The way I see it - Arsenal v Manchester United

Last updated : 31 January 2005 By Jason Hogan

In his time as manager of Southampton and Tottenham, Glenn Hoddle never got the better of Arsene whenever they came to face to face in the dugouts and his luck didn't change on Saturday as his game Wolves side were dumped out of the cup.

As was the case in the last round against Stoke, the Gunners, though generally in control throughout, were made to work fairly hard for the victory. Indeed perhaps the biggest plus for us in the first half was the shuffling feet of new boy Emmanuel Eboue.

For someone who is a right back cum centre back he loves to come forward and he definitely likes a step over. On one run into the penalty area he baffled Lee Naylor with a Cristian Ronaldo style shuffle and then crashed in a shot that cannoned against the bar. If he carries on progressing the way he is, Lauren's first team place at right back could come under threat. The signs are good where this lad is concerned- very good.

As was the case against Newcastle last week, it was in the second half when the boys really picked up the pace and the breakthrough didn't take too long to arrive. There were some that suggested that Michael Oakes never made contact with Henry - Hoddle certainly wasn't too pleased with the decision that's for sure- well, what a load of nonsense. In fact, Bjorklund, the Wolves centre back, was seriously lucky not to have been penalised for garrotting Jose Antonio Reyes seconds before that.

As is the custom whenever Henry wins a penalty, he stepped aside from his usual penalty taking duties and with Pires on the bench it was left to Paddy to step up to take the kick which he did impressively with a minimum amount of fuss.

Having finally broken the deadlock we then threatened to cut loose on Wolves but the second time in the space of a week, we were suddenly confronted with a goalie that was nothing short of inspired. Did I say last week that Shay Given put on the best goalkeeping display that I had seen against us in over a year? After seeing the highlights of Michael Oakes exploits I was very close to taking it all back.

All of the saves he made (and there were plenty) were outstanding but the double save from Van Persie and then Ljungberg from point blank range was the best for me. And, as chance after chance went begging I remember thinking whilst listening to the game on the radio that it was going to turn into one of those oh so familiar days.

Thankfully Henry and late sub Pires had other ideas as they combined sweetly to set up Freddie who crashed the ball high into the net beyond the reach of the redoubtable Oakes with eight minutes to go and the job was finally done.

I was very pleased with what I saw. The flow that Arsene had talked about in the papers on the eve of the game is starting to come back and there's little doubt in my mind that when we are really on it we are still the best in this country no what others may say. This now leads me nicely on to Tuesday night.

For weeks and weeks there have been two key dates uppermost in my mind for different reasons - January 31st and February 1st.

One heralds the closing day of the transfer window of course and the other heralds the arrival of ManUre to Highbury.

Now, at the time of writing this it would appear that Arsene has waived the right, voluntarily or not, to make any moves in the transfer market. And, almost as a direct consequence of our inactivity not to mention Kolo getting himself suspended and Senderos getting himself injured, it means that come Tuesday night we will have to rely on Pascal Cygan to hold the fort at the back with Campbell - which, to put it mildly, is far from ideal.

Still, I want to talk a little about the man who is the most important especially where this game is concerned - the boss. Talk about a guy that can't win. Without wanting to go over too much old ground, when he came out a couple of weeks ago and actually gave response to the latest whisky fuelled rant of Old Purple Nose, he was widely considered to be rattled. Then when he came out and said that he would not make anymore references to him, he was still considered as being rattled.

Still, as he probably well knows by now, the fact is neither he nor anyone else connected with Arsenal Football Club are allowed to have their cake and eat it where the press and the media are concerned - unlike both that lot from Old Trafford and within the Phoney Russian Franchise.

So, whilst I am a little disappointed that he hasn't made any significant moves to strengthen the squad I think it's also right at this point to remind all of you out there (as well as myself) once again that the aforementioned "rivals" have managed to blow well over £400 million between them since the summer of 2001 whilst Wenger has spent £35 million. Yet, in spite of all the media backbiting and the relative lack of funds at his disposal, Wenger has still managed to be the most successful coach in the Premiership in that time.

What's more, even if we fail to retain the title but manage to win one of the other major competitions (excluding the Worthless Cup) we still would have won more major trophies than those two put together in the last four seasons. In other words, I still believe that Arsene knows - any Arsenal fans arguing?

As I said however I have been looking forward to this Tuesday coming round and I honestly don't give a damn about how things stand in the Premiership right now. I don't care how many followers of the Phoney Russian Franchise will be looking in on this or not, I don't care whether this game is perceived to be a shoot out for second place or the right to challenge the current leaders for first place and I don't bloody care whether this game is an advert for the Premiership or not. No, this game is about one thing and one thing only for me and that is REVENGE- nothing more, nothing less.

I don't even care how we get it as long as we do and given what happened to us at Old Trafford, the more controversial it is, the better. Two wrongs may not make a right but then, as the old saying goes, what's right for the goose is right for the gander. Let's really see how Old Purple Nose and his mob would like it.

Nobody is going to tell me that we have bigger rivals than this lot in this country. In London, only the Tiny Totts come close in my book that's for sure. Old Purple Nose may have been all smiles when the Phoney Russian Francise beat them last Wednesday but there's still no better sight for me in football than to see that bastard fuming with a face on him that happens carry all the texture of corn beef.

If I end up seeing that on Tuesday night it will suit me just fine.