Sunday, November 4, 2012

Five Brief Thoughts on Manchester United 2 - Arsenal 1

photo by topher76via PhotoRee

Letdown: After the highs of the last two Chelsea games, the first half yesterday was a huge letdown, to the players as well as the fans. Besmirched by mixups, misplayed passes and a mishit penalty, neither side acquitted itself very well, despite the early United goal. The fact that both sides played so poorly should not be entirely unexpected after the emotional highs and lows reached by the two teams in the last couple of days.

RVP: The only thing more certain than the former Arsenal man scoring against his old teammates was the low key celebration which followed. And after managing to find the net yet again this season, it's not only the Manchester United fans who love RVP: Arsenal left back Andre Santos was so smitten that he asked for the Dutchman's kit at halftime rather than risk being shutout at the end of the game.

Horrible: One of our younger corporate employees has a favorite saying: "When Patrice Evra scores against you, you know you're bad." Based on the ninety minute shift that Arsenal put in yesterday, he's a hundred percent correct. Arsenal looked sluggish, careless, listless and any other adjective that you'd care to throw at a team that played as if they were entirely devoid of all passion, urgency and focus.

Beware: People keep saying that Manchester City has been poor to date, but is still within striking distance of the League lead. But so has United, and today was yet another sub-vintage performance from the once and future champions. Playing just well enough to win got them three more points, and United has now come through a brutal stretch of matches that included Spurs, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea with only one casualty to their name -- depsite failing to put together a full 90 minutes of dominating football. Although there's no such thing as an easy game in the Prem, it's fair to say the next several games should be easier than the last few.

Shutout?: Losing the shutout with the last kick of the game may be a huge source of frustration to the players and fans alike, and you can be certain the Sir Alex won't let his charges forget it anytime soon. A loss of focus was responsible: the Gunners didn't test De Gea with an on-target shot until the 94th minute. Things do seem to be heading in the right direction, though. Early on this season, the loss of focus was there at the start of matches; now it's the closing minutes that appear shaky. Imagine what will happen when the Reds figure out how to solve that problem.

This is farlieonfootie for November 4.

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