Man U v Arsenal – the teams, the pizza, the telepathy, the result

By Bulldog Drummond

All runs end… except of course the run that means that Olympiakos win the Greek League.   That goes on for ever – although even that might be affected by the cancellation of games by the government this season.

So the run against of results against “M” and the run of results against Arsenal in M-shire will end one day.  After all, even the “49” – something Cornish supporters can only dream of – came to an end.  Yes it came to an end in Manchester, but just read the ref review of the game, if you haven’t ever thought about just how far refereeing can be manipulated (either deliberately or by incompetence).

However thinking of Game 50 reminds me that yes, PGMO is engaged in testing a video replay system.   The report which says that when eventually introduced it may only be used at the request of the referee on the pitch do not make me hopeful that it will do any good.  But then the awareness that even if it were in use today, like most of the PGMO committee, it would not be live gives me little faith.

But, the notion that others in some far off camera land are actually pouring over the “errors” as they might call it, or “deliberate looking the other way” as I might on occasion be prone to think, could even up the battle just a little.  The ref (certainly not one of the worst offenders) could actually be on his game.

Overall the past should always be seen as another country where they did things differently.  We’ve only lost away once this year (something that is very embarrassing for the media who are desperate to run their own agenda) – what reason is there to think that just because “M” is at very old trafford, it will now be two?

As Mr Wenger said, “Leicester won the league last year, we won at Leicester. And where did Man United finish last year?  We beat Man United 3-0 at home in the same season. Today, you fail one time and the reaction is: ‘Oh, they failed, they will fail again.’ Life is not like that. If you turn up 25 times and you lose one game, people take that one game as a normality. No. You have to turn up the 25 times before, believe me.”

But of course such logic never appeals to journalists, nor even the fact that the win at Leicester last year was by five goals to two, but they’ll always find an excuse.

As Amy Lawrence wrote yesterday night on the Guardian website, even when Arsenal won away in the last year, “Arsenal did not eke out what you might call a standout victory – the kind of result that can send shockwaves.  [An]  in-the-spotlight away-day win would be worth something bigger than three points on the board. That has to be in Arsenal minds as they walk on to the pitch on Saturday lunchtime.”

And that really is the problem.  Journalists are now telepaths, and by and large most of them (like most aaa correspondents who tell Untold writers what they “clearly think” or “clearly believe”) they are utterly useless at the job.

I know I can’t read Mr Wenger’s mind but what I can do is take a guess at the team



Iwobi  Ozil  Walcott

Ramsey Coquelin

Monreal  Koscielny Mustafi Jenkinson



The alternative would be to drop Iwobi and play a different formation

Giroud Walcott


 Xhaka  Ramsey Coquelin

Monreal  Koscielny Mustafi Jenkinson


The third option of course is to play Alexis from the start and replace him on the hour with Giroud.  Plus we might not put in Jenkinson, but instead move Mustafi out to the wing.   Then we might have


Iwobi  Ozil  Walcott

Xhaka Coquelin

Monreal  Koscielny Holding Mustafi


I am not too sure something as radical as that will happen, but it could be fun.  (Sorry I got carried away this week and forgot to put Coquelin in twice).

Beach buddies today could be seven out of these nine, depending on what the actual line up is.

Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Holding, Elneny, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis, Xhaka.

Meanwhile Arsenal have more injuries that the rest of the Premier League put together as we know, because the media tell us so.   Man U are in 8th place and Arsenal 9th in the injury table with seven and six respectively.

Arsenal once again failing to deliver on the journalistic promise of having more injuries and that table must be in

As for Man U different reporters give different return dates and times, but Rooney, Shaw, Fellaini and Valencia might be back in, especially given the way “M” fails to take heed of his medical staff.   Ibrahimovic is banned but given the way “M” performs he too could play.

First to return from our familiar list is Perez who is scheduled to be back on December 10, although Santi Cazorla remains an unknown date, despite some bloggers setting up an immediate return so they can then blame Mr Wenger for not playing him.

So, to look on the bright side, we have not lost in 16 games in all competitions and by and large we are doing rather well.  And we beat the Cornish away in the FA Cup last year, although that of course doesn’t count because it destroys the propaganda.  And we beat Mourinho in the Community Shield in 2015, but again that doesn’t count.  This victory today won’t count because “it was a very depleted Man U side that narrowly lost to Arsenal in November.”

Thus the Arsenal win which I fully expect will find the journalists not celebrating some wonderful football, but going back once again over games we haven’t won.  Has it ever been otherwise?

Manchester United are lined up to draw a third home league game in a row, and the press will call that sort of result an Arsenal defeat.  But if Man U do indeed lose they will have their lowest points total after 12 games since before the Viking invasions of 843 AD (or at least 1992).

The truth is we are rather good away from home and our only defeat away in the PL this year was last February.  Yes, it was at Very Old Trafford but that is still one hell of a record.  Do you remember how the Invincibles were built on the basis of an unbeaten away season the year before?   Besides, we have also lost only one of the last 21 PL games.

Have faith, there is hope. And you never know we might even be able to get out a pizza or two.  Just for the hell of it.

As for the aftermath, I’m hopeful Walter will be here after the game, but if not, well, you’ll just have to make it up.

79 Replies to “Man U v Arsenal – the teams, the pizza, the telepathy, the result”

  1. Debuchy payed yesterday for the U23s and scored the first goal in a two nil away win at Spurs so will probably be in contention for PSG on Wednesday. With Bellerin out for a few weeks it will be good to have two specialist right backs available again.

    For today, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Maitland-Niles on the beach.

    I’ll be listening to Arsenal Player


  2. As we got a last minute invitation to come to the TV studios with our supporters club I will not be able to publish my quick match report for this match. Sorry folks. But will try to publish it as soon as I get home.

  3. Good job Bulldog. I hope the boys are fired up enough. If they are, then the lot in red are in for an ass-whooping on their own turf.
    Go do your stuff Walter. Our love to you and the Belgian branch of the family. Hopefully, we celebrate three points before the afternoon is over.

  4. Well this is a tough one only because recent history in the league . However, I think in midfield we are stronger especially if we play coquelin xhaka and will end up dominating that area of the pitch. I imagine seeing a ineffectual pogba as their midfield fails to dominate. The threat will be from rashford the kids a live wire. But for me this United side are ordinary the stand out players for them and TBH I can only name three have been bailly de gea and rashford. Whereas you could pick any of the players from our line up and say they have done well this season, the issue for me is that quick goal Utd will go for a tight game and then try and sneak it. But if we score in first twenty odd minutes it forces Utd to play differently and that will play in to our hands. I would probably play maitland niles ahead of Jenkins on just because he is more mobile nothing against Jenkinson but pace is not his forte. Well I’m going for a 2-0 Walcott and giroud to be on score sheet.

  5. Hope we stay calm and and win , even if it is an ugly win . Then again I think we’d probably win with style. And a clean sheet to boot .
    Come on guys , make us proud .
    Up the Gunners !

  6. If Alexis starts he must be wary of attacks on his injury. (Prediction: in first 10 mins?)

    Hard to choose the team.
    Will see what AW has up his sleeve.

    Battle of minds and battle of players, man i wish Arsenal will win these battles today, convincingly.
    We can, we have the strength and will, let not outside forces interfere in a simple game of football, let us enjoy a beautiful game, where truly the best team on the day wins.

    Anyway, (listening to the pre pre game bla bla..)
    Right, got that off my mind…

    It’s our season and we have to act like it in every game.

    Yes i second that Brickfields Gunners, .

  7. Official team today…

    Arsenal: Cech, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez.

    Subs: Gibbs, Gabriel, Giroud, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Xhaka.

  8. good luck to all the Gunners on duty today, really confident Arsenal can take all the 3 points back. go out there n make us gooners proud boys, com’on Arsenal

  9. Surprised to see Ramsey starting on the left when I would have expected him to be on the right to support Jenks.

  10. Never a penalty… Utd players all getting behind the ball when they lose possession and snuffing any space out. This game is crying for someone like Giroud to whip crosses to.

  11. as always, the yellow card offends by the opposition goes unpunished by the refs. what a joke

  12. Another early game, eh?

    I got to see about 1/3 of the first half (batteries to deal with first). ManU seems to be pressing a lot more than usual.

    I would think that if the referee was inclined to give ManU a soft penalty, he had the chance. Hopefully he stays close to the laws as written by IFAB/FIFA.

  13. This game needs Giroud and Iwobi. Ramsey is trying too hard and he’s a bit rusty honestly

  14. Cech has been superb though, and ozil with wonderful touches and dribbles….utd seem to be working off of the usual Moaninho template, defend in numbers and attack with aggression when you break. Wish Santiago was on tht pitch, he’d hv made a world of a difference!

  15. Thought mariner had an okish first half but looks like things starting to slip away from him now…

  16. Truth be told all the chances are being created by Man U. I can think of just the early wide header from Sanchez as our only chance. We need some creativity.


  18. Were are too lethargic, no fight. Why do we play like this one a mystery. Might as well not turn,up. Especially against egorinio. Just gives him more amo.

  19. I’d love to know what Giroud’s minuets on the pitch to goals ratio this seaso is. It must be something spectacular.

  20. Nice cross by Ox, and good timing by Giroud on the header.

    Kind of a soft yellow on Monreal at the end there.

  21. Dar Ian should have been sent off in min 33. Yellow cards in min 16 professional foul on Walcott and a studs up challenge on Jenkinson in min 33. Surprisingly only a talking to for the second foul!

  22. When i see Arsenal play like this, i realise this must be tactics, but defending with no attack is just asking for trouble. No shot on goal until Giroud’s shot, our first shot, and scored.

    Still Utd were almost made to look good by our very convienently placed mistakes. I saw no effort or will to close down, even win the game, but i get this, because we have something more important at the moment coming up, CL.

    Football is becoming more and more boring, and if not for Arsenal and Barca and now ManC and Pool and a few other teams who try to play a game of football, i would surely be bored to tears. 🙁

  23. Yeah, Darmian should have gone. Marriner had a decent enough game I thought although he should also have booked Valencia for his dive.

  24. Just watched the Giroud goal and yes, that’s the only kind of goal I could see us scoring against teams doing this (my post at 1:18pm) today.

    Mariner could have booked a couple of their players but hey you can’t have it all, he also refused to fall for some of their antics so he’ll get credit for that. I’ll take his performance today over most of what we have seen so far.

  25. We were not that bad, BUT we also played not good enough.

    The ref had a decent game, not too many decisions to make. Linesman were good. Two talking points. 1. Darmian escaping second yellow. 2. Valencia-Monreal Dive/Foul/Penalty

    Against these c***s and the spuds away, we should always make sure to not lose the match, then only we can make the effort to win. 1 point, decent enough, keeps us steady in the run for the time being.

  26. The way I saw it…

    We got a positive result with a rather flat performance which has become our thing this season (Leicester, PSG and United away, Middlesbrough and Tottenham at home) which is a good thing as it proves we have resilience and strong spirit.

    On the downside, our inability to control the game without Cazorla is scaring. We let acres of space in the middle to United and never imposed ourselves in the game.

    Jenko gave a decent performance given how long he had been without a top-class football. Rambo got a lot of slack for his performance but his inclusion was a logical thing to me as in the absence of Bellerin we needed a bit more of balance and additional work-rate in the middle rather than a firework that Iwobi would have brought to our game.

    Giroud has proven once again he is a perfect super-sub and Ox made a perfect cross for the Frenchman’s header. It was Giroud’s first goal at the Old Trafford so another bad tradition is broken.

  27. Btw, I have seen a few comments elsewhere suggesting Koscielny made a foul on Jones in the build-up of our goal. What the hell?

  28. Josif,

    Nope not a foul. Kos jumped, Jones jumped, both missed and fell on each other. No foul.

  29. Bad performance from the team today, it seem nobody want to play. However, credit to ManU for playing aggressive and with determination. We were lucky to get a draw. Another match and the main threat is on Monreal’s side, opponents are targeting him. I feel he’s to weak and go down to easily. I don’t understand why the team try to pass out from the back when in tight situation, I prefer them to boot the ball out of danger. Let hope the team regroup and play with more aggression from now on.

    On a good note, I thought Jenkinson played well. Great assist from The Ox and good goal from Giroud.

  30. ‘Super sub’ I would feel demeaned if i were to be constantly called that. Giroud is not just a mere supersub. He ought to start such games, where teams sit back, defend in large number and just wait for an opportunity to pounce. We tend to lose our mojo against such. Sanchez, for all his talent just doesnt hv th physique. So enough with this supersub supersub supersub mania. Next, we will probably b assailed by countless reasons why Giroud the ‘supersub’ should never b starting any games, ezp just because he rescued a point for us, despite the bland show by th team. Everyone needs to feel a part of the first team, contributing and being a major part of its successes, not to be euphemistically tossed to the periphery with tht endearing word ‘SUPERSUB’.

  31. Broke the ‘not score against the Moaning One team’ in 5 premier league games. Hopefully next time Arsenal first win against a Moaning One team.

  32. @hilbert

    But it can’t be a coincidence that Arsenal have played the best football when a) Alexis/Walcott starts down the middle with our attack being all about pace (Stoke 2:0 but should’ve been 15:0, Leicester 5:2, Manchester United 3:0, Chelsea 3:0, Watford 3:1) or b) Giroud comes in from the bench to rescue the day (Southampton, Sunderland, Manchester United).

    He doesn’t have pace but he adds physical presence to our attack. Sometimes you need pace, sometimes you need physical presence.

  33. hilbert

    Demeaned/ Endearing. Which is it?
    OK. No “super sub” then. How about: very effective goal scoring squad member who enters field of play from the bench.

  34. We certainly dodged a bullet there.
    I thought we were abysmal today, no spark at all and we looked really flat. I imagine Arsene will have a few choice words to say to the team.
    Having said that Giroud came on and grabbed us a point so not a bad day after all.

  35. Imperious goal from Giroud. He was unstoppable. The Ox went for it, deliverted the perfect cross. A goal of real, concrete authority. Highly impressive. It was required, it was delivered. Other than that – back home, watching a TV without hearing the idiots, several times it struck me that ninety minutes is a very, very, long time.

    One point from an early kickoff. I’ll settle for that. What gives the spring in the step is the quality of the goal conjured up by the Ox and Mighty G. To pi** off Mou with that is perfect.

    Roll on next week.

  36. You have to say that as poorly as we performed it was just great to get that late equaliser just when Mourinho must have been counting the points. And Giroud has earned the right to start a few games now.

  37. @josif
    Am not denying that we play our best football with pacy guyz upfront. We really do. Wengerball and pace are twins. But that demands space and that teams not sit at the back 80% of the time. Most of the teams you have mentioned made the ominous mistake of not defending in large numbers with their last breath. Like Middlesborough(i hope i got the spelling right) did. And there will be many more. Funny thing is tht they always seem to take their negative tactics against us a notch higher. And those are the kind of games Giroud should start.

    I know we may be tempted to blame the internationals for the not-so-good display today but we can give credit to utd, they defended well and closed down spaces much more effectively than chelsea did. We hardly made any chances. I just think if Giroud had started maybe we would hv won. The template they used was to snuff off threats frm the likes of sanchez and walcott, thts why it was effective. But then again, i may just be using hindsight to explain away a below-par performance tht completely normal esp in this ‘dreaded’ November.

  38. @leon
    Even much better. How about very effective goal scoring machine with gargantuan ability to bully the dross-of-the football-world from the get go. And very beautiful too, for good measure.

  39. Speaking of Old Trafford, for all dreadfulness of our record there, it’s interesting that we had just one big defeat there – that 8:2 aberration that was a result of incredible shooting performance from the hosts and the fact our squad hadn’t been assembled yet (Mertesacker and Arteta were yet to join). All other defeats were of a narrow margin.

    We do seem to have a mental block when playing there, our body language before the game wasn’t exactly the most assuring one.

    Shkodran Mustafi is yet to lose a match as an Arsenal player which leads me to a question: who had waited longest to taste a bitterness of defeat as an Arsenal player?

  40. Great to see the ox play to his strength – take the man on skin him and get a good cross in.

    Creativity was lacking – it may confuse the opposition when our centre forward sits in front of our defence but it seems to limit us too.

    Credit to Marriner: he could if so inclined have given the penalty against Nacho. It looked it to me at first sight (why did he stick his arm out?)

    Good spirit in the end and a pt at Old Trafford is better for us than them.

    We can now only average .66 to 1.6 epl pts pg this November making it one of the worst ever?

  41. Walter was once more invited to be involved in a Belgium TV programme for the match today, and so not able to put the immediate match report up today.

    I’m hoping he will be able to put one up later today.

  42. Can anyone tell me what the difference between the Darmain foul foul on Jenkinson in the first half where he did’nt get booked and Ramsey’s booking late on . Jenkinson got caught just under the knee
    Could it be he was already booked

  43. Worst case scenario Arsenal be only 3 points behind leader if Chelsea win, if not only 2, so not so bad after all. Well done Southampton.

  44. To take a point from the den of iniquity that is the Old Toilet is not too bad a result, particularly when there were some strange decisions from the PGMO bandit.

    The ref was correct not to present the Manures with a cheap penalty following the Valencia dive – but he did not appear to see the back elbow from Valencia on Monreal, about a second before the dive.

    There were on or two other dives from the Manures to win free kicks – as expected.

    At times we played some nice football, but on other occasions we seemed a bit indetermined, perhaps the players were suffering from too much travel in too short a time.

    But, what a great equaliser from Giroud, and well done the team for not giving up!!

  45. @Tony

    Are you sure about Walter? I mean, I googled “An Arsenal Fan Screamed Live On A Belgian TV After Giroud’s Equalizer” but I didn’t find anything. 😀

  46. Certainly not a penalty, so credit to Marriner. Riley, Dean and co. would have definitely given it. However, he should have booked Valencia for cheating. Sky studio comment was that it would have been given as penalty if SAF was still manager. They seemed to regard this as amusing, when in fact it was a public statement that games used to be fixed in his favour. (We believe that to be the case, but interesting that Sky acknowledges that it happened but seems to consider it OK!)

    Their left-back should definitely have had a second yellow, so Marriner bottled that one. After our equaliser, which was against the script, he seemed to go out of his way to help them get a late winner, by awarding a whole series of dubious free-kicks for not existent fouls.

    Not the worst refereeing performance by a long way, but still not good!

    Our forwards had a collective off-day, so salvaging a point is welcome. Alexis clearly under par after his trip to South America. It did look as if the Old Trafford pitch was very poor, with the ball running very slowly and a lot of our passes falling short. Let’s hope that we get the spark back for PSG.

  47. When we drew the game against the Spuds , it truly felt like a loss . Today’s draw against Moanin’inho ‘s Manure , it felt like a victory of sorts .
    We were quite poor overall ; the team seemed tired , but then the boss sends out his super subs who go on to combine and conjure a goal. And he doesn’t do tactics ?
    With Liverpool also dropping points , am just hoping that Chelski also do the same . And the Spuds – just because !
    You know , just to keep the EPL competitive and all ?

  48. Giroud – 1 chance , 1 goal . And only played a few minutes . One day his record at Arsenal will show that his time on the pitch vs goals scored , will probably be better than TH . Mark my words . Bet on it .
    Or don’t !

  49. ” Funny thing is tht they always seem to take their negative tactics against us a notch higher” – spot on.

    Most teams, I’d say 99% (with the exception of perhaps City, and on certain occasions Liverpool), change their approach when they play us. And the tactics they employ are mainly negative. When they meet a mid table club the following week they revert to their style, and not surprising to see them lose that game, as the spuds are doing now against west ham.

    Beating Arsenal earns teams the most mileage; they beat the best passing team in the league, and what a scalp that is. We’re the Barcelona of this league. Victims of our own success? I’d say most definitely. I’d really love to see teams play their game against us.

  50. Poor performance, at least attack wise, but a decent enough result.
    Utd aren’t great these days, but they do have some very talented players, and goes without saying, are always up for it against us, especially at their own ground.
    Have just read OG has scored eight goals from his last nine attempts on target, cannot confirm that is true, but if so, quite incredible.
    Just glad to have the stupid internationals out of the way, the squad can now work together for some time, and find a solution to this relative lack of creativity in recent league games.
    Know I keep saying it, but we do miss the wonderful Santi Cazorla.

  51. Missed the first half. But there was a bit of ‘unsporting conduct’ (couple of kicks) by Anders Herera on Coquelin while Coquelin was on the floor. Officials ignored what should have been a straight red as did the TV replays.

    I’m sure Usama or Walter will pick it up in their report.

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