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Arsenal (Nasri 22′, 48′) 2-1 Manchester United (Rafael 90′)
Stadium: Emirates Stadium
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 8 November 2008
Kickoff: 12:45 GMT, 7:45 ET
Arsenal answered their critics and held off a furious Manchester United rally to win, 2-1, at Emirates Stadium! Soccerlens bought you the action live! Click below for the live blog and feel free to leave your comments, or reminisce about prior matches (i.e. Pizzagate, Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s miss, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira yelling at each other in the tunnel, or Owen Hargreaves’ free kick) below!
Arsenal and Manchester United will renew their pleasantries with a high-stakes encounter at the Emirates Stadium. Both squads come in firing at less than all of their cylinders. Arsenal are coming off an embarrassing draw with Tottenham and a humiliating loss to Stoke City in which Arsene Wenger accused everyone and their mothers of being out to injure anyone wearing a Gunners kit. They’ll be without suspended Robin Van Persie, and could be without Theo Walcott and skipper William Gallas. Arsenal fans are getting antsy and upset with their team, and the feeling is that they need to get their season on track with a win against Manchester United.
As for United, they are coming off a tense 4-3 victory against Hull City and a 1-1 draw with Celtic. They’re having trouble defending in the back and they’re having trouble finishing off their chances on offense. Plus, there’s that whole problem with figuring out what 30 million pound striker to play. The last thing they’ll want to do is to drop points in a title race that they’re already running behind, especially against a hated rival.
It’s one of the biggest rivalries in football. What else do you need?
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Gallas (c), Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Diaby, Bendtner.
Subs: Fabianski, Toure, Vela, Ramsey, Song Billong, Wilshere, Djourou.
Almunia is back as the starter after Fabianski deputized for him against Fenerbache. Gallas has passed a late fitness test and will start, as will Sagna, Silvestre, and Walcott. Curiously, Toure will start out on the bench as Wenger will go with Silvestre, the former Manchester United man. Diaby will step in for the suspended Van Persie and support Bendtner, who will be by himself up front. Should be interesting to see if Ramsey, who spurned Manchester United in the offseason, gets in the game. He played against Fenerbache in midweek and looked fantastic.
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (c), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Anderson, Carrick, Park, Rooney, Berbatov.
Subs: Kuszczak, Giggs, Nani, Rafael Da Silva, O’Shea, Evans, Tevez.
Van der Sar makes his return to the lineup after missing out against Celtic during midweek. Neville is fit to start, and replaces Rafael, who started at right-back against Celtic. Giggs will move to the bench to accommodate Anderson, while Park will step in at left-wing for Nani. Once again, it will be Rooney and Berbatov up front as Tevez will come off the bench. Both Rooney and Ronaldo are on 99 goals for their career in England.
What a classic match between two top attacking squads! What a great victory for Arsenal, as it looks like rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated. Thanks to everyone who followed along!
90′ + 6 Arsenal continue to attack as it looks like they have no intention of sitting back. That was their problem against Tottenham. Toure loses it, but United can’t do anything with it as there’s the whistle!
90′ + 5 Denilson nearly gets through, but Vidic makes the tackle. Bendtner gets it in the box and he tries to fire on goal. He misses over the bar (and he was well offside, to boot).
90′ + 4 Bendtner tries to hold it, but he gets dispossessed and United counterattack. Tevez with the cross from the right edge of the box, but Fabianski catches it.
90′ + 2 Ferdinand tries to cut out the pass and misses, and Fabregas gets past him. He tries to pick out Bendtner with a centering pass, but it’s off the mark and United will escape. Fabregas probably should have shot that one.
90′ + 1 Sure enough, it will be 6 minutes of stoppage time.
90′ GOAL! Giggs whips in the corner and it bounces out to Rafael. He fires the half-volley on goal and it’s easily past Fabianski. Wow! Don’t go anywhere, folks. There should be a lot of stoppage time.
89′ Tevez works down the left and wins a corner. Giggs whips it in and it bounces out to Park. He slips before he can get the shot off.
87′ Sagna takes a long-range shot that is easily over the bar.
86′ Diaby will come off for Toure.
85′ It’s deflected off the wall for a corner. Diaby clears the corner and it’s nothing doing for United. Great tackle from Rafael wipes out Denilson. It was clean, though. No question about it. Even the fans seemed to appreciate it.
84′ Foul from Arsenal and United will have a free kick from about 30 yards out or so. Let’s see what Ronaldo can do with it.
83′ United really have some questions to answer, regardless of what the final score ends up being in this match. They had finishing problems against Celtic and now, they’re having problems against Arsenal.
82′ Bendtner tries to fire a shot on goal, but Van der Sar easily saves it.
81′ Nasri gets in behind the defense, but his pass back to Bendtner is sloppy. United on the break, but Ronaldo’s cross to Tevez is too high.
79′ Fabregas with a really sloppy pass that Carrick easily takes. It’s kind of strange that Arsenal are ahead considering Fabregas hasn’t played that well, Walcott was a nonfactor, and Bendtner hasn’t had too many chances.
78′ Almunia will now come off for Fabianski. There’s going to be a ton of stoppage time, what with all the substitutions and the injury to Alumina.
77′ Tevez will come on for Rooney. Needless to say, Rooney gets a rude ovation from the crowd. Walcott will come off for Arsenal, and will be replaced by Song.
76′ Giggs lifts in the free kick and Berbatov flicks it on goal, but Almunia stops it easily.
75′ United counterattack, but the pass back to Berbatov is errant and Arsenal clear it away. United come back and Diaby is called for a foul.
74′ Nasri makes a great run towards goal, and he goes down from the challenge from Vidic. No penalty, though, and it’s clear on the replay that both of them were clutching and grabbing at each other.
73′ Rooney nearly gets through, but good work from Gallas keeps him from shooting. His cross to Berbatov is knocked away for a throw.
72′ Arsenal on the attack, but Bendtner’s shot is blocked by Ferdinand and headed away by Vidic. Giggs will come on for United, replacing Anderson.
71′ Ferdinand gets beaten to the ball once again by Bendtner.
70′ Ronaldo gets deep down the right, and tries to send the cross through Clichy’s legs. He can’t hit the 5-hole, though, and Arsenal take it.
69′ Looks like Almunia will stay in the game. Not sure if that’s the right call. I guess we’ll find out.
68′ Almunia is up, but Fabianski is warming up.
66′ Almunia whiffs on the corner and the ball bounces out towards Carrick. He tries to shoot it, but Almunia falls on it and takes a kick to his head/shoulder. Carrick gets booked and I’m sure Wenger will scream bloody murder. But, in all fairness, the ball was loose and Carrick was perfectly within his right to go for it. Almunia took the risk by falling on it.
65′ Park and Evra do some good work in the box, but Evra’s pass gets taken away. United recover it and Ronaldo’s shot is knocked away for a corner.
64′ Great play from Rafael to keep it alive as he struggles with Clichy. He eventually finds Carrick, who tries to thread it through to Rooney, but Arsenal knock it away.
63′ Rafael will come on for Neville. Rafael is more offensively inclined, so that should help United’s attack. Ronaldo tries to keep the captain’s armband before he eventually gives it up to Ferdinand.
62′ Berbatov keeps it alive as it bounces around in the box. He lifts the cross towards Rooney, but his header is saved by Almunia.
61′ Bendtner gets in behind Ferdinand, and he centers it to Walcott. He tries to shoot it on the bounce, but he completely muffs it and United are out of danger.
60′ Ronaldo’s hand touches the ball, but no whistle from Webb. Well, if the one on Clichy didn’t count, then that one shouldn’t. Ronaldo then gets in deep down the right wing, and he tries to whip a cross across the keeper, but Almunia smothers it.
58′ Rooney lifts a cross from the left edge of the box that Silvestre heads away. It falls to Neville, who has a chance from outside the box, but his shot goes over the crossbar.
57′ Neville with a great throw that goes over Silvestre’s head. Rooney nearly gets on the end of it, but it just goes over his head. Ronaldo can’t control the loose ball, otherwise that would have been interesting.
56′ Rooney fires a shot from the edge of the box, but it’s well off the mark.
54′ Ronaldo heads it down to Park, who is unmarked in the box, but Almunia comes out and takes it. Good play by Spaniard, er, Brit, er, I don’t know.
53′ United get caught on the break again, and Diaby tries to slot it through to Walcott. Anderson gets to it first and knocks it away for a corner. Van der Sar tries to catch the corner, but Diaby gets to it first. His header goes over the bar, though. More shaky goal keeping from Van der Sar as he failed to assert himself there.
52′ Evra works on Sagna on the left, and Sagna has to knock it away for a corner. Rooney’s corner is punched out by Almunia.
51′ Clichy with a poor challenge on Ronaldo that earns him a yellow.
50′ Rooney works against Sagna down the left and lifts a cross towards Ronaldo on the right. He sends it back to Anderson, who tries to play it over-the-top to Berbatov, but it’s out for a goal kick.
49′ Great chance for Manchester United as Park lifts a cross from the left edge of the box to the far post to Ronaldo. He tries to tap it across goal towards the far post, but it bounces inches wide. It’s been that kind of day for United.
48′ GOAL! United’s defense gets completely exposed as Fabregas does great work and slots it through to Nasri. He powers the shot past Van der Sar, who really got hung out to dry by his defense.
47′ Short corner and it’s a long cross from the left to the far post where Bendtner awaits. His header is knocked out for another corner. Corner bounced dangerously in the box, but Arsenal can’t get anyone on the end of it and United clear it away from danger.
46′ No changes to either side and Arsenal will kick off to start the second half! Nasri nearly sets Fabregas up for a goal as Neville completely whiffed on his tackle. It’s out for a corner.
46′ Nasri really had his way with Neville down that left flank. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Rafael sooner rather than later.
What a great first half! The match has more than lived up to the hype, and the second half should be more of the same. Both sides had their chances and, right now, it’s Nasri’s deflected shot that is the difference. I’d expect both sides to come out and continue to attack as Arsenal won’t be content to sit on a 1-0 lead.
45′ + 1 Neville takes the long-range shot, and it’s wide of the post. Arsenal will take that any day. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime!
45′ Walcott tries to give it to Fabregas, but he ends up giving it away. Anderson gets it and takes the shot, but Almunia saves it easily. United wanted a handball on Clichy, but it looks like Clichy was trying to pull his hand away.
44′ United have another great chance as Rooney plays it through to Ronaldo, who stays onside. He makes a move and cuts it back to left, but his shot is blocked away. United come back, but Berbatov is called offside.
43′ Vidic fouls Fabregas near the center line. Sagna gets in deep down the right and he crosses it to Nasri. Neville makes a good play to win possession.
41′ Nasri gets it in the box and he works on Neville. He sends it back to Silvestre, who crosses it to the other side of the box and Walcott has a chance, but he shoots it over the crossbar.
40′ Promising attack from Arsenal is short-circuited when Walcott and Sagna have some miscommunication, and Walcott gives it away. Park makes the run down the left flank, but Sagna grabs the shirt and pulls him down. Yellow for Sagna.
39′ Arsenal are really playing with confidence now. You can see that extra spring in their steps.
38′ Evra fouls Walcott (no doubt Wenger will say it was intentional), and it’s deflected away for a corner. Fabregas takes it and Silvestre nearly puts it past Van der Sar, but the keeper is able to secure it. That would have been a tough one for Ferguson to swallow.
37′ More shakiness from United as Van der Sar mishits his kick and pops it up in the air, nearly giving Arsenal another chance. Vidic is there to cover, though, and Van der Sar escapes pulling a Lehmann. Arsenal come back and Diaby makes a great run towards the box and Carrick tackles him from behind. No foul on Carrick, though. You think Wenger will have something to say about that?
35′ Fabregas is called for a foul on Ronaldo, who will have a great chance from about 25 yards out or so. Meanwhile, someone on the sideline is going off about Ronaldo being a diver. It wasn’t Wenger, because there was no accent, but it was someone from Arsenal. He was really pissed about it, too. Anyway, Ronaldo goes for goal, but it bounces in front of Almunia and he easily saves it.
34′ Great pass from Carrick finds Park. He makes a great run towards the box and fires a shot on goal that Almunia pushes away to his right. Ronaldo tries to keep it alive and sends the cross into the box, but it’s cut out by the Arsenal defense.
32′ I’m not surprised that the penalty wasn’t called. It was 50-50, and there would have been a riot at the Emirates if Howard Webb had pointed to the spot.
30′ United clear it away, but Arsenal remain on the attack. Speculative shot from Sagna, but Van der Sar easily takes it.
29′ Short corner and Anderson lifts the cross towards the box. It’s knocked away to Ferdinand, who heads it on goal. Berbatov looks like he’s pulled down before he can head it past Almunia, but no penalty. Arsenal get it and go on a break. They have numbers, but United get back in time. Fabregas then uncorks a hard shot from the edge of the box that goes out for a corner.
28′ You-Know-Who will take it. He whips in the free kick and Clichy nearly heads it past his own keeper.
27′ Dangerous challenge from Gallas as Evra makes the run down the left. Gallas gets booked and now United will have a free kick from deep down the left flank.
26′ Ronaldo gives it to Rooney, who tries to cut it back to Berbatov in the center, but it’s behind the Bulgarian and Arsenal clear it away.
24′ The Emirates is alive once again, as the fans finally let out a cheer not heard since Arsenal went up 4-2 against Tottenham.
22′ GOAL! Evra fouls Clichy deep down the right flank. Let’s see what Arsenal can come up with. Fabregas sends it in, and it’s deflected out by Berbatov right to Nasri. It takes a deflection off Neville and is past Van der Sar for the goal!
20′ Park picks out Ronaldo, who makes a run into the box from the right wing. He shoots, but Almunia easily makes the save.
18′ Good chance for United here as Anderson does some great work to get around Fabregas. He picks out Berbatov in the box, who lays it off to Ronaldo, who makes the run to the right. Ronaldo tees up Rooney, who shoots it over the bar. Rooney should have done better there.
17′ What a start so far! Both sides have had their chances to score.
15′ Fabregas sends in the free kick that is deflected towards goal. It lacks pace, but Van der Sar punches it away. It falls right to Diaby, who is right in front of goal, but his shot is well wide.
14′ Walcott makes a run down the right, but he gets tripped by his fellow English international, Rooney. No yellow for Rooney, though, which is good for him since his next one will mean a 1 match ban.
13′ Good buildup by Arsenal as Nasri whips a really dangerous cross from the left that just eludes both Bendtner and Walcott and goes out for a goal kick. Walcott, especially, was completely unmarked at the far post. Sloppy defending by both squads so far.
12′ Ronaldo gets a corner kick as his cross is deflected away. Anderson whips it into the box and it’s deflected out towards Rooney. He takes a long-range shot, but it’s well off target.
11′ Arsenal nearly answer as Clichy sends in a great cross from the left wing to an unmarked Bendtner, who just puts his header over the bar. Rio looked like he just lost trak of Bendtner there.
10′ Free kick for Ronaldo from about 35 yards out. He gets it past the wall, but it bounces harmlessly wide of the post.
9′ Denilson is called for the foul on Anderson. United will have a good free kick opportunity here.
8′ Neville springs Ronaldo with a nice one-two down the right. He sends it to Park, who is on the center edge of the box. He lays it off to Rooney on the left, and Rooney takes the shot. He forces Almunia to make a diving save and Berbatov puts in the rebound, but he’s ruled offsides.
7′ It is raining lightly at the Emirates Stadium. I’m surprised no one has tried any long-range shots just to see if the keepers are up to the task.
6′ More nervy defending from Arsenal as Nasri nearly gives it away in his own half. Long pass to Walcott, who makes the run down the right. Van der Sar comes out to corral the ball before Walcott can get to it.
3′ Anderson takes indirect free kick from inside the box, and it deflects off the wall. It’s out to Carrick, who takes a hard shot from the edge of the box that is just wide of the far post.
1′ United kick off and here we go! Howard Webb is our ref. Bad back pass by Silvestre nearly leads to a gift goal for Rooney. Almunia covers it, though, but he commits the error and uses his hands outside the box. Whoops. Are we sure Silvestre isn’t still on United’s payroll?
0′ I wish I could have seen this. Apparently, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams stood side-by-side and talked about this match. That would have been interesting to see. I wonder if Robbie apologized for singing “Where has Gary Barlow gone?” on “Escapology.” I’m sure the reunion rumors will be in overload after this. Might not be a bad idea, especially for Robbie. “Rudebox” was horrible.
0′ Moment of silence for Remembrance Day. The shirts will be auctioned off for charity. Well, that explains why United are in blue.
0′ I do enjoy how the PA Announcer at the Emirates just says the home player’s first name and the crowd says the last name. That’s pretty cool. I think we need to bring this to other sports.
0′ Arsenal are lined up in the tunnel and waiting for Manchester United to show up. Not sure if it’s deliberate, but a smart move by Ferguson to build the tension. Manchester United finally join us, and they’re wearing their blue kits instead of the usual whites. Interestingly, none of the United players greet Silvestre as they walk into the hall.
0′ By the way, the Gunners have only 2 points ever since Fabregas made the comment about the Arsenal Ladies taking on Tottenham. Just saying…
0′ I’m not saying that Wenger should get fired if they fail to win anything this year. I think he deserves better than that. Still, at some point, you have to wonder why he’s so intent on proving that his formula will work. It would be one thing if they couldn’t afford to buy players, but they can. If his pig-headedness gets in the way of the club’s success, though, then you have to do something about it, right?
0′ I think the Hargreaves free kick pretty much sums up Arsenal’s philosophy. They gambled everything on Cristiano Ronaldo taking the free kick, so much so that they blatantly ignored a guy who used to be the free-kick taker on Bayern Munich, and forgot that United did the same exact thing from nearly the same spot earlier in the season against Reading. If you watch that play, they had no one on the near post, and Jens Lehmann was cheating so far to his left that he might as well have set up a giant sign saying “kick it here, Owen.” Only Robin Van Persie jumped when Hargreaves kicked the ball. Everyone else just turned and watch it sail into the bottom left-hand corner. Much like with the kick, they’ve gambled everything on the idea that a group of young, relatively inexperienced players can win trophies. While they’ve had some excellent results over the last few seasons, they haven’t actually won anything. Why? Because a club like Manchester United, Chelsea, or even Liverpool come along and get the kind of guys who make those plays like the one Hargreaves made against them. I’m not saying that Arsenal can’t win with Arsene Wenger’s philosophy. They just need everything to go their way, and 9 times out of 10, they’ll get screwed over by something like that Hargreaves kick or by Rory Delap’s throws.
0′ Other than last year’s FA Cup match, of course. If you would have told me that Manchester United would beat Arsenal by a score of 4-0, and neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Carlos Tevez would play a single minute, then I would have laughed.
0′ This should be a great match. Both teams have a lot to prove and are under a lot of pressure. Not many people are giving Arsenal much of a chance today, what with their injuries and their form, but they always play their best against Sir Alex and Co.
0′ Hello everyone! Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the gargantuan clash between heated rivals Arsenal and Manchester United! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger today!
Arsenal answered a lot of their critics today. They didn’t have their two best attacking options, they were banged up, and their confidence was at an all-time low. Nevertheless, they came through with a huge win against a hated rival. Obviously, they still have work to do if they want to climb back into the title race, but the task doesn’t look nearly as daunting as it did last week.
As for Manchester United, this is a big setback for them, no question about it. They’ve been having trouble finishing their chances on offense, and their defense has been uncharacteristically shaky. They’re currently 5 points adrift, pending Liverpool’s match with West Brom and Chelsea’s match with Blackburn. It’s not too late for United to turn around their season. They have a match in hand, and they’ll get all three powers at home in the second half. However, these were the kinds of matches that they won last season. In their matches against their fellow Big Four powers, they only have 1 point. Not a recipe for success.
Man of the Match:
As I mentioned, it’s a little surprising that Arsenal despite not having Adebayor and Van Persie, and getting shaky performances from Fabregas and Walcott. Still, Nasri absolutely victimized Gary Neville all match long and created numerous chances with his well-timed crosses and passes. It was a big-time performance from one of Wenger’s young guns (even though he cost 12 million), and really served to vindicate Wenger’s approach to football management. As for United, once again, it was a subpar effort from Van der Sar, Ferdinand, and Neville. Rooney had his chances, and you get the feeling that he’s trying too hard to get #100. Rafael played very well almost from the moment that he stepped in for Neville. Even though his defense still needs work, it’s clear that he should be playing more. He may have earned that with his half-hour cameo today.