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From Explosion to Wimper; United win in 1st gear canter

Robin Van Persie scored against his former club as Manchester United overcame Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman scored with the game barely two minutes old, before Patrice Evra added another in the second half, after Wayne Rooney had missed a penalty for United.

On the back of a controversial win at Chelsea last Sunday, United fielded an unchanged line-up, with Van Persie the focal point – of Arsenal’s worries as much as of United’s attack – up front supported by Rooney.

RVP and last season’s 8-2 score line had featured heavily in the build up to today’s fixture and, with less than two minutes played, Robin Van Persie granted himself a place on tomorrow’s headlines.

When Thomas Vermaelen made a meal of a simple clearance, the former Arsenal striker was quick to seize the opportunity to put his club ahead, with a composed right-foot finish.

Despite the chants of “Oh Robin Van Persie” ringing around Old Trafford, the United number 20 opted not to celebrate in front of his former fans.

Twenty minutes later Van Persie could have doubled Arsenal’s pain but his right-footed finish was brilliantly saved by Mannone.

If last season had been a roller coaster ride this season’s encounter was more of a bus trip, for it was largely uneventful, bar the occasional opening.

United had the better of the possession, but could not make it count, as Valencia and Young were both wasteful in possession and unable to create superiority out wide.

With the first half petering out, United found themselves with the opportunity of doubling their advantage as they were awarded a penalty after Cazorla handled Young’s cross.

Rooney scuffed his penalty wide, failing to add to his 10 goal tally against Arsenal and United were left empty handed again as Valencia miscued Van Persie’s pass just after the restart.

Arsenal first contribution to the game came after 54 minutes, when Giroud brilliantly held Evans off before firing just wide of the post and being denied a corner by the officials.

With an hour gone, Anderson replaced Cleverley, after the Sir Alex realised that, having already been booked, the youngster was walking a fine line.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger ignored that same warning applied to Jack Wilshere and the Frenchman could only look on in discomfort ten minutes later, as the England midfielder was given his marching orders, after receiving his second yellow card of the game for a reckless challenge on Evra.

By then, though, United had already put the match out of sight as Evra headed Rooney’s cross past Mannone, after the Arsenal keeper had brilliantly denied RVP his second goal of the match sixty seconds earlier.

The worst Arsenal side seen at Old Trafford in recent years pulled one back through a brilliant strike from Santi Cazorla in the last of four minutes of added time.

It was too little, too late for the Gunners, who were flattered by a score line that could have been much worse, had United not played with the handbrake on for most of the match.

Dan (@mufc_87)



  1. Wenger

    November 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Fuck off u manc ****, 1st gear my arse

  2. Moscow

    November 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    If only the dreaded Carrick-Scholes-Giggs midfield didn’t start against Spurs. Even with a poor midfield we have made fantastic start in my opinion, winning at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge (when did that last happen?!) and now beating Arsenal. Only one big test remains in this first half of the season and it is the trip to the Etihad in December.

    We’re out of the Carling Cup and almost guaranteed to progress in the CL so just start our best possible team for all the remaining Premier League games until the Manc derby. Chelsea and City will drop points, and they are yet to face each other as well.

    The quality of the league has dropped dramatically, but hey, we must prevent these oil funded abominations from winning it at all costs. I don’t even mind getting completely embarrassed in Europe (although it would still hurt).

    • Stephen

      November 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

      @Moscow: Superb post, absolutely spot on.

  3. Moscow

    November 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Ah yes, top of the league, where we belong.

  4. Racs

    November 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Good win today boys! To be honest i was surprised with Arsenal’s performance, they looked very slow and at times it seemed they didn’t know what to do! I think it came down to the fact that we played a very disciplined and compact game when we were defending which denied Arsenal the time and space in the midfield. The stand out performers for me today were RVP, Carrick (defensively), Rooney and Jonny Evans who had a blinder at the back. I read the tactical preview posted over at the Busby Babe yesterday and one of the points they made was that in order to stifle Arsenal’s possession play, Arteta had to be nullified and i thought Wazza did a tremendous job on him today! I think he averages around 93/94 passes per game so it would be interesting to see what his passing stats were like today.

    We could have easily scored 3 or 4 goals and when Rooney missed the penalty i began to dread the fact that Arsenal may get back into the game but thank god for Paddy’s goal! Is it me or has he picked up his game of late? He seems to be playing more consistently lately and it looks like he is not bombing as forward as much as he used to.

    Like i said in my post after the Chelsea game, i feel we could really string a good run together now to ensure that we are up there comming into the busy xmas period and as SAF always says, if we can get through the xmas period with a positive run of results then we will be in a great position going into the new year! Chelsea and Shitty dropping points today only made this weekend even better!

    Can’t wait to come over to watch the United vs Sunderland game in December (I’m from Gibraltar!)


    • Craig Mc

      November 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      @Racs: Hey mate, hope you enjoy your trip over from Gibraltar in December, and our lads are very angry with what happened at Sunderland last day of last season, so expect a thunderous game, especially from Wazza who said he will never forget the baiting of the Sunderland shite fans. The only fans who come to United and sing for L’pool – wankers! So our fans will want to see their fans done, and Wazza and rest of our team will want to murder Sunderland. Lets hope SAF doesn’t put out a weakened team eh?

      • Racs

        November 5, 2012 at 2:56 am

        @Craig Mc:

        Can’t wait buddy! Aint been over to the theatre for nearly 2 years! Just havent had the time really! Im quite lucky seeing as half my family are from Manchester so I can get to use their season tickets whenever I can!!

        I really hope we put them to the sword that day, especially after what happened last season like you said! I’m sure the players will have not have forgotten the Sunderland fans that day! The last couple of united games i went over to see was when we beat stoke 5-0 (Ronaldo’s 100th goal for United and Welbecks 1st senior goal) and the 7-1 slaughtering of Blackburn a couple of seasons ago so if thats anything to go by then there could be another hammering on the cards! It seems to be that my physical presence at home games has a great effect on the team which in turn mean goals goals and more goals! hahaha

        Who knows by the time the game comes along, we could be on a great run of results and the team could be firing on all cylinders (I really hoping so anyway)!

        Sooooo looking forward to it!

  5. Sahal

    November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Anderson really deserves a run of games now,Tom Cleverley really hasn’t given us much apart from his energy.Ando has looked creative,energetic and a glimpse of the player he can be.I won’t be getting my hopes too high though,he started last season in brilliant form and then just disappeared.

    Rooney’s penalty conversion rate is 65% which is actually quite poor so I think the duty should be RVP’s from now on.

    Valencia’s decision making must be quicker,he had the beating of Santos(lol who wouldn’t) and would end up just dilly-dallying at the edge of the box.

    Being outsung by Arsenal fans when their team is down by 2 goals and playing like shit,seems Old Trafford is more like a theatre where you have to shut up and sit down. ๐Ÿ™

  6. colver

    November 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Agreed. Anderson looks a different player and with a run of games I think he could supply quite a few goals and assists. OK his fitness is not great but he’s only going to achieve match fitness if he is given games. I’ve never understood all the fuss about Cleverley. At his best he is quietly effective. At worst he is totally invisible.

    I like the formation though. With Rooney playing deep there is less onus on our midfielders to get forward so they can focus on bossing the centre of the pitch, winning the ball and spraying it out to our creators behind Van Persie.

    What I would like to see is for us to sign an experienced central defender. Vidic cannot seem to stay fit. Evans seems to do best playing alongside a more experienced partner. And I don’t especially rate Smalling or Jones-at least not for the big games. Even a slightly older player like Hangeland would work out great for us. Also every time Carrick plays in central defence we seem to concede a lot of goals so that really can’t continue to be an option.

    Next summer I think we really need to sign a ball winning central midfielder. Fletcher probably needs a fresh start at a midtable club because I think it will be difficult for him to reach the heights of 2008. And we definitely need a bit of steel in the middle of the park.

    • Opti

      November 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      @colver: Shawcross would be great. Leader, young, quality, tough.

      • Craig Mc

        November 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm

        @Opti: Shawcross is a great player. I also would like SAF to get Fellaini. Also SAF complaining all over the media today, that we need more goals. Really Sir Ferg, we all agree with you, but if you want more goals you have to play your IN FORM strikers, and CHICHARITO, remember him, he is a little guy in form and reliable! He always seems to ghost and find space in the opposition penalty box too. Just a thought!

        • Moscow

          November 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

          @Craig Mc: The Rooney-Van Persie axis is flourishing, let’s keep the gravy train going and not change anything. Seriously. Hernandez is a good super sub, I’ll give him that. We shouldn’t mess with our new-found balance by playing 3 strikers at the same time.

        • Opti

          November 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm

          @Craig Mc: Rooney is a striker now? Last I checked he WANTS to play midfield and PLAYS attacking midfielder most games.


          ALL OUT ATTACK ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

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  8. colver

    November 4, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    There is nothing wrong with our strikeforce. We score an average of 2.6 goals a game. But we also concede at least a goal a game.

    Having to score two goals every game is a lot of pressure on even the best strikeforce. So many teams have won championships winning a lot of games 1-0.

    Ferguson should really be asking why we have kept so few clean sheets this season. Fix that issue and we’ll run away with the title.

  9. AndyCR7

    November 5, 2012 at 6:42 am

    off topic:
    “I was not here when Cristiano Ronaldo played at Manchester United, but the way everyone talks about him till now shows what he meant to this team. Yesterday just before the match in the dressing room everyone was talking about him and about his first goal he scored on this day for Manchester United and how after that he never stopped. These lads still talk about him a lot of times and everything about him is so different not only his football but also his personality that I get to hear from everyone here. He’s a hero at united still. A Hero they can never forget. I wish I got a chance to play alongside him back then”
    -Alexander Bรผttner

    source – Redcafe

    • Onkar

      November 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

      @AndyCR7: Even I wish that Butner’s wish is fulfilled and he will be able to play along side Ronaldo at United one day.. But alas… we all know, that is not going to happen ever…

  10. The_Philosopher

    November 5, 2012 at 7:49 am

    What happened to our killer instinct. We don’t finish teams off anymore. Its like we don’t have that extra bit of quality in us to turn a 2-0 lead, with 20 minutes to go, into a 4-0 win at full time. Or are we just not as good as we used to be?

    United play until they lead and then they sit back and wait for the final whistle. Whats up with that!

    In the Capital One game against Chelsea my biggest fear after the last minute penalty was “Where are we gonna find the goals to win this?” We had already played the full 90min and we were waiting for the final whistle as though we had no more goals in us.

    Why is it that we must first be behind in a game before we feel the need to score? Has the team become mentaly lazy? There always has to be a crisis before we get into goal scoring gear.

    I’m not particularly moved by us being at the top of the table. We tend to play better when we’re chasing. Why is that?

    Are we fighting hard enough to be the best team in England? Or do we rest on our laurels as soon as we take the lead because “well we’re United we deserve to win”

    I fear the day Sir Alex Ferguson steps down.

  11. Stephen

    November 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Firstly this one of the most painful posts I have ever done, but I will say Anderson deserves a run in the side. Cleverley isn’t playing well and Fergie seems to have forgotten about Scholes. Ando has looked good, all be it over weight in the last couple of games and should have a spell in the side.
    Well I said it…. ๐Ÿ˜
    Ps I love Robin Van Persie.

    • Onkar

      November 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      @Stephen: I can imagine the Pain that you are going through right now ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Stephen

        November 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm

        @Onkar: It was horrible matey… :mrgreen:

        • Ian

          November 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

          @Stephen: I LOVE THIS! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. colver

    November 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Good on you Stephen. Anderson is a form player and we may as well capitalize on that and then when he goes off the boil at least Scholes will be well rested to pick up the slack.

    Van Persie is definitely world class. With him and Rooney in the team Ronaldo won’t really be missed so much.

    The real difference between this team and the class of 2008 is that these days we struggle to field a backline whereas in 2008 we had a stable and rock solid back line of EVDS-Brown, Rio, Vidic, Evra (back when he knew how to defend).

    But Ferguson and everyone else is still obsessing about goals scored and ignoring the white elephant of the shocking amount of goals we’ve been conceding the last couple of seasons.

  13. Owen

    November 5, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I have noticed that Evra has performed really well after the arrival of Buttner.

  14. Jay wire

    November 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    The good
    RvP- I didn’t criticise his signing, but that does not clear me for calling it a luxury signing. I knew he’d be on fire, but I really wanted Luka Modric. RvP is by far United’s MVP. What a player. Rafael- I bet on him being Brazil’s first choice right back for 2014 but felt it was more of a faith statement than qualified opinion. I feel better now. Anderson-won’t dwell much on him because I’ve backed him all too often and then he gets injured,doesn’t get a run of games,goes off form and comes overweight. But he has been good this season. More incisive and the general attack based philosophy has allowed him to flourish. The bad Tactics
    Obviously. We acquired two players who make it natural for us to play through the middle and that’s the one thing we’ve failed to do optimaly. Kagawa being played out of position and out of role has really been frustrating. If Real Madrid can combine Ronaldo,Benzema,Ozil,Di Maria without tactical conflict we need to find out how to combine Rooney,Rvp and Kagawa into at least England’s most feared attack. The potential is there,but the combination has eluded the bench. Here is the problem people see on the surface. Rooney can play in the hole and that’s where Kagawa plays. But Rooney is an apparent game changer. So the sacrifice becomes obvious. But the truth is,Rooney is not as good at creating chances,but is easily the better scorer. I find the solution simple. Focus more on roles than position. The main target is Rvp. The auxiliary hitman is Rooney. But everything goes through Kagawa. If positioning makes it easier to understand,Kagawa plays in the hole “behind” both strikers. The real trick is movement. Rooney needs to use his 2010 instincts of not bothering with trying to create much,but getting into favorable positions. Leave Kagawa to create,as well as the creative Dutchman. With Nani as an interiore,there’s no shortage of creativity. Which brings me to

    Imagine if Guardiola had failed to “discover” Iniesta with the way he was being under utilised before. Imagine Mourinho failing to get Benzema working. Well if that had happened the result would be Nani. We have,a complete game changer in Nani. He could have been the guy that makes the tactical reinvention of this club possible. People look at the biggest stars but the people that really make them football super humans are what I call the “bridges”. Benzema is exactly that for Ronaldo. His ability to hold the ball and manouvre and link up makes it a real nightmare to play against Ronaldo because of the spaces that you are forced to concede. Similarly,you could blind Iniesta and he’d still split the defence with his dream football to find Messi in space. Tevez was our bridge player in 2008,but I believe Nani is exactly that. He’s the only player who can hoodwink defenders with his skill. All he needs is closer targets always on the move. With him supporting Kagawa by moving in,it allows Rooney to run into his 2010 spaces and with Rvp in and around the box it destroys the opposition’s shape. All he needs is a confidence run. Let him play and build his confidence. He’s that type of player. Which brings me to

    The Ugly
    Ferguson’s comments

    I have never associated Ferguson with class,but sometimes he even surprises me. The dig on Nani was intentional and motivated for an expert man manager like Ferguson. He knows he is frustrated and this will affect his performances which further vindicates his exit.

    • RMJ

      November 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      @Jay wire: Gud to see you around Jay. In regards to Nani, the problem being that he seems to go through this brain freeze phase where he doubts himself plays well a minute then completely makes a hash out of it the next. It seems to me that he needs to be driven(fergie;s comments could be played out like this) and that any lull that comes with success basically diverts him into what i said earlier about him. He is a genius and the most technically skilled lad in our squad by a mile(which is why Fergie keeps picking him for the bench despite all ) but he has got a fragile ego and confidence thats lighter than a feather.

      I think the biggest beneficiary from RVP has been Rooney who is begining to thrive in the shadow of RVP. People often overlook how great he was during 2006 to 2008 where he was so good playing a supporting role to the Ronaldo show. The less pressure on him means he can be more creative and expansive in his play style and we can see how his body language has improved even when not playing that well.

  15. Craig Mc

    November 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Moscow said – The RVP/Rooney axis is flourishing. I’m not disputing that mate, what I am disputing is what did Vally and Young do to deserve their place in the team against Le Arse – they were piss poor, and Vally missed two of the easiest sitters – a proper stuff up. Hernandez would have scored in those positions, he is IN FORM, that is what I am saying mate! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Moscow

      November 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      @Craig Mc: That’s what you get with such a wealth of attacking options, but we can’t pick more than 2 strikers to play matey. It’s good having this sort of selection headache ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Stephen

    November 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Ian, I knew that was coming!! ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  17. Moscow

    November 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    When Kagawa returns, the diamond should be used in Europe:

    De Gea
    Rafael Rio Evans Evra
    Carrick Anderson
    Rooney RVP

    • Racs

      November 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm


      Agree with you here mate! Imagine Kagawa behind Rooney and RVP and all 3 of them on form? Would be pretty incredible to be honest! We need to give Kagawa more time to adapt and fit into not just the way United play but also the premier league in general. I feel that within the next 3-6 months we could see what a great signing he has been! His style and the things he did in the Bundesliga were just insane!

      I do however think that SAF will only use the diamond now and again and not on a consistent basis due to the fact that we are a team who has always played with width and that is definitely one of our strengths! Being able to adapt the diamond will make us more unpredictable and keep teams guessing!

    • Dr S

      November 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Interesting formation. Wonder though, if Carrick playing deep and Cleverly coming in for Fletcher would also work.

      As has been pointed out before, Cleverly probably plays best in a 3-man mid where his defending responsibilities are less.

      Then after 60-70min when Kagawa starts to tire, bringing in Chicharito with Rooney or RVP moving into the hole, depending on form/team played.

      Jay-Wire’s suggestion of incorporating Nani e.g. to rest Rooney up front would also be interesting.

      What would also be interesting for this team is if SAF as is being rumored makes a Jan move for Celtic’s Victor Wanyama, then plays him instead of Carrick to shore up D. That mid would be fantastic.

  18. colver

    November 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    CraigMc perhaps you forgot that Young and Vally had great games against Chelsea. While Nani managed to piss of Fergie in the domestic Cup earlier in the week.

    I agree Hernandez should have got some play especially considering how wasteful Van Persie and Rooney were. But we won and Little Pea will definitely get games (hopefully consigning Welbeck to the bench!)

  19. Stephen

    November 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Jay, Calling Fergie classless mate is a disgrace. As a club we have more dignity than almost every other club. Look at Mourinho at Real, utter classless, Chelsea and City speak for themselves, Barca’s transfer business is disgraceful and Juve are a joke with their corruption.
    Like many you see no wrong Nani, I called him inconsistent this Summer and you refuted that claim. His form this season has at best inconsistent and at the very worst very poor. He punched a fellow player, is having massive contact disputed and would have left for the money if he could have got his request. He is a very good player, but frustrates many and if you can’t see that bro, you need to open your eyes.

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