Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal: Vermaelen Shines In Draw

Jamie Sanderson April 28, 2011 Matches 66 Comments

Arsenal wrapped up their Premier Reserve League season with a 0-0 draw against Manchester United this evening. The point sees the Gunners’ extend their lead at the top of the table, but second place Chelsea now have two games in hand.

Neil Banfield was able to call upon the experience of Thomas Vermaelen at centre half – he replaced the suspended Ignasi Miquel in a defensive reshuffle. Chuks Aneke returned from injury, while Sead Hajrovic was dropped from the squad altogether after his poor showing at the Dallas Cup.

ARSENAL: Shea; Angha, Boateng, Vermaelen, Brislen-Hall; Ebecilio, Özyakup; Murphy, Aneke, Henderson, Aliadière.

MAN UTD: Amos, W Brown, Wootton, Gill, Dudgeon, R Brown, Bébé, Fletcher, Norwood, Obertan, Brady

Arsenal began brightly in front of a handful of fans at Old Trafford, but it was United who created the early threat. A series of long balls were all aimed at the visitors’ back four, but the returning Vermaelen headed everything away. It was a commanding start from the Belgian.

After showing off his defensive abilities, Thomas then sprayed a series of passes forward, but Arsenal struggled for end product. Then came a moment of contention, when Boateng headed the ball beyond the on rushing Shea, who appeared to foul Obertan outside the area. The United fans appealed for a red card, but it wasn’t given.

There was a card moment later, though, as Aliadière was booked for diving. It summed up a terrible first half for the Frenchman. Arsenal had struggled to make chances despite dominating the play, and United almost took advantage in the closing stages of the half, as two shots from Norwood threatened Shea’s goal. However, it was 0-0 at the break.

The second half saw first-teamers Fletcher and then Bébé replaced in quick succession, but United stepped up their attacking threat. Obertan and then Tunnicliffe both had chances in the wide areas, but confident defending from Vermaelen and Özyakup denied any end product.

Deacon was then introduced and after going to 4-4-2, Arsenal looked more balanced. Then came another moment of controversy, when Aliadière was chopped down by Amos, only for the referee to give Aliadière as offside, despite the fact he latched onto a back pass. Vermaelen ran over and began remonstrating, only for the hosts to break. A fine covering block from substitute Wynter prevented a dangerous chance for Keane.

It was end-to-end in the closing stages, but then three minutes from time, United should have scored. A short-corner found Gill from close range, and his powerful header looked goal bound before an unbelievable save from Shea tipped it onto the cross bar. It was a stunning stop to deny a certain goal.

It was the final meaningful action of a forgettable save. Banfield’s boys know they’re unlikely to feature in the Premier Reserve League title hunt, but the return of the excellent Vermaelen make it a fruitful evening.


  • Jamie who was your man of the match? I thought Oz played very well, Shea made a great save and Henderson also looked good. Aneke done well and he only just came back from injury.

  • can’t wait to see vermaelen in the 1st team.dont know whether we need to buy a center back.a little more support from midfield will be enough for our defence.what do u think jamie?

  • Fantastic save by Shea at the end, also Wynther played well when he came on. Midfield lacked creativity and not enough shots for us when we have so much possesion.

  • Great game against very strong manu team. Angha, Aneke and Ozy realy made great improvement.

  • here’s hoping Tomas gets a loads of games injury free now, good to have him back

    • I don’t think it helps having Aliadiere up front either. They don’t know him well enough and he’s not a proper target man and he’s too old or out of action too long to play with the kind of intensity that helps a team create problems for the defense.

  • Diaby, bendtner, almunia must go. Theiry henry must come. Fabiansky first choice, vito second choice, wojiech third choice. Up gunners.

  • What a boring,boring Arsenal ! This total football nonsense is just pathetic. It sucks the life out of me. First half we did not have a shot on goal. After the 50th min I gave up.Passing the ball in midfield all the time is boring.No hunger for goals.No dribbling no shooting… You can never win with this style.

    • Boring Boring Arsenal? Just don’t forget that some players came back from USA recently and play tired with jet lag! Give them more time then they will play better soon!

    • dude please!
      the whole arsenal reserve team is out on loan. most of them playing are under 18 and you still mourning

    • Dont forget that the players had a long trip back from the US, this week. And also alot of our players which may have played for reserves this season are on loan, players such as:

      Lansbury, Bartley, Vela, JET, Almunia would also have featured more had it not been injuries to the two players ahead of him.

      I dont see where you want the reserves/youth teams to be. The club has done right to let players go on loan and get experience. We have some good young players comming through which is good for the future.

  • Vermaelen how we have missed you? Vermaelen + Djouoru what a CB partnership

    • I’d much rather have Vermaelen and Koscielny as our CB partnership. I don’t think Kosher has got the credit he’s deserved. After a difficult start, and that Birmingham moment apart, I think he’s been pretty consistent. Don’t forget this is his first season of English football, and only his second of top flight football.

    • Kos is underrated, but he’s not been as good as you’ve made him out to be. He’s given away the most penalties for crying out loud.
      Everyone can see that Djourou has been our best CB this season.

  • wonderful save by shea, although he shouldnt have been on the pich.

    tbh i think you have been kind to arsenal…they were poor throughout and for the most part thoroughly dominated by man u. if it wasnt for vermaelen im sure arsenal would have been beaten.

    angha was shocking at right back – consistantly skinned by obertan when 1v1; failed to track him when he faked short then ran inbehind. going forward he took no responsibility when carrying the ball, choosing to turn backwards upon sight of a man u player. when he did make a good off the ball run in behind he misscontrolled (this happened at least three times).

    ebecilio again was completely anonymous suffering from the common arsenal trait of failing to take any responsibility. when he had the ball in the holding misfield area (thus lots of room in front of him) he failed to ever draw a player making it very easy for man u.

    hendersons passing was incisive and looked one of the few with technique of a decent standard (ozyakup, brislen hall). ozyakup looked capable when in possession but again failed to drive at any man u players. brislen hall hit some nice passes and a couple of dangerous deliveries into the box – his runs forward were one of the few dynamic things arsenal produced but you could see he was often unsure about where he should be running.

    in comparison to man u arsenal looked way behind. norwood for man u looked extremely good in possession rhys brown broke up play well and started off attacks nicely. the left wing produced some lovely moves with the left back left winger norwood and obertan linking up consistantly in a manner than arsenal never looked like replicating. man u produced several good overlaps from left back, and the left winger consistantly looked to attack arsenal players.

    arsenals options (meade & deacon) who came on late most likely with instructions to attack the fullbacks offered very little threat. deacon was predictable and never directly engaged the opposing player. meade looked more promising in this regard and managed to square teh fullback up a couple of times, but his end product was poor.

    murphy was fairly anonymous and when released in the channel late on found his touch wanting where all that was needed was a look up and square ball.

    vermaelens quality really shined through and the most positive thing about hsi performance was the obvious desire to create an attacking threat (that the rest of the team was failing to provide). he consistanly sprayed quality 40-50 yard balls to the wings but often found the receiver’s touch wanting. there was also the occasional off the ball run forward but it would have been nice to see him stride out of defense with the ball (a la dan agger) – this would have set an example the rest of the arsenal team of the dynamism that is needed to break lines – ozyakup, henderson, ebecilio never threatened to do this and will certainly need to if they are to get anywhere near the arsenal first team. one only need look at wilsheres game to see the effect it has – he constantly pushes forward looking to draw opposing players and engage them creating space behind them.

    overall arsenal looked extremely lacklustre and were thoroughly dominated by a man u team that were organised and used possession well. it was telling that arsenals best opening (aliadiere rounding the keeper which should have been a pen) came from a man u backpass. arsenal lacked any dynamism in midfield and urgency – players were too happy to drop deep and pick up the ball then lay it off – meaning that arsenal often had 6 players behind the ball when in possession in their own half allowing man u plenty of time to get organised. man u showed desire all over the pitch both to get forward and to win the ball back.

    having said that – if arsenal had the quality of players available to them who are currently out on loan i have no doubt they would have thoroughly beaten this man u team.

  • too many avarege players in our youth and we don’t have any wingers with pace/ skill to beat defenders. I watch this blog for long time, reading articles and comments from others, and I was shocked today when I saw players like aneke, henderson, murphy… all this hype for our young “talents” is for nothing, they are couple of avarege kids with no future at arsenal. aneke is something like diaby but with no skill, henderson can’t pass the ball, no pace and no skill, and murphy is one big LOL. THE ONLY player that can play some football is litle dutchman ozyakup, iniesta type of player, quick thinking, excelent passing, have some pace and skill to hold the ball.

  • Arsenal came back from America. Lol get real mate it was never going to be a great performance.

    How poor were overran and bebe lol honestly what a waste of money.

    • Utd can afford to waste money on those two clowns they are champions elect and in the CL final but we cant with our clowns in our squard Eboue Denilson Diaby and Bendtner on huge wages

  • Yes,Bebe and Obertan are waste of money but our total football lost against eintracht frankfurt without posing any danger.Our first team keeps losing against the same style of football. Sitting deep and hitting them on the counter while they pass the ball pointlessly all game long without testing the goalkeeper. It is not going to work,guys. Even teams like Sunderland,Blackburn,West Brom and Newcastle have found us out.Our players lack desire sometimes but it is the lack of tactics that they are suffering from most of the time.

    • Dont really know what ur on about. The fact is that some players are not up to it and dont seem bothered, whilst the manager is digging his stubburn heels in still believeing in the players who have let him down.

  • Aliadiere.What?Why?

  • Good performance for vermintor as for the attacking line they need to play shot and creat chance to be more ruthless in front of goal and not only to dominate.

  • @phv no worries u got my back i support u 100%.some of my friends who use to a fan of arsenal are making mockery of me saying how cud i still support arsenal, a few say i have a strong heart that they couldnt take it anymore.At the rate we are going we will lose it faster than we think

  • PHV





    Arsenals plan B ie chamakh, van persie, bendtner seems to work when we get crosses in but we only see to play that way when we need to win.

    Wenger needs to play differently towards the end of the season and rotate more its obvious we are tired and have no gas left

  • Arsene needs to play differently towards the end of the season & rotate players cos they are tired. HOW… Are we the only team playing since August… We only see to play that way when we need to win….. Which way, have seen a team with no back up plan all season how many times have we needed to win this season & how many have we won.We are chokers,as they say its our official drink

  • The Law (@De_Law)

    How you lot can take the immensely positive news of Vermaelen making his long-awaited comeback and spew out all this negative crap is quite simply beyond me. You really are a bunch of miserable sods, and it hurts me that you call yourselves Gooners.

    Jamie, great work once again. Is there any way to get a vid of the Shea save? People have been drooling over it on twitter and the like, and I would really love to see it.


  • Arsene Wenger have made terrible mistakes that was bringing two “experienced” defenders as Silvestre and Squillacy to consolidate our young defence, but they actually destroy us more than helping us, remmerber how carelessly Squilacy passed the ball to Diaby to let f*****cking Barton making the strong tackle to Diaby…then following up by the red card to stupid Diaby.

    We really need the experienced defender but not the old, slowly one. We need the one who can deal with the high balls and be ready to back up for two side-men. Mexes, Salkho, Cahill, Hangeland,…Please don’t bring the retired one to Emirates…

    • Funny thing is ‘Arsenal lacks experience’ is one of the first buttons everyone pushes before any crucial game or after some crushing defeat. And really, the choice of our 4th CB isn’t what ruins seasons (although they get to play a lot covering the injuries of key players)

  • Hilarious comments. Most of the guys who played tonight have just come back from playing four games in six days in 30C Dallas heat. When was the last time Obertan and Bebe had a game?! We were up against a much fresher and more experienced Man Utd, passed rings round them for large parts of the match, and nicked a draw. Well played lads.

  • Great job folks!! I read about 3 comments that made actual, grammatical sense!! Learn the language before you bash my club!!!!!

  • sounds like we was actually pretty good. we denied a lot of chances for united and kept the ball. Maybe try more in the final third but overall we have to be pretty satisfied. they was more experience and fresher than us.

  • If only you read the comments well b4 posting yours some of us here are not priviledge to watch the reserve play therefore cant judge them.But have seen the first team for over 50 games this season & what they have given us is crap,if that is good enough for you then fine but remember we are Arsenal with all due respect not totteham or everton

  • are the reports true that eastmond broke his annkle?


    If Arsenal won the league this year we are truly amazing , a fantastic achievement with such a young team .We finish second or third and we are absolutely rubbish with ‘no tactics’ , ‘chokers’ and ‘Arsene is clueless’.How bad is the rest of the league behind us then??? Arsenal consistently play at the very top on a fraction of the expenditure of Man utd and Chelsea and although it has been a frustrating 6 years are in a position financially and football wise to compete with the best for years to come.Some perspective please .Unfortunately so many people want instant success and nothing else matters.

  • Thank you Stoke Gunner, it’s very rare to see an Arsenal fan talking sense these days. There’s a plan for this squad of players, not just the club as a whole and I for one have no trouble putting my faith in the man that lead Arsenal to two doubles and a 49 match unbeaten run. I can understand the frustrations of some fans, I feel it too, but if you look at the overall picture Arsenal are probably the healthiest club in the world right now. The trophies will come, I have no doubts about it.

  • Yeah why dont u try this when gisting about football with your friends.”my team is in the best financial position to compete with the best till years to come” & if six years is not long enuf for to build a team then try till eternity.” If ” that is the most popular world we have been using for how many years now

    • Perhaps you would prefer to support Man Utd .At least you would be able to get the better of banter with your mates :)

    • Why dont you follow your friends leadand stop “supporting” Arsenal and go be a fan of chelsea or manU? You are a plastic

  • The last two comments have restored my faith in Arsenal fans. I’ve been lucky enough to be a season ticket holder at the Emirates for the last 3 years and it saddens me to hear the way our so called fans hammer the team. Like anyone I get frustrated and have been disappointed by our poor end to the season but as per the last couple of posts lets have some perspective. We’re not far off having a fantastic team and we should be applauded for having built a good team on a fraction of the budget the others have had. He’s wenger has made a few bad signings but in comparison to other teams i would say he’s got a lot more right than wrong…. I could go one buti want to make one final point. The media and opposition fans love to attack our club, manager and players. How about we as fans stick together and get behind the team? I don’t think there’s anyone who wants us to be successful again more than wenger himself. He has made mistakes but he’s only human. Every manager and player makes mistakes. Wenger for too long has had to carry the burden of the club having limited transfer funds and until recently having to sell at least one top player per season. He’s done this while keeping us competitive but not quite being able to get us to the level required. Have faith. We’re on the way back to greatness and for those unwilling to show support I find it hard to believe you are true fans. Look back over the years pre wenger and you’ll be reminded that all tho we are a great club with great tradition and history, we’ve also been in a lot worse position than we are now and we actually have a lot to be grateful for and to look forward too!

  • We always get the ball up to the edge of the area then keep playing it back and fourth-Predictable!
    What we need is a striker with electric pace like “Henry or Ian Wright” who can get beyond defenders before they regroup.
    Barcelona was scared of walcott because of his pace.We are missing a pacy striker and a “commanding” defender who can read the game like “john Terry or Tony Adams type of player”. What do you think?

  • Brilliant-I’ll give you wengers phone number.

  • Oh dear, there are some real fairweather plastics on here!

  • @Stoke gunner if u wanna know that is one of the main reasons u support a club.I can only be over the moon of the financial position if i get paid at season end & since i dont, the only thing i can ask of is success on the pitch + its not too much to ask from arsenal

  • @fatai

    Being a football fan is a lifetime commitment with many ups and downs. During the less glorious times that’s when you find out who the true fans are. Not picking up a trophy is massively disappointing but it’s not complete failure. All the top clubs have been through periods like this. With a bit more financial power around the corner the future is looking bright so lose the negativity! Be disappointed but get behind the team. Otherwise go support someone else

  • reserve jersey no.16 and 5 are not good enough. awfull play against manu.

  • supporting a team have nothing to do with winning title.but with the ticket price at on all time high and a big wage bill we expect all better from arsenal.
    but them our fan have been spoiled under wenger and when you are spoiling some they want more.
    look at the history of our club,the wenger years are the best of the club history by far.true we are not winning anything in 6 year but we are challenging

    look at our history after success normally our club was failling in mid table.not with it s raise expection and blind some fan who think it s normal arsenal is challenging everyyear

  • i heard that we gonna sign Gokhan Inler…but dunno how far its true…but any1 of u all think tat he can fit into arsenal’s squad…? but as player .. i like him.. a good DM with good range of passing and very energetic … yah v need energetic and strong midfielders…like HIM…

  • Once again there’s a couple on here praising Henderson’s performance. I implore these same people to watch a re-run of the game if you can. His passing accuracy was atrocious to say the least. Also, Aliadiere starting ahead of someone like Deacon, who is trying to learn the game and find a way to better his current level, is nothing less than a joke and pretty much sums up our beloved Club over recent years with regards to priorities. I bet it isn’t even NB’s decision to start our FORMER striker. Finally, Murphy on the wing? Really?? And Boateng is what has now become known as a ‘typical Arsenal defender’. Make of that what you will fellow Goons….

    • Did you take into consideration how much football Deacon played in the US, and that perhaps he was in desperate need of a break?

      You see, this is precisely what is very, very wrong with a section of fans. They go straight for the most ‘tabloid’ sensationalist explanation for anything that happens with the club.

      They can’t just see Deacon on the bench and think “he’s probably being rested, he played a lot in Dallas”. No, they have to put their tabloid hack hat on and think of something darker – I got it, it’s cos Aliadiere is French and Wenger loves him! Yes, that’s a good angle.

      Start being supporters and SUPPORT, instead of emulating the thought processes of tabloid scum.

  • So what about the rest of them that played in the U.S? Why did they play? I like you Wrenny. You make sensible comments the majority of the time but don’t get sucked bruv!

    • Oh I don’t know, perhaps because Banfield thought they were fresh enough to play but Deacon wasn’t?

      Tell me something – do you honestly believe in your theory that Wenger is making Banfield pick Aliadiere ahead of other players? Do you sincerely think that is the most plausible explanation?

    • You’re speculating – just like me and many other Arsenal fans. That’s all we can do looking at it from the outside. There are NO right or wrong answers. However, one thing is certain – that for too many years now, our dictators…..oh sorry…..’football club’ have lied to us over and over again! Many things don’t make sense and there has been BLATANT mismanagement! Why do you think the march is gonna happen? It was ALWAYS inevitable! This is ENGLAND bruvva! We don’t take too kindly to bs – especially when it’s served to us year after year after year when we know something can easily be done to remedy fans’ concerns. Fans? Who the fuck are they and what good are they though? They’re nobodies and they’re fickle! Just ask PHW! What many may not quite fathom is that his comments are a firm representation of just how much of a shit our beloved Club actually care about us, hence the recent price hike for ST’s. I happen to know what extortion and violation looks/feels like and can smell it from a mile away – and there has been a nasty stench coming from the Grove lately, by ALL involved (don’t get me started on our ‘fans’ who have the money to splash on a ticket, go along to the ground and make next to no noise at all)! But you’re more than welcome to your opinion mate.


      Dooomed , we’re all dooomed !


    There should be a sin bin created on this site to dump any so called fans spouting unrealistic ,ridiculous and negative comments .They should be kept there for at least one year and forced to watch videos of the Spuds and Manure 24/7 until they come to their senses and realise just how fortunate and privileged they are to ‘support’ Arsenal.

  • Whatever we think of Aliadiere’s quality, I’m pretty sure it’s been beneficial for our younger players to be in the same side as a fully-fit, experienced player who’s fighting for his next contract.

    It’s got to make more of an impression on them than the occasional appearance from a first-teamer coming back from injury.

  • All due respect to AS but even he admits that fans have a right to critise.If people are not comfortable with situation it just means they love the club and wants success.What is most painful is that the margin 4 success is so small.My regret and probably the major mistake of gunner is the fact is released a lot of senior player that cld have been important to build experience,spirit and mental strength.Unfofotuntely, you dont buy this at clubs it is only created.

  • @Rocky8 thanks man i am still an arsenal fan & still will be but its been about the down part for how long now, what this team lacks is there for all to see but AW just likes being stubborn & proving pple wrong but i dont think he knows that is his greatest flaw & we can only cry out to save our heart from being treated as toys.I remember i had to skip school bcos of the carling cup final cos i wanted to see us lift a trophy which we didnt but i still would if i see anoda cup final but the players & managers have got to do hold up their end & just give us their all on the pitch & we will be proud instead they think they can show up & its in the bag.Will we sign the players to drag us beyond the line,i can only hope so but i dont believe whatever it is that wenger says anymore cos he’s lied too many times before

  • Anyone else here think that maybe the reason aliadieres getting so much reserve team action is because he may be signed to replace bendtner on the cheap?!cringe… I only watched the first half but thought we played quite well,ok we didn’t create alot of clear cut chances but the performance was good considering they’ve just got back from the US and were playing a good united side at old Trafford. On another note I keep hearing how good jack jebb is,can anyone shine some light on him as I literaly know nothing about the lad at all??


    Arsenal moved to the Emirates to create a bright and modern future for the club in the long term.It cost a huge amount of money and a large debt which has now been drastically reduced by shrewd mamagement.Many disgruntled Arsenal fans are unhappy with recent lack of silverware and any signing of ‘superstar’ players.Signing ‘superstar’ players costs huge money in transfer fees and wages.Fans want ,no demand this , thinking it will solve everything. Signing a player for £25 million then adding five year contract another £25 milion .0ne player = £50 million .Fans then complain when high season ticket prices are hiked again.’Lies and extortion !!’ they cry .We want success ,low prices .We demand it now !!

    • Dont get it twisted mate. I aint one those fairweather delusional fans. They actually make me laugh with their demands/ideas. The akb’s are just as laughable because it’s got to the stage where they are trying to defend the undefendable. Wenger is to blame – he’s said as much. I aint calling for his head, i merely want to see an end to this dictatorship as it’s fucking ridiculous!

  • @Stoke gunner i think we are all making sense & if we keep going about this we will all keeping posting & deep down we all agree with each other one way or the other so sleep tight where ever it is that you are & best of luck to everyone & our beloved club in our endeavours

  • Didn’t see the game, but on the face of it 0-0 seems like a good outcome considering all the factors.

    The battle between Wenger lovers and haters across Arsenal fans looks to be reaching its peak. Crazy that regardless of how close we have come this season to winning some trophies, people make desperate cries to SACK Wenger. Who do they think would replace him? How much success do they think this will bring?

    There are problems, and we do need to improve, but I am sure Wenger is planning how to make these improvements, with the resources he has. Its not as if Spurs, Liverpool, City, Villa, Everton, etc are winning lots of trophies and having great times. Its only Chelsea and United who have been better than us for these 6 barron years, and these are teams who can buy strokers for £30 or £50 million and happily leave them on the bench week in week out!!!

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