UPDATE: YouTube emailed to say they have taken the video down due to a copyright infringement claim by the FA Premier League. I’ve filed an appeal but having never been in this situation before I don’t know if I’ll ever hear back from them. Bit bummed as it took me about five hours to do that video and the YouTube annotation system is really well set up for this sort of thing. For the record, I understand the need for the FA to control their copyrighted material. It has tremendous financial value and they have stakeholders that are entitled to any revenues that flow from their intellectual property. I just want to point out that this blog has no advertising on it and does not derive revenue from any other source and my YouTube account is not set up on their AdSense program so there is no revenue flowing from YouTube to me although it could be argued that YouTube could derive revenues from ads they choose to run on the page showing videos I have put up. I still believe that if the video is hosted on an American website (YouTube) and there are laws allowing for educational use of copyright material, my use of Premier League highlights should fall under that category.
It was a remarkable game. 8-2. Maybe even a watershed moment for clubs moving in different directions.
A ten goal blowout between two teams that are ostensibly among the league’s best. United, having been embarrassed by Barcelona just three months ago in the Champions League Final fielded a very different lineup against Arsenal. Not only is Van Der Sar replaced in goal by newcomer De Gea, but Evra was the only defender (mainly due to injuries) that started both games. United’s entire midfield was changed to as they shifted from Carrick, Valencia, Giggs and Park to Cleverley, Young, Anderson and Nani. Rooney kept his spot up front but his partner on the day was Danny Welbeck rather than Chicharito.
In other words, nine new faces against Arsenal from the squad that was taken apart by Barcelona at the end of May.
Of course Arsenal were different from their last game of the season as well. Szczęsny was still in goal but Djourou was the only defender on the field when they faced Fulham in the last game of the season who also lined up against United. Aaron Ramsey and Robin Van Persie round out the only other Arsenal holdovers from last May to today’s starting eleven.
So while they both had change in common, United’s was by choice while Arsenal’s was out of desperation with the recent sales of Fabregas and Nasri and a long list of injuries.
Most were predicting a United win but few will have put money down on a six goal spread.
What those who watched got was a goal feast and all goal feasts deserve special attention so I thought I’d take a long, hard look at them all to see how they evolved and who (Jenkinson) was to blame for the lion’s share.
A pet peeve of mine, as per the bit on functional play I posted awhile ago, is conceding goals from poor clearances that allow a second chance at goal. No fewer than four of the ten goals came about through these means in this game. Evra was the worst offender on Walcott’s goal but it’s shocking how many goals, even at the highest level, come through poor clearances. Even more shocking is that all four of the offending goals in this game were uncontested clearances.
Another root cause of the goals was fouls committed as a result of defenders getting caught wrong side and having to barge, in varying degrees, attackers from behind. Two goals came via such fouls and Jenkinson earned a second yellow reducing Arsenal to ten men through the same sort of offence.
I’ve heavily annotated a decent quality video of the extended highlights with my thoughts on the positive things that were done to create goals and the mistakes made defensively that allowed some of them.
The video has already been tagged by YouTube as subject to a content claim so have a look here before it gets taken down (I have a dispute in to YouTube on the basis of it being educational, which is considered Fair Use and generally allows for use of copyrighted content)