Arsene Wenger’s men made a spirited comeback against Man United last night to gain a much-needed point in the race for the third guaranteed Champions League spot, but the first half was only notable for Man United’s control of the pitch and Arsenal’s failure to even get one shot on target.
Nacho Monreal, who may have been at fault in conceding Herrera’s goal for United, admitted that Wenger had brought out the hairdryer at half-time. “We know that we didn’t play very well in the first half, it was probably the worst 45 minutes we have played this season. The boss was angry, which is normal and we knew that we have another 45 minutes to fix it. In the second half we played much better than the first, we were lucky because we could score and draw the game. And we go home happy with the score.
“We didn’t play well in the first half and the boss was a bit angry with our performance, but we knew we could make a difference. We played much better and drew the game, and almost won it as we had some chances. But the draw is good for us.”
Le Prof preferred to gloss over the first half deficiencies but was more than happy with the response from his team after the break. “”I am pleased with the performance.” Wenger said on the official Arsenal website. “The only regret I have is that we didn’t take the three points in the second half. We started the first half slowly, Manchester United were sharper at the beginning, and we were a bit stretched as well width and length-wise. The second half we were more compact and we took over. We showed a great response and got a deserved point.
“We were a bit too timid, too conservative in our possession and a bit too far from each other as well. In the second half we were more compact and we had good opportunities on the counter. We were quicker and we had enough chances to win the game in the end.”
However the game panned out, it was always going to be the result that mattered, and Arsenal have deservedly (nearly!) earned a place in the Champions League Group Stages, and we also managed to ‘not lose’ to a Top Club in an away fixture again, which can only help our confidence going into next seasons campaign.
Onwards and Upwards!