By Walter Broeckx
When you go to United the last thing you want to do is to concede a quick opening goal. I think I can even imagine Wenger saying before kick off: don’t make a silly mistake. Well it took us only 2,5 minutes to make one.
After uttering a lot of swearwords against my compatriot in our mother language I will leave it out of the article. Unless you want to know what I have to say to him. Okay, so here we go: “G*dverd*mme, Thomas, wa was da? Komoan hé, ge kunt beter dan da. Veule beter! Ik zen der bij in Schalke dus loat moar is zien wa da ge werkelijk kunt! Komoan Thomas, nie opgeve, hader warke en terug in form geroake’.
Okay you can try google translate on this but I’m afraid it will bring you nowhere. It is written in our local dialect and Thomas will understand it. And others from around Antwerp will.
Maybe we could do a little quiz about it. The one who can translate it the best and who comes to the Fulham game (or to the Schalke game) will get a free pint (or whatever you like to drink) from me. If you see me just give me the translation on the day or leave it in the comments. The other members of the Arsenal Benelux supportersclub are excluded from this competition.
So the worst possible start of the game for Arsenal. And from then on you knew it was a mountain to climb. I think the game plan was to try to get a draw. I thought we had a rather defensive line up. Ramsey and Podolski were more midfielders than attackers. So only Giroud up front and he got nothing coming in to him.
Ref Dean wanting to steal the show with giving United the obligatory penalty after the ball hit Cazorla on the arm. Arm in front of his body and face. I wonder if Dean has read the new instructions? Oh well, this is Old Trafford, this is SAF in the stand, this is what you can expect over there. Rooney missing was only justice being done.
A bad first half from Arsenal but we have turned things around before after a bad first half. But to turn things around at Old Trafford you need the rub of the green. We didn’t get it in the second half on a few occasions. People pointing at a few good saves from Mannone are right. He played good but that is part of the game. He is there to stop the ball and he did just fine.
When we needed a bit of luck it didn’t happen. Giroud hitting the post when it was 1-0 and when we had a lot of the ball was a moment that could have turned the game.
Cleverly should have gotten a second yellow card for his scissor tackle on Wilshere. Ref Dean let him off the hook. After all this is Old Trafford. This is SAF watching. And this is Dean. He liked to do another United games this season so can you blame him for not sending off a United player? Yes I do of course but well… we all know how those things go.
Instead of having to reorganise United could continue to play their favourite game: leaning back and then countering at speed. And score a second goal after a short taken corner. Mannone almost could divert it in to a corner and that would have been a world class save. It just went in behind the goal post. So 2-0 down. Still having to play 11-11.
Then came Dean into action once again. I have no complaints about the second yellow card from Wilshere. That was the only decision he could make. Of course the difference between Cleverly and Wilshere was obvious. The United player could stay on the pitch and United could play with 11 and the Arsenal player had to go. 2-0 down 11 vs 10. Game over.
Cazorla scored a late equaliser. And in the last 5 minutes or so we had 3 very good chances our selves. Cazorla playing in Walcott who shot over the crossbar. And De Gea making a stop on an attempt from Giroud.
The strange thing about this game was that we played bad, made a terrible early mistake that cost us the game, we hardly created things and if we would have been lucky and if the ref would have done his job in a proper way, things could have been different. And despite all this with a little bit of luck we could have nicked a point.
It all went United’s way because we gifted them an early goal and then didn’t change our tactics in the first half just defended and didn’t let United create that much that I can remember. The lack of speed was obvious and a few other things which I noticed this season and that I will taken one in another article.
Having had Dean twice in our first 10 games we can hope that we don’t see him around in the next 10 games (false hope I think) but at Old Trafford no clever ref will do what he has to do against the home team. Was it game changing? Who knows? The only thing I know is that Dean didn’t take his responsibility when he had to it and send Cleverly off when we were only 1-0 down. And the description I gave at the end of last season was once again confirmed: Dean is a very clever man who knows what to do (or not to do) to support his own career.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- “The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal”: crowd behaviour at the early matches