Manchester United 0 – 0 Arsenal

Despite not too much riding on it, today's game was a very decent game to watch and the result doesn't fully tell the story of the game itself. After losing to United twice in as many weeks, the game today showed the world that we're just as good as them on our day. We dominated the game from start to end, creating chances and playing well all round.

The pre-game talk was all about the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor and Mikael Silvestre - both supposedly suffering groin injuries - confirmed by Arsene post match. Rumours are of course circulating about Adebayor - especially with the boss saying he wouldn't stand in his way if he wanted to go and a bid came in. If you watched football focus this morning, you may have already heard a very insightful interview with Adebayor. It’s a stark reality and a sign that he’s ready to move on. Both Ade and Arsene have vent their frustration back at the fans, and whilst I appreciate there has been some negatively, it’s not right from Ade or Arsene to attack the fans. Yes, some things have been misconstrued in the media, but you can see from the interview that there is a tense feeling with the fans and the team at the moment and it’s not healthy.

Anyway, back to the game, and we went with a 4-5-1, with Denilson, Cesc and Diaby in the middle, Arshavin and Nasri on the wings and Van Persie up front – Song partnered Toure in defence, and it seems to be a theme and the end of the season away at Old Trafford. We played well and our link up play was good all round, but it is a difficult to break down United and they were disciplined in defence.

Arsene spoke after the game and had several topics to talk about.

“I believe we played with a lot of heart and desire. When we played in the Champions League I think we were inhibited a bit by the occasion – it was too big perhaps – and in the second leg we had no chance to play the game. Today we showed we have the quality. We played a lot of authority on the pitch.
“Man United like to play counter attack and I felt we were much sharper on winning the ball back but have the regret that we couldn’t score the goal that would have livened the game up – it would have forced them to come out. In the last 20 minutes they made a change to play for a 0-0.”

“I believe we played with a lot of heart and desire. When we played in the Champions League I think we were inhibited a bit by the occasion – it was too big perhaps – and in the second leg we had no chance to play the game. Today we showed we have the quality. We played a lot of authority on the pitch.

“Man United like to play counter attack and I felt we were much sharper on winning the ball back but have the regret that we couldn’t score the goal that would have livened the game up – it would have forced them to come out. In the last 20 minutes they made a change to play for a 0-0.”

And today we really did show that we can match United, the home team not even having a shot on target, we had 61% possession and looked sharp all round the pitch. Arsene also talked about the feeling when United lifted the trophy.

“The hope is there that we can do. The quality is there as well and you saw that today.

“Deep down you want to be out there celebrating. They were the better team this year and congratulations to them. Let us make sure it in on our side next year. In sport things can change quickly and what we have shown today is that we have the quality to be up there. We have to keep the belief and work very hard. My team have learned a lot and we were not far. Since November we have lost just one game. We were close in the Champions League and the FA Cup, and were remarkably consistent. ”

Of course, there are many ways you could look at the season but a game like this does help you put the team into perspective.

I’ll keep it short today and leave you with this video posted on the WOA facebook page:


Man Utd: Van der Sar, O’Shea, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Ronaldo, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney (Anderson 90), Tevez (Park 67).
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Neville, Berbatov, Scholes, Rafael Da Silva.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Toure, Song Billong, Gibbs (Eboue 76), Nasri (Bendtner 69), Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Arshavin (Walcott 69), van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre.

Booked: van Persie, Arshavin, Fabregas, Nasri, Song Billong.

Att: 75,468

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


  • devday

    The only bad thing about today’s game was the performance of Abou Diaby who just seems to be confused on the football pitch – Arsene is an intelligent guy, so surely Diaby is on the verge of being replaced?

  • Berth

    Lovely stuff from you Dev, just lovely.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Agree 100% Dev !

    Diaby was so so poor. Absolutely infuriating. Every time he got the ball he did the wrong thing. I've never understood how he (and Song) can look so incredibly lazy and be playing for a top 4 club in the English league. They have to be 2 of the laziest footballers I've ever seen. Make that 3 with Ade. Unbelievable. The body language is almost verging on hopeless. They look so darn slow.]]>

  • Fabrez

    Gotta disagree with the Song line there zohaib…he’s slow, but I’d not put that down to being lazy…he just isn’t a quick lad and we’ve got to accept that. Wonder if he’ll get any quicker with time? Have my doubts! Diaby on the other hand… he’s just got to go!

  • Fabrez

    I love that video…absolute class moments in there… Rosciky…wat an amazing player… And that game against Blackburn showed what this club is really about. When they said they had something special in the dressing room, it was so obvious from the way they played. It’s such a shame Gallas and Toure don’t get along anymore…Gallas said some nice things about Kolo. I’ll never stop supporting this club! Never a runner, always a Gunner!

  • Fabrez

    And its crazy how that video just contrasts to the Ade interview…but we need to get our realtionship back with our players. Ade really felt the pain of those boos… It looks like it’s affected his football and the team morale :( It’s sad but let’s give the boys all our support in the last game of the season! If we lose key players this summer, that would be very hard to take! Ade’s actually made me feel sorry for him since I’ve seen this interview!

  • Berth

    I can understand why Zohaib is furious about Man U winning the league. And a personal note to Zohaib; you have to understand that everyone in this forum is not can write English properly, I Guess sometimes you have to learn how to deal with it . WOA is really a global thing, hope you get that.

  • Berth

    * understand not everyone in this forum can

  • Fabrez

    But it was interesting when he more or less said he doesn’t agree with the boss’ tactics..i.e. 4-5-1 versus Man U…hmm… Think he went a bit too far….

  • Fabrez

    True that zohaib…the english remarks weren’t too nice… Differences in opinion are normal but the personal stuff…let’s leave that out…we’re a family here! :D

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Saw the highlights just now and to be perfectly honest I thought we played well. To come away wiith a clean sheet against Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov and Tevez shouldn't be scoffed at, as there aren't many teams who can say they've stopped them scoring. Yes we didn't score, but compare our bench to Uniteds and you'll see that our options weren't as varied as theirs. Plus we were away from home too, so a draw is a very good result.

    And again I've to disagree with the comments regarding what Arsene and Ade have said. To me it didn't sound like they're having a pop at supporters, I think they're expressing their opinions in the same way that some fans have. Obviously its been a disappointing season and the comments will reflect that, but in my opinion some fans haven't helped at all. In all my time as a Gunners fan, I dont remember so much negativity being spoken by what I believe is a minority, even when we were doing well! Seriously, I sometimes think that some so called *fans* are undercover Sp*rs supporters sent from the dark side of North London, and i've been more ashamed of their behavior than anything the players or manager have done.

    You could really tell in that clip that all this negativity has gotten to Ade. Even he admitted he hadn't played well enough this season, but we all know what he can do. I dont buy the reasoning that the only way he scored 30 goals last year was because they were put on a plate for him. Watch the clips on YouTube again and you'll see he created and scored some world class goals himself, not just goalpoached and fed off scraps. Personally I'd rather this all be put behind us, have him stay and hit top form for us for the seasons to come. Judging from his and Wengers comments, I think he will stay, which I really admire because it'd be easy for him to hand in a transfer request and walk away. In all honesty there aren't really any players who can really say they did well all season, so whats the point in singling out individuals and blaming them for all our problems. Negativity spreads very easily, affects each player diifferently, and is very mentallt tough to overcome.

    In the end, pretty much everyone, Arsene, the players, and some fans, have made mistakes this season. But the important thing is to put this season behind us. By the looks of it, there's a lot going for us this summer. Rosicky and Eduardo look like they'll be raring to go again, which will be like two signing for us right there. Plus we've been assured that we'll be adding experience and quality to the squad. Maybe its not all doom and gloom like a few keep predicting.]]>

  • Berth

    Pete I understand your point – But then when was the last time we won a trophy?

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I hear what you're saying mate, cheers. But compare us to what a lot of other clubs go through and believe you me, we're doing alright for ourselves. It's not just us that didn't win the title this year. Liverpool and Chelsea lost out too, and they should be far more disappointed with themselves than us considering the amount of money they've spent and experienced players they have. If Gerrard and Torres were Gunners players then they'd definately win silerware at our club. Think about it for a minute. How can Liverpool, who have two of the best players in the world, not win anything? I've never heard Liverpool supporters complaining about not winning anything since 2006 or booing their own players as much as us. Yet you could argue that they have more reason to do so. They've spent way loads more than us, and haven't had the building of a new stadium to concern themselves with. All they've had to concentrate on is their football, and they've come up short, but their supporters back them no matter what.

    In recent years I don't think it's always about the trophies with us. If that were the case, we'd play our strongest team in every round of Carling Cup, FA Cup and Champions League in a desperate bid to win something. The new stadium has probably been the main priority, and that was necessary in order to secure our future as a self sufficiant club. We know we're going to be around for generations to come, and success is a by-product of that. We didn't try to buy our success, which Chelsea have proved you can do.

    A club like Chelsea should have won an aweful lot more silverware considering the £600 million they've spent in 5 years! And what will they have to show for it at the end of the year? The best they can hope for this year is the FA Cup, but if we spent over half a billion for that we'd be less than pleased. Plus look what it's cost them in terms of stability and how they're run. Yet another manager will be gone after next week, their billionare owner is being hit by the credit crunch and a divorce settlement, and some experienced, yet old (in footballing terms) players are another year older. Personally I'd much rather be in our situation than theirs.

    For me it all depends how you look at it. I'm not saying we haven't made mistakes and aren't to blame for not winning more in the last 4 years. But look at what we were up against and what we had available, and even the most cynical person has to put their hands up and say we're doing alright for ourselves. We nearly won the League last year without the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Ljungberg etc. We were unlucky not to have won the Champions League in '06. Even this year, with players like Denilson and Song playing large chunks of the season, and others not hitting form, we still got to two semi finals in two of the best competitons in football.

    Thats how I see it at least. I think that the days where every signing we made being a young player are over. Yes we'll still sign youngsters, but I really do think that Arshavin was a step in the right direction for us and is a sign of the type of calibre of player to expect in the near future.]]>

  • Berth

    Honestly we are doing aright especially when compared to teams like AC Milan ; but at least the trophy should be shared and not one club winning three at a row or do you want the Lyon thing in French league happening here?

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Agree with you there mate, it definately should be more competitive. But my question is how do you go about it?

    No one can say United don't deserve their success. They're a club thats run very well, they've signed (and more importantly, kepy) their good players, have had a good manager for a long time and kept the faith in him even when they were't winning. With all the talent and money that Liverpool and Chelsea have, they still haven't manged to compete adequately enough, and I feel we're a better run club than they are. Even with a youth policy in place, we're still up there against teams that boast wolrd class players.

    The team you mention, AC Milan, who have some of the worlds best players, are a good example, and it's astounding to think that only a few years ago they won the Champions League, but are now have to settle for UEFA Cup. With the talent they have, they certainly aren't doing as well as us. I'm sure they must look at us and think how does such a young squad like Arsenal manage to play in the Champions League year in year out and even manage to reach this years semi's, regardless of all the problems we've had of injuries, players not hitting form etc.

    Thing is, I also agree with you mate. There is definately room for improvement, and Man United are currently the benchmark, but I think we can match them with only a few signings of our own. This season might have been a blessing in disguise, because if we did go on to win say the FA Cup or Carling Cup, it would end up distracting us from taking the steps forward to sign a bit of experience, which is what we need right now. Now we can focus purely on our football and everyone from the manager, the fans, the players and the board of directors are on the same wavelength i.e. we need to make a few signings with experience.

    Then again I could be completely wrong and we're in deep poo-poo land lol. But I really dont think it's that bad in all honesty.]]>

  • Fabrez

    U know…i think Song will b a CB nxt term… Rumours going around that Silvestre is off to PSG! Partaaay! lol And the player Arsene is aiming for is that defensive minded midfileder (Yaya/Senna-like!). And me thinks Ade is off to somewhere else…his time as an Arsenal man seems to be coming to an end. I thoight about last summer…and if Ade was in fact not behind all the Barca/Milan talk…it is up to Ade to make an official statement on the official website of the club saying it isn’t true (Granted Mr. Reyes did that several times but he was just a liar…he really wanted to go)! He most likely was behind that talk and ended up putting the Club in a position where they felt they had to give him an undeserved pay-rise. I don’t feel as sorry 4 Ade as i did yesterday! Hardly sry really…

  • Pete

    Who’d you reckon we’d replace him with mate?

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Guys, seeing as the season is drawing to a close, I thought we could make an interesting aside from all all the Arsenal talk by asking who would you vote for as worlds best player for the 08/09 season? Has any player from any team particularly impressed you this year?

    Personally, my vote would probably go to Steven Gerrard, as I think he's the player thats really shined the most in the Premier League this year.

    How about you?]]>

  • AJ

    < ![CDATA[Pete, I'd have to agree with you, Gerrard would probably be my player of the year.

    Regarding us, I'm just looking forward to the summer now, seeing who comes, who leaves and what happens at other big clubs, this season has annoyed me alot and got me rather upset at times, but it's in the past, lets hope the new season is really going to be the one. As for Ade, I'm not too sure whether he will stay, I think if he stays he's got to prove himself to be a awesome striker who's didn't just get lucky one season.

    As for the match, I thought it was ok, but it wasn't important as we all know and maybe thats why the team played better as there was no pressue on them to win?]]>

  • Fabrez

    < ![CDATA[Pete...the replacement? It's hard to say... Of course the name that comes to most tongues would be Villa but I'm not sure we would be able to afford him. Wonder what you guys think about some1 like Kenwyne Jones from Sunderland? He's not yet the finished article tho...but just throwing a name in there. Pretty decent in the air and more energetic than Ade i'd say. Probably not scored enough to really warrant a move to the Arsenal tho...

    As for my best player of the year...I'd also say Stevie G...he's been top draw...]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Fabrez - What I meant was, when you look at some fo these guys - Diaby and Song in particular (their faces to be precise) - they look so incredibley lazy. And surprise surprise, they're slow on the pitch. You don't want to interpret that as lazy, don't. I, however, believe it is a case of laziness.

    Song has been lively more recently. But Diaby has had a shocking season. Instead of getting better he's gotten worse.

    But how much that has to do with Wenger's experimentation and silliness with tactics, and injuries, I don't know.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Faces and body language*

    You have hundreds of other big players in the league and other leagues. But those two are by far some of the laziest I have ever seen. They're tall but they're also thin.

    Maybe it's a case of not being experienced enough and not having built up as much muscle as they need, competing with clubs like Chelsea, Blackburn, Bolton etc.

    Their physique definitely needs some attention. They need to get bigger. They look too weak, and it's no surprise they are. Put on some muscle. The way Fabregas did after a couple of years in the league. And, apparently, the way Walcott has - but obviously, even both of them need more.]]>

  • Berth

    ZOhaib don’t you really think Song has got enough body already – I personally attribute his being slow to his big size; for Diaby I have always seen him a daft, lousy and unintelligent player, his football brain is quite appalling. To me he is of the same class with Oshea.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Berth, you're making me sound redundant. I've already answered your question. I already said there are other big guys out there and some even bigger than Song and Diaby who move quicker than them. How do they do that !? And so, why can't Diaby and Song move their fat arses quicker ?!

    Actually, I thought O'Shea was pretty useless, and possibly the worst footballer ever, but I've changed my opinion since. He's a bit like Flamini, in that he's a hard-worker and can play at various positions if needed. Doesn't have to be spectacular. Just effective. And he is.

    On present form, I'd rather have O'Shea than Diaby.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[What worries me is something else. I'm not sure what the laws, rules and tests are within the club. And just today I read a report of how West Brom had suspended (If I remember correctly) Roman Bednar for allegedly buying drugs. My point is, does Diaby do drugs ?

    I have a nasty feeling that he probably does, but then that couldn't be possible. The club must have enough tests for them to show up if he did. It's just he looks so lazy. The only other place I've seen that droopy look is on a druggie's face, or in some cartoons.]]>


    < ![CDATA[Marvellous post. I get when you don't like other people who post, you make aspersions, but because you don't like a footballer he's a drug taker?

    More importantly you skipped the rational thought process and went straight to "I'm really worried about the club's drug policy" as if there is no doubt Diaby is a druggie.

    Brilliant. Sometimes you make me shake with anger, today you've put a massive smile on my face. I still can't work out if you're a long running joke that's got out of hand.

    Diaby is a shit player, Roman Bednar has been photographed buying drugs. There is a massive disconnect there Zohaib and I'm pretty sure you'd have to be mental to make the jump from one to the other.]]>

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