Well can’t say that I was surprised. Arsenal backline was not good and Ronaldo did exploit their lack of understanding and ability. United were great on the counter attack and the pitch was heavier so Arsenal didn’t really get going with their slick passing. I predicted 2-2 and it should have been 4-0. Either way, United is through and its a shame that Fletcher got a red card that wasn’t for a penalty that wasn’t. I don’t know that he would start against Chelsea and probably wouldn’t have done so against Barca either as I believe Giggs and Berbatov would be on for Fletcher and Park from this lineup. Key question is whether Scholes or Anderson starts in the final. However, Fletcher would have been first sub should United have a lead going into the last 25 minutes for either Giggs or Scholes. But that’s for another time.
The things that jumped out to me:
Arsenal managed one real shot on goal in the first leg and had a weak Fabregas header the first half and a straightforward van Persie blast in the second half to show for offense (apart from the non penalty). That is unbelievable. Adebayor didn’t have a real shot on goal! United’s defense is good but that’s not down to the defense.
It was a waste to start van Persie. He was obviously not fit enough. I would have started Bendtner and pounded United with high balls to get an early goal. It’s tough to guard Adebayor when Bendtner is in there. It’s hindsight, but Arsene should have started Eboue instead of Nasri initially to give more cover for Song and Gibbs down the left.
That was about as dominant a two legged semifinal performance over a quality team that I have seen.
Arsene has a problem next season trying to accommodate Fabregas, Nasri and Arshavin. This might be the time to cash in on Cesc. Let Arshavin play his spot. Wilshere will be ready to take over in three years anyway, just when Arshavin is done. If you keep all three, Wilshere’s opportunities to progress faster diminish. Use the money to buy a couple of center backs and a holding midfielder. They will have Eduardo back next season and then the four strikers they have are good enough.
Ronaldo is easily the best player in the world for all the hype about Messi being a genius and the player of a generation. Ronaldo showed that he can be an incredibly effective striker today. The man is two footed, has a rocket of a right foot, takes penalties and free kicks, is lightning quick with great feet, scores in the big games, rarely misses games from injury (the operation this season notwithstanding) and is great in the air. Till Messi shows me he can smoke a left back who is quick and experienced, he’s not the best in the world for me (more on that in my next post).