Advantage Manchester United

First leg and advantage to Manchester United.

1-0 is not a bad scoreline if you consider that Man United scored after only 17 minutes. For the first 20 minutes Arsenal were blitzed. I thought immediately after Man United had scored that Arsenal might get drubbed 3 or 4 nil. I told the bloke sitting next to me that if Arsenal could survive not conceding another goal before half-time then they would be okay.

Some Arsenal players seemed overawed by the occasion. They simply froze.

Old Trafford.

76,000 fans, 72,000 of which are the enemy.

Champions League semi-final.

Man United players were like baying dogs going for the kill, but once they scored they calmed down and took their foot off the gas.

Bad move.

The tie should have been won at half-time. Arsenal were there for the taking.

The second half Arsenal played more composed football. There were times when we dominated possession, but when it comes to procreating, what’s the point of being good at foreplay if you can’t penetrate?

At the end Arsenal nearly nicked a goal and Man United players were happy for the whistle to blow. A good sign for the future in my opinion.

Here are some observations:

Arsenal look and play better with two strikers. Arsenal looked threatening with Bendtner and Eduardo playing. United looked concerned;

Rooney did a job on Walcott;

United play better with Tevez;

Almunia is a top quality keeper. You can now forget about his performance at Stoke;

Song was immense. Apart from a couple of bad passes he did a lot of things right: tackled well, won headers, broke up United attacks and started Arsenal attacks.

Wenger is right when he says that you will see a different Arsenal at The Emirates. Arsenal were poor partly because Man United were very good.

With the scoreline at 1-0 many might say that Arsenal are out. They should be out but they are no way near out. True, if United score first at the Emirates then I would say they are through to the final in Rome.

However, there are some previous games that suggest all is not lost.

Back in February, Arsenal blitzed Roma but only won 1-0. The return leg was different. Arsenal played poorly and lost 1-0.

In 1980, Arsenal played Juventus in the Cup Winners Cup semi-final. They drew the first leg at Highbury 1-1. Pundits said that Arsenal were out because the Italians had the away goal. Arsenal won the return leg 1-0.

In the 1995 Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Sampdoria, Arsenal won the first leg 3-2. Again, the pundits said Arsenal were out because the Italians had two away goals. In the second leg, Sampdoria went ahead 3-1 scoring two goals in last eight minutes, only for Stephan Schwarz to score a 30 yard free-kick in injury time and send the game into extra-time. Seaman, with two cracked ribs, saved three penalties in the shoot-out and Arsenal went on to the final.

On both occasions Arsenal played a Spanish team in the final.

I would love to play Barcelona again in a final.

The Manchester United game is far from over even though it should be.

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