That was much better, another defeat would have seen many a Gooner tear shed into pont glasses up and down the country, thankfully a little pride has been restored and we didn't fall apart again at Old Trafford. Overall I thought we were the better side, although we didn't create a massive number of clear cut chances, we had more possession, hustled well in the midfield and defended well on the whole.
Part of the reason for our improvement was Alex Song's excellent display at centre back, because he has pace he was able to be much more aggressive and attacking in his defending, frequently nipping in to intercept balls that other more 'geriatric' defenders would have steered back from. The rest of the back four played well, Gibbs in particular excelled for me, Clichy may have real trouble getting back in the side if young Gibbs can keep this up. In front the the back four, Denilson had a very steady game, making several key interceptions and using the ball simply and efficiently. We didn't quite make the most of our domination, RVP missed a great chance with a first half header and also might have been luckier when trying to divert a Nasri effort into the goal in the second half, Cesc probably had our best chance which he smashed hard at Van der Saar's near post, Van der Saar tipped it wide.
Manu had a few half chances, Rooney headed wide in the first half, Tevez turned Toure and was only thwarted by an excellent challenge by the onrushing Fabianski, there were a few close efforts from soft free kicks given by the weak referee Mike Dean. Amazingly he awarded five yellow cards to our players and none to Manu, in truth only one of these was deserved, Cesc's studs on Evra's knee merited a caution, however the others were extremely soft indeed. Strangely Dean completely ignored a clear trip by Vidic on RVP in the first half and a rugby tackle by the same man in the second half, again on RVP, of note both of these were in the penalty box.
Overall though it was progress, we didn't roll over as it would have been easy to do. I was not convinced by Arsene's substitutions, Walcott on the left flank and Bendtner on the right flank was not the stuff of legend. RVP never looks the most comfortable playing in the 4-5-1 formation but he did ok and tried hard. Having said that Manu did seem rather happy for the draw and had they needed three points it may have been a bit more of a test for our makeshift defence.
Apologies for the general tedious nature of this posting, my head is sore and I am not looking forward to Monday morning, this combined with seeing Manu celebrate their league triumph has not left me in the most ecstatic of moods. It looks like Emmanuel Adebayor is off, and frankly good riddance, the man insults our intelligence with his pathetic attempts to justify himself, he does not convince me with his words, the talk is hollow given his actions in recent months.
Arseblogger sums it up nicely as always, by the way I've yet to see any credible evidence which suggests that Garth Crooks' cranial vault is full of anything else other than a vacuum. I agree with Arsene that our failure has to be seen in perspective, but I also feel that some of the criticism has been extremely valid and necessary; after all seeing the last couple of years as a failure seems like progress to me, one can only move on and improve once one has first acknowledged one's failings and errors. There is a lot of horse manure in the papers today, the Mail has invented the fact that our transfer kitty for the summer is 13 million, they don't even mention a source! The Screws of the World don't even deserve a mention, they are beneath my contempt. Another season is almost gone, let's hope we can finish it on a high next weekend.