United Loss to Arsenal – 5 Observations
We never do it the easy way do we? It didn’t sit easy with me as people continued to suggest the title race was over. I was talking to Ian Wright on Absolute radio last week and they laughed at me when I suggested we hadn’t won the league yet. The loss to Arsenal means we are now just three points ahead of Chelsea, who we still have to play. We are still in a really strong position and it is all in our hands, so there is no need for panic stations. On the back of the Arsenal game, here are some points to consider..
It was strange. United were coming into this game on the back of some great form but never really got going in this one. It was an usually timid performance, with the incision so apparent in the previous games. At no point did we exert a dominance on the game or get into our normal stride.
Fatigue an Issue?
Aside from Anderson coming in for Giggs (who had flu), it was the same eleven that dispatched Schalke in Gelsenkirchen and started both Champions League games with Chelsea. In essence, our strongest team currently. I just wonder if there is some fatigue settling in. These players had been to Germany, played in a Champions league semi and then faced a hungry Arsenal side in London the next Sunday. Fergie should use the two goal cushion obtained in Gelsenkirchen to rest some of this team for the return leg, with an eye on Chelsea the following week.
Central Midfield Player Still Needed
No player divides opinion among United supporters as much as Michael Carrick. His form has improved considerably in recent weeks but he wasn’t impressive against Arsenal. We missed Giggs, for sure, but the sheer age of the Welshman means that he will not be playing in every game, so we need to do better without him. Anderson did ok but to me, still hasn’t fulfilled his undoubted potential. In my view, we are missing something still in the middle of the park. We look a little soft here to me and I wold not be opposed to a new signing in the summer.
New System Wasn’t as Effective against Arsenal
Some of our performances in the Emirates in recent years have been outstanding. It was a familiar system deployed in the fixture, all about pace on the counter attack. The formation would be a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 depending on who had the ball, where typically Rooney, Nani and Park (also Ronaldo) would break with explosive menace. The new found system is more of a 4-4-1-1 with Hernandez playing beyond Rooney and it didn’t work as well for this fixture. It is not a formation which is as conducive for the counter attack football, which has been so effective here for United in the past.
Chelsea Match is Huge
As if anybody needed reminding but the magnitude of the Chelsea match has become massive. A win for United and title is as good as won. A loss, however, blows it wide open. A draw would obviously play into the hands of United more than Chelsea. The match is in Old Trafford, which is a huge advantage for us, given our home record this season. Chelsea will come with the kitchen sink in tow as they really represents their final chance. Presuming we negotiate Schalke in mid week, resting a few players, we should have roughly the same team eleven available who beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League.
We are still in an incredibly strong position with one foot in the Champions League final and basically an opportunity to win the league against one of our biggest rivals next Sunday. No need to panic but it is now officially squeaky bum time.
Submitted by Glory Glory Man utd
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