EPL 2005: Day 11 (Arsenal 2 – Southampton 2)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 2nd, 2004 • 2:51 am

Unfortunately, this game was not televised here in Canada, so all we got were the highlights shown last night on Fox Sports World Canada. Contrary to the impression I got from reading Wenger’s comments after the game, it looks like it was actually a fairly decent game, and that Southampton had to rely on an excellent Niemi to keep them in the game and, indeed, in the unlikely position of winning it with a few minutes to go. Van Persie saved the day for Arsenal, and not with any kind of goal either.

Elsewhere, Manchester managed to do exactly what Rio Ferdinand said that they couldn’t afford to do, i.e. follow their controversial win at Old Trafford with a defeat at Portsmouth that effectively cancels out any progress that they might have made. They also got a pretty harsh penalty given against them, but here again, as Ferdinand said, these kinds of things tend to even themselves out over the course of the season, don’t they? Which is exactly why Manchester United fans should grow up and stop complaining about that alleged dived by Robert Pires against Portsmouth last season.

It also looks like the fury over last week’s game at Old Trafford is finally abating, with both clubs having reached some kind of understanding and Ferguson giving up on his fantasy of having Henry and Bergkamp investigated. As The Guardian puts it, the whole thing has been rather embarrassing for both clubs, including the players and the managers. There is little doubt in my mind that it all stems from Alex Ferguson’s idiotic “mind games” and from the attitude he instills into his players, but ultimately the Gunners and their manager need to rise above that and let their skill and the quality of their football do the talking.

What this really means that encounters between Man U and Arsenal are no longer “massive” games. They are meaningless, and what counts is the team that’s on top at the end of the season. The Gunners and their fans need to stop worrying about having to prove their worth against Man U. They already did so in February 2003 with a superb 0-2 victory at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. Manchester United has not managed to beat Arsenal convincingly in the past couple of years. That’s good enough for me.

Of course, I’d love a 5-1 victory for the Gunners at Highbury next year, but ultimately what I want to see is nice, elegant, stirring football, and these days, Arsenal provide this on a much more consistent basis than Manchester.

4 Responses to “EPL 2005: Day 11 (Arsenal 2 – Southampton 2)”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    You didn’t beat me 6-1, Manchester beat Arsenal :). I like Arsenal and everything, but I would never go as far as to identify with them. I still need to work on my passing…

    I certainly didn’t mean all Man U fans “need to grow up”, only those who keep using “Pires” and “dive” in the same sentence :-). As if their own strikers were immune from it. I was only referring to the Man U fan response to the Arsenal fan response to the Rooney penalty. Given that I am geographically challenged (and I have limited time for this too), I have to rely on imperfect means to gage the mood out there. The few Man U blogs that I have found are positively atrocious. Are there any decent (i.e. readable) Man U blogs out there? I’d appreciate some pointers.

  2. LoonyPandora says:

    Ok, so it’s been 3 years since we beat you 6-1… That was a good game :D

    I’m sure you don’t mean to say that all Man U fans “need to grow up” – some of us don’t even know which one of Pires’ dives you are talking about…

    It’s human nature to make the game between the two leading powers into “game of the decade” – plus it’s good for the marketing men. Every football fan with a brain knows that history only remembers who wins the league, not who won one game…

    We’ll see who comes out on top in May ;)

  3. LoonyPandora says:

    Touché ;-)

    Any blogs will be heavily biased towards their particular teams. If they have the time and energy to actually write about it, then they are going to defend their teams to the hilt. Be it Man U, Arsenal, or Accrington Stanley…

    The best place IMO to get a good opinion on the mood of English Football is the BBC Sport pages (http://www.bbc.co.uk/football) – The relevant message boards can be a little extreme, and you have to wade through the chaff to get to the good stuff… but it’s best of a bad bunch.

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks. I am actually already subscribed to the BBC Sport Football RSS feed, but I tend to read the Guardian stuff more frequently.

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