This was a great win for United. Lucky, very lucky but a great win, and the luck has been overdue this season. Arsenal can (and knowing them, will) moan endlessly about the referee, Mike Dean, missing Marouane Fellaini’s push on Kieran Gibbs. This in turn led to United’s first goal, and then to Wojciech Szczesny’s rib injury. They will, like Match of the Day, conveniently ignore Jack Wilshere sticking his beak into Fellaini in the 30th minute. This was twelve minutes after Wilshere had sniffed at a chance of putting the home side in front when one-on-one with David de Gea.
United fans celebrating outside the stadium after the match
The longer Arsenal went without scoring, the more the anxiety rose within their team and supporters. United, with an inexperienced and makeshift defence, were in a state of siege in the first half. David de Gea was again outstanding. When United went in front with a Kieran Gibbs own goal in the 56th minute, the home side and fans visibly lost heart. The goal, which came from an Antonio Valencia ball which he just clobbered across the Arsenal box, was as comical in much the same way that Manchester City used to concede daft goals. Valencia’s delivery, (it would be too generous to call it a cross or a shot), was so far off beam that for a split second, I believed that Danny Welbeck was back in a United shirt. The goal, which went in off Gibb’s shin could be described as a smash and grab, but that doesn’t give it due credit. I don’t believe I have ever seen a side play 56 minutes of a match and go a goal in front without having a single shot on target all game.
Not one shot on target and winning. Unbelievable. #AFCvMUFC
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 22, 2014
With Arsenal frantically chasing the match, United got a break in the 85th minute reminiscent of the way Cristiano Ronaldo used to terrorise the Gunners. Fellaini fed the ball to di Maria, who in turn slid it past Nacho Monreal to leave Wayne Rooney a lone forty yard run at Damian Martinez. The Scouser made no mistake as he lifted the ball past the Argentine keeper. Rooney returned the favour to di Maria in the fourth minute of injury time to leave him one-on-one with his compatriot in the Arsenal goal. Di Maria tried being too clever and dinked the ball wide when he should have put United 3-0 in front. A minute later, Olivier Giroud scored a belter on a half volley from a Mikel Arteta ball to beat de Gea on his near post.
It’s like the Rumble in the jungle this, if Foreman knocked himself out. — Bill Rice (@billrice23) November 22, 2014
Getting home, I watched a re-run of the match on SKY. Hearing Martin Tyler’s commentary when United scored was like listening to a news reporter describing a funeral. He was gutted. It was a beautiful sound.
— Matt (@matt_4d) November 22, 2014
The equine division of the Red Army in the World’s End in Camden Before the match, some of you may have been worried about the injuries to United players during this excuse of an international break. We shouldn’t worry though as on Tuesday, Ed Woodward had some good news for us. Daley Blind might be out for six months with a knee injury, but you’ll be delighted to know that since the Dutch midfielder joined United, his Twitter followers have gone up by 72%.
Which lead to this belter from Daniel Harris:
We all follow Daley’s Twitter, he is living out our dream. And we’ll really shake em up, when his blue tick wins a cup, coz Utd are… — Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) November 18, 2014
Other great news to come from Woodward is that Angel di Maria and and Radamel Falcao have seen a massive increase in Google searches for their name (as shown below):
This made me feel a hell of a lot better when I saw the ‘tackle’ on di Maria from Nani when…(sentence could not be completed due to medical intervention)
United went into this match with a crippling injury list. Daley Blind, Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo, Rafael da Silva were amongst a catalogue of names unavailable. The feeling amongst Reds was almost unanimous before the game – a draw would be a decent result against an Arsenal side that hadn’t lost at home in the Premier League since August last year. This was a fantastic result for a United team that haven’t won an away match since beating Newcastle United 4-0 at St James Park last April. The win was ground out through the brilliance of De Gea and the resilience of half a side that were playing out of their natural position.
Graham Souness: ‘Danny Welbeck will be licking his lips looking at the young United back 3 that he will know inside out’
— UberArsenal™ (@UberAFC) November 22, 2014
Ashley Young replaced Luke Shaw in the 16th minute with United’s back to the wall against a rampant Arsenal attack. He was brilliant. Fellaini also had an excellent game. He imposed himself and was the nuisance of a player that he was at Everton. Arsenal didn’t know how to deal with him. Both Fellaini and Young have had their fair share of criticism in the red shirt so it’s only right to say how well they did at Arsenal.
To my amazement, I’ve seen and heard some of my Red brethren moaning about the performance. A 2-1 win against Arsenal away from home with half the friggin’ team injured? No pleasing some people. Whatever happens on the pitch though, you can’t beat life as a travelling Red.