Take that, Yanited! Arsenal pulled off an almost-perfect performance!


By perfect, I refer not to the quality of our play but to the dramatic elements of it. Conceding against the run of play only to equalise 35 seconds later, letting Garnacho through on goal only to have it disallowed by his being offside at the molecular level, Rice scoring the dramatic winner and Jesus adding some sheen? Hollywood would have a hard time penning a more-perfect script.

Ten Hag had Man U playing a strangely conservative counter-attacking style. We’re not so good at what we hope to do that a side with his resources and his personnel should have been so cautious. For long stretches, it looked likely the Dutchman only wanted to dominate possession whilst setting a record for most backward passes. Every once in a while, Onana or Eriksen or Fernandes would ping a pass up the pitch, hoping to find Rashford. It worked…once. We then showed the kind of ferocious response for which we became famous last season, Ødegaard scoring from Martinelli’s smart and unselfish pass.

Arteta got it all right from the get-go, starting a back four of Zinchenko, Magalhães, Saliba, and White, with Havertz and Rice ahead of them. Based on this match alone, RIce may have proven that he’s worth what we paid. The jury’s still out on Havertz, but there’s not been enough evidence yet either. There’s little point to slating or berating him. He wears the shirt. Support him. Full stop.

Nketiah got both of Man U’s CBs booked and, perhaps, removed. Lindelof probably should have seen red for a reckless, last-man “tackle” that saw him rake his boot across Nketiah’s face. Lisandro came off injured after getting booked for fouling Nketiah, and Lindelof later made way as well. Maguire and Evans came on, and it’s probably no coincidence that we scored both goals with those two in front of Onana rather than Lindelof and Lisandro. I’ll be honest when I admit that I savoured the fact that RIce’s goal squirmed in off of Evans, who insisted he had been fouled moments before. It’s not as if Man U have ever been given the benefit of the doubt, have they? I’ll take it.

This was the kind of magnificient, glorious result that can kick on a campaign. I don’t care if Man U are still getting sorted; it’s still Man U. They came in and took that early lead only to fold faster than Superman on laundry day. After three rather indifferent results against arguably inferior opponents, it was gratifying to go toe-to-toe with an historic rival and come away with such a rousing win.

Spare a thought before you go for Kai Havertz. He whiffed on a gilt-edged chance in the eleventh minute. Scoring there would have erased three seasons of existential angst and ennui. He’s emerged from the seething cauldron of chaos that is Chelsea (if you say it like “kelsea”, the alliteration works…) and is, to put it mildly, damaged goods. He’s been saddled with a transfer fee similar to Nicolas Pépé’s. What’s worse, he has to shoulder under the burden of being the next Willian—as if he’s just another Chelsea reject we were foolish to have signed. He’s just 24. He’s spent those last three years in a wasteland. As long as he wears the shirt, we should support him. He’ll get out of his rut and into a groove soon enough.

On to the bigger picture, we’ve taken ten points from our first four matches. I’d imagine that most of us would have predicted a win over Fulham and a draw with Man U. To have flipped the two splits the difference to no ill effect. We still have a lot of work to do, what with a De Bruyne-less Man City showing no signs of a post-quadruple hangover. It’s early days yet. This result might just be the kind of tonic to sooth our jangling nerves. We have two weeks to enjoy it By all means, drink deep.

Average rating 4.7 / 5. Vote count: 20

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

2 thoughts on “Take that, Yanited! Arsenal pulled off an almost-perfect performance!

  1. Palladio43

    I agree with you as to Havertz. He had good moments but most people will only recall the scuffed attempt in front of goal (that looked even worse when I rewatched it later) and the lazy pass that led to the MU goal (also worse in replay). On the other hand, I have doubts about the reversal of the call when he was sandwiched and came down, let alone the MU claim afterwards that Havertz dove and should have been carded.
    For all who carp about the scuffed shot, what about Saka’s missed opportunity later on after elegant passing left him open for a shot up into the net (anywhere but on the ground at the GK).
    Moving on, there was a lot of activity with little gained, except for the brilliant response to the MU goal (why was there not more of that?). Thankfully, Gabriel has either been practicing on the balance beam with the UK gymnastics team or once experienced walking on the edge of a cliff without falling into the canyon below and, once again, despite the post-game MU whining (is this the new post-Fergie MU), was even further forward than even the sportscasters thought when the second MU goa was reversed.
    It is troubling that we need to rely upon the inclusion of a players who never expected to be in an MU uniform except if ensconced in the stands or upon the added 15 percent time we should expect in every match. Of course tired legs should not have been an issue when Onana spent 15 to 30 seconds holding the ball every time he got to hold it and maybe, going forward managers need to plan their substitutions on the basis of a true 90 minutes of play.
    In closing, I am happy for Rice, albeit a brilliant billiards carom to top off his play, and it was good to see both Jesus and Tomasiyu moving well around the pitch (with a great move by Jesus for the goal). You are correct that this win offsets the draw last week although 12 is still a bigger number than 10 and, in the end it is the larger number that will matter.
    Now, if only Arteta learns from this event and recognized what lineup works and saves the cute stuff for the training ground and intra-squad play. We have to hold our collective breaths for that.

  2. A Simple Truth

    “Arteta got it all right from the get-go, starting a back four of Zinchenko, Magalhães, Saliba, and White, with Havertz and Rice ahead of them. Based on this match alone, RIce may have proven that he’s worth what we paid”

    these might be justifiable words were they to come in the moments following a match of this ilk, but to lean into such a ridiculously fluffed-up narrative once you’ve had a chance to collect yourself, speaks volumes about your glaring lack of objective perspective…it’s clear to anyone without a particular agenda in mind that were it not for Partey’s injury, this lineup would never had seen the pitch, Havertz was once again a bag of toys and Rice was decent, but he certainly didn’t put in a 100+M shift…in fact, at one point, and I hate myself for thinking it, I contemplated how much better we were with Xhaka in advanced spaces and Partey lying deeper…for years I’ve spoken about ridding ourselves of our Swiss albatross, tactically-speaking, so to think that we might of regressed after shelling out 65M, in my estimation, is a sackable offence, should things not pan out come season’s end

    as for the “real” match, it was rather subpar minus the 10+minutes of injury time…up to that point they had just about as many grade A chances, even though we dominated possession once again…it was clear they came to play counter-attacking football and thankfully Partey was injured or Rashford might have scored a brace or more…we had a couple of sitters that we royally fluffed, but it was quite uplifting to see Ode score in such a decisive fashion, as that’s not typically the case…we were incredibly fortunate that Garnacho was a hair offside and that Gabs wasn’t punished further when he clumsily leaned into Hojlund…I would suspect if that were a more established Striker or at Old Trafford, a different result might have been forthcoming…thankfully ten Hag got his subs all wrong, at least from a defensive capacity, which emboldened us to go for broke…overall, besides the glorious manner in which it finished, it was a fairly pedestrian affair…just wish there wasn’t an international break on tap so that we could maybe use the momentum gained to propel us to another victory next week


Leave a Reply