For the last couple of days, we’ve all been speculated who would start, who would be on the bench, who would play where, how we would line up… well, it didn’t matter in the end as none of us turned up… collectively as a team we lost this game before it started. Credit to the defence, as they weren’t given much protection and had to deal with a lot.
For reference purposes, the line up was:
Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Nasri – Rosicky – Arshavin
With a bench of Fabianski, Eboue, Denilson, Cesc, Walcott, Van Persie, Bendtner
The team was quite inbalanced for me – the youth of Szcznesy and Wilshere evident and the inexperience of Chamakh and Koscielny also told. But collectively everyone was poor, we didn’t close down from the off, we didn’t act calmly when in possession and became too compact – basically playing into United’s hands.
Simply, on the day, United were the better team – they weren’t great but they were still better than us. It was pretty much all United in the first half – it seemed like we were scared of them, and it was no surprise that they went 1-0 up – the goal coming through a collective set of errors from he front to the back resulting in Nani crossing in the ball for Park to somehow head so it looped over Szcznesy. Apart from the goal, I think Szcznesy did quite well throughout the game, including a great save from a Rooney lob.
The second was better but we still lacked composure and fluidity – Van Persie, Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas entered the fray in replacement of Rosicky, Arshavin and Wilshere respectively, but it didn’t change the outcome.
Arsene Wenger took time out to talk about the quality of the pitch:
What I feel doesn’t matter. We lost the game and I think to be as objective as I can. We were up on the intensity level and we were up on the organisational level. Overall, I think that Manchester United defended very well. The technical quality of the game was average on both sides because the pitch was very poor in my opinion and the game suffered a lot from it. Manchester United played a very simple game but they were efficient at it because they scored a goal and we didn’t create enough chances. You have to give them credit because they defended very well and their defence didn’t make any mistakes. Our passing was not quick or sharp enough to get them out of position.
For me, the lethargy in the side was clear – in maintaining possession, passing, closing down and attacking. Arsene was frustrated and I think we all know we can play better.
It is a big frustration and a big disappointment but what is important is that we bounce back in our next game. Overall on what I have seen tonight there is no reason not to believe and we know we can play better offensively.
We’re no longer top of the table, and we’re second – 2 points behind them – and they have a game in hand – it’s gone from very promising to not so much… We’ve got to pick ourselves up and understand why we didn’t turn up and why we couldn’t get on top at all.
It’s all quite frustrating, isn’t it?