Man Utd seems to rely on its defence to close the deal after the attack has seemingly done its job. It has worked well against every other team but this Saturday they picked the wrong team to play that script. So did Man U lose this match as much as Arsenal won it?
The answer is a bit of both. Man U performed a chokehold on Arsenal in the first half and immediately after resumption went up with the Evra cross and the Rooney header. Man U noticeably slackened off. Wenger had enough of the ineffective short passing game and Arsenal launched an unusual number of long balls from the foot of Senderos.
One of which led to a Fabregas and Rosicky tango with Vidic and Evra in a protracted hustle to possess the ball before Rosicky heroically came up with it and launched a pass that skidded across goal headed for the backline before Van Persie snuck up behind an unsuspecting Gary Neville and his pumping legs angled it in. Van Der Saar could do nothing about it. It was the nature of this goal I think that demoralized Man Utd. This was a wilful goal and the will to win the ball clearly lay with Arsenal.
But Van Der Saar could have done something about the second goal which a top flight goalie with sharp reflexes should have managed to keep away from goal. As it is he was nowhere near as sharp as Lehmann. And Van Der Saar did not endear himself to the Emirate fans with his time wasting.
Arsenal has made a name this season by being a second half team. They were clearly let in by Man U who kept the door ajar. Sir Alex's conservative and scripted 4-5-1 did not serve him well. As it was, it was Patrice Evra, easily Man U's best player, whose unscripted moment led to Man U's only goal.