(0) 1 - 1 (0) Arsenal
Old Trafford, Wednesday 17th February 1999. kick-off: 7.45 or 8.00 (??
FA Carling Premiershipsee below for reports by: Rupe, Derek
(0) 1 - 1 (0) Arsenal
Old Trafford, Wednesday 17th February 1999. kick-off: 7.45 or 8.00 (??
FA Carling Premiership
scorers: Cole 60 Anelka 48 (Yorke missed pen) Arsenal: Seaman Dixon Adams Bould Winterburn (Vivas 78) Parlour Hughes Vieira Overmars (Diawara 87) Anelka Kanu (Garde 61)I wasn't able to watch this one properly so we'll have to wait for the full report to come in.
Arsenal started off taking the game to United, Schmeicehl saving from Parlour and Dixon trying a quick chipped free-kick with Schmeichel just off his line (but it went just too high and dropped onto the roof of the net). But the clearest chance of the first half was a dubious penalty given after Bould made minimal contact and Keane (?) went flying. Yorke stepped up to take the penalty (Irwin missed the game) and put it wide of Seaman's left-hand post.
Arsenal started the second half with a goal, Kanu did well dragging the ball past Stam, and Gary Neville's desperate tackle only caused the ball to pop out sideways into the path of Anelka who knocked it in.
Cole's equaliser came from a great Phil Neville cross which just cleared the defender to leave the striker a clear header.
Cole had a chance to seal a win 10 minutes later with a clear run, but Bould managed to get across and block it, and Seaman saved the second attempt. Yorke also had a good chance late on, saved by Seaman whose goalmouth heroics earned him a Man of the Match award.
One down point: Vieira was booked and misses a game.
Chelsea also drew, so the top of the table hasn't changed much.
Result : Manchester United (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 1 Scorers: Cole 60 Anelka 47 Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams; Vieira, Hughes, Parlour, Overmars; Kanu, Anelka Subs: Garde (Kanu 61), Vivas (Winterburn 78), Diawara (Overmars 87), Grimandi, Manninger Booked: Parlour, Vieira, Bould Man Utd: Schmeichel, G Neville, Johnsen, Stam, P Neville, Beckham, Butt, Keane, Blomqvist, Yorke, Cole Subs: Scholes (Blomqvist 61), Giggs (Butt 78), Van Der Gouw, Solskjaer, Brown Booked: Yorke, Keane Att: 55171 Ref: Gary Willard (Worthing)Lacking 3 of their most influential players last night, Arsenal went some way towards confounding the pundits who cite a lack of depth in the squad as a reason for the Gunners not retaining the championship. On a horrible night and horrible pitch at Old Trafford the champions held the pretenders to a draw, and indeed for a period at the start of each half had the better of the game. In the end though the visitors were indebted to David Seaman for 3 outstanding saves as United made the greater number of chances.
Bould replaced the injured Keown, Hughes and Kanu came in for the suspended Petit and Bergkamp, but in the opening phase of the game they were barely missed and I thought Arsenal bossed the opening 25 minutes or so. Early on a nice touch by Kanu in the area gave Parlour a half chance, but his snap volley lacked the pace or direction to seriously trouble Schmeichel. The keeper was worried a few minutes later after Parlour had been fouled about 30 yards out on the right. Dixon spotted Schmeichel off his line and took the free kick quickly, but his speculative lob was just too strong and landed on the roof of the net.
However, Arsenal's best chance fell to Overmars. Vieira swung in a diagonal cross from the right which was cleared at a stretch, but Vieira picked up the clearance and spotting Overmars in space on the left swung it in again to perfectly pick out the winger all on his own at the far post. He had a difficult high volley, but should have done better than to blaze a left foot shot wide with only Schmeichel to beat.
At the other end United were finally starting to become a threat. Cole cut in on the left and Seaman couldn't hold his angled shot, but Adams, Vieira and Dixon calmly played their way out of the area. Seaman made a much better save a few minutes later. Keane charged down the middle after playing a one-two with Cole, got a lucky break through Bould's legs as he challenged on the edge of the area which left him clear, but Seaman brillianty deflected his shot wide of the near post.
A couple of minutes later the home team had an even better chance when the ref awarded a penalty for Parlour's challenge on Johnsen, a bit of a home call methinks. The challenge was a bit silly particularly as it was right in the corner of the area, but the replay showed Parlour pulling out of it and Johnsen throwing himself down after slight contact. However Parlour's yellow card for dissent was Arsenal's only minus from the incident because Yorke sidefooted the spot kick wide of Seaman's left hand post. Almost as good as a goal, and all the sweeter because it was Yorke.
A couple of minutes later United missed another good chance when Cole turned Bould in the area and fired in a shot from an angle on the right. Seaman was equal to it again though, and pulled another brilliant save.
At the other end Adams had what looked a decent chance from a corner but mistimed his header and Schmeichel made an easy save. The keeper almost made a mess of things soon afterwards though when he and Johnsen dithered over a through ball and Anelka's pace allowed him to nip in and challenge Schmeichel. The ball spun clear but Overmars was a bit slow following in and a defender cleared. An Overmars pass (no, really) then almost played Anelka in down the middle but Schmeichel was quickly out of his area and just beat the striker to the ball.
The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Arsenal took the lead. Adams slipped a pass forward to Parlour and he in turn fed Kanu just outside the area. The Nigerian dummied a return pass inside but brilliantly turned past Stam, and got away from him into the area. He took one stride too many though to get the ball onto his right foot instead of hitting it with his left, and Phil Neville was able to come across to make a good block. The ball ricocheted out to Anelka who was thus unmarked on the right, and he rammed the ball high into the net from about 12 yards.
Arsenal proceeded to dominate the next 10-15 minutes, but despite some good positions couldn't find the killer final ball. On at least one occasion though they were denied by the linesman's flag. Adams went on one storming trademark run forward which ended when he played in Anelka on his left. The young Frenchman was clear, but the linesman's flag went up when the replay showed he was comfortably onside.
It was thus somewhat against the run of play that Man Utd equalised, with something of soft a goal almost out of nothing. Dixon probably gave Phil Neville too much space on the left, inviting him to turn back onto his better foot, which he did. The fullback chipped over a cross which found Cole having given Bould the slip, unmarked in the middle and he nodded easily past Seaman from the 6yd line.
United then had the better of the rest of the game and had several good chances to have pinched the points, but poor finishing and Seaman kept the scores level. Cole had two good chances created when dummies by Yorke fooled the Arsenal defence, but both times he shot weakly at Seaman. Earlier on he'd been denied when a ball over the top found him running clear of Bould and Adams, but after he'd checked in the area to leave himself with a clear shot Bould recovered brilliantly to deflect the ball wide.
Probably their best chance to sneak the 3 points came about 5 minutes from time when Giggs stabbed a ball forward and it deflected off a defender to reach Yorke on the 6 yd line. It seemed he only had to get it on target but Seaman came out and brilliantly deflected his shot wide. To add to the Gooners' delight the ref gave a goal kick.
At the other end Arsenal had the odd breakaway which threatened, but again some bad final choices or touches, notably from Overmars, meant they were wasted. Meanwhile the home team were rather fortunate to end the game with 11 men on the pitch. I didn't see Keane kicking Hughes in the head in the 1st half, but he was certainly lucky to only receive yellow in the 2nd in an incident which also ended with Vieira being booked. The Frenchman got away from Keane in the middle of the park, Keane got hold of his shirt and hauled him back, then kicked him and after Vieira had swung an arm back in retaliation, punched him as well. I make that 2 yellow and 1 red card in the space of about 3 seconds. I think Butt also followed up to whack Vieira with his knee as he was on the ground.
Yorke was also lucky to stay on the pitch after a horrific challenge on Bould. The veteran defender slid full length to clear a ball in the middle of the pitch and Yorke launched himself studs first into Bould's chest with absolutely no intent of playing the ball. Automatic red card in my view, but having already been booked he didn't even get a second yellow.
Bould did recover after extensive treatment and might himself have been sent off a couple of minutes before the end when he cleverly baulked Scholes' as he threatened to run through into the area. The ref decided Vivas was coming across to cover so deemed a yellow card sufficient. Beckham's free kick deflected off the wall to the unmarked Keane about 8 yards out wide of goal, but as Dixon threw himself across in an attempt to block, Keane blasted wildly over the bar.
All in all a pretty enjoyable game and a superb performance from Arsenal particularly bearing in mind the missing players. United did have the better chances, but Arsenal controlled the game for long stretches at the start of each half and overall looked composed.
Seaman 9.0 Three quite brilliant saves, needed to be at his best and was. Dixon 8.0 Typically solid and determined. Winterburn 7.5 Also a typical Nutty game, though he did seem to be struggling a bit with an injury in the 2nd half. Vivas Did pretty well again I thought, particularly getting forward in support late in the game. Bould 7.5 I thought he was at least partially culpable for the goal but otherwise some characteristically calm and resolute defending. Adams 8.5 Another brilliant display of defending. Vieira 9.0 Awesome, right back to his best. Realised the extra responsibility without Petit and shouldered it. Garde Did another good job covering in front of defence. Hughes 7.5 Had a reasonable game, particularly in the 2nd half. Parlour 7.5 Again gave his all, though there were a couple of frustratingly poor final touches. Overmars 6.5 Fairly disappointing overall, particularly in holding on to the ball too long on a couple of breaks late in the game. Kanu 7.5 Very encouraging full debut. Showed a really good first touch, despite looking a little off the pace on occasion has a deceptive style which sees him retain possession when you think he's about to lose it. Anelka 7.5 A good finish, and kept making some good runs.Derek
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