Arsenal v Manchester United - Player Ratings

Last updated : 02 February 2005 By Mike Bohndiek
So that's it, the final nail in the coffin, and what a poor way to go. Having had an amazing first half where we were deservedly in front, we contrived to shoot ourselves in the foot in the second half with a number of catastrophic defensive mistakes.

Just what has changed so much since the start of the season? When we went 3-1 down against Boro in only the second game of the season I was never worried that we might lose, I was always confident of a revival. But, in stark contrast, last night after we went 3-2 down I never thought that we would get an equaliser. A poor second half display cost us dear, and now rather than challenging for the league (which a side like this clearly should be) we are in a dog fight with Man U for second place. God forbid we finish third or fourth, because I have this nagging feeling that having to go through the qualifiers for the champions league could be a really tricky task.

Key Incidents:

Goal (Arsenal) (8) – Did I really see this? Did an arsenal team score from a corner. Not only that, did they score DIRECT from a corner? Well apparently so, as Vieira pulled away from his man and nodded home a good (you what?) Thierry Henry corner.

Goal (Man U) (18) – An undeserved equaliser, as they had offered little. Sol last sight of the ball, allowing it to be played into Rooney. He laid it off for Giggs who slammed a shot against the heels of Ash and into the corner of the net. Who says we are always the lucky ones?

Goal (Arsenal) (36) – What a move, what a goal. From start to finish there was pure class. A long ball found Flamini, who deftly headed the ball on to Tel. He was able to hold the ball up until Dennis was in position. He then slipped the ball through and Bergkamp hammered the ball through the legs of Carroll to give us a deserved half time lead.

Goal (Man U) (54) – How Ronaldo was afforded such space is criminal. With a guy of that class, you simply cant leave him with that amount of room, or that amount of time in which to take the ball in and fire low into the bottom corner.

Goal (Man U) (58) – Our chances ended here. A third goal coming so quickly after the equaliser knocked the wind out of us. Now I know ill be told that im just looking for a scape goat, but the truth of the matter is, this goal was entirely Almunia`s fault. Why he felt the need to even come for the ball is beyond me. Vieira was easily winning the race for the ball. But as Giggs snuck in Almunia was left stranded and with the goal gaping Ronaldo was never going to miss.

Goal (Man U) (89) – You know what, the mancs were right to take the piss after this goal. “10 men, we`ve only got 10 men” rung around the ground. You wouldn't have known it in the last 20 minutes, as we created little and showed nothing like the form we needed to get level. Then, the final insult. John O`Shea. He walked past our defence and chipped Almunia to leave the mancs in dream land, and us heading for the exits.

More good news today is that Sol Campbell will be out for around 4 weeks with the injury he picked up last night. A weakened defence for the champions league, oh great!

Man Of The Match – Dennis Bergkamp

Player Ratings

Manuel Almunia - 5 - Well, I'm sure you can all right your own for him. We all know that his recent form hasn't been up to scratch, and he was at fault for all but the first goal. For the second he went down far too early and over committed to the near post. The less said about the third the better, and then when you get lobbed by a reserve centre back in the form of John O`Shea, you know you have problems! I doubt he will start at Villa.

Ashley Cole - 7 - Had a fairly sound game defensively. Didn't show as much in attack as he normally does. I know its easy to say it, but maybe he was affected by the Chelsea rumours.

Pascal Cygan - 7 - There is just something wrong when he looks to be your most composed defender. He had a good game yesterday, and battered Rooney in the air. If only he produced form like this on a more regular basis.

Sol Campbell - 6.5 - Made a few errors, one of which led to a goal. His positioning wasn't what it should have been, and to round it all off, he is injured again.

Lauren - 7 - Was excellent going forward, and put some good balls into the box. My only gripe was that he was very slow to get back after venturing forward, leaving Freddie to rush back and provide cover.

Robert Pires - 6.5 - His attacking a link up play was poor. His good mark is based upon the fact that he really got stuck in, putting his foot in and looking committed to the tackle. I haven't seen him do this consistently for a while, so well played Bobby.

Patrick Vieira - 5 -Can someone tell this guy that a match lasts for a regulation 90 minutes please. For some reason, just lately he has started playing fantastic football, but only for around 15-20 minutes of the game. The same applied for this game, where for spells in the first half he was excellent. However, he did nothing to help us in the second half, and didn't look half the player he was in the first. I cant remember ever being so constantly disappointed with an Arsenal captain in my time following the Gunners.

Mathieu Flamini - 7 -Spent the second half trying to do the work of two men as Paddy went missing. He coped fairly well with containing Keane and Scholes, and I felt he was unlucky to be replaced.

Freddie Ljungberg - 6.5 - Worked hard all night. His final ball wasn't great, but at least he showed that he really wanted to will us on.

Thierry Henry - 6 - He was another guilty of losing interest in the game in the second half. He stopped making runs, and didn't even look like he wanted the ball at times.

Dennis Bergkamp - 7.5 - Played for the team. A don't feel the need to say anymore than that really. He was one of the only players who actually dug in and kept running for the full 90, never losing focus. Took his goal extremely well.


Jose Reyes - 6 - Made a few runs, but as the team wasn't playing well when he came on, he found it hard to liven things up.

Justin Hoyte - N/A - Not enough time to rate him

Cesc Fabregas – N/A - Not enough time to rate him. Although what a bizarre substitution this was! Cesc seemed to be playing on the right wing having replaced Lauren, and he didn't seem to know what he was supposed to do.