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A few thoughts on the Manchester United FA Cup match

March 11, 2015

Nine thousand Arsenal supporters made the journey up North and boy did they get a night to remember while I ended up watching the game Tuesday morning on catch up TV. Good reason as well.  Having read some tweets, reports and as mentioned watched the whole match on catch up I thought it was a very good performance from Arsenal. A performance with fight and passion, never give up attitude and willing to let United have the ball and wait for opportunities to arise. Quite a few of Arsenal’s recent wins have seen our opposition with more possession over ninety minutes, which shows the team (manager) are learning how to cope with certain matches when needed. Possession doesn’t always get you the required result.

It was great seeing Arsenal win at Old Trafford and finally lay the recent hoodoo to bed. Mind you Arsenal not winning at Old Trafford is one thing, I do wonder just how many other teams have a decent record at Old Trafford over the last fifteen years? Not many I would imagine.

It was also nice to see Arsenal go to United with most of our first team players and not a scratch side with suspensions or injuries. All the players stood up, were counted and for once Arsenal had good match officials who took no notice of United’s play acting, diving and surrounding the referee. Apart from an elbow by Fellani on Coquelin early on, referee Oliver had a very good game. Oliver’s performance should be made required viewing for the rest of the premiership officials to see how it should be done.

Szczesny gave the supporters the usual few heart stoppers and maybe the defending for Rodney’s goal could have been better, but all round the defence did well. Coquelin and Cazorla were protective of the defence with Cazorla also assisting with the creativity up front. Ozil floated around making chances for the forwards. Oxo was buzzing and his run and close control for Arsenal’s first was scintillating. Shame the Ox pulled up with a hammy and could be out for up to four weeks. (that’s two players lost now in two games) Welbeck was doing a job for the team closing down when needed and popped up with the second goal. A goal I doubt Giroud would have scored as he is not as speedy as Danny. Sweet irony was Danny’s goal and he celebrated it which is good.. Should the team keep performing like they did in this match the supporters will start liking the players and finding songs for them.

A very well work team goal put Arsenal 1-0 up when Cazorla passed to Monreal, onto Ozil, who passed across to Oxo who dribbled through three players and found the right pass to set up Monreal who stayed calm and tucked his shot nicely past De Gea. A few minutes later a good cross by Di Maria found Rodney who I begrudgingly admit scored a very good header to make it 1-1 and this is how it finished at HT.

Arsenal regained the lead on sixty minutes when Danny Welbeck took full advantage of a poor back pass form Valencia rounded De Gea and slide the ball into the empty net. That’s how it’s done Giggsy. A tame shot wide from Di Maria and a half chance that Smalling got wrong were United’s only real chances to get back in the game, while efforts by Cazorla and Sanchez brought good saves from de Gea which could have put the game out of United’s reach. Poor dives from Januzaj and Di Maria were punished by the referee Oliver with yellow cards and Di Maria was punished further when he pulled the Olivers shirt, was shown a second yellow card within a minute and sent off.

The final whistle blew and nine thousand Arsenal supporters went mad. Wem-ber-ley Wem-ber-ley, we’re the famous Arsenal and going to Wem-ber-ley – Again!!!

I was woken up by my Son, who whispered Dad! Dad! Arsenal won 2-1, Welbeck scored the winner and Arsenal drew Bradford or Reading in the Semi Final. Have sweeter words every flowed from my Sons mouth? 🙂 If Carlsberg did short one way conversations then this would be at the top of the list.

Stand out player again I thought was Coquelin who handled Fellani very well on the night. Also the Ozil bashing was still going on. Watch him play, watch what he does, not just what you think he should be doing. Yes he highlights himself better when assisting or scoring, but he is so much more than just that. Ozil is perfectly summed up here and a good read it is. Monreal also is playing well  when called upon. Better for away tight games than Gibbs. Arsenal don’t lose many matches when Monreal starts.

Well played Arsenal, Well played Arsene. Well played the nine thousand who travelled on a Monday night and gave plenty of support to the team. Now for the lottery Semi-Final ticket scramble with thirty odd thousand tickets for forty-two thousand season ticket holders. Then that will be followed by twenty-five thousand tickets for forty-two thousand season tickets holders for the final, should we get there, which we will, of course.



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