Arsenal came into Old Trafford riding high. During the week they had defeated Dortmund, last year’s Champion League winners. Arsenal was at the top of the EPL table but they left Old Trafford humbled by a post-Alex Ferguson Manchester United team that outplayed Arsenal before 76,000 fans.
The score line was a mere 1-0 defeat, a header by the former Arsenal player, Van Persie, made the difference. David Moyes had been vindicated. Arsenal never got going. Ozil who was invisible in the first half came alive in the second but that fluidity of attack that Arsenal has displayed this season was left in the locker room.
Rooney sparkled and played on both sides of the ball. Manchester United, the defending champions, are still in the hunt for this year’s title.
Manchester City vs Sunderland
Manchester City continued their road woes as they just do not play well in opponents’ back yard. The lowly Sunderland defeated bravely and stoutly. In the last part of the game, Manchester City swarmed all over Sunderland but they held on to come away with three desperately needed points.
Manchester City this season has become adept at inflicting wounds on itself. Sometimes they take the field and look like champions. Other times, they seem disinterested. If that inconsistency continues, they will not finish in the top four despite the abundance of talent at the club.
Chelsea vs West Brom
Mourinho’s shake ups are not paying any dividends. Chelsea, like Manchester, has an abundance of talent but the manager and players are still struggling to find the right combination. Mourinho places a premium on defense but Chelsea is lacking in creativity in the last third. Hazard, Oscar, Willian and E’too are tricky players but the combination to unlock defenses eludes Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Chelsea barely eked out a draw against West Brom as the referee awarded them a penalty in the final stages of an unimpressive performance.
Playing in the Europa and the Championship League is affecting the performance of the top teams when they play that weekend in the EPL. Then there are the international fixtures. All play and no rest makes Jack a fatigued competitor.
The beautiful game that we cherish as futbolrs provides us with valuable lessons; sometimes, tragedies are also a part of this complex, beautiful game that we all share. And these tragedies in itself speak on a much greater narrative in regards to the way our societies and communities interact with one another. This past year we saw the movement of athletes empowering others to speak up and have a meaningful voice in social injustice, in communities, and in mental health. For the football community there is more work to be done, and the loss of Seid Visin only reinforces the amount of work that is needed to truly make this game an all-inclusive family. This week’s newsletter pays tribute to the loss of 20 year old adopted Ethiopian-Italian futbolr Seid Visin who struggled with the demons of mental illness. Taking his own life, the former Milan Primavera academy talent was a rising star in the ranks of Italian football before finally withdrawing from his dreams back in 2016-2017.