A magnificent Ji-Sung Park header gave Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford which takes United back to the top of the Premier League, two points clear of their opponents with a game in hand.
Following a quite poor match, both teams gave away possession far too easily and a scrappy match ensued.
Arsenal so well-known for their passing football could barely string three passes together and seemed intent on ‘imposing’ themselves physically, but that was doomed to fail from the off.
As you would expect Arsene Wenger did have a suitable reason for the poor passing on display: “If I ask you do you want a good pitch or a bad one, what do you say?” he told Sky Sports.
“They made technical mistakes as well because the pitch is not good enough to play good football. It is bouncy and slippery.
“Overall, you have to give credit to United’s defensive quality.
“We tried everything to create chances. I thought we were unlucky to lose the game, but we have to take encouragement from tonight’s performance.”
A bad pitch? Really Arsene? But he did credit the United defence who were magnificent throughout and probably won us the game. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were exemplary at the back and stomped all over the Gunners’ frontline.
Vidic in particular was a joy to behold a true captains performance, imposing himself on Arsenal and also making what was a game changing block on Marouane Chamakh following a Edwin van der Sar save that fell into the Moroccan’s path.
Sir Alex Ferguson was also complimentary about the backline.
“We defended very well, the back four were fantastic tonight, absolutely magnificent,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.
“So with that foundation it always gives us a great chance.
“I think we’re starting to get there. I think our form is improving. And, as I say, with the back four playing like that, if they play like that from now on and give us the consistency, then we’re in with a good chance.”
“We had to play well. I think in these major games you want to perform and I think we did perform tonight, particularly in the first half,” he added.
Then upon that foundation Park scored a brilliant header, great agility and improvisation to loop the ball into the net. Although I will say he did give the ball away too often, while his touch did let him down but as ever his work rate cannot be faulted.
Anderson is another who deserves praise, he battled well, supported Rooney as much as he could and almost grabbed a goal. He seems to be enjoying this new attacking role he has been given, no longer shackled by defensive duty, he is now allowed to roam much further forward. If only his final ball could be a little better.
However the man he was supporting up front, Rooney did not have his best match. In recent weeks he has looked something like his best – minus goals – but as a lone front man he looked sluggish and wasn’t involved in the game as much as he would have liked.
His penalty miss summed this up.
“It was an unusual penalty, normally Wayne always keeps them down, I’ve never known him to hit one over,” Sir Alex added after the game.
A win is a win at the end of the day, how you get it is irrelevant. Three points mean we now sit proudly above Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea, plus we have a game on all of them.
Who would have though that given our early season form?
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