Arsenal 2 – 1 Manchester Utd
Posted by hiphopmama on November 9, 2008
Why? Why can’t we get games like this one in the U.S.? Instead we get the likes of Sunderland-Portsmouth and Man City-Tottenham. I’m sure it comes down to broadcast rights divided up and owned by the various stations, but I would absolutely love to see the Fox Soccer line-up be more like that of GolTV, where the top teams are shown just about every week, with the matches shown changing week by week depending on who’s in that elite group. You can pretty much count on seeing Barça, Real Madrid, Valencia, and Villarreal every week, with Sevilla thrown in there most weeks as well. GolTV has its own drawbacks in terms of coverage – like their propensity to update their information in TV listings at the last minute; Comcast, DirecTV, it’s all the same – but they consistently show the best games week in and week out.
Ranting aside, this was a great game – you know, I’m told. Arsenal knew they needed an outright win, and they played for it, making it an open game with lots of end to end action. Nasri was the hero of the night, scoring both Arsenal goals from distance and helping elevate a squad that was badly in need of some – any – glimmer of hope. The first ricocheted off Gary Neville and past Van der Sar in the 22nd minute. His next came in the 47th off a nice combination of passing just outside the area, and he took a tremendous shot that outright beat the Man U keeper.
United got one back in the 90th minute when Rafael Da Silva corralled an airborn ball with his chest, then volleyed with his left foot into the far corner and past Fabianski, who had come on for Almunia after the Arsenal starter took a kick to the head. When six minutes of extra time flashed, the nervousness was palpable, but Arsenal held on better than they had against Tottenham and secured the win to stay within six points of leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.
To say this was a much-needed win is an understatement. Wenger had been valiantly defending his boys, but it was starting to look more and more like a lost cause with all the losses to mediocre teams and flagging effort from players. It wasn’t just that they were losing but how they were doing it that caused concern, relinquishing a two goal lead in the last few minutes against Spurs and slogging through against teams like Stoke and Hull City. The 0-0 draw against Fenerbahce midweek did little to alleviate fears that the downward slide would continue. Now, after beating United, they are off to a good start in a month that boasts challenges in the form of Aston Villa, Man City, and Chelsea. This win means that they are in third place in front of Manchester Utd and within striking distance of the top spots. Hopefully this young team can use this to build confidence and momentum going into the rest of November.