Date:Tuesday November 6 2007
Owen Hargreaves is subjected to vicious abuse on the web since he dared saying United controlled Arsenal's passing game on Saturday.
The England man, having impressed in the game, went on to say United were more penetrative and defended very well.
'Arsenal kept the ball and had a lot of possession, but they were never really threatening,' said Hargreaves.
'Defensively, we did a good job and tried to control their so-called beautiful football. Both of our goals were from really beautiful pieces of play and theirs were a bit scrappy.
'Football is about scoring goals and winning games and I don`t think they had a clear-cut chance in the first half, apart from the header by Gallas, and that was a set piece.
'They keep the ball and try to play that way, but when a team is as good defensively as ours, you can keep them at bay because we played very tight together.'
I don't think that anyone who watched the match can disagree with that. Arsenal were reduced to harmless long-range shots and only due to serious mistakes in our defence were they allowed to score and it's fair to say neither of them came from beautiful football.
But hey, let Arsene Wenger speak instead of me.
"In the first half, we played with the hand-brake on," he said. "In the second half we had more freedom but we didn`t find our flowing game completely. We had to rely on character and determination."
A very precise and exact summary, Mr. Wenger. I completely agree. Why your side's fans feel Hargreaves insulted their style is beyond me.
Yet there are deluded supporters, like at Online Gooner who feel Hargreaves offended them. The aforementioned website issued an open letter to our midfielder, with some frankly ridiculous statements. I know that nowadays it's a crime in England to say that Arsenal are not the best thing since Brazil 1970 but still...
This website (no advertising here, believe me) claimed everyone on Saturday tuned in to watch Fabregas, Hleb and their brilliant full-backs. May I humbly say that some people were interested in Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, Giggs...
Secondly, the writer of the letter claims that England's real number one team did not make such remarks but praised Arsenal after the draw at Anfield. I did not know that England's number one team are Liverpool, I was of the belief that we were the reigning champions but if anyone can provide conclusive evidence to the opposite, I'll believe them.
And my most favourite is a recurring theme, I heard it from dozens of gooners since Saturday's game: that Hargreaves' football is not beautiful, he rarely makes a forward pass and so on... Lack of such basic knowledge of the game is incredible, slating a defensive midfielder for not being spectacular...
And I'm sorry for all those Gunners with a common sense. They are the majority, I know, it's just that message boards are littered with idiots. For me it's a fact that Arsenal played brilliant football up to the clash with us and they still deserve credit for the way they rescued a point at the death. But it's difficult to argue that they were far from their free-flowing best on Saturday: even Wenger admitted that.
There's simply no reason to take Hargreaves' views as an insult. They weren't meant to be.
Date:Tuesday November 6 2007
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