Talking Balls: Manchester United Are Tough Nuts, Arsenal And Softies And Spurs Have World-Class Strikers
MANCHESTER United beat Arsenal 1-0 in a close game at Old Trafford. Arsenal looked tired. The spirited Red Devils took their chance – and should write a thank you letter to the Gunners’ hapless Nicholas Bendtner. Still, Arsenal remain top of the league by two clear points. As Matt Dickinson writes in the Times:
Arsenal need him back healthy as they face back-to-back tests against Chelsea and Manchester City next month. They took two points out of a possible 18 in matches against the top four last season.
Defeat yesterday continued that troubling run, yet no one was reading too much into it, even if Wenger himself had called it a “benchmark” game. We have learnt not to assume anything, even more so after a weekend when United leapfrogged Manchester City, who are most people’s title favourites. That was last week.
Indeed. The Gunners remain the team to beat as they sit top of the Premier League.
Only a fool would write them off – this the team that won in Dortmund and made second place Liverpool look very ordinary in the previous seven week. Paul Hayward writes:
No team who win at Borussia Dortmund and lead the Premier League by two points at the end of Remembrance Sunday can be placed in a coconut shy for losing to a majestic Robin van Persie header at Manchester United. To dismiss the Arsenal revival after such an explainable setback would be intellectual vandalism.
Only a fool would write them off. So. Here’s the Sun’s Steve Howard:
We saw the 2014 champions at Old Trafford yesterday – and it wasn’t Arsenal
Arsene Wenger’s side, with £42.5million Mesut Ozil as the glittering jewel in the crown, had arrived in Manchester as the toast of metropolitan London’s luvvies and literati alike. The hardbitten locals, though, must have wondered what all the fuss was about after United’s sixth successive win over these soft touches from the South. Just as reports of Mark Twain’s death were exaggerated, so too were tales drifting up the M6 of how Wenger had built another super-team.
Howard would be shocked to learn that many of the luvvies support Man United. Many of them live in London. And – whisper it – the North is not full of hardcases. Old Trafford is testament to the macho prawn sandwich.
And, then, there’s Neil Ashton telling Daily Mail readers that Arsenal’s Giroud, Walcott and Podolski are not that good. But they are. They are pretty darn good.
“You can barely move for world-class strikers at the top of the Barclays Premier League. They are everywhere – just not in the shirt of Arsenal.”
“Liverpool are relying on the SAS partnership to take them into the Champions League and beyond under Brendan Rodgers. Then there is Manchester City, where Sergio Aguero is rated the best of the lot by Sportsmail columnist Jamie Carragher. Chelsea signed Champions League winner Samuel Eto’o, and Tottenham are waiting on Spain striker Roberto Soldado to really get going. On Sunday, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney rumbled Arsenal’s title challenge.”
Soldado? Eto’o? Giroud has more goals that both of them combined.
The Premier League is a marathon, so we’re told, but to the tabloids hacks it’s a week’s sprint to the finish line.