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Manchester United vs. Arsenal: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Mostly Lee van Cleef and Eli Wallach today, folks. Not a lot of Clint Eastwood.

Alex Livesey

The scoreline may have read 2-1, and the possession and passing stats may look okay on paper, but really, there wasn't a lot of good happening on the pitch for Arsenal at Old Trafford yesterday. Let's see what we can make of this.

The Good

  • It was only 2-1 in the end, so when one looks at the scoreline 25 years from now, it'll be hard to remember how one felt actually watching the game.
  • Bacary Sagna played relatively well.
  • Santi Cazorla's goal. A little bit of glitter in the turd that this match turned out to be for Arsenal. That's a wonderful hit, people, but it doesn't mean a gosh-durned thing at all.
  • The away supporters. When Arsenal were losing 2-0 in the second half, and nothing was on at all, the entire away section was drowning out Old Trafford with FIFTEEN MINUTES of continuous "We Love You Arsenal". The spirit of the away support was far, far, more than the performance merited.

The Bad

  • Per Mertesacker losing a header to Patrice Evra for Manchester United's second goal. That shouldn't happen.
  • Arsenal's left flank. Seriously, is Lukas Podolski sick or something? He's been completely invisible for weeks now, lacking movement, lacking any sort of coordination with teammates. Gone is the dynamic play and defensive work from the first month and a half of the season. Please come back to us, Lukas.
  • Jack Wilshere's second yellow. On a yellow, Jack has to know he can't do that. Granted, he's rusty and a little off the pace still, but he has to know the situation there.
  • Andre Santos. Upgraded from "Ugly" to "Bad", simply because we thought Antonio Valencia was going to turn Santos inside out yesterday, but for the most part, Santos managed to at least, like, get in the way. Actually looked like a backup Premier League left back in the second half.

The Ugly

  • Thomas Vermaelen's clearance three minutes into the game. That's a clearance that a professional center half should be making no problem all day, and Vermaelen looked like...me, trying to make a clearance with my bad foot, on a professional-caliber cross. Guess who will punish that error almost all of the time. YYyyyep.
  • Arsenal's play in the final third. Every through ball too slow or badly place, no inventiveness, and no movement. Has to improve. Thankfully, Arsene Wenger has admitted as much--can he get his pieces in the right places to make it happen? Or will he be...screaming at a wall?