Ji Sung Park was United’s hero of the night as he scored the only goal in the match opposing the Red Devils to Arsenal to make United climb back on top, with still one game in hand as compared to the others. It was a night where both teams were cautious and clear opportunities were very rare for either side, and also the second highlight of the match, Rooney blasting his penalty kick well wide, losing an opportunity to kill off the game definitely before the final whistle.
Sir Alex had packed the midfield for this match, as Rooney played the lone striker role supported by Nani and Park on either wing, while Berbatov and Chicharito were left on the bench. United managed to put some pressure early on, with young Arsenal keeper Szczesny helping them sometimes with some poor clearances, but both teams were not attacking as one would have thought for the night. However the breakthrough came on the 41st minute, as Nani’s shot was partially blocked by Clichy, but the ball fell for Park, who was not well marked by the Arsenal players, and he headed home, although it could be said a lucky goal, as he could try 10 times again to head like he did but never manage to score again 😀
1-0 at half time, the second half saw United again put some pressure, before eventually settling deep behind to contain the Gunners’ play. Arsenal sent on Fabregas and V.Persie to try threaten United more. But it was United which should have been 2-goal clear soon afterwards, as a penalty was awarded for a handball by Clichy, but Rooney, who stepped up to take it, blasted his effort well above the bar with the keeper beaten, mostly due to his yet again bizarre build up run, and putting too much power. Walcott was sent on shortly afterwards as Arsenal tried to breach for an equalizer, but United were well in place at the back, and the Gunners could not play their flowing football. Giggs was sent on by Sir Alex as the only change from United’s side, but it was too late for him to make a real impact, as United concentrated on keeping the 1-goal lead intact, and eventually the final whistle came to send the Red Devils back on top in the league table, with still a game less than the other contenders. Next weekend will be a crucial match away to Chelsea, the Blues which are very poor so far, but beware of a sudden wake-up call next weekend.
Also to note the presence of some of the Chilean miners at Old Trafford for this match, an initiative by Sir Bobby Charlton to invite them for this match during his recent visit to Chile, and also Solskjaer bid his farewell to the fans as he returns to Norway, after being part of the United staff as the reserves team manager.