Writer: Site Staff
Date:Thursday April 30 2009
Alan Hansen pundit for the New Football Pools says Manchester United should have put the game out of Arsenal's reach at Old Trafford.
'Manchester United should have booked their Champions League final place last night with the amount of opportunities they had to put the tie to bed. Unlike Chelsea, Arsenal don`t have the mentality to go to Old Trafford and defend solidly without the ball. Even when they don`t play well, they still get men forward, which means if they lose possession, they are open to a counter-attack. In contrast, Chelsea never really had the ball at the Nou Camp so were never ever going to be counter-attacked especially as they never got that many players forward. Arsene Wenger`s young team are not able to adapt to play tight and gain a 0-0 draw but despite playing poorly they will be happy to return to the Emirates only one goal down.
All credit must go to Manuel Almunia for keeping Arsenal in this tie as he made a string of saves against a United onslaught especially in the first half. He was one of the few Gunners players to emerge with any credit from the game although young Kieran Gibbs did well. The 19-year-old was up against some of the best attacking players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney but did not look out of place. Unfortunately for Arsenal, Emmanuel Adebayor was very poor on the night. He failed to use his strength at all despite his size and barely held onto the ball for his side. He owes his manager a big performance in the 2nd leg at the Emirates after that showing.
The Arsenal defence was so wide open at times that it wouldn`t be an over-exaggeration to say United could have won this match 4-0. However, now Wenger`s team have got out of jail they have a real chance of upsetting Sir Alex`s team at the Emirates.
I`d be surprised if United play any differently at the Emirates as their pressing game worked well but there should be a marked improvement in the Arsenal performance and tactics. To be honest, I`d expect United to progress as they have players that can score anywhere and if they get one at the Emirates then Arsenal face a huge task to recover. However, Arsene Wenger`s side have shown they have the ability to pull off surprising results in the past and they may have to again.'
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Date:Thursday April 30 2009
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