BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
« Previous | Main | Next »

Wenger satisfied as critics silenced

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 18:03 UK time, 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.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    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'...

  • Comment number 2.

    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.

  • Comment number 3.

    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.

  • Comment number 4.

    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!!

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    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.


  • Comment number 7.

    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

  • Comment number 8.

    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!

  • Comment number 9.

    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.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    '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.

  • Comment number 12.

    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!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    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.

  • Comment number 14.

    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.

  • Comment number 15.

    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.

  • Comment number 16.

    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.

  • Comment number 17.

    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.

  • Comment number 18.

    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.

  • Comment number 19.

    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

  • Comment number 20.

    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?

  • Comment number 21.

    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

  • Comment number 22.

    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.

  • Comment number 23.

    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.

  • Comment number 24.

    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.

  • Comment number 25.

    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.

  • Comment number 26.

    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.

  • Comment number 27.

    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.

  • Comment number 28.

    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.

  • Comment number 29.

    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?

  • Comment number 30.

    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.

  • Comment number 31.

    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!

  • Comment number 32.

    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.............

  • Comment number 33.

    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.

  • Comment number 34.

    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

  • Comment number 35.

    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

  • Comment number 36.

    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.


  • Comment number 37.

    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.

  • Comment number 38.

    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.

  • Comment number 39.

    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/

  • Comment number 40.

    Excellent post, Phil.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    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.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    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.

  • Comment number 44.

    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.

  • Comment number 45.

    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.

  • Comment number 46.

    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.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    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.

  • Comment number 49.

    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.

  • Comment number 50.

    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.

  • Comment number 51.

    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

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    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.

  • Comment number 54.

    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.

  • Comment number 55.

    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?!

  • Comment number 56.

    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.

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    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 ;)

  • Comment number 59.

    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.

  • Comment number 60.

    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?

  • Comment number 61.

    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.

  • Comment number 62.

    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.

  • Comment number 63.

    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.

  • Comment number 64.

    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

  • Comment number 65.

    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.

  • Comment number 66.

    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...

  • Comment number 67.

    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!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    "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.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    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 ?

  • Comment number 71.

    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.

  • Comment number 72.

    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

  • Comment number 73.

    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.

  • Comment number 74.

    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.

  • Comment number 75.

    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.

  • Comment number 76.

    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.

  • Comment number 77.

    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.

  • Comment number 78.

    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.

  • Comment number 79.

    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

  • Comment number 80.

    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).

  • Comment number 81.

    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 !!

  • Comment number 82.

    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.

  • Comment number 83.

    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.

  • Comment number 84.

    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

  • Comment number 85.

    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.

  • Comment number 86.

    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.

  • Comment number 87.

    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.

  • Comment number 88.

    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

  • Comment number 89.

    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...

  • Comment number 90.

    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.

  • Comment number 91.

    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.

  • Comment number 92.

    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.

  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    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?

  • Comment number 95.

    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 :-)

  • Comment number 96.

    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.

  • Comment number 97.

    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.

  • Comment number 98.

    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.

  • Comment number 99.

    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?

  • Comment number 100.

    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


Page 1 of 3

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.