Those of us of a certain age will remember that period where for about six or seven years THE match to look out for was Arsenal v Man United. Often a title decider and always full of blood and thunder, we’ve seen some classic encounters throughout the years. But as with all things football has changed and what was the match to look out for has shifted. There are a multitude of reasons for this that we won’t go into. On Sunday however, in sun-drenched North London a classic display unfolded.
The day started with the usual build up: beers, banter and great company with the sun and the beer easing our pre-match nerves. After last weeks outing against Fulham, it felt like this match had become a must win. Which is ridiculous this early in the season of course but the ferocious pace set by Northern Oil FC dictates that these days.
Over the past few seasons, Man United have become a very counter attacking team. Whatever you think of their personnel and setup they are dangerous on the break as we found out. A loose pass was all it took for Rashford to steam into our half and wrap his foot around the ball. We probably should have been tighter but by the time we’d started to close him down it was too late. One shot, one goal. Very annoying. The annoyance however didn’t last long as almost instantly a move carved through their defence and teed up Martin to fire us level.
The second half was a nervy affair and two moments, interrupted by VAR proved pivotal. The first was a penalty given to us that was, in my opinion, correctly rescinded. There was contact but Havertz made the most of it, I’d be screaming if that was given against us. Then came what looked to be heartache, another excellently executed counter put United in the driving seat, two minutes before time. Or had it? Another VAR checked showed Garnacho to be offside by a whisker but in this day and age a whisker is enough.
Football is a funny old game as the old adage goes and deep into stoppage time cometh the hour, cometh the man. United for some baffling reason gave Rice all the time and space in the world to control and fire his shot goalward. His technique was sensational and the power in the shot carried it beyond the United defence and the keeper. The Emirates erupted. A cacophony of uninhibited joy. Except in the South East corner. But this modern day classic wasn’t quite done.
As United threw everything forward looking for an equaliser, Arsenal turned the tables as Viera fed Jesus through essentially one-on-one. His dummy sent Dalot for his dinner before he rolled it into the far corner and sent the stadium into raptures. 3 goals, 3 points and that was all she wrote.
The perfect way to go into an International break. Enjoy your weekend off and I’ll see you all in two weeks.