USMNT Sr. Man United Plays At Arsenal

It is absolutely 100% conceivable to argue that the best football on your television this weekend is soccer. Manchester United versus Arsenal. Ghana vs. Egypt in the Cup of Nations. No college and the gimmick that is the NFL Pro Bowl…no argument.

Diaby: "I'll make up for that little snafu this time....promise..."

For those that remember the preamble to this Sunday’s match, it ended with Arsene Wenger walking into the stands like a petulent child–and probably rightfully so–after he was thrown out by the referee for a somewhat dubious reason…was it kicking a water bottle I believe.

In the front end of the series, Arsenal outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford with Andrei Arshavin dialing up a killer strike to put Arsenal ahead one-nil. You just can’t call it a mere goal it was a strike.

Wayne Rooney then created a penalty kick on a questionably legal tackle by Manuel Almunia in the box. 1-1.

Abou Diaby decided to play the ball into his own net (2-1 Devils) and finally Robin Van Persie netted the equalizer only to see it called back for offsides (and rightfully so.)

A quality contest. At the time of writing this, Man U stand one point from the top of table, Arsenal at just two. Wow!

This Sunday, the game will be at the Emirates. Wenger’s squad comes in still attempting to deal with the loss of Van Persie and Bendtner up front; Sir Alex’s squad comes in with a gathering chorus of fans and pundits questioning if the Red Devils rely too much on Mr. Wayne Rooney.

So what’s with the USMNT reference above? (I expect to get heat for this one as somewhat of a leap.)

Take a look at Sir Alex’s squad.

Quality goalkeeper in Van Der Sar? Check

Mr. United and all class....

Injuries along the backline? Affirmative

Inability to move the ball effectively and create offense through the center of the pitch? Yup.

That inability to move the ball up the middle the result of two primarily defensive midfielders who are aggressive and borderline reckless tacklers (I’m speaking about you. Sir Darren Fletcher)? Again, yes.

A player of the same ilk (and once of much better quality) than Landon Donovan on the left? Giggs, circa early 2000’s, untouchable.

A completely dominant top 5 global player who is on a scoring tear striking up top?…..oops! Can’t help you there.

Beyond the Rooney contract, you’re looking at a very similar set of strategy and tactics executed by better player at Manchester United.

So when watching the game today….and isn’t it pretty cool that some will be watching in 3D, take a look at how Manchester United uses, abuses, or gets abused on the wings against Wenger’s 4-3-3….because the US is going to see a lot of the 3-front offense against England come June 12th with Rooney, Defoe, and either Gerrard or Lennon pending which side the ball is on.

And let’s all hope potential EPL defender of the year Thomas Vermaelen is in there insteal of Statue Campbell.

Read more on Arsenal at quality blog, Arseblog

I’m not up on Manchester United blog, but I found this one interesting.

58 responses to this post.

  1. For anyone who hasn’t heard, Eddie Johnson netted once for Aris today.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 8:33 AM

      The great enigma….thanks Oliver…gosh all we need is for EJ to get a consistent run of games and goals.

      It’s so tough to consider him for the side when he’s got a flash here and there…and then disappears.

      Right now, in our minds, pecking order is still: Findley, Cunningham, EJ….but can easily change.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/31 at 8:34 AM

      Thanks for the heads-up. Here is the video:


      • Mark – Thanks for posting the video.

        Matt – In my mind EJ would have to have a truly fantastic scoring record to be considered for the WC. That said, Bradley has made some interesting decisions before and I wouldn’t put it past him to select Eddie.


  2. Posted by redyank on 2010/01/31 at 8:45 AM

    I can see where you are coming from with your comparison even if it is a bit of a stretch. Hopefully Altidore can really come into his own leading up to June and close down that last point. We have seen flashes of what he is capable of. He does lead the Tigers in assists with 5, just needs to find the back of the goal.
    And one final note, please refrain from the use of the term ‘ManU’, it is a derisive term used by opponents (originally as a taunt regarding the Munich air disaster…) Other than that, good quality blog. Keep up the good fight at spreading the real football in the final frontier!


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 9:36 AM

      In all of my years I have never heard that ManU was in reference to what happened in 1958. if you were complaining about being called ManUre, then I’d agree…


      • George, he’s referring to the the song rivals sung waaaaaay back.

        “Man U Man U went on a plane Man U Man U never came back again”

        On the whole, it is not an offensive term at all. Many, many people refer to them as “Man U” today and there is absolutely no negative intent. Maybe the fans of the club don’t refer to it as such, but who cares? That doesn’t make it offensive. Just being overly sensitive.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 9:45 AM

        The term Man U was *used* in a sick / vile song by Leeds Utd fans.


        • Right. But that was a long time ago. I believe the first to use it were West Brom supporter, who came up with this disgusting song..

          “Duncan Edwards is manure, rotting in his grave, man you are manure- rotting in your grave”.

          For those that don’t know, Edwards died from injuries sustained in the plane crash in 1958.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 9:38 AM

      Oh wow…thanks for the info on Man U…is there an article or somewhere where I can review that sentiment?


      Jozy simply ate Stephen Ward fro breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday…he did the same thing to Vidic…yes Vidic one month ago…

      If he can get it together like that and force help defense to drift over….well that’s a good thing…


      • Posted by redyank on 2010/01/31 at 1:36 PM

        Look, I know that Man U was not intended in this post as an insult. I am also not being overly sensitive… I realize that it is not widely known how nasty this insult toward United was so I thought I’d do what any good supporter of any team should do: help educate others about what, IMHO is the best club in the world. You may disagree, but c’est la vie!

        There is actually quite a bit of info floating around out there about this subject. One of the most concise that I have seen is here:
        No harm, no foul… just letting you know.

        Yes, I did see Jozy doing his thing yesterday and hope to see more of the same as we move closer to SA!


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 1:50 PM

          Matthew, author of The Shin Guardian here….

          No, that’s okay….all information data, and research is welcome here.

          I and this community appreciates the education.

          I’m not sure I agree however how derrogatory it is. Bleacher Report is web site merely by fans that are assigned things to write on…so I’m kind of discounting that report…

          That being said, it probably has some negative conotations, but I think the universality of the moniker probably outweighs though in my mind.

          We participate on some Man United boards…let me pose the question.


        • Posted by redyank on 2010/01/31 at 2:02 PM

          It is apparently offensive enough that the official Man Utd. message board filter automatically changes “Man U” to “Man Utd” I wasn’t around during the Busby Babe era and I live in football starved Upstate NY, so my knowledge is not intimate and first hand, only what i have managed to learn through the interweb and books. According the the board moderator for the Republik of Mancunia site, many younger supporters are not even aware of the usage but it tends to make older supporters’ blood boil.

          I didn’t come here to start an argument; you happened to post about 2 of my favorite things: USMNT & United so you caught my ADHD fancy! I will drop the subject now…


  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 9:48 AM

    If you do a search for “Michael Carrick mishits it way wide” on The Shin Guardian, you’ll result in 1,073 references….


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 9:53 AM

    Surpised that United are able to pick some passes through the middle in Arsenal’s last third.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 9:55 AM

      Vermaelen is hurting and in my opinion Clichy has seriously been robbed of a step by injuries.

      Love Song for Arsenal…consistent good cover.

      Nani (today) is exactly what Man United needs…someone to threaten 1-on-1 to stop the defender party hovering around Wayne Rooney.


      • If Arshavin had his finishing boots on today, Arsenal would’ve been up 2-0 before 20 minutes were up.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:05 AM

          Oliver – but they weren’t ‘clear cut’ chances. You’d expect him to at least hit the target / force the keeper into a save.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:03 AM

        What a break by United – started and finished by that man, Rooney. Did you see how much ground he covered and the acceleration to be in position (to score)? Great strike too.


  5. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 10:02 AM


    Did anyone see that replay on the 2nd goal…..Rooney throws the pass outside and then hustles up the middles of the pitch beating 3 Arsenal defenders to receive the lead pass.

    You watching Rico…Jay DeMerit…more on those two in a bit.


  6. Gallas forgot that once you make a run forward, if your team loses possession, you have to run back…


  7. Posted by kaya on 2010/01/31 at 10:15 AM

    Man U is offensive? ManUre, yes, Man Yoo, sorta.
    I think the fanbois are just pandering for extra syllables.


    • Posted by redyank on 2010/01/31 at 1:38 PM

      No fanboi here. Just a fellow USMNT supporter who happens to be a United supporter as well. Peep the link in my other comment for more information.


  8. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:18 AM

    They were not out numbered at the back. Nobody picked up Rooney’s run. But give credit to the offensive.

    I think United edged the 1st half, but 0-2 flatters them a little – first goal, Almunia was really unlucky. However, for all of Arsenal’s neat passing, little slick triangles, they really haven’t got behind United and I do not remember VdS making one save…


  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:20 AM

    A simple bit of “3rd man running” undid Arsenal. And Park had two players over to square to if he wanted to pass… good finish.


  10. Posted by kaya on 2010/01/31 at 10:20 AM

    Asenal’s defense is at least 3 steps behind Manchester’s. They hustle on and off the ball and Arsenal look like they don’t know where their passing pixie dust went.
    Nice chip by Nani. But all 3 were wtf defense on Arsenal.


  11. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 10:21 AM

    Theo Walcott introduced for Denilson to save face at home…can we refer to Walcott now as Lennon Jr. or other way around….


  12. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:26 AM

    When you’re 2-0 down, at home, in a top-of-the-table clash, then you’re going to have to go for it a little offensively – and run the risk of being exposed defensively. I fully expect United to keep their shape, and shut up shop – just look at the number of black shirts behind the ball – counter attacking when possible.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/01/31 at 10:39 AM

      That’s the way the play when it’s 0-0, 2-0 and 0-2, so yes, I expect they’ll keep large keep numbers behind the ball!


  13. Arsenal can’t expect to win a match against a top team with a 5’5″ Russian leading the line. Bendtner should have started and they desperately miss Van Persie.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:38 AM

      And the fact that United have easily coped with a 2nd choice centre back pairing of Evans and Brown says it all.


      • Exactly. Arshavin needed a big body up top to compliment and maybe they would’ve converted one of the many chances that they had before Man United got their first.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 10:55 AM

          I think they need to convert their pressure into chances. There have been too many balls which has been slightly under or over hit causing the person to either check their run or go a little wider losing vital momentum, and enabling United to reset.


  14. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 10:44 AM

    What was Almunia thinking,,,,with that haircut it looks like he and Arshavin were out late clubbing again…


  15. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 11:02 AM

    Cannot believe United have taken 6 points from Arsenal this season. And cannot see Chelsea dropping points at home next week either…


  16. Posted by Dylan on 2010/01/31 at 11:31 AM

    How does the Lennon injury affect the england team? And how does it affect our game with them this summer?


  17. Posted by KL on 2010/01/31 at 11:53 AM

    Good question.

    There are two ways to look at it. A) It’s great that he is missing time cause he’ll have very little chance to get back in form before the world cup or B) This is terrible cause he’ll be well rested and able to make deadly runs as always.

    I tend to lean toward the latter of the two. What do you guys think?


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 2:38 PM

      It’s a groin strain, so as long as he doesn’t attempt to come back too early, he’ll be fine for the World Cup. We also have Theo Walcott gradually getting more minutes under his belt. Either way, one of these flying wingers will be running full pelt at Bocanegra… That thought has me rubbing my hands with glee!


  18. Freddy ‘n Eddie…the new dominant force in Greece!!! :P lol…i wish, but still, just seeing them on a field is quite relieving…


  19. Posted by Joe on 2010/01/31 at 12:29 PM

    Arshavin failed miserably today. Disgusting. Yes, Rico and Jay better watch that 2nd goal replay because Rooney said excuse me and they moved. horrible d.


  20. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 1:55 PM

    Follow-up on the name “Man U” — we asked the good fans at the official Manchester United fan boards to chime in….

    Hope to have feedback soon….


  21. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 2:48 PM

    Here’s where the questions of depth come in….not in the game against Honduras.

    We only notice Cherundolo’s injury because there isn’t a stand-in waiting in the wings…..

    A four week injury…to the shoulder…not worried yet…seems a surmountable knock.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/31 at 4:13 PM

      Matthew, are you discounting Spector or just not remembering him? I don’t think Cherundolo is even a lock to start. Am I missing something?


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 4:16 PM

        Spector is easily there….what I’m saying is that there is spot at rightback to invite someone else….

        Boca and Specs or Specs and maybe Cherundolo go game 1 against 3 cats


        • Posted by Mark T on 2010/01/31 at 4:24 PM

          Got it. In the incredibly unlikely event ‘dolo doesn’t go, you were suggesting that there is really no second choice RB behind Spector.

          No Wynne!?!


  22. Posted by Hampy on 2010/01/31 at 3:01 PM

    hey guys, to answer your question on Talking Reds, although I answered it there but I guess you wont bother to check back:

    Why we NEVER use Man .U.

    Man .U. is not a term United fans refer to themselves as. The term is only used by other supporters as a complete and utter insult to our club. The “U” is meant to be “you” by the rival fans.

    An early example of its usage is this chant by West Brom fans: “Duncan Edwards is manure, rotting in his grave, man you are manure- rotting in your grave”. The origin of “Man .U.” is a song to insult the dead Duncan Edwards.

    Liverpool and Leeds fans copied this with their own man you /u versions to insult all of the lads who died at munich.

    “Man .U. Man .U. went on a plane Man .U. Man .U. never came back again”


    “Man .U. Never Intended Coming Home” (if you combine the first letter of each word you get the word “munich”).

    I hope this makes it clearer that saying Man .U. is an insult, particularly to the older supporters and to see United fans using it now is shameful. I hope a few might read this, understand and spread the word.

    So please refrain from using this term ever again.

    on a 2nd note: emm just skimmed abit over your latest post on The Shin Guardian. If I am not mistaken England uses 4-4-2 system not 4-3-3 under Fabio Capello. And Arsenal kinda played without real strikers today (injuries).

    P.S. see you in South Africa, I’m from Slovenia, expect a really good match from our boys btw! :)


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 3:52 PM

      Er Hampy, England generally play a 4-2-3-1 under Capello.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 4:00 PM

        I cordially invite both of you–if you like–to work on a column with me that is all about the Three Lions…


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/31 at 5:31 PM

          I am in.

          Disclaimer: I wear St. George Cross tinted glasses! Seriously, I’d love to have some input and share my (honest and hopefully unbiased ) thoughts.


  23. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 3:09 PM

    Hey — thanks for taking the time to come over and post — appreciate the insight….

    On the “2nd note”….a 4-3-3 might have been in the comment section somewhere, but check out this piece where we refer to the 4-4-2 and the challenges against playing against the team we spanked in the American Revolution…kidding…


    • Posted by Bob on 2010/01/31 at 6:11 PM

      Spanked?! Remember, if France did not side with us, we would still be under English rule. Hey, unless you know something we don’t. Is Henry, Benzema, and Anelka pulling a 1781 counterattack on Yorktown and joining the USMNT? Awesome! B/c we need ’em!!

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist. LOL


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 6:23 PM

        Nah…good stuff….good stuff….

        Thoughts on the match-up….check out our piece tomorrow morning by the way…


  24. Posted by Hampy on 2010/01/31 at 3:10 PM

    Oh and if you’d allow me to spam abit more here.
    Just found GREAT article on tactics used in today’s game here:


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/31 at 3:12 PM

      No worries…we hate spam…but for those that contribute positively to the knowledge and analysis in the community are generally allowed to post everything but nude pictures of Wayne Brid…….


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