Saturday, February 16, 2008

Manchester Utd 4 - Arsenal 0

What did just happen?...

I am still at a loss for words and for ability to fully comprehend the match as it unfolded - the game that promised so much took on a truly surreal note early on and never relented. What took place at Old Trafford seemed (and, hours later, still does seem) so far removed from any kind of plausible rendition of reality, I found myself disengaged from it no later than a couple of minutes after the start.

Five days after making the loudest and most emphatic statement of intent about our Premiership title credentials, we played (and I use the word generously) with no ability, desire, intelligence or anything that is to be expected from 11 professional footballers when they take on the pitch. It was as comprehensive and lifeless of a surrender as I have ever witnessed in a football game - and the type of performance that I did not believe this team was even capable of.

It is hard to single out the most disappointing individual performances of the game on a day when the team as a whole was truly miserable. Special mentions must, however, go to Bendtner, Hoyte and Traore. (the common denominators to our three worst losses of the season) And Eboue and Gilberto. And Hleb. And Toure and Gallas. That just about covers it.

The game clearly showed the fragility of this team's chemistry. Arsenal's fluid football - when at its best and most efficient - is the product of a mixture of very specific ingredients. If you alter the formula (or use the wrong substitutes) the final product just doesn't work.

In the end, this is a harsh reminder of the pitfalls of relying on a very young squad - when they lose, they are completely annihilated as belief and confidence get sucked out of them in plain view (remember the Sevilla defeat and the most recent trip to White Hart Lane?) There is hope however - after every loss this season, they bounced back very quickly. And emphatically.

One can only hope the same resilience will be on display on Wednesday against the "Rossoneri di Milano". We should be well rested, too - after all, we took the weekend off.

1 comment:

Trenton said...

Yes a very poor and disapointing loss we could have done much better in the back. Some sloppy mistakes cost us the game. I just pray that we are well rested for the former UEFA Champions League champs to come to town!