Arsenal have only themselves to blame in United draw

After 90 minutes Arsenal fans were left feeling frustrated at the waste of the chance to take all three points against Manchester United at the Emirates yesterday. If offered a point before the game I’m sure most Arsenal fans would take that offer but when the final whistle blew they will have looked back with frustration as Manchester United were gifted their equalizer.

afc v man u

With my rose-tinted glasses off Manchester united were in no way played off the field, they posed a threat on the break throughout and defended well but the goal conceded by the Gunners was easily avoidable. Bacary Sagna did himself no favours with poor concentration gifting the ball to Robin Van Persie, even from that point his error could be atoned however a rush of blood to the head resulted in an unnecessary sliding tackle which ended with Van Persie’s legs taken away and a penalty awarded.

The Arsenal fans groaned in frustration and you could also see on the Arsenal players faces similar emotions after having their hard work undone in a few seconds of madness. The last person Arsenal fans wanted to score in the game got his chance and took it. He didn’t celebrate must like in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford though I’m sure that respect was more directed to his former manager than the fans that once idolised him. He did not need to do anything, The Manchester united fans made sure they rubbed it in with banners highlighting Arsenal’s poor decision last summer with text such as “thanks for RVP”. The same fans that sung year after year about him being a rapist now sing a different song about the man whose goals made the difference for them taking the Premier League title.

Some points from the game yesterday:

Sagna madness

sagna tackle

Bacary Sagna had one of those moments yesterday, that moment everyone who has ever played the game at any level has experienced at least once in their life. When you make the wrong decision in a scenario which if performed 100 times you would do the right thing on the 99 other occasions. You feel stupid, your teammates look at you like you are a moron and you just want the world to swallow you up and take you away from that moment in time. Sagna will certainly have regretted his actions and I’m sure he got a barrel load from his team mates at half time. His game was definitely off for the remainder of the match as errors crept into his performance. The claims for Carl Jenkinson to be promoted to first choice grew stronger and it’s hard to argue as the Englishman has been usurped from the starting eleven despite playing well whenever Sagna has been fit to play. Arsene Wenger has shown some ruthlessness in other positions but has resisted the temptation so far to address the right back role.

Guard of honour

guard of honour

The guard of honour had been talked about all week and received a lot of press coverage. The whole ordeal had been blown well out of proportion, it lasted less than a minute and the players got on with the game. Fans booed as expected, I don’t think the Manchester United players will have sleepless nights about it, Van Persie didn’t milk it. Yes, it isn’t ideal to have to applaud a former player for his feats for a rival, it’s an embarrassment that the board and the manager will have to address but in comparison to the handshake furore of Terry/Bridge and Suarez/Evra it’s a non story to anyone outside of the club. Thank god it’s over and hopefully will never need to be talked about again.

Relaxed QPR

There is always the notion that it’s easier to play against a team with nothing to play for; I actually feel there’s more potential for a banana skin in such games. Arsenal travel to freshly relegated QPR for their next game and on paper it looks like a straightforward victory for the Gunners. With nothing to play for why would QPR even be bothered with the outcome? It is for that very reason that a carefree team playing with no pressure can be a massive threat. Arsenal does have something to play for and nerves can creep into their performance. I actually believe if they were not relegated and needed points to salvage chances of survival the psychological mindset of the QPR players would have been all over the place and played into the hands of the Gunners. With no pressure and there being a Spurs connection in their team I am pretty sure any points will be hard earned.

Enjoy your day people.

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Bye Robin – An Alternative View

Morning Gooners.
Gambeano is off on his holibobs so I’m helping to hold the fort whilst he’s sunning himself. I must say I didn’t expect to step into the breach quite so soon, but the announcement on Robin van Persie‘s website has forced my hand somewhat.
So RvP will not be signing a new contract, citing that he and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward”. It is easy to feel downhearted, especially as he had his best season last term – it is hard to know where we’d have been without him last season. Part of me wishes we could allow him to run his contract down, the club then looks like seriously challenging for trophies half-way through next season which convinces him to sign one. Sadly, the nature of football these days means we will in all likelihood have to sell him. Besides, the statement doesn’t exactly sound keen on his part. The good thing is that this news is actually quite early in the close season by Arsenal’s standards, and as this news is not exactly a total shock, the club can get down to the business of bringing in replacements. (Emphasis on the plural there.)
With this in mind, I have to say I’m not quite as distraught as some Gooners. Only a fool would seriously believe that players stay for life in the modern game, the days of one-club men like Tony Adams are long gone. Also much as RvP loves the club, he didn’t grow up dreaming of playing for us and never supported Arsenal as a kid, so given that trophies have been sparse to say the least, I think it is understandable that he would want a serious tilt at one elsewhere. (If that truly is the reason of course, and looks like we’ll have to wait for confirmation of the club’s version of events.)
I’ve always been pretty philosophical in situations like this – as players seldom stay at the club for the entirety of their careers, if they want to leave then let them. There are those that will say “if he wants to win trophies he should stay and help us win one”, but in the last 18 months is hard to see how he could have done any more. As deeply disappointing as his eventual departure may be, he has played his heart out for us, and for that at least we should be grateful. But we must remember great attackers come and go – there was an Arsenal before Ian Wright and there was an Arsenal after; there was one before Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry and there was one after, and there will certainly be one after Robin van Persie has departed. And Arsene Wenger unearthed the last two, so I’m inclined to place my faith in him to find the next one. Looking at it another way, perhaps Robin has to leave in order to make way for a next hero at the club.
Admittedly this final paragraph may set me apart from some fans but personally I thank Robin van Persie for all the goals and the efforts – he’s given us some great moments to cheer, far too numerous to mention. But at the end of the day, whether they are heroes like Henry or or sh*ts like Samir Nasri, players eventually leave, so I will wish RvP all the best (although he’ll be massively pushing my goodwill if he goes to another Premier League club). The club is still here, we will rise again, so I’ll just get on with supporting the club I love, The Arsenal.
Ooh to be a Gooner.
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