Manchester U 8 Arsenal 2
Manchester United 8 Arsenal 2, Old Trafford, English Premier League, August 28, 2011. Reigning Barclays Premier League Champions Manchester United outclassed fellow Premiership title contenders Arsenal to the tune of a 8-2 score at their Old Trafford fortress courtesy of a treble from Wayne Rooney, a brace from Ashley Young, and one goal apiece from Ji-sung Park, Luis Nani, and Danny Welbeck.
Manchester United pulled off one of the best results in the history of the club with a stunning home win over Arsenal. United had overcome West Bromwich Albion and Tottenham Hotspur in their two opening encounters of the 2011-12 Premier League campaign, whereas Arsenal had drawn against Newcastle United and been defeated by Liverpool. Sir Alex Ferguson´s starting eleven against The Arsenal included goalkeeper David de Gea; defenders Jonathan Evans, Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling; midfielders Tom Cleverley and Oliveira Anderson; and forwards Ashley Young, Luis Nani, Wayne Rooney, and Danny Welbeck. Arsenal Head Coach Arsene Wenger, for his part, started with a lineup containing goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny; defenders Johan Djourou, Carl Jenkinson, Laurent Koscielny, and Armand Traore; midfielders Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, and Tomas Rosicky; and forwards Andrey Arshavin, Robin van Persie, and Theo Walcott. There were plenty of goals and plenty of action as Manchester United deconstructed Arsenal by a overwhelming 8-2 margin at Old Trafford, and not even producer and stage designer Sir Alex could possibly have foreseen the deluge of goals that would flow at The Theatre of Dreams in Manchester. The Reds were 3-1 up at the half-time break, and the aggressive and spirited home players continued to dominate the proceedings in the second half of the Premiership fixture, adding five further goals to eventually run out comprehensive winners in the end. The result was Arsenal’s heaviest defeat since suffering a 8-0 loss at the hands of East Midlands club Loughborough Town at Athletic Ground in a League Division Two game on the 12th of December 1896.
The first goal of the eagerly anticipated encounter between the two teams arrived in the 22nd minute of the contest when a long and lofty pass from dynamic area-to-area midfield playmaker Oliveira Anderson found the onrunning Danny Welbeck who brilliantly headed the ball over the gloved hands of hapless Poland international goal protector Wojciech Szczesny and into the back of the net to give Manchester United the upper hand. A fairly innocent challenge inside the the eighteen-yard box from versatile Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans on talented thespian and promising music hall fall guy Theo Walcott resulted in a penalty to the guests shortly afterwards, but the subsequent spot-kick from Netherlands international Robin van Persie was magically saved by summer signing David de Gea. United responded instantly, however, as former Watford and Aston Villa flanker Ashley Young curled the ball past Szczesny in the 28th minute of action. A mere seven minutes later, though, Manchester United suffered an injury blow when a hamstring injury brought Welbeck´s afternoon to an abrupt end, and he was subsequently replaced with fellow frontman Chicharito.
The Old Traffordians stretched their advantage further when Wayne Rooney netted a third goal for the red shirts after 41 minutes of action with an absolutely astonishing twenty-yard free-kick which flew past Wojciech Szczesny and into the top left corner of the net before Walcott managed to pull one back for The Gunners as his low shot from inside the penalty area beat De Gea a few minutes later. But only nine minutes after the half time refreshments, Rooney´s bravado surfaced again when the born again goal plunderer found the target for Manchester United with another unstoppable free-kick, before Portuguese wing wizard Luis Nani elegantly chipped the ball over the Polish net custodian in the 67th minute of the totally one-sided clash to make the scoreline read 5-1 in the favour of the hosts. Ferguson´s United were soon attacking Arsenal again and Ji-Sung Park, who had come on for Nani eight minutes past the hour mark, made the seventh goal of an entertaining clash when the South Korean midfield dog of war received a clever diagonal backwards pass by Young and sent the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net in the 70th minute of play.
The real drama then unfolded in the latter stages of the the second frame. Dutch master Van Persie managed to procuce a second consolation goal for the Emirates Stadium club in the 74th minute of the tussle, but the North Londoners found themselves reduced to ten men soon after when former Charlton Athletic right fullback Carl Jenkinson was rightfully ordered off the pitch by match official Howard Webb for a mindless, and unnecessary, tackle on Hernandez. And yet there was even more drama to come as the clock ticked down when actor turned midfield combatant Theo Walcott employed boot force and ignorance to bring down attack minded left fullback Patrice Evra inside the the area in the 82nd minute. With the cool confidence of a Zen master, Rooney blasted his spot-kick past the somewhat overworked Arsenal shot stopper and into the right-hand corner of the goal to complete a tremendous treble for Manchester United, before the irrepressible Young recorded the last and tenth goal of the day in stoppage time with yet another curling shot.
In other Premier League encounters, Newcastle United defeated Fulham 2-1 at St James’ Park, Tottenham Hotspur succumbed to an embarrassing 1-5 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at White Hart Lane, Liverpool beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 in front of a 45,000 crowd at Anfield thanks to a goal each by Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel, and Charlie Adam, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers played out a goalless draw at Villa Park, Wigan Athletic emerged 2-0 winners over Premier League new boys Queens Park Rangers at DW Stadium, Blackburn Rovers went down 1-0 against David Moyes´s Everton at Ewood Park where former Real Sociedad winger Mikel Arteta scored the winner for The Toffeemen from the penalty spot in stoppage time, newly promoted Swansea City were held to a goalless draw by Sunderland at Liberty Stadium, West Bromwich Albion suffered a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at The Hawthorns, and 2010-11 Premier League runners-up Chelsea secured a 3-1 victory against top-flight newcomers Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.
After inflicting Arsenal’s biggest defeat for well over 100 years, Manchester United climbed to the very top of the Premier League table for the very first time of the 2011-12 campaign. The Reds of Old Trafford now had a maximum nine points from three games played so far and were top on goal difference with their cross-town enemies Manchester City, who also were on nine points. Apparently, Manchester United head coach Sir Alex Ferguson was not ready to ride his white horse into the sunset quite yet. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra, Phil Jones, Jonathan Evans, Oliveira Anderson, Luis Nani, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young. Substitutes: Anders Lindegaard, Rio Ferdinand, Fabio da Silva, Ryan Giggs, Ji-sung Park, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez. Arsenal Team: Wojciech Szczesny, Carl Jenkinson, Laurent Koscielny, Johann Djourou, Armand Traore, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Andrei Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Robin Van Persie. Substittues: Lukasz Fabianski, Ignasi Miquel, Henri Lansbury, Oguzhan Ozyakup, Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain, Marouane Chamakh, Gilles Sunu.
Manchester United´s Previous Ten Matches
Schalke 0 Manchester United 2
Arsenal 1 Manchester United 0
Manchester United 4 Schalke 1
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1
Blackburn Rovers 1 Manchester United 1
Manchester United 4 Blackpool 2
Barcelona 3 Manchester United 1
Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3
West Bromwich Albion 1 Manchester United 2
Manchester United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson