Ferguson admits Man Utd overwhelmed by Arsenal’s passion and pace in 1-1 draw
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits his side overwhelmed by Arsenal’s pace and aggression in the beginning of the 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Sunday. The Gunners took only two minutes to draw first blood through Theo Walcott, who charged down the right flank before slotting the ball into back of the net.
Arsenal were unable to keep the early-goal and the home advantage as Manchester United came back just before halftime through a spot-kick goal. It was the former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, who walked up to the spot to score against his old club.
The Gunners charged back guns blazing in the second-half, but Manchester United matched them through the rest of the game.
“The first 20 minutes, I think we were surprised at some of their aggression and tackles,” Sir Alex Ferguson said.
“I think that Arsenal set off at a fantastic pace, very aggressive and a lot of tackles, and I think the referee [Phil Dowd] just couldn't keep up.”
The newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester United seemed a touch out of practice, perhaps too much partying had slowed them. Nonetheless, Sir Alex Ferguson was present to defend his players by criticizing match referee Phil Dowd for booking five of Manchester United’s players: Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Rafael and Robin van Persie.
“When we have a foul, he's booked us right away,” Sir Alex Ferguson complained. “We have one of the best disciplinary records in the country. For Man Utd to have five players booked, I don't think that's right.”
Meanwhile, the Emirates boss Arsene Wenger finally appeared to be satisfied with the performance of his men. The Frenchman admits his players gave their all from the first to the last minute, it was two teams giving absolutely everything to win”.
“We gave everything and, at the end of the day, the regret you have is the way we conceded the goal just before half-time,” Arsene Wenger added. “That was a serious blow to us.”
Arsene Wenger had asked home fans to show respect Robin van Persie, who was returning to the Emirates for first time since jumping ship from Arsenal to Manchester United last summer. The Netherlands international was booed throughout the game, something which was labeled as “disappointing” Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal’s goalscorer Theo Walcott was happy with his early strike. The 24-year-old England international has been begging Arsene Wenger to let him play upfront and with the absence of Oliver Giroud his wish came true.
“There are still three very important games left. We have just got to concentrate on ourselves,” Theo Walcott said. “I think if you look back, both teams will think it was fair. Both teams didn't really want to lose the game. Overall, it will be a good point come the end of the season.”