No matter how hard Arsenal tried they just couldn’t come up with enough quality clear-cut scoring chances needed today to overcome Manchester United at Old Trafford. As a result, they fell 1-0 to the reigning champions and saw their lead over them cut to five points. The Gunners are still in the Premier League driver’s seat though, but they’re now only two points ahead of second place Liverpool and three ahead of Southampton. Ex-Gunner Robin van Persie, who else, scored the game winner in the 27th minute.
Other than Van Persie’s goal, scoring chances were few and far between for both sides in the first half. The match came to life in the second 45 minutes though, but still ended disappointingly for the London side. The game’s only goal came from a Wayne Rooney corner from the right side of the pitch and Van Persie met it perfectly and directed it past helpless Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Nobody could really be faulted for the goal as it was basically the result of the nonsensical zonal marking system. However, some fans may point to Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal saw some results go their way this weekend though as Chelsea were held to a 2-2 home draw by West Brom, Tottenham were beaten 1-0 at White Hart Lane by Newcastle and Manchester City dropped a 1-0 decision on the road at Sunderland. However, Liverpool shutout Fulham 4-0 at Anfield to narrow the gap against the Gunners. It was Arsenal’s first league loss of the season since losing at the Emirates 3-1 to Aston Villa on opening day. Their 15-match undefeated away streak was also snapped at 13 wins and a pair of draws and they haven’t won at Old Trafford now since 2006.
The league is definitely up for grabs this season as there are just six points between the top eight teams in the table. Then Gunners simply weren’t ready to play from the opening whistle today though and the absence of defender Per Mertesacker because of illness didn’t help. Thomas Vermaelen took his place and captained the side. Other than the goal, the most dramatic incidents in the first half were player collisions.
In the 41st minute United’s Phil Jones clattered into Szczesny at the Arsenal goal and it looked like the Polish international may have been out cold. However, after a couple of minutes he regained his feet and carried on. Jones was booked on the play, but it was accidental. Just a few minutes later there was another collision, this time at the United goal when keeper David De Gea collided with the head of Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian managed to see the end of the half, but was replaced by Tom Cleverly at the start of the second stanza.
The Gunners definitely picked up the pace in the second half and created a few decent chances, but they were all thwarted by United’s defence before anything could seriously come of them. United also had a couple of their own, with Rooney shooting just wide of the goal in the 60th minute. The Gunners only have themselves to blame though as they showed up for the second half only. Their next game isn’t until Saturday, November 23 when they meet Southampton at home in a league contest now due to the international break for the World Cup qualifying playoff games.
Arsenal Player Ratings-Sat. Nov 2 Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool-Premier League Match 10
Wojciech Szczesny-7 The keeper didn’t really have much to do and couldn’t be faulted on the goal.
Bacary Sagna-9 Sagna delivered some excellent crosses from the right wing and was on the ball in his own end too.
Laurent Koscielny-7 The French international had a fine game and made some timely tackles.
Thomas Vermaelen-7 The Belgian defender filled i8n admirably for Per Mertesacker and was steady.
Kieran Gibbs-7 Gibbs had a good game like the rest of the defenders and was also lively in the attack.
Mikel Arteta-7 Arteta put in a good effort and tried to create some offence. Was also solid defensively. Was taken off after 83 minutes for Serge Gnabry.
Mathieu Flamini-7 Played well with Arteta and back to his usual self after his injury. Was taken off after 61 minutes for Jack Wilshere.
Santi Cazorla-6 Cazorla struggled in the game and didn’t have much influence on the proceedings at all. Was taken off after 78 minutes for Nicklas Bendtner.
Aaron Ramsey-6.5 Not the best game of the season for Ramsey, but the effort was still there
Mesut Ozil-6 Ozil also didn’t have a very good game and the effort was lacking at times. Needs to show some more determination.
Olivier Giroud-7 Giroud couldn’t be faulted for his effort. The finishing wasn’t there though and he was left on his own and the service wasn’t there.
Jack Wilshere-6.5 Came on for Mathieu Flamini after 61 minutes and added some spark to the side.
Nicklas Bendtner-5 Came on for Santi Cazorla after 78 minutes and was virtually invisible. When he was fed the ball he couldn’t convert.
Serge Gnabry-6.5 Came on for Mikel Arteta after 83 minutes and did his best in the final 10 minutes of the match, but to no avail.