Yesterdays defeat to Manchester United was a bitter end to a sweet week for Arsenal. After dominating Liverpool and withstanding pressure from Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal were in great shape to take on the champions at Old Trafford after two great victories.
Bugged by a virus and bitten by a snake called Van Perise, Arsenal fell to their first away defeat in 16 games and lost some momentum in their title charge. This match was a very tight affair, not a lot of chances were made, neither team looked vulnerable and this was a game which only needed one goal and unfortunately it fell to United.
What we can learn from this match is Arsenal are ready for a tough game but need depth to go all the way. Ozil, Carzola and Ramsey looked lost, frustrated and out of sorts at Old Trafford. The two teams midfield cancelled each other out which favoured United more than Arsenal, the first half Arsenal started shy which is not a surprise seeing that there hasn’t been a Arsenal win at Old Trafford in seven years. The last two seasons when Arsenal have gone to Old Trafford there have been a large amount of mistakes created by Arsenal. Yes the goal conceded was soft, but this is a huge improvement. There is growth from this team, the self inflicted mistakes are disappearing and defensive steel is building.
Arsene Wenger doesn’t want the international break but this could be a great time to give the players a breather. Ozil, Carzola or Ramsey were not as destructive as they would have hoped against United. After playing Liverpool and Dortmund you can understand that fatigue may have affected their performances. For once Arsenal fans will be overjoyed that Walcott will be back from injury after the international break with the addition of Rosicky, Podolski and Oxlade Chamberlain to follow.
If you didn’t think we needed another striker than yesterday proved it. Giroud can only play so many games and I do think he is looking tired but with Bendtner as our only other option right now, Giroud has to start. Bendtner doesn’t want to be at Arsenal and Arsenal don’t want him but he’s still here. When chasing a goal he is not the man you want to come on but it is all we had yesterday.
You don’t ever want to lose a game, but a knock back is sometimes needed to remind the team they are still human. After the 49 game unbeaten run had ended it did take a while for Arsenal to get back into shape, a team which had Henry, Pires, Vieira, Bergkamp and Ljungberg. Yes defeating United would have been so sweet, but taking the title from them will be more satisfactory and that is the target.
Arsenal are still at the top of the table and now have the reality check and a reminder that this is an open title race. Everyone likes a stat and after 10 games Arsenal have won eight, lost one and drew one. Game 11 Arsenal lost and hopefully the team follow the same ratio for the rest of the season with eight more wins and one draw before game 20.