For Arsenal, it was a routine enough win, in the end, against Wigan on Saturday. 4-0 is a handsome scoreline but there was still a lot of the trademark panicky defending, especially with the score at 1-0. I guess though if we continue scoring bagloads at the other end, it won't matter... sorry, that's stupid, we all know we won't score four every week...
But all I can talk about now is this week, this week we could have had eight if Robin Van Persie could familiarise himself with the concept of composure. It might sound harsh but to me the guy's always had a bit of a habit of passing up the more straightforward opportunities he gets. Now, that wasn't such a problem when he played with more prolific partners like Thierry Henry, and later, he whose name shall not be mentioned, back then everyone was happy if he smashed one in from close to the corner flag or scored a volley while jumping seven feet in the air once in a while, but at this point maybe we need less of Van Persie the show stopper and more of a Van Persie who will get into the mundane but necessary habit of just hitting the net. A lot. To be fair, you've got to feel for the guy a little, he's never really been an out-and-out striker, and now Wenger's piled a lot of pressure on him with the formation change. I'm aware it wasn't a problem against Wigan, and loads of his teammates got in scoring positions at different points aswell so that's all positive of course but you would have to worry a little about the tight games where we might just get One Big chance.
As aforementioned the clean sheet was a bit misleading, we shouldn't kid ourselves and better teams than Wigan would have punished us for giving up clear-cut chances. The main points for optimism were Vermaelan's surprising brace, including one lovely curler from the edge of the area, and the fact that we created plenty of chances.
I guess the main areas of interest this weekend were elsewhere, on Sunday, as Spurs went to chelsea after what turned out to be a ludicrous Manchester derby. Three times city hit back after United pushed ahead, but on each occasion their shoddy defence creaked and eventually cracked, decisively so six minutes into stoppage time when the still predatory Michael Owen was granted the freedom of the penalty area to slot the winner.
Mark Hughes has the kind of persecution complex that would give Wenger a run for his money (whingeing about the extra stoppage time) and likewise a hefty dose of myopia (defending Ademanure and this week craig bellamy after that horrible cunt slapped a pitch invader who was BEING HELD back by stewards- classy guy). But I just wonder if he himself may be the man to stop city from breaking into the top four. He looks to be modelling his defence on ours, so that may bode badly for their hopes. I honestly wonder if Richard Dunne would have made a big difference on Sunday, with his old team displaying the aerial ineptitude that now seems inevitable in any defence with Kolo Toure in it. Darren Fletcher, hardly the most obvious goal threat, was twice allowed to head home relatively unchallenged, and if not for the profligacy of Berbatov and the continued brilliance of Given there would have been a few more headed goals for United. Joleon Lescott is fuck all of an improvement on Dunne, in fact he might be the most overrated defender the world has ever seen. His and Toure's partnership looks to be of the headless variety.
And while I thought at first that replacing Dunne with added pace was to allow city to defend higher up the pitch, that now seems strange as they've played predominantly on the counter this season, drawing teams out in order to unleash their own pacey attackers into the space in behind. Surely if they're gonna be defending deep so often they would be as well served keeping Dunne? They were certainly pinned back for a long, long stretch at 2-2, and this is when the cost of the Adebayor ban also really hit home- city were painfully lacking somebody to hold the ball up with Tevez and Bellamy unsuited to that task. The ball just kept coming back at their defence. In fact, United's winner actually stemmed from, and I've not seen this mentioned elsewhere, Tevez cluelessly, aimlessly heading a ball into the air and back to a United player wehen if he was a player with a talent to match his reputation he would have taken it down, laid it off and started a counterattack. Or at least kept the ball for his team. An apt ending perhaps, as city throughout the second half only had the balls or the courage to attack coherently when they trailed. As chelsea found to their cost against Barcelona last season the best way to protect a result is to show some moral courage and try to keep hold of the ball, not to invite the opposition on. counterattacking teams sometimes fall on their sword as happened at Old Trafford and it was probably, let's face it, a good result for us as we've gotta be thinking of 4th place.
United roll on, as do chelsea after a routine enough 3-0 win against Spurs, although the amazingly overrated Howard Webb failed to give Robbie Keane a penalty after he was felled by the serial fouler carvalho with the score at 1-0.
While it looks to be all about those two at the moment, I'm just now getting a sneaky feeling that this will, somehow, be Liverpool's season after they secured a trademark, skin of their teeth 3-2 win at West Ham. That's on the condition that, when Agger is fit, they drop the liability that is Jamie carragher.