Where do I even begin after a performance like that? I think we were all fairly confident heading into today’s game after the recent misfortunes that have plagued Wenger and his team. However, not even the most optimistic fan could have predicted a rout of such massive proportions.
Some main takeaways as usual:
There were maybe only 2 negatives that stood out for me. One being Welbeck pulling up midway through the first clutching his hamstring. That’s never a good sight for any player, especially as he’s started to really establish himself as a regular in the first 11. Thankfully, we have the likes of Chicharito and Berbatov to “fall back” on if the injury turns out to be serious. The other negative I thought was the performance of Evans. While it wasn’t as dismal as that of the Arsenal backline (because that was absolutely embarrassing) or his performances from last season, he did appear to fall asleep on a couple of occasions and was easily the weakest link in our backline.
Well, today’s game didn’t exactly turn around his reputation. I was hoping for something miraculous when RVP stepped up to take the penalty thinking that a save right at that moment would help ease the pressure on the young keeper. It would probably also buy him more patience from the United fanbase. He of course did just that, but then, got beat by a Walcott shot that he should have done a lot better with. Perhaps it’s a sign that he’s slowly coming into his own as he did have some nice stops during the game. Fortunately for him, we’re scoring in bunches right now and a defensive lapse every now and then has yet to prove too costly. Hope he figures it out before the mistakes turn into dropped points and lost games.
Goals, goals & more goals
After looking like a side that struggled creatively for a lot of last season, we seem to have found our groove again and have returned to the free scoring side that United fans have been longing for. What made this goal-scoring onslaught even more impressive was that for one, this wasn’t Blackburn (no disrespect intended) and two, the manner in which the balls hit the back of the net. Both of Young’s goals were absolutely top class and reaffirms the hefty transfer fee that Sir Alex was willing to shell out for the England international. He demonstrated today how he’s more than just a winger capable of putting in the early cross or producing some fancy footwork on the flank. Rooney’s first 2 goals were also top notch and will give him even greater confidence to be the first option on free kicks. Such must be his improvement in this aspect of his game that Nani barely got a whiff on those occasions save for his role as the decoy.
Beyond the scoreline
Yes, it’s easy to get carried away when you knock in 8 goals past one of the big 4 (now 6?). Yet, this was an Arsenal side that has had their collective spirit crushed recently with the departures of Cesc and Nasri. They were also missing some key players due to injury or suspension (notably Wilshere). Were we outstanding today? Yes. No doubt. But we were aided in large part by an Arsenal midfield that failed to provide any protection to the players behind them and a backline that looked so confused at times that Nani’s goal almost looked way too easy. I’m not being a pessimist before you start pegging me. But I do feel the need to at least reign in the excitement before we start making claims about achieving the treble this year. There’s still a long season ahead of us and a couple of key injuries could quickly kill the momentum we’re building.
Considering the way Sir Alex has come to Wenger’s defense over the past 2 days, you imagine he must have felt some sympathy for his good friend as our boys scored freely in the 2nd half. As outrageous as some of his statements/excuses have been over the years, you just feel like a manager of Wenger’s quality and caliber deserves better.
What will be rough on us fans now is the timing of the international break as it coincides with a blistering start to the season. Hopefully, we don’t lose too much of the impetus with the 2 week layoff. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that all our players return from international duty unscathed and/or somewhat rested.