A Pointless Point: Arsenal 1 – 1 Man Utd – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 1 – 1 Man Utd

As Arsenal’s quest for a top four finish continues, the latest Premier League Champions – Manchester United, were hoping to throw a spanner into the works. The Gunners were in dire need of all three points, whilst the newly crowned Red Devils felt no such pressure.[quote_right]”The opening minutes of the first half unfolded like a dream for Arsenal…”[/quote_right]

The opening minutes of the first half unfolded like a dream for Arsenal. In the second minute, Robin Van Persie’s misplaced pass helped Arsenal get the ball forward to Tomas Rosicky, who in turn played Theo Walcott through on goal for an easy finish. The Englishman was offside, but his goal counted regardless.

Arsenal had raced out of the blocks with real purpose, fuelled by their early goal. Arteta, Ramsey and Rosicky in particular were doing an excellent job in the midfield. United were being closed down effectively, and chances were being created for the Arsenal attackers.

The Red Devils were struggling to cope with the Arsenal pressure, allowing themselves to misplace passes whilst looking nervy under attack. It certainly seemed that if Arsenal were going to win this game, it had to be done now – whilst the Champions were rattled.

But in typical Arsenal fashion, they failed to convert their chances. Aaron Ramsey, despite defending brilliantly, was at fault for at least three poor key passes in the final third, each one as crucial as the last. Lukas Podolski was also lingering on the edges of the United box, instead of being in a position to meet crosses.

Then, in the forty-fourth minute, Bacary Sagna made the dreaded scenario of an equaliser possible. He passed the ball backwards lazily, looking for Mertesacker – but finding Van Persie. Realising his mistake, the Frenchman hastily raced back, putting in a poor sliding challenge in the box. It was a double whammy of errors.

Naturally, Robin Van Persie stepped up and converted the penalty with ease. Arsenal’s hard work had been undone.[quote_left]”Excellent defending from Laurent Koscielny in the second half kept Van Persie and Rooney at bay.”[/quote_left]

The second half was far less tense than the first. The Gunners were once again raring to go at the start, but their enthusiasm soon fizzled out.

United were controlling the tempo of the game now, in stark contrast to their first half performance. As the game went on, it was clear to see that Arsenal had thrown the majority of their energy at the first half.

Excellent defending from Laurent Koscielny in the second half kept Van Persie and Rooney at bay.

Both sides had half chances, but it was clear to see that United were happy with a draw, and Arsenal were helpless to change the locked scoreline. Despite game changing players such as Gervinho being introduced, The Gunners were toothless in the final third.

As the game reached its end, it was good to see that Arsenal – despite one major mistake, had remained solid at the back. The main concern was the sheer lack of firepower in the final third. United were calm, and Arsenal missed out on a valuable two points.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesney: [8/10]
Made an excellent close range save with his face from a RVP header, and was dominant in the air for crosses. His mind games before the penalty didn’t work, but were at least entertaining to watch.

Sagna: [5.5/10]
Poor crossing and a mistake of Sunday League proportions for Bacary today. His initial pass was atrocious, and his uncontrolled tackle which followed was nothing but dissapointing. I expect better. 

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]
Up against one of the best Strikers in the world, Per did very well. He came across to cover both Sagna & Gibbs on occasion, and read the game to perfection. Made some good tackles in and around the box.

Koscielny: [9/10]
MOTM. Laurent was an absolute beast in defence today. He dominated both Van Persie & Rooney in the air, whilst legally throwing himself into tackles. He won header after header, and blocked cross after cross. Not one mistake.

Gibbs: [7/10]
Chosen ahead of Monreal, Kieran showed good determination to get on the end of loose balls and convert them into chances. However, his attacking tendencies left us exposed at the back regularly.

Arteta: [7.5/10]
Mikel started the game strong, winning tackles and dictating play in the middle of the park. His performance was quelled in the second half, but he continued to do his job at a good standard despite the increasing pressure.

Ramsey: [6/10]
In the opening twenty minutes, Ramsey won numerous tackles brilliantly. The only problem is, the passes which followed each successful tackle were laughable. As the game went on, he regularly made the wrong pass in the final third, and misplaced many more deeper in the Arsenal midfield. Subbed.

Rosicky: [7.5/10]
His pass for Theo’s goal was perfect, and he looked lively both on and off the ball through out the entire first half. His second half performance was a tired one, until he was eventually subbed off.

Cazorla: [6.5/10]
Had two exciting long shots saved by De Gae in both the first and second half. Santi’s passing was generally good, but with some extremely poor ones creeping in.

Walcott: [7.5/10]
Did well to take his goal so early in the game, and looked dangerous throughout the ninety minutes. However, he needs to drift inside more often in order to take part in attacks.

Podolski: [6.5/10]
Lukas showed some very good touches – especially in the first half. However, his movement and positioning off the ball was poor, often leaving the United penalty area void of any Arsenal presence. Seems to be more suited to the wings – or even behind the striker.

Subs:

Wilshere: [6.5/10]
Showed some good touches in around the box, but failed to make any real impact. Hopefully fit enough to start next game.

The Ox: [6/10]
Chamberlain misplaced a pass or two, but looked comfortable on the ball when moving forward.

Gervinho [N/A]

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[title]A Pointless Point[/title]

The Gunners absolutely needed three points today – and they didn’t get them. The point is nice, but hold no weight in relation to the positions of Chelsea and Tottenham in the race for Top Four.

Both clubs currently have a game in hand, whilst Chelsea sit a point above us, with Spurs just two points below. The run in could be very close, and Arsenal cannot afford to drop anymore points in this campaign. Finishing fifth is now a very real possibility.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Man Utd match? Share your views in the comments section below!

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