ESPNSoccernet: Title in the bag
Telegraph: Carlos Tevez seemingly waved goodbye to Old Trafford as Manchester United claimed their 18th league title with an uneventful 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.
Man of the Match
This is a tough one because all the players played so well. I was so proud of the way the team played and it was a a bit of a consolation to see the looks on the Man U fans faces as they prayed for a 0-0 draw.
That said, some of the guys were just exceptional. Song as a center back was a particularly bright spot and it speaks volumes of how far the player has come that he looks more assured in defence than some of the more geriatric players. Cesc too looked far better in his more traditional reserved role, paired with Denilson. Denilson too sort of reprised his role from the start of the season — where his bright play had people saying that maybe Arsenal didn’t need a partner for Cesc.
Only one guy can win MotM, and for me (and Setanta!), it was Andrei Arshavin. His crosses, passing, vision, touch, and dribbling were all top class. Arsenal had 4 shots on goal and most of those came from Arshavin threatening Man U’s defense and picking out an Arsenal player or taking on Man U for a shot himself.
I can’t wait to see him fully fit, with a pre-season of practice, playing with a full compliment of world class strikers like Eduardo and van Persie. If these 6 months have shown us anything it’s that the Arsenal attack will be crazy potent with the diminutive Russian pulling the strings up front.
I loved that one at a time the Arsenal players took turns kicking Evra. I didn’t write about it at the time, but after the loss to United in the Champions League Evra was quoted calling Arsenal “babies.” Like I’ve said before, people who are hyper competitive don’t stand for that kind of stuff and it was good to see some of Arsenal’s players kick him a little. Nothing too dirty, this wasn’t a Joey Barton assault, just little nips here and there.
As I’ve said already, though it can’t be said enough, I was dead proud of the way that team played today. They bossed the champions around, moving the ball nearly at will, defending strong, and taking the game to United… on their home ground… with nothing to play for but pride.
After, the boss put it like this
I believe we played with a lot of heart and desire. When we played in the Champions League I think we were inhibited a bit by the occasion – it was too big perhaps – and in the second leg we had no chance to play the game. Today we showed we have the quality. We played a lot of authority on the pitch.
I would agree, and just add that with a touch more quality Arsenal would have won that match. But think about it… Arsenal took 4 points off Man U this season. Who else can say that?
Referee Mike Dean was a disgrace, handing Arsenal 5 yellows for ticky-tack fouls and giving none to United when they committed the same. It was a typical performance from a referee who is scared to make calls against United.
The only thing that prevented his performance from dropping into The Ugly was that he never had the opportunity to award United the penalty he so clearly wanted to give them.
Well, it’s never nice to have to watch your opponent celebrate winning silverware. I hope the image of that burns into each and every Arsenal player’s mind and they come out next year hungrier than ever.
T-minus 1 match before the flurry of reports linking us to so-and-so start flying around. I can’t wait. [eye roll]
See you tomorrow.