Three down. Only the Premiership is left in Arsenal’s house of cards. And worse we will have to do it with Koscielny and Squillaci as the centre back pair as Johan Djourou dislocated his shoulder and is out for the season.
Sir Alex Ferguson began with what can only be called a Maginot line – seven defensive players but as the match progressed, these were just on paper.
United’s heroes were the Da Silva brothers. Both players showed incisiveness down the flanks and in midfield orchestrating United’s potent counterattacks. Their fluid movement posed all sorts of problems for the Arsenal defense.
Fabio finished what he created in midfield, His diagonal pass from beyond the halfline finds twin Rafael. The right back controls the ball and picks out Rooney who floats a cross to Javier Hernandez. An out of position Manuel Almunia manages to parry out the Mexican’s header but only to a lurking Fabio who just has to tap the ball in.
Rafael’s surging run in the 49th minute finds him across goal and he cracks a shot which is blocked by Djourou. The ball balloons up and Rooney is left with a simple header.
Arsenal had their chances but Van Der Sar was equal to the challenge. It is comforting to have such a rock as a custodian while the Gunners still keep playing their goalkeeping musical chairs.
Still it was not all bad. A bit to cheer as Aaron Ramsey made his first Arsenal appearance since last year’s horrific injury.