4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 0-0 Draw With Man Utd

By on February 13, 2014

Arsenal were held to a dour 0-0 draw by Manchester United at the Emirates on Wednesday night. Here, Gunner333 gives us four thoughts from the game.

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Coming off the back of a fine thumping from Liverpool at the weekend, Arsenal welcomed a Man United side which was held by bottom club Fulham on Sunday. Rosicky and Gibbs were called up as replacements for The Ox and Monreal, whilst Van Persie started after scoring in the last five league meetings between the two sides.

Both sides could have scored inside the opening three minutes with van Persie wasting a great chance for United before Giroud headed wide when unmarked at the other end. However, that was about as good as the good got as both sides played a cautious game leading to few clear-cut chances.

It was 0-0 at half time and fans were hoping for a better second half. Little arose in the early stages after the break but Arsenal then had their best effort of the game denied on the hour-mark. A wonderful corner resulting in Koscielny’s powerful-header being cleared off the line by Ecuadorian Valencia.

Arsenal were having the lions share of possession with United looking to hit on the break, and both teams created opportunities to snatch a late winner during the closing stages. Sagna’s delectable cross teased the foot of Giroud inches out, with the forward yet again being flustered in front of goal. This before United broke and Rooney’a floating ball allowing Van PersIe to unleash a thumping header which led to a world-class save from Wojciech Szczesny.

Santi Cazolra also saw two decent efforts saved by De Gea at the other end, but neither side could find the breakthrough and it ended 0-0. Here are four talking points from the game;

1) Hunger?

After that dismal display against Liverpool at the weekend, fans were expecting the Gunners to perform with high intensity, but this was not the case. Despite dominating possession and being the home team, we failed to really go at United to force the winner.

The overall hunger of the side was lost and our midfielders often played the safe option, without risking the long pass or through-ball. Our main aim seemed to be possession and not to go for the win. To be title contenders, you must take risks and push for that winner without being scared of conceding at the other end.

2) Improvements In Defence

Our defence was vastly improved and held strong for the full ninety minutes. Each United burst blunted by a quick-thinking defence or world-class save. Mertesacker looked as if he had regained his top-form and the same can be said of Koscielny and Sagna.

An interesting fact with a clean sheet collected against a big club after a week-end mauling, was that it mirrored how things went back in December. We were beaten 6-3 by Man City a week before holding Chelsea to a stalemate. Coincidence or not, this shows we have the capability to tighten up in defence after a set back and that we can turn it on when needed. If this is done consistently, a trophy could be on its way!

3) Mikel-amity!

Wenger’s choices in midfield were rather interesting, given the nature of play in recent weeks. Özil started yet again despite his poor display at Anfield, while Mikel Arteta also started with his performance not far off a calamity!

His mobility matched that of Spain’s over 60s, whilst his final ball was poor. I am under no illusion Mikel has the ability, but believe as he is getting older he should get less game time, to compensate for a decrease in stamina. It has worked with Rosicky in recent seasons. However, I do realise we had little option but to play Mikel in this game, with Mathieu Flamini unavailable, but he should definitely be rested on Sunday now the Frenchman is back.

4) So what now?

As a pessimist or an optimist, this result can be viewed in a number of different ways. Although our attacking play was lacking, our defence looked solid. We played average but need to produce top performances week-in, week-out, especially when you’re competitions with the likes of City and Chelsea for the title.

With our league campaign taking a temporary break, we must focus our attention on ties in both the Champions League and FA Cup – the latter being where I feel we have the best chance of winning a trophy this season. So a hefty pay-back against Liverpool and a solid shift against Bayern will make all Gooners much more positive.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below!

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2 Comments

  1. SAGunner

    February 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    The only real talking point is that if we had played Podolski through the center we would have had 1 goal at the very least – Is this french bulldozer not an absolutely useless football player – missing headers – mistiming runs to get onto good Sagna passes – losing the ball every time it is at his feet… he is Arsenals downfall – but wengers pride and hardheaded ness will keep him in the team – because he was brought in as a striker and he is French.. send him back! Its the same story every game – Yet Podolski – a fantastic ball player, who granted, needs a few games to sharpen up, continues to sit out.

  2. Nizam

    February 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

    All the big teams know how the gunners play.I don’t have to elaborate.
    There is hardly any high ball so the defnders have it easy except of course corner kicks.
    When you see how Spurs scored their 4th goal,you wonder why Wenger is unable to win the big games. Liverpool will be fired up in the Fa cup. It won’t surprise me if they were to win the ep l or finish ahead of he gunners.

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