Search

All Guns Blazing: Will FA Cup result be a crossroads for Arsenal and Manchester United?

11:35 11 March 2015

Arsenal

Arsenal's Nacho Monreal celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game against Manchester United. Picture: Nigel French/PA

EMPICS Sport

In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti enjoys Manchester United’s loss as well as Arsenal’s win.

More than any other sport, one of the most pronounced quirks of being a football fan is that you can enjoy watching your opponents lose as well as enjoy watching your team win.

On Monday night, this was certainly the case, but on a karmic level it also felt good for the sport. For years Manchester United have built up a culture of cheating and bullied officials, so to see Michael Oliver bravely stand up to the pathetic dives of Angel di Maria and Adnan Januzaj was both hilarious and a vital step towards confronting a modern scourge on the game.

While supporters across the globe will surely have revelled in the latest chapter of United’s fall (or perhaps dive) from grace, there’s a more personal resonance for Gooners. Wayne Rooney’s rotten antics that ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run still linger fresh in the memory, but since our FA Cup triumph against them in 2005, a chasm unquestionably opened up in the fortunes of the two old rivals.

Considering Arsenal’s recent Monaco debacle, it would be premature to suggest Monday marked any major turning point for either club. Nonetheless, you would hope in terms of this season alone it signals the meeting point between a team capable of finishing strongly and another limply lumping long balls towards mediocrity.

Barring a Champions League miracle, our hopes for this season now lie in the FA Cup. It’s an almost mirror image of last year, though if there’s one big difference now, it’s that we’ve begun to beat the big teams.

The work-rate against United was superb – not just from obvious new recruits Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, but also from players who seemed to have been inspired by them this season, such as Santi Cazorla and the freshly crocked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Because of this, a new ethos seems to be evolving. Gone is the Barcelona-lite era of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, this is now Arsene Wenger’s Deutsche model of technique and industry.

With what will still undoubtedly be a tricky cup tie against Reading or Bradford on the horizon – not to mention the top four battle and a slim chance of Champions League redemption – this approach has a long way to go to truly bear fruit. At the very least, it’s nice to see Arsenal finding an identity again – even more so when certain rivals seem be quickly losing theirs.

Follow me @alexbellotti

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 13:15
Highgate captain Jake Sharland was dismissed for a duck in their defeat to Brondesbury on Saturday. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate skipper Jake Sharland expects no favours from neighbours Hornsey when his side attempt to clinch survival by beating them in Saturday’s derby showdown.

Yesterday, 07:11
Mesut Ozil (left) and Alexis Sanchez celebrate at Vicarage Road as Watford's Jose Holebas looks on

OK Arsenal fans, you can come out now…for the time being at least. The dismantling of Watford on Saturday evoked distant, pre-navel gazing memories of how things used to before Arsenal scrutiny became ‘hip’ in the football industry.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue

The match stats team at bettingexpert pored over the recent history of league contests between Arsenal and Watford – who meet at Vicarage Road on Saturday – and discovered that, while the Gunners secured a 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last term, all of their goals came in the second half.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Times ABC's Jules Philips. Pic: Dieter Perry

Islington super-bantamweight Jules Phillips is getting ready to go to war – four months after leaving the Army behind.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

London Blitz chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy is determined to make amends for last year’s BritBowl defeat to London Warriors when the teams clash again in the end-of-season showpiece.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Arsenal promo

Here’s your chance to see the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg pull on the Arsenal shirt just one more time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Sandun Dias hit 85 for Highgate. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate hauled themselves out of the drop zone again as the weather helped them to secure a narrow victory at Enfield in Division Two of the Middlesex County League.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now