Arsenal 0 – 0 Man Utd
After a catastrophic defeat away at Liverpool, Arsenal needed to bounce back quickly as they welcomed Manchester United to the Emirates. Both sides were in need of three points, and the history of the fixture spoke for itself.[quote_right]”In the midst of (unfair) criticism, Mesut Ozil was turning the style on…”[/quote_right]
The game started with some very open play. Arteta lost the ball to Van Persie in front of the danger zone, but the Dutchman pretty much bottled his finish, directing his shot straight at Szczesney.
Quickly after, Giroud put a header wide from a corner, which was followed by a good spell of Arsenal play.
In the midst of (unfair) criticism, Mesut Ozil was turning the style on. He was moving the ball around well, taking on players, and tracking back to make tackles. He was looking dangerous.
United were sitting deep, inviting Arsenal to attack, but getting forward themselves whenever they caught Arsenal in possession. As the half went on, each side swapped positions in terms of domination, with Arsenal holding possession for a while, before United had their turn to dominate.
It stayed this way until the half time whistle blew, where both sets of players walked down the tunnel with everything to play for.
The second half was very much the same. Arsenal and United were playing tug of war over possession, but chances were few and far between for both sides. [quote_left]”Wayne Rooney crossed a beautiful ball toward Van Persie at the back post, who delivered a close-range bullet header. Thankfully, Szczesney pulled off a world-class save to push it on to the crossbar.[/quote_left]
Early on, Koscielny leapt for a corner and headed towards goal, only to have the ball agonizingly cleared off the line by Valencia.
In fact, after Koscielny’s header, it took until the seventy-sixth minute for a real chance to be created. Sagna crossed brilliantly to the front post, but Giroud just couldn’t get the touch, despite being inches away.
Minutes later, Wayne Rooney crossed a beautiful ball toward Van Persie at the back post, who delivered a close-range bullet header. Thankfully, Szczesney pulled off a world-class save to push it on to the crossbar.
The game heated up in the last few minutes, with Arsenal pinging the ball in and around the United box, but failing to make any real impact.
Santi Cazorla had a couple of good strikes saved, but in the end, both sides took the solitary point – which was not much use to either manager.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Only really had two saves to make, but they were big saves. Van Persie’s one-on-one chance was stopped with ease, but his header later in the game was powerful, and from close range. The save was nothing short of world-class to keep Arsenal level.
Worked tirelessly today, as Arsenal focused many of their attacks down the right. Sagna defended well, and put in some pretty good crosses as the game went on.
Made some good tackles here and there, but lost Van Persie leading up to his late header. Still, it was a fair game from Per, with no major errors.
Was slow keeping up with Arsenal’s defensive line at times, but had a very good game otherwise. He had a great header cleared off the line, made some superb tackles when under pressure, and had Van Persie tied up for large patches of the game.
Worked harder than anybody today. Kieran was zipping up and down the flank, putting in crosses, tackles and passes to help the team get forward. Equally, he won header after header in his own half, keeping United at bay defensively.
Poor performance from Mikel. He lost possession leading up to Van Persie’s first chance, looked sluggish throughout the game, and did little to help the team get the ball forward.
Started the game well, but his energy levels quickly dropped. His passing became sloppy, and he eventually became a passenger before being subbed off.
Santi played very well. He completed his defensive duties well, got stuck in, and tried his best to link up with Ozil and Giroud. Let off a couple of good shots towards the end, but each were saved.
Started well by scrapping in the midfield, but his second half was very poor. He stopped making runs, looked slow on the ball, and was caught in possession too many times.
Ozil: [8.5/10] – MOTM
Ozil was class today. He began well by running at players, beating defenders and playing some good passes. As the game went on, Mesut got stuck in defensively too, tracking back and winning the ball too. In the final stages of the game, Ozil looked our biggest threat. He was calm on the ball, and very nearly pulled off some great offensive moves to create a chance.
Poor passing, worse finishing. Giroud had a range of chances today, but missed them all. Headers went wide, and crosses went untouched as he just couldn’t make anything work. He helped out defensively though.
The Ox: [N/A]
Arsene Wenger didn’t do enough to win the game today. Giroud and Wilshere were both struggling towards the end, and the changes just never came.
Arsenal created chances, but Giroud simply couldn’t finish them. Cazorla, Gibbs and Szczesney were all great, but Ozil was the brightest spark. He looked fluid in all situations, worked hard, and tried his best to orchestrate moves.
United never really looked like they wanted to win, despite offensive substitutes. They sat back, absorbed the pressure and were probably quite happy with the point away from home. Arsenal on the other hand, haven’t made life easy for themselves going into a period of colossal fixtures.
Next up, Liverpool at home in the FA cup. Revenge?