Saturday, May 21, 2005

I've been mugged :-(

Or more specifically my team, Man United have been. Manchester dominated the whole of the FA Cup final but were beaten by a lackluster Arsenal after a penalty shoot out. Despite Arsenal's dismal display during normal play, I don't blame them for beating us in what amounts to a lottery. They don't make the rules. But their fans must consider themselves very fortunate.

As for the United team, there was one very obvious fault. Despite making all the play and taking the game to Arsenal, they failed to score. And that is why it came down to penalties in the end. Having said that, they can hold their heads high. Ferguson's tactics were clearly better than Wengers. The pincer movement of Rooney and Ronaldo on the wings resulted in a steady stream of chances. Arsenal were obviously missing Henry but they barely got a shot on target which was astounding for such a quality side. Leyman was forced to make several crutial saves and we had a shot hit the post and a goal disallowed (validly, it was off side).

Basically United played them off the park. John, one of my Gooner mates texted "Is there only one team in the final or did Arsenal turn up as well" with about 10 minutes of normal time remaining. I really would have preferred it if Arsenal had scored to win rather than it come down to penalties, partly because if they had scored the striker would be the hero, but as it is Paul Scoles will have to live with the responsibility of losing the game for United. And that just isn't fair.

All I can say positively about the Arsenal performance is that after much criticism this season Jens Leyman had a huge game, kept them in it and then saved the penalty to allow them to nick it at the end. So a begrudging congratulation to Arsenal. I'm gutted.


Darren said...

It was a far from great performance from Arsenal, but I think dismal is a bit strong. The Arse had the better of the opening 15 minutes and were a lot stronger after their substitutions. They were rather hampered by the fact that they weren't allowed to get within 3 feet of Ronaldo without conceding a free kick, regardless of whether contact had been made or not. The greasy young shitbag had worked out fairly early on that if he fell over, he was awarded a free kick... and he used this tactic on a regular basis. They said the ref had a good game, yet he failed to deal with the boy-wonder's constant diving. And he awarded ManYoo a corner that clearly bounced off Ronaldo (the beauty of Sky Plus... rewind and confirm). ManYoo's disallowed goal came after a throw-in that should have been awarded to Arsenal but was given the other way.

Any sympathy I might have had for ManYoo disappeared after Ferguson's "Vieira should have been sent off" diatribe took sour grapes to a new level. "Patrick seems to have an immunity to these kind of things so I'm not surprised" - who's he trying to kid... Vieira immune to being sent off? What planet does the red-faced gum-chewer live on? Rooney is equally immune to being sent off then... I'm no lip-reader but I understood the words "f**k off" directed at the ref who did nothing.

Tony C said...

As neither a Arsenal or Man Utd fan it was not a result that reflected the game. I don't buy the 'Ronaldo excuse' from Daz, sorry fella Arsenal were outplayed for most of the game.

An undeserved victory then but I do buy the 'sour grapes' Ferguson quip. When will the man learn he just looks like the bad loser he always is, but I suppose he had to put on a good show for the new boss.

Darren said...

No debate ManYoo played better, but Arsenal had the most possession (55.5% versus 44.5%) and the better territorial advantage (52.5% versus 47.5%). So the idea that "Arsenal were outplayed for most of the game" was in fact an optical illusion. ManYoo made their possession count more (up to a point) as they had 20 shots on goal compared to Arsenal's 5.

I do buy the Ronaldo excuse. The bloke falls over more often than Oliver Reed on a pub crawl wearing roller skates. He falls over if someone coughs 20 feet away. People say Robert Pires has a reputation for diving, but he has nothing on Ronaldo. Arsenal made 105 tackles but with only a success rate of 38.1%. Why? Because Ronaldo would fall over and get a free kick.

Mr Ports said...

Oh come on! Ronaldo was getting past Lauren for the whole of the game. He beat him virtually every time. Later on Lauren got frustrated and lazy and started taking Ronaldo out. The Ref even warned him about it. But he continued and so got a yellow card.

And you're right - Rooney did express his displeasure to the ref after he was adjudged to have made a foul that the replay shows he didn't.

Darren said...

Lauren was hesistant to put in the tackles as he knew that Ronaldo would fall over and ManYoo would get a free kick. I've been very clear on that.

Isn't this fun? ;o)

Tony C said...

Maybe Sir Alex and Daz aren't so different after all... :o)

Darren said...

Okay, okay. ManYoo were the better team on the day, and you have as much right to feel robbed as I did when Liverpool nicked a couple of late goals a few years ago. Ronaldo gave the Arsenal defence all sorts of problems, as did Rooney. Lauren didn't really know how to cope with him. Arsenal were fortunate. There, I've said it.

Mr Ports said...

OK - in this spirit of openness I agree that sometimes Sir Alex should shut up. Like many other Man Utd supporters, I would prefer dignified silence rather than ill considered criticisms on the spur of the moment. The man is a legend and his successes on the field are beyond argument over the years. And yet he doesn't get the recognition he deserves because he undermines himself with these snidey disingenuous comments.