Last season’s Premiership title race was a disappointment for everyone apart from Manchester United fans, as Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all failed to put up a decent fight for it, but although United have been installed as the favourites again by the bookies ahead of the new season, the changes at Old Trafford make things quite a bit more uncertain. There is no disputing the quality in their squad, but there are flaws – notably in defence and central midfield – and coupled with a less experienced manager now, many fans will be a little nervous ahead of the kick-off. Read more
Tag Archive for Manchester United
First things first, Happy New Year my dear readers, thank you for stopping by.
I had a little trouble writing today’s title. I had so many things to call it but I thought if the title mentioned the name of the person this blog is mostly about that it wouldn’t get read at all.
The various titles I had were “Why United are a one-man team”, “Robin should never have left, here’s why”, “RvP made a big mistake moving to United” etc.
Still with me? Phew… the name didn’t have you reaching for the hammer to smash whatever device you are reading this on then. Good, I’m glad we can be adults about this ‘person’ .
I believe that Robin made a mistake leaving Arsenal despite what the table says.
Robin said recently that he is playing in a team of champions, a nasty dig at Arsenal many Gooners felt.
I’d argue that Robin is the champion and he left a team of could be’s to join a team of could be’s. I know many will argue that United finished 2nd without him and Arsenal finished 3rd with him but that doesn’t take into account the signings Arsenal and United have made, the improvement in Arsenal’s defending, their weak area from last season nor does it consider the weakness of United’s defence at the back end of last season and carried on into this.
Tomorrow we line up against Manchester United at Old Trafford and many pundits see us departing Manchester defeated and to be fair there are many reasons to believe them but I think we can and will leave as victors.
COC against Reading aside Arsenal have struggled for goals and chances of late and some say this will make it unlikely for us to score against United.
Some say that our last visit to Old Trafford was so torrid that it will affect us tomorrow.
Some say that van Persie was the only player we had that could cause United problems and now he is their player.
Some say defeat is inevitable…. I say these people are wrong, here’s why.
When we last travelled to Old Trafford we were injury depleted and this was our line-up:
Problem number one was full-backs. Jenkinson has come on leaps and bounds since that defeat and although I confess to being a fan from his first touch of the ball in an Arsenal shirt and have championed him ever since (and am glad to see a large number of converted this season) I will not pretend that he was anything other than out of his depth in this game. Things just got worse as his (and the teams) confidence dropped and United’s soared. Read more
The year is 1999 and Arsenal have just finished the season without a trophy. They have been comprehensively beaten by an inspired Chelsea by 5 goals to nil in the Worthington Cup, have exited the Champions League in 3rd spot behind Lens in 2nd and group winners Dynamo Kyiv, lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United in extra-time and missed out on the league on the final day of the season to Manchester United by 1 point. (Incidentally United conceded 37 goals that year and still won the league, Arsenal conceded 17 and finished 2nd. These days “defensive frailties” are often quoted as a reason for not winning the league but I would suggest that United’s 80 goals scored to our 59 and Man City winning the league on goal difference shows that attack is quite often the best form of defence.)
Arsenal had started the season poorly with 4 draws and a loss before the end of September leaving them with just 10 points and though they fought extremely hard to get back into title contention they ultimately finished the season pot-less and with a bitter taste in their mouth. Things for the fans were about to get worse.
Picked up for £500,000, free scoring Nicolas Anelka looked to be the buy of the century until Real Madrid came calling and Anelka left in a £22.3m deal. Financially it was very good for the club but having come so close to retaining the title and with no prolific striker in the ranks with Ian Wright having left the summer before the fans were understandably tetchy and worried about our ability to compete.
There has been a lot of attacking of Arsenal by Gooners on twitter recently and the stagnant air of negativity has even driven some very well liked tweeters into hibernation as they cannot stand to read the streams of abuse hurled towards the club and its players.
Instead of exasperating me to the point of quitting twitter it has, for want of a better word, inspired me to adapt my post. This piece was originally going to be entirely about the defence and, ironically, defending them and I’ll still do that but now the piece is going to be a bit longer and will be about defending the club as well. I suggest getting a cuppa as this is a long one but I really hope you’ll stay to the end because I think the message is worth hearing.
I’m as desperate for success as the next Gooner however I do not think we have a divine right to trophies nor do I think we have a divine right to challenge for trophies and I most certainly do not think that we should buy a sense of entitlement by selling out to the sugar daddies of the world.
That said I do believe that we should be challenging. Not because we are The Arsenal but because we have one of the best managers in the world, a world-class stadium full of supporters, world-class training facilities, top coaching staff, an enviable youth set-up, the best pitch in the world and a group of very talented players to take to it. I see no reason why we should not compete moving forward but understand fully why we have not challenged for the league in recent years even if I don’t like the fact we haven’t especially given the players we’ve had.
And now I want to dispel a few myths that kept cropping up in a twitter conversation last night and are used fervently by some as the reason Arsenal are not winning trophies.