glaring miss etc then that would be considerd a genuine chance to score and thus be 1-0 or wateva to the good, but to say we had 42 shots at the goal wayward or otherwise are not all real oppotunities to score. what it does demonstrate is the teams dominance throughout the game, but every shot, header etc heading towards the goal is not reason to say " we could have had 10 or 11 the other side rode thier luck etc.

    i understand CR did miss a open goal? or sort of becaus he scuffed the shot with the keeper well beaten etc, if thats true yes that is a chance to score which was not converted and thus would count in the total summing up after the game etc.

    very confuseing if you ask me and rather over does this anallitical view from any quarter " we should have buried them " which is so often the case.

    possession is also not a good indicator as to how the game should have ended up. an opponent may well be happy to let the others have the ball, to fuff about with just over the halfway line, so in otherwords relequinshing possession etc, very similar to a ploy used in chess.

    apologies this wine is rather good and i am confused about the dependence on stats etc after the game to substiate a managers view " we should have won that one easy "

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  • 135. At 10:20pm on 09 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    goals were not scored because perhaps the Keeper " saved " them afterall thats his job but if you was shooting at an open goal and still missed then perhaps the term " we should have scored 6 " would be a justifide comment and thus confirm the uselessness of the invidual/s who failed to put the ball in the net. and thus be given his/her P45 at the earliest opportunity.

    sorry back to Brazil and Hungary lol.

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  • 136. At 10:36pm on 09 Nov 2008, airtrooper wrote:

    Just as people should not dismiss the strategy after a couple of bad games, all is not perfect after a single (albeit significant) win against Man Utd.

    Man Utd played to Arsenals strengths and even then could easily have won had they taken their chances. Most if not all of the European teams will allow Arsenal to play so they should be fine in the big cup until they draw an English team. But Stoke, Hull etc do not allow space, and do not go forward as much, and do press hard, and do lump the ball into the box which is what Arsene needs to find a way around.

    And as for leaders, 11 leaders can lead to confusion.

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  • 137. At 10:51pm on 09 Nov 2008, captainferrari wrote:

    One of the best Arsenal /United games to date.
    As an Arsenal fan, not because Arsenal won, but because it was the type of advert we see every year between these two teams. Chelsea and Liverpool games a couple of weeks ago just did not have the edge on this game.

    The game flew 100mph with both teams showing commited. Each time United have the ball you always think they will score, thas how good they are...

    Arsenal's second goal was pretty typical and United have found a gem in Rafael. I really hope its a two horse race with United and Arsenal as Chelsea and Liverpool are once again .... just pure and simply jammy and boring.

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  • 138. At 11:19pm on 09 Nov 2008, RedWristband wrote:

    May be off topic but no one has mentioned the frailtiies of man to man marking, which is what dragged Vidic out of position ad gave Nasri the space to score a wonderful second goal.

    Just find it odd when whenever a goal is scored from a set piece against zonal marking it is always derided

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  • 139. At 01:21am on 10 Nov 2008, antgel wrote:


    >Fabregas going downhill? I like that. I am
    > sure every major club in the world would
    > love him to be going downhill with them.

    You'll note that I'm not the only one here whispering that he was under par. He wasn't exactly an automatic starting choice for Spain in the Euros, so someone else thinks he's not the greatest, although he was good when he came on for them - frustratingly better than he was for Arsenal in the season.

    He's a great natural talent, but his form over the last 1-2 years has been patchy at best, and I've been at the games, home and away. There is too much respect given to reputation, and not enough to form.

    > Maybe he is not at his best, but he was
    > still involved in Arsenal's two goals
    > today and made a significant
    > contribution.

    Involved in the goals, yes. But his position in the team is too important to just pop up every now and again - in centre midfield you're responsible for bossing the game. I do think that if he had a great tough-tackler next to him (and I don't mean the over-rated Flamini), then he might loosen up a bit and play how he used to. But his body language suggests he wants to be elsewhere.

    > By the way, Wenger told us afterwards
    > that he thought Bendtner was
    > "outstanding."

    I'm not a BBC sports writer, but even I know that like politicians, football managers don't always blurt out their innermost feelings to the media and public. They have to be more subtle than that - it doesn't look good to slate your own players. I reckon behind closed doors Wenger was fuming.

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  • 140. At 02:51am on 10 Nov 2008, The_Opinion wrote:

    antgel u fool. Why would wenger be fuming about bendtner. He did what was asked of him to bully the manu's defenders and even if he didn't score we still won 2-1.

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  • 141. At 03:24am on 10 Nov 2008, a fat bloke down the pub said so wrote:

    Poor analysis of Utd Phil; "something missing up front"? The finishing was appalling, but what was missing was a midfielder to bring the ball forward and distribute. Long balls forward in the wet?! This was clear from the team sheet before kick off. And was underlined for me seeing Carrick on the halfway line with the ball at his feet, not knowing what to do next, in the 92nd minute!

    Poor service for Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo. Several times Berbatov dropped into his own half to collect the ball himself, leaving a gaping hole at cenrtre forward.

    "certainly not a bad United display though." One of the worst / frustrating in recent years for me. Arsenal weren’t much better. United actually looked like the home team. It could’ve been 5-5.

    I was more disappointed at United's poor performance than the fact they lost. This was a game high on excitement but low on quality.

    "Are you not concerned by your results away to your big three title rivals?" I would be more concerned losing away to teams who were not our title rivals.

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  • 142. At 05:03am on 10 Nov 2008, neova2 wrote:


    Fabregas isn't a "do it all himself" type of play. He needs a partner in CM to protect the back four so he doesn't end up in two minds whether to attack or defend. He needs two CB's who are surefooted to defend set pieces or any other plays so that once again he doesn't have to worry too much about defending and focus on attack.

    Last season, We had Flamini / Gilberto what constantly provided cover for Fabergas and gave him a licence to attack. This season that CDM role has been non-existent and Fabergas's weakness (defense) is exposed.

    He cannot work his magic if he's constantly having to defend. Let him focus on attack and you'd get the best out of him. Ask him to do the job of a CDM and you'll see the mixed results that we've been seeing this season.

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  • 143. At 05:42am on 10 Nov 2008, Biswajith wrote:

    As a manutd fan,I think it was not the day of manutd.Realy arsenal deserevd the win.

    In my view,Alex has to find a replacement for Rio.He is 30 years and fails with young forwards.Leave Giggs and Nevile out ...They cant even run with young lads.Now they are burdan for the team.And need a good young central midfield...

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  • 144. At 06:50am on 10 Nov 2008, thelovelyBluesGal wrote:

    Had a great time watching Man U being beaten by Arsenal. Chelsea will lift the trophy this season. I have a pretty good feeling about it

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  • 145. At 07:15am on 10 Nov 2008, Haythnasr wrote:

    Hi Phil, (with one L)

    Excellent article.

    I think it's great that you take the time to read over writer's comments and make the effort to reply.

    It keeps the blog highly interactive while ensuring key talking points are in fact talked about.

    Thanks for the good work.

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  • 146. At 07:20am on 10 Nov 2008, Phil Cliffe wrote:

    As a Man U fan in exile, I'd like to congratulate Arsenal on a great victory and the game was a fabulous advert for the Premier league. In Thailand, the locals go crazy over such games. If memory serves me however, didn't man u have a worse start last season? I don't think they need to worry too much at this stage of the season as 3 of their hardest away fixtures are now history!

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  • 147. At 08:16am on 10 Nov 2008, Crazyteknohed wrote:

    "the game was a fabulous advert for the Premier league"

    This has to be the most hated phrase amongst loyal fans that go to games. Why should we give a toss how popular the EPL is in Thailand, especially when it's to the detriment of the game? Specifically, the more popular the EPL becomes overseas, the higher the likelihood of us seeing the heinous 39th fixture.

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  • 148. At 08:43am on 10 Nov 2008, antiblazer wrote:

    What on Earth do you mean.....FOR NOW !

    Two silly words aimed at giving the debate an"Edge" and getting folks going. Cheap shots and Cheap journalism !

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  • 149. At 08:51am on 10 Nov 2008, cheeky_nffc wrote:

    mcnulty suggests that wenger is being questioned by the arsenal fans for the first time?

    rubbish, you get idiots on the message boards every time they lose a couple or someone else wins a bit of silverwear.

    some of these fans ought to be a bit more grateful, arsenal had been left behind by the big boys (and even newcastle) until wenger got there. there would be no big four without him, only a big three

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  • 150. At 08:56am on 10 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    On matters relating to " chances " etc.

    If AW persists with his current ideals I can forsee a match pretty soon in fact, where the opposition wont get the ball for the full 90 minutes, this will then negate any need for a " hard tackler " (which in many cases give away far to many free kicks due to thier neantherdal tendancies )

    When the above comes to light not only will Arsenal be the envy of the rest by going a whole season unbeaten, we will be the 1st team in History to ensure the opposition dont get the ball for the whole 90 mins, a feat of such magnitude that no amout of silverware could compare. Not only that, the scoreline will resemble that more akin to a Rugby Union score, the opposition having been given a complete and comprehensive masterclass in Football, trudging back to the team bus with considerable agnst and much to ponder on just where their team stands in the grand order of things, so demoralised in fact, that the team is completely dismantled, the manager is sacked ( never to return to game ) the Club ends up bankrupt and go into the annuls of History as the most shamefull outfit to have been granted EPL Status.

    Having read the above I defy anyone to say I am a typical " arrogant " Arsenal supporter, Arsenal will continue to defy the critics as they have done in the past, there is no doubt The Arsenal under the guidence of AW and others, aim to change of Football in our hemisphere for good and for better.

    The days of cloth caps, hobnail boots and woodbines are long gone, an era itself, where things were far simpler, and needs were very basic. We now live in different time, expectations much higher etc and Arsenal are setting the trends for years to come and for others to attempt to keep pace.

    When Arsenal achieve the feat alluded to above, the critics, pundits will still find some repost to explain away the result :

    " oh well it was Stoke City after all " or some similar minnow, so the result has no real bearing on the astonishing result that unfolded before everyones eyes, i have accounted for this onslaught by the Arsenal detracters, I therefore see this masterclass will in fact been demonstrated against far superior opposition and so i take this opportunity to forwarn the likes of Chelsea, Pool, Man U keep one eye over your shoulder, the mighty Gunners aim to show at least one of you, despite your wealth, your hardmen that you had in fact no " chances " to win the game at all, as you spent the full 90 mins chaseing shadows and yes the scoreline in your Teams list of results actually happened. Out of respect for AF and his man u team we The Arsenal will even add a further 15 mins of extra time to give you a chance to redeem yourselves.

    Now thats confidence in AW and Arsenal for you: (smiles)

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  • 151. At 09:12am on 10 Nov 2008, BigNevsTache wrote:

    What is the point of this blog? To summarise, Arsenal are outstanding on their day, Wenger has footballing principles but they need to add a bit more steel to their team. Insightful.....

    Why don't the BBC just print T-Shirts with this on then all the pundits on MOTD can simply wear them too so that football fans don't have to sit there listening to this tripe. Everyone knows it, let's talk about something else.

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  • 152. At 09:16am on 10 Nov 2008, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    As others have said, Arsenal need teams to come to play football, to compete at the same level as they do or otherwise they struggle. Teams that come to 'keep it tight at the back' and defend with 10 men for 90 mins will always be our achilles heel, especially when we don't have a great physical presence up top.

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  • 153. At 09:37am on 10 Nov 2008, rodders77 wrote:

    Firstly I'd like to say well done to Arsenal, they played very well and deserved to win. I thought both teams contributed to a magnificent game of attacking football. Hopefully Alex Ferguson will now realise that playing Arsenal away from home is more about tactics than players ability.

    The point I wanted to make was that a week ago (I realise a week is a long time in Football), the majority of non Arsenal supporters were criticing Arsene Wenger for his belief in style over substance, yet since Saturday he has 'proven' his critics to be incorrect. The one thing that will stop Arsenal winning the title this season is Mr Wenger. He is becoming obsessed with winning the league with a young skillful team, which I feel is to the detriment of Arsenal Football Club. It is possible to win titles with skillful players, as Manchester Utd have shown (as have Arsenal in the recent past), but there needs to be some steel in the team - which Arsenal do not have.

    In ten years time will Arsenal supporters look back on this period as a successful one? I doubt it. Trophies are the only indicator of success, and I would wager that this will be another season without any.

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  • 154. At 09:51am on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:

    i think we proved that we did have a bit of steel on saturday. anyone who was actually at the game could see that there seemed to be a lot more fight about the team. was a fantastic game that we thoroughly deserved to win..all this with a number of top players unavailable, which has kind of gone unnoticed. so i think we will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season

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  • 155. At 10:09am on 10 Nov 2008, Bluesfrog wrote:

    Phil, another quality and thought-provoking blog. I indicated in my response to the previous blog that a win against Man Utd would would have those doom-mongers wondering why they thought there was a "crisis" at Arsenal, and so it has come to pass.

    There have been some excellent reponses to your blog but others are lazy in their thoughts. Bargeye (109) suggests that Wenger's (somewhat overstated) cry for protection of his players influenced the referee and Man Utd players to be less than committed. Such a suggestion is ludicrous. The referee made four mistakes in the match - 2 for each side- and to think that players of the quality of Man Utd would shirk from tackling hard is unthinkable. He also says that Arsenal should be judged on performances at the Reebok and Ewood Park. A little research would tell him/her that we have already won both those games 3-1 and 4-0.

    This was a fine match, with defensive frailties on both sides, which either side could have won. Arsenal prevailed because they responded well to the pressure they had been under and kept faith with their natural instincts. Man Utd lost because they didn't take their chances and defended less well than Arsenal. Both sides have great managers and a positive attitude to the game and, as Cesc Fabgregas remarked with great maturity, Arsenal weren't a bad side last week and they are not yet a title-winning side. The same applies to Man Utd.

    One observation about Arsenal, given the youth of the side, they are still learning how to defend as a team. I believe Silvestre is a great acquisition for his experience and quality ( I think he has won every medal going?) and once Walcott and Nasri learn to support their full backs against the counter-attack, as did Llungberg and Pires in their heyday, we can look forward with more confidence. Also, I believe Abou Diaby, if he avoids injury, can become as effective at all ends of the field as Vieira was in his pomp.

    A comment for the booers and doom-mongers! Get behind your team and its manager! This doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't ask difficult questions but try to look at the bigger picture. You can start by purring at the array of talent below the first team which will be on display for the Carling Cup on Tuesday when we will probably beat Wigan. Have faith!

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  • 156. At 10:10am on 10 Nov 2008, Frodo_MUFC wrote:

    I'm not coming on here to knock Arsenal, but this one result has not magically got rid of the problems that they have. Arsenal will often fair better against teams like us as we let them play their football.

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  • 157. At 10:12am on 10 Nov 2008, Alex wrote:

    Well played arsenal, a good game, but really could have gone each way. however its this kind of luck that all champions need (look at liverpool scorring late).
    Again Arsenal and Utd show that they play some of the msot entertaining football in the world at the moment...

    Bet Ron and Ronaldo are kicking themselves, on another day they would ahve scored and would have made the game completely different.

    Least their misses werent quite as horrific as Alves's though!

    Arsenal need to Buy YaYa Toure to have as a holding midfielder. Diaby looks ok but i dont this he is at the same level as mnay arsenal players.

    if jthe gooners do buy a centre back... who would you drop?

    Gallas is teh captain and Toure has been solid for many years...

    Least if we get another one we might be able to sell senderos. Newcastle will probs buy him as well, they love a dodgy defender!

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  • 158. At 10:19am on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:

    I think Diaby was one of the best players on the pitch saturday. he helped to add a bit of bite into the midfield and his distribution was excellent. i think the key with him is staying fit. i also thought we defended well, as although they had a couple of chances, Almunia did not have too many saves to make in the second half. but we also cannot get carried away, we need to kick on now and win games when its not so open.

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  • 159. At 10:38am on 10 Nov 2008, donwendy wrote:

    So the attacking prinicples of Wenger led him to play 5 across the middle in an attempt to deny United space in the midfield area, which didnt work by the way as United created numerous chances, and its all singing all dancing Arsenal back on for the title. If not for United's profligacy in front of goal the result would have been reversed. I think United had something like 59% of the possession as well.

    The foul count for the game is very interesting as with Arsenal on 18 and United on 8. So much for Arsene's top of the fair play league nonsense last week. Or is it ok for Arsenal to rough it up a bit but the likes of Stoke arent allowed too?

    The trouble with the Wengerphiles is that they are so in love with le prof that they fail to take the facts into account when assessing his team. United were just as attractive to watch as Arsenal and always have been. Arseanal will be judged not on how they perform against teams who allow them to play but rather how they perform against teams who squeeze them and rough them up a bit. So far this season they have losy to Fulham, Hull & Stoke while drawing with Sunderland. Lets see how they get on against similar sides over the coming months.

    Arsenal deserved to win the game because they scored one goal more than United and for no other reason.

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  • 160. At 10:46am on 10 Nov 2008, GodsVictory wrote:

    What an incredible match, Have you ever seen a team put 15 passes together and go straight down the middle of manchester utd to score?

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  • 161. At 10:51am on 10 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Frodo_MUFC wrote:

    I'm not coming on here to knock Arsenal, but this one result has not magically got rid of the problems that they have. Arsenal will often fair better against teams like us as we let them play their football.
    Absolutely, but I think Phil did pick up on this.

    A couple of points I would like to pick up on are as follows:-

    1) Whilst I do (very obviously given my particular club allegiances) see the value in having John Terry beating his chest and risking life and limb to lead, we could compare this to a national team. For example, people say that making Gerrard (for example) the captain would help him bring his club performances to his country. However, captain or not any player should play to the best of his ability whether he is wearing the armband or not and to this extent I think Phil is wrong to suggest this is any sort of flaw in Wenger's approach.

    2) Quote 'complete with questions (admittedly ludicrous ones) about whether Arsene's era had run its course.'

    I don't think it is that ludicrous if we look at this logically.

    The facts are that Arsenal have not won anything for 3 seasons. Many teams are in this position. The logic that I suggest, is the question of whether Wenger is using all the resources at his disposal. I.e. if there is cash to spend and he is not spending it AND coming up short in the trophy stakes then is he guilty of not managing things to the absolute best with what is available?

    I do not know how much money is available and you could take the view that there is no point spending whatever money is available, just for the sake of it. But hopefully you can see why I ask the question.

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  • 162. At 11:00am on 10 Nov 2008, goonergetit wrote:

    For all those Wenger haters and Critics whatever your cause, let's not forget that in January with a fully fit squad, Arsenal will have the best squad in the Premiership, Liverpool lose Gerrard for six games and it's game over for them, we all know that. And how much are they spending ?
    But just to remind the right wing media that are ravenous for his failure, when Theo Walcott puts on an England shirt, it has Three Lions on display, the first Lion was for the House of Aquitaine, (France) the second Lion was for Normandie (France) and the third Lion was placed there by "Richard the Lionheart" when he inherited an island just north of France, namely England, He was another French speaking King of England and maybe Wenger is about to claim the throne for himself ?

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  • 163. At 11:10am on 10 Nov 2008, Footy Fanatic - AFC wrote:

    It was an excellent game.

    The Arsenal v Man Utd game is still the pick of every season. The two best footballing sides in the last two decades always put on a show.

    Well played Man Utd you deserve just as much credit for giving football doubters a kick in the teeth.

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  • 164. At 11:16am on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:


    you cant say that we only won because of your profligacy infront of goal!! did you not see the hances Bendtner missed?! or the blatant penalty Nasri was denied?

    also you could not say we roughed it up at all!! the foul count was a lot to do with ronaldo's theatrics (as usual) and a pretty poor referee, who to be honest had some pretty poor decisions affecting both sides

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  • 165. At 11:21am on 10 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Footy Fanatic - AFC

    Well played Man Utd you deserve just as much credit for giving football doubters a kick in the teeth.
    Agreed, it was a very entertaining game, but, if Man U's finishing Saturday is anything to go by, an attempt at a kick in the teeth will end up as a kick on the shoulder at the very best!

    And that for me was the difference, with Rooney in particular way off when in front of goal.

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  • 166. At 11:28am on 10 Nov 2008, magicPolka wrote:

    In the last 10 years how many points has the premier league champion won out of 18 of the other big 3?
    Is the premier league won and lost amongst the big four against the big four or is it won and lost against the other 16 throughout the season? (or both)

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  • 167. At 11:31am on 10 Nov 2008, Bluesfrog wrote:

    donwendy (159) a few observations.

    1) if you are suggesting that 5 across midfield reveals a defensive approach just remember that 2 of those five were Nasri and Walcott. If Toure and Song had played instead of these two you might have had a case.

    2)Being profligate in front of goal is one of the criteria which makes you inferior to the opposition on the day. You might as well say "We would have won if we had scored more goals than you!"

    3)Factual information: Arsenal have consistently been at the top or near the top of the fair-play league in recent years.

    4)I believe I am right in saying that in at least the past two seasons Arsenal players have been the most-fouled in the league. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.

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  • 168. At 11:33am on 10 Nov 2008, cjn102 wrote:

    As a United fan I was very dissappointed with our performance in front of goal. If we had remembered to pack our shooting boots the knives would be out for Wenger following a heavy home defeat. Having said that Arsenal attacked very well and deserved their goals. Nasri in particular was very impressive.

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  • 169. At 11:33am on 10 Nov 2008, merrysuperstevie - Save 606 wrote:

    I may sound bitter but I genuinely feel that we (United) played the better foorball and wasted too many chances. Arsenal played well but they will know that they were 2nd best on their own park in every department bar the most important- goals scored. Everyone is saying how Arsenal fully deserved their win but had United taken their numerous chances, the score may have been 4-2 United. Everyone would have said Arsenal were doomed and on their way to League 2 and United would have been acclaimed as deserving winners. A real worry for me is United's away form. We can create chances but don't put them away and we have only won 3 away matches dating back to about March time I think. We won't win the League and I can't see us winning our next 2 away games either at Villa and City.

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  • 170. At 11:45am on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:


    did you watch the same game??!!

    we had chances too that we didn't take..if every team took every chance they had games would end up 9-6 or 10-5, so there is no way you can say that..there is also no way Arsenal were second best!! i am not saying we will now sweep all before us and win the league, but i think it proves we are right up there with the best. plus we had a number of key players out..this is forgotten by most

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  • 171. At 11:46am on 10 Nov 2008, saifbasheer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 172. At 11:54am on 10 Nov 2008, merrysuperstevie - Save 606 wrote:

    Arsenal were missing 2 first team players. United were missing 3 so I don't think the 1st team players arguement really stands to reason. Both teams missed chances but United missed more chances and they were easier. Bendtner missed a couple from outside the penalty area (one of which came from a foul and offside). He missed a header when the ball was too high for him to do anything with and he couldn't connect with one low cross which was too far in front of him and he couldn't possibly have scored. I say United were better in every department bar one because we had more shots, more genuine chances, more possession, more territory and committed a lot less fouls, showing that we had more control over most of the match. However, we missed a lot of chances and Arsenal got a deflected goal. That sums up why I feel that United were better in every department bar one. As for Nasri's pen, I distinctly remember a Clichy hand ball in the first half not being given for a stonewall pen.

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  • 173. At 12:06pm on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:

    haha ok, so Robin Van Persie, Adebayor, Rosicky, Eduardo are all first team players mate. our bench was threadbare compared to yours!! also Bendtner missed one where he fired over the bar when he should have done better, the two headers should have at least worked the keeper. comitting less fouls means you have more control over the match? now i know you are just a bitter manc who does not know too much about football. plus handball has to be deliberate, not accidental when the ball is kicked towards the player. you could see ont he replay clichy tried to pull his arm out of the way.

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  • 174. At 12:23pm on 10 Nov 2008, ArsenalArseneArshavin wrote:

    2-1 to the Arsenal, end of discussion. If Stoke deserved to beat us with 2 long throws then we fully deserved to win this one with several goal-scoring oppurtunities.

    And the ref is as big a United fan as you can get. It was so clear for all to see he favoured United. But despite the ref and despite United's recent good form and despite the abscence of Adebayor and Van Persie we still managed to win despite a penalty not given to Nasri.

    All hail Le Prof

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  • 175. At 12:29pm on 10 Nov 2008, merrysuperstevie - Save 606 wrote:

    You must be the only one who doesn't feel that was a pen which says a lot about you. of the 4 players named, only 2 would have played. you wouldn't have played 3 strikers against united. As for Rosicky, I deliberately didn't count him because I don't consider him a 1st team player. Had he played, it would almost certainly been in Nasri's place and Nasri is better and just happened to score both goals. So yes, I would say you were only missing 2 first team players from your starting 11 ie. 9 of those players would have played even with a full squad with the players to miss out being Bendtner and Diaby. Wes Brown, Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves would all have started for United had they not been injured. As for the fouls thing, if a team commits twice as amny fouls as their opposition, it's usually a pretty good indicator that they are under the cosh and are chasing shadows!

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  • 176. At 12:33pm on 10 Nov 2008, Cameron wrote:

    150. At 08:56am on 10 Nov 2008, unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    "If AW persists with his current ideals I can forsee a match pretty soon in fact, where the opposition wont get the ball for the full 90 minutes"

    One small problem with that, once Arsenal score the opposition will have possesion at the kick off and must remain 10 yards from the ball till its kicked.

    So they may only have the ball for 99% of the match but not the full 90. So therefore technically impossible, but I do like the idea.

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  • 177. At 12:48pm on 10 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    unbeatablePinkFloyd wrote:

    "If AW persists with his current ideals I can forsee a match pretty soon in fact, where the opposition wont get the ball for the full 90 minutes"

    One small problem with that, once Arsenal score the opposition will have possesion at the kick off and must remain 10 yards from the ball till its kicked.

    So they may only have the ball for 99% of the match but not the full 90. So therefore technically impossible, but I do like the idea.
    And the flaw in your plan redagast is that just because Arsenal have a lot of the ball, it doesn't mean that they will score, such is their seeming insistence at times to pass the ball to death rather than actually strike. So yes, 100% possession is possible with them!

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  • 178. At 12:48pm on 10 Nov 2008, Roger_the_Pessimist wrote:

    Why can't a team play beautiful football when in possession but work hard and get stuck in when they don't?

    Do the two have to be mutually exclusive???

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  • 179. At 12:50pm on 10 Nov 2008, pseudo_indignation wrote:

    Really good blog Phil.

    Just a comment about Essien's thoughts about 'beautiful football' Arsenal not getting enough points to win anything.

    I can honestly say that if my team played the way Arsenal do then it wouldn't bother me if they won anything or not.

    Trophies and titles are great but as a season ticket holder I'd prefer to watch sublime skill week after week knowing I'm paying to see a thing of beauty rather than hold bragging rights and knowing my club has a trophy in a cabinet somewhere.

    The Premiership has been enriched because of far the best footballers in the League.

    Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea may get the points but over the last ecade they've all be bloody horrible to watch. I suppose it's about priorities.

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  • 180. At 12:54pm on 10 Nov 2008, Zmank wrote:

    Let’s be fair both Arsenal and Man Utd has played a fantastic game. Although I am a die hard Arsenal supporter we were lucky that Man Utd didn’t used there opportunities. And on our end I think Arsenal need to get some players who can score goals. In regards to Arsene Wenger I think and believe that he is one of the best managers in premiership football. I think all this critics including those who had doubt in him my advice is he knows what he is doing and please leave him alone so that he can do what he is good at i.e. making young players world class and Arsenal one of the best teams in the world.

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  • 181. At 12:59pm on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:

    its not whether i thought it was a pen or not, the rule states it has to be deliberate handball, not ball to hand. they have been given in the past but to say it was a stonewall pentaly is rubbish. Rosicky is one of our best players, but who knows if he would have started, i would have thought so. also its more of a squad these days so its very difficult to call who would start if all fit. is scholes really first choice now? anyway i think its save to say we were understrength compared to normal, which makes it an even better result.

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  • 182. At 1:03pm on 10 Nov 2008, Cameron wrote:

    177. MrBlueBurns wrote:

    And the flaw in your plan redagast is that just because Arsenal have a lot of the ball, it doesn't mean that they will score, such is their seeming insistence at times to pass the ball to death rather than actually strike. So yes, 100% possession is possible with them!

    Very true MrBlueburns, I had not taken that into account, However still not possible anyway because in one of the halves the opposition would have the kick off so therefor no 100% possesion possible.

    But I agree, the ball may well be passed flat before halftime.

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  • 183. At 1:13pm on 10 Nov 2008, Cameron wrote:

    G'Day Phil McNulty,
    Great blog topic ol' son

    Blogs about the Arsenal will get you the best responses and make for really comical reading. Hilarious sometimes. Even Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool fans like to have a say, where as not as many care about blogs about the other 3 of the big 4.

    There is a certain fun for all and sundry about pulling apart and analysing the great Arsenal football club and its peaks and troughs is capitulations and it's triumps.

    Whenever Arsenal win the league it comes with a certain sweetness because of the harsh disappointments that come our way from time to time.

    You see "the sweet ain't as sweet without the bitter".

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  • 184. At 1:16pm on 10 Nov 2008, merrysuperstevie - Save 606 wrote:

    Fair enough. Arsenal were understrength but certainly not in the way Wenger and the media spent all week trying to make people think. As for the pen, if you stick your arm out like that it's a deliberate hand ball. It wasn't ball to hand as Clichy had plenty of time to remover his hand. He only moved his hand away after handling. He then looked straight to the ref which highlights his guilt.

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  • 185. At 1:24pm on 10 Nov 2008, Ivan Radhakrishnan wrote:

    The QUALITY .............
    of the Arsenal / Manchester United match (Saturday November 8 2008) is what keeps the English Premier League light years ahead of the rest of the world!

    The result was important (thank God it did not end up a draw!) but that aside English Football cannot be better promoted. Arsenal / Manchester United was the perfect Advert.

    Hopefully there will be many more of these matches with the smaller Clubs too.

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  • 186. At 1:43pm on 10 Nov 2008, collie21 wrote:

    apublicsectorpension wrote:
    Neville had a poor game, but has been slated before by sections of the london media and abu fan base.

    he has always come back stronger and in this era of no leaders, he is one of the best around.


    Get over it son, he's finished, he was a fault for both goals and United were going nowhere in the second half till he came off. It was Arsenals strategy for the game to play him along.

    Brown is Injured full stop.

    This was a game, one game and in fact it hasn't stopped the Wenger Critics. Arsenal play way too open don't know how to play keep ball

    As a spectacle it was great fun, but neither side played great 'football', too many misses, to much a lack of defending...

    It was a great advert for how NOT to play the beautiful game. If it was a great game we could have seen better goals, more goals, more interceptions in defence... perhaps even no goals.... Winning does not make a great team, consistently winning does.
    So when all you ABU's and Arsenal fans get over your high, look above you and keep a very close look behind you. Chelski and Liverpool are strectching you and United won't trip up against lesser teams....

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  • 187. At 1:57pm on 10 Nov 2008, gunpaul wrote:


    cant agree with you there mate, that was the perfect example of how to Utd played some great stuff too, it was a greta match, end to end with the highest calibre of skill and technique.

    also how the hell can you say that Nasri's 2nd goal was not great?! we kept the ball for over a minute, moved united all over the place before a great finish. and as for your goal? i think you would struggle to find a better goal all weekend, was a great strike..he looks some player..

    but you are right, its about consistency, so lets see if arsenal can kivk on..Man Utd will still be there at the end of the season. i think all in all they are still the best team in the league as much as it hurts to say that

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  • 188. At 2:20pm on 10 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    The reason Gary Neville played was pretty obvious. He's the most cynical player United have on their books (other than possibly Rooney) and has in the past managed to kick our players completely out of the game - Pires and notably Reyes. Ferguson is no mug, he'll have noticed how important Nasri is to our play and Neville will have seemed a better shout than Da Silva to prevent him from playing.

    The reason Arsenal won the game is because we finished our chances better than United, and it really is as simple as that. United had several gilt-edged chances - notably Rooney in the first half and Ronaldo - who I'd have put my house on to score from there - in the second. That was coupled with sloppiness from Berbatov in straying offside when there was absolutely no reason to, and some brilliant defensive play from Arsenal.

    People have been getting extremely carried away with the 'injustice' of the result, given that United had more possession and more chances. Arsenal supporters are better-equipped than most to see how hollow this argument rings - if points were awarded for possession and chances, Arsenal would have won 99% of their matches over the last five years.

    And as an aside, Arsenal could have scored five or six themselves, and were denied a penalty which - while it wasn't stonewall - would have been given for United at Old Trafford, or Liverpool at Anfield. We were also missing our three top strikers, and had any of them been fit we would probably have scored more than two.

    Essentially, United came to the Emirates with almost a fully fit squad, to play a team who were supposedly in turmoil with a manager [ridiculously] under pressure and required to play Bendtner as a lone striker.

    There were no dodgy refereeing decisions (well actually there were, Rooney should have been booked for deliberately tripping Walcott, Ronaldo should have been booked for deliberate handball, Carrick should have been booked for bringing down Dialby from behind on the edge of the area and Arsenal should have had a penalty) so I cannot see any reason why United fans feel aggrieved about the result. There really are no excuses.

    OK fair enough, so United were probably the better team over the 96 minutes, but that's no guarantee of winning, as anyone who watched the 1999 Champions League final will testify.

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  • 189. At 2:25pm on 10 Nov 2008, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    It was a great advert for how NOT to play the beautiful game. If it was a great game we could have seen better goals, more goals, more interceptions in defence... perhaps even no goals.... Winning does not make a great team, consistently winning does.
    I agree with you to a certain extent. By way of comparison, Liverpool's Champions League win in 2005 was a DRAMATIC game rather than one of QUALITY, compared to Chelsea's 4-2 win over Barcelona which had both but with more emphasis on the quality.

    However, as a Chelsea fan I sat down to watch Saturday's game and was thoroughly entertained regardless. What more can I ask for (as well as the result meaning that the team furthest from the boys in Blue winning.)

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  • 190. At 2:41pm on 10 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    And a quick note on Michael Essien's comments, and by proxy the criticisms aimed at Wenger recently.

    As an Arsenal fan of nearly 20 years, I remember what life was like pre-Wenger, when Arsenal were a mid-table cup side. Not a great deal has changed since then in my opinion, other than a truly exceptional manager. We do not spend appreciably more on players than we did back then, relative to what the rest of the teams around and even below us spend. Our record signing cost £13m (Hleb) and we are not bankrolled by wealthy foreign owners.

    As such, I really have no problem with Arsenal 'only' finishing third or fourth a few seasons running. I love watching us in the Champions League, I love watching us turning players like Fabregas, Clichy and Van Persie into superstars and I love the way we play football generally. Any suggestion that Wenger should be under pressure because of our recent failures to win silverware are massively wide of the mark. If the above-named players had cost £15m each then Wenger's critics may have a point, but he's managed to maintain the status quo without coming anywhere near the spending of our rivals. The Arsenal board is admirable for not demanding instant success, and there is no reason why they should. In 50 years time, will people really look back on this last five years and say "What an awful manager that Wenger was, Arsenal went four years without a trophy"?

    If all Man United's players are fit, their two most expensive substitutes cost roughly the same amount of money as Arsenal's entire first XI. Those who expect us to regularly win the league given figures like that are in dreamland. Once we're done paying off some of the debt we incurred when we built the Emirates and are able to compete on a level financial playing field while still keeping our books in order I will expect an upturn on our [already perfectly acceptable] record. Until then, I'm completely happy with where we are, as would any genuine fan of my football club be.

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  • 191. At 3:08pm on 10 Nov 2008, collie21 wrote:

    okay granted two of the goals were screamers................... but I still state great match , not so great football. United put out the wrong team... and made a classic mistake of when the back pass happened, not punishing the team in front of them that was clearly rattled.... Given they didn't take advantage, goes to show how Arsenal grew in confidence by the minute, plus the importance of hitting them when they are down. ..........United messed up, Arsenal took advantage. Arsenal proved they can play, but they are not champion stayers. Not yet. This season I think will be Liverpools unless the make big present I can't see it. United have already lost too much ground.
    I would question the merit of defending when a defender shoots from 25 yards out and no one gets to the ball, just as I would the left back defending for United which caused both goals. Van de Sars keeping wasn't top either at times...some of the arsenal defending was damn fortunate.

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  • 192. At 3:27pm on 10 Nov 2008, Joe wrote:

    A well written article as usual but nothing really new in it. My comments are:

    1. Why isn't everyone asking about the Man. U. 'crisis' after their loss? The simple fact is that, as with Arsenal, there never was a crisis. Man. U. had an indifferent game in which they missed their chances and lost by the odd goal. Sounds just like the game Arsenal lost to Stoke. Arsenal just did not play well on the day and Stoke did. Easy!

    2. Every team has an off-day. Every player has an off-day. On paper Man. U. looked like a banker for this game and yet even though they made the chances to win it you just felt they were not going to do it. If their goal had come a bit earlier who knows what would have happened? Another 2-2? What would the papers be saying then?

    3. I thought the difference to Arsenal was Diaby. I read all the comments last week suggesting that he should be played in midfield and he had an excellent game. So, there you are - a strong, holding defensive midfield player who broke forward on occasion when the opportunity arose. Wasn't that what everyone was asking for? Hasn't Wenger added some steel to the silky smooth skills of the rest of his team without compromising the way they play?

    4. Nasri did have a good game but he ran down a few blind alleys and his first goal was very fortunate. The second was worthy of winning any match but nobody seems to have given Walcott any credit for the way he drew Vidic away with his run. Poor Cesc is not in good form and was profligate with his passing. Bendtner was just a luxury and missed some good chances at the end.

    5. Yes, those of us who are neutral will make an effort to watch either of these teams play and expecially play against each other. The pace and commitment was breath-taking and I thought Arsenal made their tackles just as aggressively as Man. U. Just because they play a lovely passing game does not mean they are a soft touch.

    6. Someone (Supposedly Harold Wilson) said that a week is a long time in politics. It is now a long time in any aspect of life. Wenger has gone from being criticised totally unfairly to acclaimed as a genius without anything really changing. A manager of his quality should always be appreciated as class is permanent and form is temporary. Such a cliche but so accurate.

    7. I do not care if Arsenal do not win anything in spite their lovely football but the truth is they do need a stronger squad if they are going to do so. On their day they will beat anybody but everybody has their off-days and even with a larger, costlier and stronger squad no-one is guaranteed to win every game. Chelsea had their off-day in Rome and Man. U had theirs last Saturday. They are still great teams and will still win competitions.

    Wenger will stick to his principles and I will continue to watch his team play.

    Cheers, Joe.

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  • 193. At 7:15pm on 10 Nov 2008, GunnarShumba wrote:

    Phil's quite right Arsenal deserved victory,& also in terms of chances Arsenal probably had more - the few times Bendtner rose unchallenged to head wide, and a few time he and Nasri broke into the box and shot tamely at the keeper. Utd may have had more shots on target but I felt the clear ones fell Arsenal's way. Noone gave the gunners any chance after their recent perfomances and with the injuries and suspensions to their key players. I am sure everyone would have said the same had Utd come to the Emirates minus Rooney and Ronaldo to face a full strentgh in-from Arsenal.

    As for the crisis I dont know what crisis people were talking about, Liverpool drew with Stoke at home and there was no talk of a crisis. Are Utd now in a crisis because we beat them ? My only worry is these small teams know the only chance they have of getting any sort of result against the gunners is to kick them. And this is where I feel referees should do more to protect the gooners. Fergie berates officials for not punishing players from other teams when they appear to attempt to kick any of his players, and when Wenger complains about rough treatment which we all know the likes of Bolton like to dish out whenever they play the Gunners he is accused of moaning.

    Either these 'lesser' sides start dishing out the same treatment to all and not just reserve it for the gooners or they stop it completely. Look how our season was destroyed last time starting at Birmingham. The argument that our squad is thin is only made real by these sides kicking us off the park every time, the most recent example being the game at Stoke where 3 players were taken off injured. How anyone can deny Stoke were using heavy handed tactics is beyond me. If people are going to say this is nonsense how then can they explain why Arsenal always fare better against any in the top four than the other sides?
    I blame Utd for this though, they started it all by kicking Reyes and co in the '50th' game at OT and Bolton picked up on it, now everyone does it.

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  • 194. At 01:55am on 11 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    I can't agree that United 'started' it, most teams were guilty of doing it in the past (if 'guilty' is the word - it was an accepted part of the game 20 years ago).

    What United ARE good at is not being punished when they start dishing it out themselves, and the Neville-Reyes incident was a good example of that. I can see it flashing through the referee's mind even now - "Gary Neville, he's a good pro, fully committed. It was a nasty foul but it's part of his game, he wasn't doing anything malicious, I'll let him off, good old Gary Neville".

    Paul Scholes is another good example. Apparently he can't tackle, which appears to make him immune to yellow cards. "Paul Scholes, heart of a lion, honest as the day is long, good old-fashioned pro. He didn't mean to hack that player down, he just can't tackle - the poor lamb - I'll let him off with a warning, it clearly wasn't malicious".

    Wayne Rooney: "Look at that, he's chased a player 60 yards and taken him out from behind. Good old Wayne Rooney, fully committed, heart of a lion, that's a crucial part of his game. Awwww bless, he doesn't mean to hack people down from behind, he just lets his enthusiasm get the better of him. I'll let him off with a warning".

    Arsenal get the other side of the coin. As soon as Van Persie goes in for a late tackle it is an automatic yellow card, because unlike Rooney, Scholes and Neville, Van Persie doesn't have the reputation as being a fully committed, heart of a lion type; instead he's been lumbered with the 'hothead foreigner' tag in the same way Vieira once was.

    Personally I don't mind some physical tackles in a game of football - I wouldn't award yellow cards for every single trip, block or shirt pull. I'd reserve bookings for instances of ungentlemanly conduct, which would include intentional fouls and deliberate cheating; dangerous play, and repeat offences. Red cards should be for violent conduct, excessively dangerous play, denying a goalscoring opportunity or talking back to a referee.

    So yeah, I don't mind teams 'kicking' Arsenal as long as it's in the context of the match. There's nothing wrong with a hard, crunching tackle as long as it's not dangerous. The only times I get wound up are instances like two seasons ago when one of Sheffield United's players punched Van Persie from behind, and all the clamour afterwards about how it's "A man's game". Someone care to explain to me which part of punching someone from behind is manly?

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  • 195. At 08:24am on 11 Nov 2008, MrAverage wrote:

    Here we go again, Arsenal win a game against a top 4 team and Arsene Wenger is hailed as the greatest manager the world has ever seen, the saviour of english football blah blah blah. Frankly this stuff is an insult to managers like Shankly, Paisley, Busby, Clough, Greenwood, i won't go on but i could, all managers who's football philosophy was based on attacking passing football.
    Anyone who knows the first thing about football admires the way Arsenal play but lets get a bit of realism to all of this.

    Firstly implying United were well beaten is utter tosh. look at any of the stats and they were on top, more shots on target, more off target , more blocked, more corners, more possession in the opposition half, more possession overall. No doubt someone will tell me stats don't tell the truth, try tellin Arsene Wenger that he apparently uses them for everything

    The other thing that always gets dragged out is how Wenger single handedly solved the drinking culture and introduced continental training methods, fitness coaches and dieticians, wrong, Alex Ferguson did that at United 10 years before anyone in north london had heard the name Arsene Wenger. If you want proof look at how he ditched Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath because of there drinking habits ,two of the best players in old first division.

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  • 196. At 11:24am on 11 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    Firstly implying United were well beaten is utter tosh. look at any of the stats and they were on top, more shots on target, more off target , more blocked, more corners, more possession in the opposition half, more possession overall


    I haven't seen anyone say that United were well beaten.

    I've seen a lot of people say that Arsenal deserved their win, which they did, in much the same way Hull, Stoke and Fulham deserved their wins against us (in spite of Arsenal having more possession, corners, shots on goal etc).

    The only times one can genuinely say a losing team deserved to win are instances of extreme bad luck, which include four of your players getting injured during a match, or the referee changing the game with clearly incorrect decisions, but does NOT include your highly paid, £30m striker missing easy chances from the edge of the six yard box, or your equally highly paid Portuguese winger missing from three yards out. That's not bad luck, it's bad play.

    Therefore, Arsenal deserved to win.

    Both Wenger and Ferguson have been responsible for changing the face of football in this country, it's childish to split hairs between the two most successful coaches in Premier League history so please desist.

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  • 197. At 1:26pm on 11 Nov 2008, MrAverage wrote:

    Some of us are capable of watching a game and seeing 2 teams playing out a quality match and neither side deserving to lose, saturday was one of those occasions. Arsenal were just as unlikely in the fixture at OT last year.

    I don't see how childish it is pointing out a few simple facts, Wenger has done wonders for Arsenal and nobody can argue with that but to claim that he has single handedly changed everything as most Arsenal supporters do is somewhat blinkered.

    The your striker, your portguese winger comments are a little off the mark, my username should give you a clue as to my loyalties. I'm still fed up i missed saturdays cup game because of prior commitments.

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  • 198. At 2:44pm on 11 Nov 2008, Tomas_W wrote:

    The your striker, your portguese winger comments are a little off the mark, my username should give you a clue as to my loyalties. I'm still fed up i missed saturdays cup game because of prior commitments.


    I wasn't insinuating that you were a Man United supporter, it's just difficult to construct that sentence without using the word 'your'. In this case, take the 'your' in a hypothetical sense.

    What Arsene Wenger did was open up everyone's eyes as to how important the continental training methods were. Ferguson may have used similar methods a decade beforehand, but clearly other teams had not followed suit (especially Arsenal, ironically).

    Those in favour of Ferguson will say that he's won more; those in favour of Wenger will say that Ferguson inherited a club with far more money than anyone else domestically, and also that it took him the better part of a decade to actually win anything, whereas Wenger brought instant success to an unfashionable club. But they're both incredibly good managers, and for my money it's impossible to assess who is definitively the better of the two.

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  • 199. At 5:39pm on 12 Nov 2008, Adekunle Olajide wrote:

    Cav' eat emptor: "I'm a united fan and here is my beef"!

    First and foremost: Ever since Gary Neville came back from injury, I have been wondering why Fergie will bench Brown for him. Are you kidding me? Nasri's shot for the first goal was free of pressure. Where was Gary/midfield putting pressure on him? All games I've seen since Neville came back are my worst nightmares defensively. We are always exposed on the right back and GN is always out of position whenever he overlaps giving Ferdinand and Vidic to much work and distraction covering for him. Anytime Fergie put on Neville this season, I have always concluded Fergie want to toss this game by the roll of dice.

    Secondly and finally: Fergie need to cope with what I called sloppiness and complacency due to lack of thirst and hunger in his team being champions in the last 2 years. I'm not asking Fergie to start pointing accusing finger at culprits in the team. How the hell did Nasri not got closed for the second goal? Where is the midfield/vidic? My solution is Fergie should not make shirts automatic. Johnny Evans has proved he can hold his own in the ranks of vidic and Ferdinand; Rafael and brown has proved they are better at it than Neville; Dimitar Berba should not have started ahead of Tevez against Arsenal and other top 4 when we need everybody defending thus keeping our opponent busy in their own half. We may need out and out striker but not against the big 4 where the margin of victory is always slim. United may need a Lampard in Carrick and so on. We are almost the worst defensively in the top four now.

    I need to know if Fergie is trying to be a democrat with a philosophy that his team shouldn't be winning the premier league all the time. Can somebody help me?

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  • 200. At 10:17pm on 12 Nov 2008, coolguymanutd wrote:

    United played their part in the spectacle, but there was a lack of cutting edge when it mattered.

    This has been, and still remains United biggest problem. With 5 goals in all competitions so far Berbatov have shown he is not the ideal attacker for United.

    Berbatov should know that United didn't buy him for the Hull Cities or the Wigans we brought him for the Chelseas,Arsenals and the Liverpools.

    And what has being his performances in these matches? Horrible! And to even imagine that Tervez was sacrified for him is most painful.This is a man whose goals at critical moments gave Unitied the league.

    SAF methods is beginning to be a worry for me. When did he start to mix football with setiment? Unitied is the only big 4 that are still keeping 1995 players. To make matters worst these selfish players refuse to go.

    Making the younger generation to loss confidence when call upon.Nani would have been a better player if not for Giggs.Neville still remains an obstacle to his fellow old man Brown not to talk of Rafael. Who knows when Evans Pocessbon will break into United's 11?

    Yet the same SAF feels our second choice goal keeper deserves a place in the beach and used a third choice for a CL game.Rediculous! and what happened? He rested most of our key players when you have enough to spare.

    The thing is that we not only lost, we lost to a beriefed team so to say with no Adebayor, Van Persin Why didn't he nail them? I guess this post is becoming too long for my liking.

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  • 201. At 04:49am on 13 Nov 2008, reddevilchamps wrote:

    hello everyone . Hmm after watching the match, I believe most man utd players are far from the form they enjoyed last season . Here i'll point out to Gary Neveille, who I sincerely believe has passed best . I think its high time for him to bring down the curtain on his career and leave the job to Wes Brown and the young but talented Rafael Da Silva. Van der Saar remains a top class keeper who also however seems to be nearing retirement .The defence backbone Rio Ferdinand was not at his best . Hence the whole defence appeared shaky .

    Evra and Ronaldo had tight markings , though the latter is yet to match last season's extra ordinary form .Anderson still lacks the experience of Paul Scholes .Carrick however did whatever he could .Park was physically dominated throughout the match .Berbatov I believe is still struggling to find the correct position on the pitch and trying to synchronise with Ronaldo and Rooney .

    WEL WELL taking of the devil, i do agree is a hard working and passionate lad . However he remains inconsistent in terms of this goal scoring abilities and sometimes really finds it hard to control his temper . I hope that this will improve with time as it really impacts on the team's performance .
    Thx guys for reading my comment. Cheers .

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  • 202. At 07:29am on 13 Nov 2008, tgbutd wrote:

    To NikosBg

    Chap i don't know what your story is against Man United. I see that in 606 you are also uttering nonsense about the UEFA and Premier league champions("bear this in mind"). Remember mate, hatrage is like cancer, it will consume you alive. Seeing that you have already lost your objectivity and good sense of critical judgement, rest in peace. Constructive criticism shows intellectual maturity but yours proves that you are a layman.

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