Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Season back on track. Manchester United enjoyed a lot of the early possession as Arsenal were happy to sit deep and invited United forward, something they were eventually punished thanks to a header from Robin van Persie.

It was the least United deserved after a very confident start and United went into the half time break in the lead after what was a very dominant half where Arsenal didn’t threaten our goal very much.

Nemanja Vidic’s withdrawal changed the flow of the game as Jones was forced back into defence and Tom Cleverley was brought into the midfield. It gave Arsenal an attacking impetus but United stood firm.

High pressure off the ball and relatively composed on it, the real United turned up today. Now we are above Manchester City and only five points off Arsenal. Crisis? What crisis?

Robin van Celebrate. Robin van Persie scored against Arsenal last year in both Premier League games. out of respect following his move. He put an end to that today.

After his header nestled in the back of the net, he ran like a man possessed over towards Wayne Rooney to celebrate. It was a brilliant sight to see.

He may have been an Arsenal player for the best part of a decade but he is well and truly a red now. Moyes took him off in the 80th minute to a standing ovation.

Phil  Jones’ performance. The unquestionable man of the match. Last year against the likes of Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, Jones showed how impressive he can be in a midfield role. Today against Arsenal, he was the linchpin.

Jones’ energy and desire know no bounds. His power, strength and hunger made him indomitable in the middle of the park. Whenever Arsenal were in possession, he hounded the like a terrier on steroids.

And in typical Jones style, his impact didn’t diminish when he was forced to move position. Even at centre back, he was an absolute pillar. What a performance.

Moyes got it spot on. Tactically and in his player selection. United lined up in a 4-4-2 and on paper, it could have really damaged us but it didn’t. Jones’ performance made our midfield so strong but it was a complete team performance.

Rooney dropped deep, Kagawa did his part, Carrick was his ever reliable self and everybody else did their part.

In what was a game that would have had massive repercussions if United had lost, we performed and answered our critics.

The season starts now. Only a few weeks ago, there was a sweeping sense of pessimism flowing through United’s fans. We had lost against West Brom, drawn against Southampton and struggled to put a run of performances together.

However, that pessimism has morphed into an overwhelming feeling of optimism.

Victory over Arsenal today changes the makeup of United’s season entirely. Now just five points behind Arsenal, we are in a strong position. The league leaders still have to play the majority of the teams around them whereas we have a really good run of games ahead. The season starts now.

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