Monday, December 13, 2010

English Premier League Round 17 - Manchester United vs Arsenal - Review

Manchester United have held out the Gunners at Old Trafford to win 1-0 and go top of the English Premier League. In a low scoring affair, it was Park Ji Sung who made all the difference, scoring with a headed effort late in the first half.

Arsenal came into the match with injury concerns as well as the fact that Manchester City now sat equal with them on points. However Arsene Wenger still decided to start with Rosicky in the place of Cesc Fabregas and young Jack Wilshere for Van Persie.
Sir Alex made a suprise decision to leave Berbatov - who was so prolific in their last league match - on the bench, playing with an out of form Wayne Rooney upfront.

Chances were few in the first half, but it was United who dominated the play through Anderson who expertly controlled the midfield. It was Rooney who unleashed the first shot of the match. An effort from outside the box that was easily handled by Szczesny. Arsenal created their first opportunity and it was Chamakh who latched onto an Arshavin cross to direct a diving header straight at Van der Sar.
Nani almost opened the scoring when an Arsenal defensive error saw the ball drop to his feet, the spontaneous shot just rolled wide of the post. Nani continued to cause trouble for clichy and in the 41st minute a pass from Rooney allowed him whip a ball into the box. Park Ji Sung was there to flick the ball on with his head, the lob, looped over Szczesny's head and into the net, giving United the lead just before half time.

The second half opened up a little, however chances on goal were still few as the defence's of each team repelled each attack. Chamakh once again had an opportunity to score. A defelcted ball fell to him in the box. His shot was blocked by some world class defending by Nemanja Vidic clearing the ball for a corner - which amounted to nothing.

Midway through the second half Wenger introduced Fabregas (coming off an injury) and Van Persie into the mix, for Rosicky and Wishere respectively. The changes also saw a formation change, highlighting Arsenal's push for a goal.

But it was United who continued threaten. A break by Nani saw him run into the box, Gael Clichy in an attempt to clear the danger handled the ball, leaving the linesman no choice but to flag for a penalty. Rooney stepped up and the Manchester United - after a unorthodox run up - blasted the ball over the bar and well into the stands.

Arsenal continued to rally, but Manchester counter attacked through Andersom who thread a ball through Nani who after a tustle with Clichy was able to shoot one on one with the Arsenal keeper. But he was unable to keep his shot down.

Walcott was presented with the last opportunity of the match, his half volley also drifted over the bar and with that the final whistle blew.

The game did not live up to the expectation associated wih it before hand, nevertheless United move clear at the top with a game in hand. Arsenal take on Stoke next week and while Manchester face an out of form Chelsea.

Final Score - Manchester United 1   Arsenal 0
                     Park Ji Sung 41

Man of the Match : Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)