Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Nani and Wayne show

Boy was I off the mark. I predicted a 1-0 scoreline and I'm sure as hell glad MU decided to prove me wrong.

OK. That's taking it a little far. It's not as if MU decided to prove me wrong. But you know what I mean.

This was one time I was glad Fergie decided to go with a 4-5-1 formation. Ya, ya. I know they say it's a 4-3-2-1 formation, but to me it will always be a 4-5-1 formation. The midfield just ran the show didn't they? Scholes, Carrick, Park and Fletcher were just fantastic. Fletcher, it seems, always has a good game against Arsenal. But the man who stole the show was, without a doubt, Nani.

Nani has played three superb games for MU since returning from injury. And this one took the cake. Absolutely brilliant stuff from the Portuguese. He has shown such improvement, it's amazing. I said before he is good and just needs to learn. I compared him to Ronaldo when he first arrived in Manchester. Nani has taken a longer time to learn, but it appears as if he has finally learned.

Did anyone notice that he is now a better team player? He doesn't try to do it all himself, doesn't try to "bolot", doesn't try to go for goal all the time. It was an absolutely fantastic performance and he thoroughly deserved being named man of the match.

Nani did everything except score. On that count, however, he could have. When Almunia miskicked a clearance when the score was already 3-1, and the ball went straight to Nani, the winger should have unleashed a shot straight away, or after a touch to steady himself. Instead he chose to bring it closer and muffed the chance.

As for the first goal, although it will go down in the annals as an Almunia own goal, Nani deserves the accolades. He did superbly to get past the two defenders sandwiching him, then past the other defender with a feign and a deft move. And then came the big difference between the Nani of old and the present one. The old Nani would have gone for goal. The present one chose to chip a cross to his teammates at the other end of the goalmouth.

That Almunia turned it into his own goal was just unfortunate, because he had to do something. There is no doubt in my mind that Park would have put the ball into the net if Almunia had not managed to reach it. The goal was inevitable.

The second goal was another fantastic piece of work between Nani and the man of the moment, Wayne Rooney. It was Rooney who started it all, gathering a clearance in his own half, holding the ball and turning. Seeing Nani on the run and in the clear, Rooney played such a beautiful pass into space.

Credit to Rooney, too, that he charged off down the middle after playing that pass. Nani's ball back to Rooney was exquisite as well. Talk about your precise passes. That was one to savour. Rooney's shot on the turn was well taken and Almunia had no chance whatsoever.

Now we come to Park's goal. Truth be told, I thought Park should have played Nani in as he was tearing down the pitch, and when he didn't, I thought the chance was missed. But the South Korean did a fantastic job, finishing cooly by slotting past an outstretched Almunia.

Vermaelen's goal sparked a flurry of action from Arsenal, but it was too little too late for the London side. So well did United play that Soccernet's team of the week has three of the players -- Rooney, Nani and Scholes.

It all could have been different, however, if Arsenal had taken their chances. The finishing from the Arsenal players was woeful, to say the least. Chief culprit was Arshavin, who missed at least four chances to score early on in the game.

All said and done, though, MU deserved the win. Good job lads. Let's keep the momentum going.

By the way, who are the idiots who keep saying MU is a one-man team? They said it when Ronaldo was around. Now they're saying it's Rooney who is holding up the team. Get a life guys!

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