Wayne Rooney was on top of his form yet again as he helped United see off Arsenal in a hotly disputed match at Old Trafford today, though the Gunners as well did not deserve to lose but United were more hungry for the win in the end as it finished 2-1.
The match started with only Wayne Rooney as the main striker, as Sir Alex left both Berbatov and Owen on the bench, and Giggs was given the captaincy and was the one who supported Rooney in attack. The match started with both teams playing a checking game, physical at times as the players challenged to deny any constructive attack. United created some opportunities but were not able to score, and against all odds, on 40 minutes, Arshavin, who was bundled over only some minutes ago in the box and should have been awarded a penalty, took a brilliant shot from outside the box and Ben Foster could only deflect the ball a little, but not much as Arsenal took the lead. Justice done if you are an Arsenal fan. Half-time 0-1.
The second half started brightly for the Gunners as Van Persie nearly doubled their lead but for a reflex left footed save by Foster to deny him his first league goal this season. On 56 minutes, Rooney was brought down as he ran onto a through pass and it was Almunia the culprit as he clearly tripped Rooney after the latter had taken the ball out of his way. Rooney was the one who took responsibility although Carrick was playing, and with a perfect shot he sent Almunia the wrong way, 1-1, Old Trafford was cheering once again. Arsenal got the chance to take the lead once again on 61 minutes after a foul from first Rooney then Brown (both booked as a result) gave Van Persie a chance from the resulting freekick. Fortunately for United, the ball crashed off Foster’s bar and came out, and as the action continued down the other end, United were the recipient of a freekick near the touch line. Giggs took responsibility of taking it, and Diaby, in trying to defend, converted into his own net with a header. 2-1 United took the lead, and Arsenal looked like coming back again with the same Diaby who missed the target in another dangerous action.
In the dying minutes more drama took place, as first Nani missed a sitter, then Berbatov miscued a shot as well which would have sealed the game. With 5 minutes of added time, Arsenal tried to rescue a point and nearly did with Van Persie scoring but having the goal disallowed due to an offside from Gallas who was involved in the build-up. Arsene Wenger, who was celebrating, was disappointed on seeing the linesman’s flag raised, and gave a kick in the ground, which was spotted by the 4th official, and the referee sent him off from the bench, but only for Wenger to go and stand near the United fans crowded behind him, and it had to involve the match officials to get him out of there and take him to the dressing room, may be fraternizing with the United fans 😀 No call for Owen nor Anderson nor Scholes today, even if they were present on the bench.
Carrick was rather ineffective today, while Vidic was on top along with Evra and Rooney, but still work needs to be done by the staff to get United really going as even if they won today they were really below par compared to Arsenal’s playing.