As we approach another premier league weekend, we find ourselves nearing the most anticipated match of the season, at least for all gooners. Manchester United Vs Arsenal at Old Trafford. This fixture last season saw Arsenal suffering its most humiliating defeat in its 126 year history. A defeat that saw us scrambling to buy players, to be precise, 5 signings in the space of 48 hours. By Arsene Wenger’s standards, that’s insane!
The first half score stood at 3-1 with Walcott just getting a goal back before the break. But nothing could have prepared us for the onslaught that followed. Szczesny did do his best to make some sharp stops from shots by Cleverly and Ashley Young, but could not handle it for long as the defence was frail. When you look at the Arsenal players on the pitch, the scoreline is not surprising. Armand Traore at left back, as Clichy had left for Man City the previous week, Carl Jenkinson at right back, a virtually unknown who played in the lower leagues until a month before, Koscielny and Djourou at the centre of defence as Vermaelen was out injured and Francis Coquelin making his debut in central midfield. An injury threatened and inexperienced defence against one of the best attacks in the premier league. So, in a way this heavy defeat probably helped us in getting some re-inforcements before the transfer window closed. Arshavin, Rosicky and Ramsey barely ever found Van Persie and Walcott in front. The lack of options on the bench were evident if you look at the second half substitutes. Alex Chamberlain, an 18 year old, talented, no doubt, but as a second half substitute when we were 3 goals down? Henri Lansbury who is no more in the side and had to play at right back because Jenkinson was sent off and Chamakh who until last week’s insane come back against Reading, was out of contention for even a spot on the bench.
However, more than the defeat, this match will be about one player who crossed over to the dark side at the beginning of this season. Robin van
Judas Persie. Ever since the Jan 2011, the man has been a goal scoring machine. Losing him at the start of the season continued the tradition that we’ve been religiously following for some time now. RVP’s move to Manchester probably hurt more than any of the others. A player who was with us for eight seasons, who was injury prone for six and a half of those years, who finally became the player that Wenger knew he could become when he got him from Feyenoord at the age of 17. He left us at his peak and he’s proving what a costly transfer it was for us by scoring nine goals already this season for Man U. Wenger made a press statement earlier saying that he hoped that the fans would respect a player who’s played eight seasons with us. He knows better than that, but it’s something that he had to say. RVP will be booed, unflattering songs will be sung about him and in all probability, considering his form and Arsenal’s defence, he will score against us. Calling for RVP’s head will make no sense. For us, the club we support is for life. For the average footballer, it is a career. When better opportunities for glory and pay are offered elsewhere, any top class ambitious player will make the move. My only wish is that RVP respects the team and the manager that made him who he is now. In spite of my best efforts to not see him as a traitor, it is difficult. He probably would have been remembered well if he had left for a club in a different league, but to our fierce rivals, is not something any gooner can forget.
At the end of the day, what I am hoping for is some good old football. A win at Old Trafford will be of some comfort more than a revenge. It’ll send a message to the title contenders that we’re right behind them. More than that, I hope it sends a message to RVP that he made a mistake when he moved to Old Trafford. The little boy inside him screwed him over.