Like he has done throughout his six-year career at Old Trafford, Ji-Sung Park turned in another match-deciding performance against Arsenal as Manchester United outclassed them again.
It is quite amazing that the South Korean’s constant energetic contribution is either greatly under appreciated, or even devalued by some biased critics.
Park is often considered to be just an unfinished utility player, or to be at Old Trafford just to sell shirts, but the tireless, industrious efforts that he always puts in, does not go unnoticed among the United supporters, and will always warrant him a chance to be included in Sir Alex Ferguson’s line-up.
Admirably, Park condemned his own sub par performances earlier in the season as he struggled to find his form, which was primarily down to playing football for 12 straight months, but he has more than made up for those poor outings.
Everyone, including Park, needs time to rest their head in order to put an ideal, worthwhile performance, and Sir Alex gave him that much-needed break in October, and now United are reaping the benefits of him being refreshed.
It goes to show the significance a of competition, like the Carling Cup is, because of the boost one of the early games can do for a player’s confidence, because Park scored a well-taken goal in United’s 5-2 away win over Scunthorpe United, which seemed to kick-start his season.
Although, Park boasts a very poor goals-to-game ratio 0.13 (22 goals in 167 games) with United, he has scored some of the most important against some the Reds’ closest rivals – including four against Arsenal.
In spite of holding a one point lead atop of the table coming into the match, Arsenal did not show that they deserved that spot, or any of the other top five places, and it was rightfully taken back by United.
It was almost comical to watch the Arsenal players attempt properly time their tackles against United, and it was clear that nothing has really changed with them in terms of showing the steel that is required to end their five year drought.
United was not even close to their glittering best, but even that did not stop them from extending their unbeaten streak to six games over their long-standing rival, and going to top of the standings.
Believe it or not, Arsenal has the second best scoring record with 34 goals, but the Gunners managed – two clear cut – and maybe three or four half-chances in 90 minutes, and credit needs to be given to the entire United back-four.
Rafael made the highly-promoted Samri Nasri a complete non-factor for most of the game.
Nasri’s only half-sight at goal was a weak left-footed effort, which should have been dealt with a lot better by Edwin van der Sar, but the equally-impressive Nemanja Vidic cleaned up the mess.
Vidic’s partner in central defense, Rio Ferdinand, showed that he was not suffering from any ill effects from his tight hamstring, and will be an influential player in United’s title challenge this season.
Patrice Evra, who was very critical about the honesty of Arsenal’s own title charge, backed up his strong words with a tidy performance, which saw him taken out on numerous occasions.
Michael Carrick is getting completely hammered by pundits, because the United midfielder constantly misplaced his passes, which allowed Arsenal that glimmer of hope to steal something from this match.
The 6’1″ midfielder did not show the precision with his passing that was needed to make ensure that United returned to the top of the table, but, thankfully, his teammates more than made up for his poor performance.
Darren Fletcher was lucky to not receive a yellow card for brushing up against Howard Webb after the referee’s no call when Alexander Song clearly tripped him, but he should not face any further punishment for thoughtless, red-misted moment.
The omission of Paul Scholes clearly showed, but the resurrection of Anderson helped relieve some of the pressure in the center of midfield by getting forward to help Wayne Rooney in the United attack.
With everything said and done, Manchester United has somehow made it to the summit of the Barclays Premier League again, but they will need to continue their game-by-game approach, and be ready to face Chelsea this weekend.