Arsenal’s weapon is the cannon; United’s is the counter (Match Observations)
Arsenal 1-3 Manchester Utd: Observations
For Manchester United, the counter attack is not a policy. It’s a weapon. This 3-1 victory was reminiscent to the game against Arsenal last year in the Champions League semi-final. Same venue, same team, same outcome and in that game the counter had ripped the Gunners to shreds.
It is the best from of attack. And United are the kings of the counter attack. Arsenal hadn’t played that badly, their second half performance deserves some credit. At 3-0 down, Arsenal had responded with some efforts on goal (most outside the area, suggesting that they were way out of their comfort zone) and had pulled a goal back but they could not match Man Utd, who were stunning throughout.
Nani was terrific. So was Rooney. And Jonathan Evans. Park was marvellous. Carrick and Scholes were pulling the strings from midfield and with great effect. Let’s go back to Nani, shall we? A superb piece of individual skill had set up the first goal, as the winger had majestically flicked the ball past two defenders before he dummied Denilson and sent a lifting cross which Manuel Almunia could only divert into his goal. If the keeper had not done so, Park was behind him so the Spaniard had little option.
The second, minutes later, was a break with alarming pace in which Rooney had found Nani, who fed Rooney again and he dispatched. This goal is quite difficult to describe actually. Similar to that counter attack against Arsenal last April. The Gunners had failed to respond to those two goals, and United had led 2-0 at the break. Deservedly so, it must be said.
And after the restart, it was 3. Michael Carrick had sent a lovely ball from the halfway line to Park ji-Sung, who even with Rooney and Nani as possible options, decided to go alone and he tucked the ball past Almunia with ease. Game over, surely?
Yes, game over. Arsenal responded with some attempts at goal but without much luck. United had continued to counter the hosts, but also without luck. For Arsenal, it was a case of damage limitation and maybe a consolation goal. They got that, via Thomas Vermaelen’s deflected shot. Rooney could have, and should have, made it 4-1 near the end but had dragged his effort wide. Still, another top performance from the striker. And it looks as if though United are approaching top form again. Maybe? Arsenal face Chelsea next week, while United have a slightly easier task as they host Portsmouth on Saturday. You wouldn’t bet against a fourth successive title, would you?