With Chelsea breathing down our necks after a controversial 2-1 win on Saturday we knew what we had to do going into Sunday’s game against Arsenal and unfortunately we were unable to get the required result.
Arsenal for all their collapses over the course of the season won without being particularly spectacular and that is probably what is most riling about this defeat, it was very avoidable.
United’s decision to go with 2 up top and a 2 man central midfield proved the wrong decision as Arsenal’s 3 man midfield of Song, Wilshere and Ramsey were able to nullify Carrick and Anderson. All 3 were guilty of a number of infringements but even looking beyond that we just generally weren’t good enough in what was another lacklustre performance.
Vidic was extremely lucky not to concede a penalty in the first half and could even have seen red ruling him out for the last 3 games of the season but this does not balance out with Foy missing Clichy essentially stamping on the back of Owen’s calf and potentially giving away a penalty. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if you think karma has anything to do with football then you should probably watch another sport. All this talk of decisions balancing out is ridiculous and they should be judged individually.
The performance as I said wasn’t good enough, Song was obviously given the job of sitting on Rooney and did his job even if it was outside the rules of the game. Hernandez had an uncharacteristically quiet game with zero shots on goal in his time on the pitch. Looking at the goal Vidic gave the ball away (as he did in the first half where we were luck that Wilshere didn’t convert), we weren’t quick enough to close down Van Persie and finally how on earth was Ramsey afforded the time to get his shot off, Park is normally one of our top performers against Arsenal but today it was he that was ball watching. Been said before but the fact we still rely on Giggs and Scholes in midfield, despite their age, speaks volumes. Of course Scholes was banned but the lack of Giggs told and at this stage they should be a bonus rather than an integral part of the team.
Looking ahead the familiar refrain ‘United like to do things the hard way’ comes to mind. With next week’s game against Chelsea and what could be a tricky tie against Blackburn away the title doesn’t seem as certain (I still think we will win it). The title has always been in our hands and I won’t question whether the players want it, only a moron would ask if a man who makes his living playing a sport wants to win a championship. If they didn’t want to win they wouldn’t be at Old Trafford playing under Sir Alex Ferguson.
I’m not too sure if a draw will be good enough as I said Blackburn away may be a tricky tie but having beaten Chelsea three times already this season, the belief will be there that we can get the job done. Chelsea aren’t just going to stroll it either as Everton at Goodison Park could be a tough one on the final day of the season.
So all we can do now is wait for next week.