Old Futbol Buffet–Gunners shoot Blanks

Manchester United 2  Arsenal 1

After a night of moderate drinking, making it to the bar for an 8:45am kickoff was a struggle.  Not as much of as struggle as watching the Gunners in red socks with the #PurpleReignPain jerseys, but anyways . . . Couldn’t have asked for a better start as Rafael’s early cross wasn’t dealt with by Vermaelen and RvP punished his former teammate three minutes in.  From there a drab match unfolded, with Arsenal holding onto the ball but doing nothing with it, while United were not very dangerous.

“The ball doesn’t lie” sums up the PK before halftime.  Cazorla went to cover his face, which resulted in the spot kick, dutifully missed by Wazza. A stat floated around the interwebs that RvP is the better option in that circumstance.  The second half saw more of the same with Podolski and Ramsey having almost no impact on the game.  I am struggling to remember any influential moments for the Gunners.

The nail in Arsenal’s coffin came from the head of Evra.  Short corner, cross from Rooney, the tallest player on the field jumped and missed, the captain did not, 2-0.  Wilshere’s second yellow was crap but not undeserved.  He had a decent game on his return, yet several rash challenges caught up with him.  Anderson came into the match for the Reds.  I read that he had a good match against Chelsea in midweek and he played a solid thirty minutes but boy is he fat.  Cazorla’s consolation goal was a fine piece of finishing but AFC left with no points again and with draws by CFC and MCFC, United went top of the table.  Still not hitting the heights but hard to argue with the results.

Dan at the Red Rants blog saw United win comfortably, using the same lineup as the one against Chelsea last Sunday.  He concluded that it was “the Gunners who were flattered by a score line that could have been much worse, had United not played with the handbrake on for most of the match.”  I’ve seen comments like this in the aftermath, which shows how far Arsenal have fallen.  Chelsea treated the Gunners in much the same way at the Emriates, letting them have the ball and then picking them apart.

The Arseblogger’s headline said it all—Worse than last year.  Last year a disjointed Arsenal has a bad day at the office; this year was the realization that they are no longer one of the big boys.  He asked that Vermaelen be dropped for a lack of form and lack of leadership.  He also saw a limp attack that never got going.  Finally, Andre Santos did not have a good game but the team the Brazilian is not the only one to blame.  At the end he wrapped up by saying that this was “another disheartening day, more proof that our squad is too light in key areas, and another day when the team looked sluggish and not ready for the fight.”

My brother shared a post with me from Boris Mellor at the Arsenal Times.  Echoing the Arseblogger, yes the score was better, but the result was the same and even more disappointing.  Over the last couple of weeks, the Gunners have lost to Norwich, lost to Schalke, beaten QPR (barely) and recovered from 4-0 against Reading to win 7-5.  Now they have lost to rivals (maybe) Manchester United.  Boris sees a troubling sense of underachievement at the club, ending his post with this statement:

Without a change of ethos, the insertion of a real backbone and leadership this club will continue to decline. A fish rots from the head, the tragedy is that many can’t smell the rot as it is hidden by the rose scented aroma of Champions League Qualification.

Finally Zonal Marking watched a “subdued” affair as United attacked down the right hand side, with Valencia and Rafael overwhelming Santos and pulling Vermaelen out of the middle.  With Giroud isolated, the Gunners did not generate much offense, even with the introduction of Walcott.  In the end, Fergie got everything pretty much spot on as Arsene slumped to another defeat.

  1. For me, the current failure at the Emirates can be summed up by the following statistic:
    In three of their past four League and Champions League games, Arsenal have failed to register a shot on target until the 90th minute (Norwich, Schalke, Manchester United). Let’s be honest – the Reading game was an aberration.
    The offense just pisses around the entire game and is ineffective. I’m not sure if it is all the new talent not meshing with the old, or if it is tactics, or something else. Regardless, Arsenal have less goals than every other team in the top 7. Early on, their defense was blanking teams, so low scoring could get them at least a point. Now, the defense is shaky and the offense isn’t compensating. Unless they gel, things will not improve.

    • one comment that was made at the bar was that Arsenal are so slow. once United scored, i wasn’t too worried. during the chelsea game, even at 2-0 up i was nervous because of their pace and movement.

      their defense has definitely gotten worse. maybe it’s vermaelen or maybe it’s the players in front of them (ie no diaby and losing song). i worry for them because even middle to poor teams can park the bus and get a point because they can’t break anyone down.

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