Diaby gifts United but victory was far from convincing
Manchester Utd 2-1 Arsenal
Whenever these two teams play each other it is always eventful. A game where luck seemed to be on United’s side, with two penalty decisions going their way, an calamitous error from a player who was dubbed the ‘next Vieira’ just last week when he inspired his team to victory over Portsmouth, and who could forget the great entertainment shown by the opposition’s manager at the end?
Manchester United were far from convincing as they took all three points in a scrappy encounter. A stunning goal from Andrei Arshavin in the first half gave Arsenal the advantage before Robin van Persie’s free kick, which hit the crossbar, nearly doubled the lead.
Arsenal were in control until he brought down Wayne Rooney for a penalty, which not only did Rooney convert, but the home side showed much more urgency to get their second.
But the second goal was a gift. A cross from Ryan Giggs seemed pretty harmless as it went into the path of Abou Diaby, who for some reason, decided to head into his own goal. Yes, it was unintentional but the Frenchman had a number of possibilities to deal with the ball. It stunned the 76,000 capacity crowd and those watching at home. The points were literally gifted to Man Utd.
The tireless Darren Fletcher was terrific as his man of the match worthy performance was one of the highlights of the game. But the Scot is not Arsene Wenger’s biggest fan as he was puzzled to why he did not get booked on a day where the referee had a total of nine names in his book. A good penalty shout was turned down as away side believed that Fletcher had fouled Arshavin.
And while both Dimitar Berbatov and Nani had golden chances in the final minutes to wrap it up, Wenger’s did not waste his golden chance of providing some comedy for the fans. After being sent off for kicking a bottle because Robin van Persie’s ‘goal’ in the final seconds was judged offside and therefore disallowed. Credit must go to the linesman for spotting something so crucial.
Wenger, reluctant to listen to the official’s order, only made things worse for an unlucky Arsenal today, by providing the crowd with some extra joy. No, the performance was unconvincing but the reward of three points generously donated by a kind young man named Abou Diaby is all that matters.