'Gunners let off the hook'

2009-04-30 06:51

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson has warned his Manchester United side that they still have it all to do in their Champions League semi-final second leg against Arsenal next week.

The holders will carry the narrowest of advantages into the fixture, after John O'Shea's strike - only his second goal in 60 Champions League appearances - gave them a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in Wednesday night's first leg.

United might easily have won by a more comfortable margin and, although their manager was happy with his side's performance, he was quick to dismiss any notion that a place in next month's final in Rome is assured.

Ferguson is expecting a sterner test from Arsene Wenger's side at the Emirates Stadium but feels that scoring in London will be key to booking a trip to the Italian capital.

"We have given ourselves a good chance overall," the Scot declared. "The more pleasing aspect is that before the game we said try and win 1-0 and not lose a goal and we have done that.

"The performance level was very good, we have players who can score goals and we will be a goal threat at their ground but the tie is not over.

"Arsene (Wenger the Arsenal manager) will be thinking it's been a good day for him, he could be out of the tie but he is not and I suppose another way of looking at it is that we always do things the hard way.

"This is another night when we have got our fans frustrated where we maybe should be into the final but we are not but we have done that many times.

"We did it in the last round (against Porto) and we will have to go through the process of taking the game to the wire again probably."

Ferguson also rued the fact his side have to play in the Premier League against Middlesbrough on Saturday as they look to close in on the domestic title.

And he believes that will give Arsenal an advantage because they will be able to rest their players in anticipation of the rematch.

He added: "That's Arsenal's big advantage now, they could play (assistant manager) Pat Rice at right-back and Arsene at centre-forward at Portsmouth if they like because it doesn't matter to them.

"We have to play a team to win at Middlesbrough in a lunchtime kick-off, I don't think that's right but we will have to get on with it."

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was Arsenal's only truly impressive player as he made three stunning first half saves to keep the scoreline respectable as the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Theo Walcott and Samir Nasir all produced woeful displays for the visitors.

Cristiano Ronaldo also hit the bar and Ryan Giggs had a goal ruled out for offside as United pushed and pushed for a nerve-settling second goal that would simply not arrive.

Yet despite watching his side look second best in all departments, Wenger remains in bullish mood ahead of the second leg and is confident Arsenal can still beat United.

"At home, I am convinced you will see a different Arsenal team and we still have a very good chance to reverse the result," he said.

"Football is like that and you can play tomorrow again and it will be a different game.

"We have the quality to do it and we believe that at home we can do that."

Wenger accepted that Arsenal had been outplayed at Old Trafford but insists his squad can make United rue their plethora of missed opportunities when they travel to London for the return fixture.

"I believe the tie is very open," he added. "They can have regrets because they didn't score a second and it's down to us to make them regret that they didn't score a second goal."

"When you play at home and you know you can go to a final, you will be up for it."

Rio Ferdinand was United's only injury concern following the first leg as he was substituted late on with a rib injury and looks set to miss the Middlesbrough match as a result. A scan will determine if he has a fracture which could rule him out for up to three weeks.


  • mergan - 2009-04-30 07:16

    i am a arsenal supporter, and i think arsenal has done very bad in yesterdays game against manchester united. hope they do well in next weeks game.

  • halu - 2009-04-30 07:16

    this has been one of the worst dispalys by the gunners. I have to admit United were good on the day or were made to be good by lacklustre perfomance and lack of creativity from the gunners. its so unusual for them to loose possesion like they did yesterday. there is just no ways united will go to Emirates and loose. they will either go for the draw which is not united we know or they will go for a solitary goal and then end the day. Arsenal is very different to Liverpool, they don't score a lot of goals like liverpool do, they believe in possesion and 1 or 2 odd goals. I don't anticipate a comeback from them at all.

  • gp kaotsane - 2009-04-30 07:55

    Good luck to Gunners for next week on their second leg at the Emirates, go for it, you can do it...

  • Glory Glory - 2009-04-30 08:18

    United was all over them,I take my hat off to the the gunners keeper,he was awesome.

  • maxie - 2009-04-30 09:14

    Well done UTD!!! Good attacking, deserved 2 or 3 nil. How was that shot from Ronaldo off the cross bar? Their keeper had the game of his life - great saves. Giggs is playing the best football of his life even though it was only the last 20 mins - the best passer in the world

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-30 09:21

    I have a soft spot for the Gunners, but also dont think they can overcome Man Utd in the 2nd leg. Maybe with van Persie back they could sneak it... If Arshavin could play I would def back them at the Emirates!

  • Red Blooded - 2009-04-30 09:31

    Another masterclass performance from the best team on the planet ! Wenger is high if he thinks Arsenal can beat us

  • Nash the Gunner - 2009-04-30 09:40

    Good game by Carrick, Fletcher and Rooney, they really outplayed our midfield, Arsenal was very dissapointing, they showed now passion for such a big occassion. Lets just hope they show a better performance at the Emirates

  • Gerald - 2009-04-30 09:44

    MU were the better side on the night but their passing was fairly inaccurate at times. They will have to improve this aspect of their game if they wish to beat Arsenal in the second leg next week.

  • Shaheen - 2009-04-30 10:34

    United are starting to look ominous at the business end of the season. A very good performance in midfield, was particularly impressed with Carrick and Fletcher bossing the Midfield. All in all a solid performance with quite a number of chances gone begging. Well 1-0 is better than nothing and United to have a slight advantage. All to play for at The Emirates. ONE UNITED!

  • Carlsberg - 2009-04-30 10:50

    Being a Liverpool fan this is going to seem anti-Man U (its not), but I think Arsenal do actually have a good chance of going through now. They were very fortunate not to concede more goals of course, but that could end up being the difference in this tie... The Gunners should be better at home, you'd think

  • Zee - 2009-04-30 10:56

    Glory United! Played very well last night, would have been into the final had it not been for the Gunners' awesome keeper!

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-30 10:57

    Man Utd might have won the first leg proving the fact that , the home side should always enjoy majority of the ball position, however, one goal lead is really not a ticket to Rome ,they should have punished Arsenal maybe by three goals to secure a place in the final so as Barca. Arsenal is the team that always do things the hard way , that will certainly give Sir Alex a huge challenge as they did with them in the home last night .

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-30 11:10

    I am United fan and enjoyed the game last night, however I'm getting fed up with Ronaldo's attitude on the field. He is turning into a real prima donna. He must stop trying to bully referees into giving him free kick he didn't deserve

  • The Stretford Faithful - 2009-04-30 11:57

    Neither teams should feel dissapointed by their performance last night Almunia was a demon and finally carrick and o'shea played properly i think wenger made the right choice to put gibbs against ronaldo someone with the pace to match his and the hunger the younger players have to prove themselves it will be a bloody good game next week at emirates unfortunately i feel united will go through even when arsenal are playing at their best we still have the abilty to hold them ferdinand in particular holds our defence together better than anyone could the man is a brick wall, noone can dispute that

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-30 12:10

    Arsenals worst performance by far.They were not themselfs missing a few good players on another night it would be game on.UTD were all over them Credit to the Arsenal Keeper awesome saves.The return match would be a diff ball game Arsenal made UTD look good as they playing sloppy football at the moment. UTD should have sealed their passage to Rome.Lets hope the next game woud be more interesting than seeing Ronaldo diving all over the place....

  • Chase - 2009-04-30 13:27

    Dont forget the fact that van Persie and Clichy should be fit for next weeks game. Thought Ade has a horrible game. Would start with van Persie and Eduardo. Wish Arshavin wasnt cup tied cause he would have made a huge difference. Go the Gunners! Lets knock out Manyoo!!!

  • Strike - 2009-04-30 17:55

    Arsenal made United look good????? Man i think i need to change my tv set cos thats not what i saw. Anyway Ally boy saved ur goose gunners, excellent keeping. I think United has the big match temperament and experience to see them thru, nonetheless its gonna be a cracker of a match.

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