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United 1 Arsenal 0

There is something surreal about playing an English team in Europe and, standing in the Stretford End before kick off, it really did not feel like a Champions League fixture. The weather was lovely, it was still light as the teams came out onto the pitch and there was a slight nervousness in the air despite the fantastic atmosphere. The roar was amazing as the came started and the Arsenal fans could hardly be heard as they had been shoved up in the second tier of the East stand.

Before the game I would have been alright with a 0-0 draw. Away goals are very often key and I am confident we can score at the Emirates too. A 1-0 victory would have been a fantastic prospect and one I would have gladly taken. Yet after a first half of tearing Arsenal to shreds I got greedy, and now 1-0 feels a little too slender for my liking. When we drew 0-0 in Barca I was convinced that we had thrown away the tie by missing a penalty, but I was proved wrong and hopefully we can be alright this time too.

The first half display by United was frighteningly good. We looked solid at the back, the midfield totally overpowered Arsenal, and going forward we looked dangerous. We worked as a team and this was epitomised by Rooney jointly marking Walcott every time Arsenal had the ball down their right flank. The energy of Tevez was superb and Anderson/ Fletcher was typically aggressive and powerful in the middle. With fifteen minutes on the clock a great save had been forced from a Rooney header and Tevez had missed a sitter from a few yards out. And the team working as one was taken to extremes when John O’Shea of all people scored. Old Trafford went mental with relief- the goal had been coming and was fully deserved.

Most Reds expected Arsenal to have a good period in the game and give us at least a few scares. But it just did not happen at any stage and they looked woeful coming forwards. VDS did not have a save to make whilst Almunia had to be in fine form to keep the scores level, with help of the cross bar too.

And so, somehow, it all ended 1-0. Arsenal should feel very relieved that the tie is far from over, but United can take heart from a victory and know that one goal next week and Arsenal need 3. The problem- if Arsenal score first at the Emirates and essentially cancel out all our hard work last night. I am still very worried but have to remind myself that we could never have expected to kill the tie in one leg and that is a great srat in the quest to reach Rome.

Well done the lads, well done the crowd and next Tuesday promises to be explosive. Arsenal will need to go for the goal and are not a team to sit back at the best of times, and United must capitalise on their chances to make sure we can all start sorting out Rome. Overall, though, this is one step further towards the final and we should be delighted though far from complacent.

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1 Comment

  1. ejeh maxwell :: May 4th, 2009 2:39 pm

    hardwork and team spirit desearves success..i see in the players that spirit and there is absolutely nothing that would stop them from lifting the trophy.bravo brothers!

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