1) Poor first half from us but improved in the second, did we deserve the point we got in the end?
@dhaneshdprabhu - In the earlier seasons, we tend to lose a deserving point or 3 even though we play really well. Now I am just about happy to clinch a point at Old Trafford even though our performance was below par for about 70 minutes. Deserved? I don't know. Lucky? Probably yeah.
@mj_afc - I think it was thoroughly deserved. A much improved second half and deserving of our equaliser.
@the_jersey_fitz – I’d say we just about deserved the point we got. We were extremely poor for the first 60 minutes, but we did come alive and played quite well for the last 30. This is one of those games where one set of fans thinks, “if the game had lasted 10 minutes longer, we’d have won”, while the other set of fans thinks, “if we’d have taken advantage of our extended period of dominance we would have won that game.” Usually, when a game is like that, I find a draw is the correct result.
@SuperArse710 - It was a fairly poor match, offensively speaking. I don't think either team really deserved a win today, but I'd say that we earned a point thanks to our second half performance. All in all it was a fair result.
2) What would you say was wrong with our performance?
@dhaneshdprabhu - Our midfield was not at all cohesive. Cazorla had a very bad game in which he did absolutely nothing to stamp his authority. Ramsey playing as a winger also didn't help either. But the one thing we really lacked is the pressing. We were just giving them complete freedom to do what they needed throughout the first 65-70 minutes which is unacceptable by the way.
@mj_afc - I don't think we played well as a unit in the first half and we lost several individual battles, particularly in the midfield.
@the_jersey_fitz – There were quite a few things wrong with our performance for the first two thirds of the game. Going forward, our build up play was slow, labored, and predictable as it has become over the last few weeks with this lineup. Along with that, our skillful players were giving the ball away too often, specifically Santi and Alexis, or they couldn’t get into the game in the first place, specifically Ozil and Ramsey when he was on the right. Defensively, while I though our defending was quite good, we struggled to work out how to deal with Ashley Young. Bellerin seemed unsure which way to show him at time, and he was burned by the winger more than once.
@SuperArse710 - It was similar to the match against Swansea, in the sense that our players didn't show enough urgency on the ball to really trouble the United defence in the first half. I thought we lost too many 50-50s today, which was perhaps a sign of the players taking it a bit easy. A few individual mistakes led to us conceding the opening goal; Mertesacker stepped up too high, Herrera's run into the box wasn't tracked by our midfield, the crosser wasn't closed down well enough.
3) What did we do well?
@dhaneshdprabhu - Making the right substitutions. Fortune started to favor us from the moment we introduced Theo and Jack which also meant Ramsey got the chance to show why he is influential when he plays centrally.
@mj_afc - We had the ability to set it up and we did. Too often I've seen us concede at Old Trafford and never recover. We seemed to move the ball quicker in the second half and we got at their rather suspect defence.
@the_jersey_fitz – In the first half, the only thing I can think that we did particularly well was that we stifled most of their attacks coming through the middle of the pitch. Koscielny also added Falcao to the list of strikers he has put in his pocket, but early on we didn’t do a whole lot well. After that 55-60 minute mark, something just seemed to click in our play and we were much better. Some of that is probably due to United tiring from their pressing in the first half, but our players also just seemed to turn it up a level. We quickened our passing, kept the ball better, and were making more effective runs, especially runs in behind. The introductions of Walcott and Wilshere added to the momentum of those changes in play and gave the side more pace and drive. I thought we were getting better before the substitutions, but they were vital, and I thought Arsene Wenger got his subs spot on today.
@SuperArse710 - In the second half I thought we sustained lengthier spells of possession in United's half well. We were fairly sound defensively throughout the game and we dealt quite well with the Manchester United offence, apart from the goal we conceded.
4) Who was your Arsenal man of the match?
@dhaneshdprabhu - I am caught up in 2 minds because Koscielny and Ramsey were the best of the lot. I would probably give it to Koscielny as he was solid at the heart of our defense during the whole game. Ramsey was solid once he started playing in that central area.
@mj_afc - This is a tough call but I'm going to go with Koscielny. Starting to look like a true leader at the back and always on hand to sweep up the danger.
@the_jersey_fitz – I’m not sure anyone played outstandingly enough to get a MOTM award. Monreal and Koscielny were probably the only two that were good throughout the game, but I think Ramsey changed the game once he was moved central. I think I’ll give it to Ramsey for changing the game and playing the pass to set up the equalizer, even if he wasn’t at his best though out the game.
@SuperArse710 - For me there were three players that stood out: Özil, Ramsey and Koscielny. Koscielny was alert as ever and produced a quality performance with important blocks and interceptions. Özil stepped up in the second half and was central to our dominance. But for me it's Ramsey who was the pick of the bunch with an impressive performance both on and off the ball. He made a number of quality runs behind the United defence for Özil, Sanchez and Giroud to try to pick out. He also produced Vine-worthy moments of skill, such as his nutmeg on Herrera.
5) Which players under performed?
@dhaneshdprabhu - In my opinion, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez.
@mj_afc - Santi Cazorla. I think he's gone massively off the boil of late and that carried on today. A couple of horrendous passes and generally ineffective throughout. He deserved to hook and Jack stepped it up a level.
@the_jersey_fitz – There were a couple of players that weren’t at their best, but Santi Cazorla and Alexis stood out the most. These are two of Arsenal’s best players throughout this season, but both looked horribly off their game today. Santi struggled to get into the game, and gave the ball away too often when he got it. This is possibly the first time that I think his lack of physicality was exposed in this deeper role. It seemed like Alexis was giving the ball away at every opportunity today. He was totally ineffective and he looked out of gas.
@SuperArse710 - There were two players who I came away with a bit disappointed in. The first was Alexis Sanchez, who was sloppy on the ball today. He also failed to provide the runs in behind the opposition defence which made him the main source of danger against Hull and Swansea. The second player who I thought should've done better was Cazorla. His passing wasn't sharp today and I felt that he lost his fair share of 50-50s in the middle. Both Sanchez and Cazorla could perhaps have done better in tracking Herrera for United's goal.
6) Seeing as we have pretty much secured 3rd place would you make any changes on Wednesday night against Sunderland? If so what would they be?
@dhaneshdprabhu - Playing an unchanged XI for 6 straight games has its pros and cons. So with FA cup in mind, I would probably give a chance to Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs, Szczesny and if fit, Debuchy and Welbeck thereby resting a few regulars. Too much of rotation may not help too, but I can still see that as a possibility as we have pretty much clinched 3rd spot.
@mj_afc - I wouldn't make any changes on Wednesday. I want 3rd secured and then we can rotate v WBA.
@the_jersey_fitz – I would certainly make a few changes against Sunderland. I think this XI has been figured out and a lot of the attacking has been far too predictable. I would introduce one of Theo Walcott or Jack Wilshere on the right, put Ramsey central, and give Santi a rest. We could also do with giving Alexis a rest in one of the next two games to recharge his batteries for the cup final.
@SuperArse710 - As Sunderland need just one point to secure their safety, they are likely to play a very deep defence. That's why I don' t think that it's a suitable game to start Walcott in, as he thrives on more open games. I'd consider resting either Ramsey or Cazorla and giving Wilshere a start. Maybe I'd be tempted to start Gibbs as well, to keep him content. In an ideal world for me, Szczesny would be starting in goal, but I don't expect that to happen for a second.
7) Are you feeling nervous or confident ahead of the FA Cup final?
@dhaneshdprabhu - To be frank, Nervous. Not because Aston Villa are a much stronger opposition compared to last year's finalists Hull City, but because of the recent dire displays of Arsenal. But then again am hopeful of the cannon firing at the right time.
@mj_afc - for some reason I'm incredibly nervous about the final. I think we're going to lose and I've no idea why. I was quite happy to see Villa get a tanking yesterday, as they have been playing pretty decent of late.
@the_jersey_fitz – It’s a cup final and I will always be nervous about a cup final, even if we were playing a side from the conference. That said, the nerves this season aren’t nearly as bad as they were last season, and I think the players don’t have as much pressure on them, which is a positive.
@SuperArse710 - I'm naturally feeling nervous ahead of the cup final. The manner in which we've conceded in these past 2 games (cross from our right flank) gives me cause for concern as we'll be going up against a Villa with an on-form Benteke who is phenomenal aerially. If we can get our attacking play going again in these final two Premier League fixtures, it'll give me more confidence going into the Villa-game.
8) Any other thoughts
@dhaneshdprabhu - As much as I respect Wenger, sometimes I don't understand why he is not utilizing the team according to our strengths in big games. For me, Wenger has to pick the team which befits the formation and not try to fit the players where they are not at their best.
@mj_afc - Much has been made of our points tally against the top sides in the league but I've been quite happy with our away results against the top 5. One win, one defeat and two draws. It's key not to lose away and after last seasons disasters it appears we've learned some valuable lessons.
@the_jersey_fitz – I was really disappointed with Ospina for the goal. Think a keeper at a top club needs to be saving that, and I just think we need a new number one. Whether that means reintroducing Szczesny, who I still rate, and hoping he comes back into his form of last season, or buying someone new, I just don’t think Ospina is good enough to be a number one for us. But there are still two weeks left in the season, so I’ll hold off with the insufferable speculative transfer talk until then.
@SuperArse710 - It felt good to come back from a goal down to earn ourselves a positive result today. I can't recall the last time we actually responded well to going a goal down. Going into next season, it's also encouraging to see that we've approached the big away games with much more maturity than we did last season.