Man Utd 0 Arsenal 0(Premiership)
In the end, it was a day that suited both teams – United got the point they required to seal their third successive title, and we avoided the continuation of an appalling run that has seen both United and Chelsea embarrass us in recent weeks.
In the Champions League, we looked nervous as United swarmed over our midfield in both legs, but this time, with all but one finger on the trophy, they were the ones seeming apprehensive, unsure whether to go for the statement win or protect the point. In the end, they chose the latter and defended well enough to ensure they got what they needed.
And ultimately, as Wenger has said, that has been the difference this season. When we’re defending a delicate match position, we’ve all too often been caught out, but United are a different animal, able to seem comfortable repelling even potent attack strength. Barcelona will have taken note.
And fair play to them, they have been the strongest side (read: squad) all season and deserve the league. And they remain the benchmark we have to strive for. Much has been said already about what we need to get there, but I won’t be going over that ground just yet.
As for the match itself, there were few chances – Ronaldo’s free kicks were the closest United came, and ours were restricted to a Van Persie header from an Arshavin cross, and a late Cesc effort that struck the outside of the post. 0-0 was probably the right result.
More pertinent than the match itself was the team selection, on two fronts. As you may have read over at Arseblog, Silvestre appears on his way out in the summer, which explains the preference of Song to the Frenchman in central defence, but another surprise was more critical to the future of this side. Adebayor, fresh from giving one of the most ‘everyone’s against me’ interviews I’ve ever seen on Football Focus, did not even travel with the squad, with the usual citing of a ‘groin problem’, Wenger’s favourite public way of dropping someone.
I’ll cover the Ade situation in another post, but the interview and his recent behaviour hints at a major issue between him and Arsenal Football Club right now, and one that is likely to be unresolved until he leaves. Sadly, I would be surprised to see him at the club come September. More on that tomorrow, probably.
For now, we can start reflecting on a season that has had ups (yes, really) and downs – no disrespect to Stoke, but next weekend’s curtain call will not be much of a meaningful affair.
Over the coming days, I’ll begin to look back on recent events, and then at the season as a whole. And it won’t be entirely negative, despite the ultimate disappointments with which it ended.