Before I begin exaulting Arsenal’s performance in their 2-1 win over Manchester United, let me just say two things.
- That was simply an outstanding match. I hadn’t seen much in the Premiership this season that matched the best of Euro 2008 until this match. One of the commentators said it was being played an almost basketball-like pace, and I agree entirely. You could sit any soccer-hater down in front of that match and they would at least be diverted, if not properly entertained. Easily, my favorite match I have watched all season since Euro 2008. (With DC’s home beatdowns of LA and NY coming in second and third, respectively.)
- This does not absolve Wenger of all the pressure he was receiving. That can only happen when they make a serious effort at improving the team during the transfer window. If those signings don’t work out, at least we will have tried.
Arsenal appear to have jumped on the Samir Nasri rocket at the right time. Normally we describe this as Wenger “unearthing” another gem, except that everyone knew Nasri was going to be brilliant after seeing the way he blew opponents off the field at Marseille. It was just a matter of who would sign him. And unlike with a fair number of other big names, Arsenal actually got their man. Nasri is dangerous every single time he touches the ball. He’s more aggressive than Ljungburg was on his best day, and far more incisive and dangerous than Hleb or Rosicky ever were. I love how Nasri always at least looks to attack the goal even when starting from wide and/or withdrawn positions. It’s nice to see an Arsenal player do that consistently rather than always look for superlative marks for artistic impression.
On that note, how good did Rafael look for United? My goodness – how on earth can they ever allow Mr. Neville on the field again when you’ve got that kind of talent behind him? I haven’t seen an outside back that electrifying, that young since Ashley Cole made his debut for Arsenal.
Let me end the happiness and sunshine in order to discuss Niklas Bendtner OR “The most useless thing to come from Denmark since Aqua.” After mouthing off the way he did midweek, he was an absolute turd out there Saturday. He was slothful getting into decent scoring positions, and then when he did find himself in a good position, he still found ways to miss. He’s terrible. We cannot get rid of him bad enough. I guess he thinks he can compete with Adebayor consistently for starts. On the basis of that performance, he’s got Adebayor’s Champions League-level preening attitude but with a Championship-level plodder’s skills.