Manchester United V Arsenal Match Leaves the Premier League Standings Unchanged
The standings for the 2014 – 2015 English Premier League are more or less set in stone, with only one week left to play this season and with the top spot already guaranteed for Chelsea. Slots three and four have remained more of a mystery in recent weeks, with the Manchester United V Arsenal fixture an opportunity for both sides to claim the coveted third podium position (and perhaps even shoot for Manchester City’s runner-up spot). But on Sunday, Man United more or less blew their final opportunity at pushing into the top three, with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal.
The Pre-Match Situation
Going into the May 17th football fixture, the Man United Red Devils were two points behind Arsenal’s Gunners on the 2014 – 2015 EPL table, their scores at 68 and 70 points, respectively. Manchester would have needed a win to have a chance at finishing in the top three—especially since the Gunners have played one fewer match than both the Red Devils and most of the other teams in the division.
A month ago, the EPL table looked significantly different. Manchester City fell all the way to fourth place, losing 2-4 in an April 12th fixture against United, and Arsenal and Man Utd occupied the second and third spots, respectively.
Stock dropped for both the wearers of the Arsenal away shirt 2014 – 2015 and the Manchester United home shirt throughout the rest of April and early May. The Red Devils lost three soccer games in a row to Chelsea, Everton, and West Bromwich Albion, while Arsenal suffered a draw with Chelsea and a surprise loss against Swansea City.
Those sloppy outcomes allowed Man City to reclaim their second place spot, and left United and Arsenal more or less fighting for third.
Manchester United V Arsenal
Such were the circumstances in English football as these two soccer teams prepared to face one another on May 17th. The Red Devils had the home field advantage and hoped it would help provide a much-needed win. Meanwhile, The Gunners donned the Arsenal away shirt 2014 – 2015 and hoped for a repeat of their last visit to Old Trafford. (Arsenal beat United at home on March 9th, thereby eliminating the Red Devils from the FA Cup.)
As it turned out, the football game went according to neither team’s wishes. For all intents and purposes, the Man United home squad should have been able to win the game. They not only scored first (a 30-minute goal from Ander Herrara, assisted by Ashley Young), but they also topped Arsenal in both possession time and shots on goal. Throughout the first half, at least, the audience consensus—both in the stadium at Old Trafford, and online—was that Man Utd were outplaying Arsenal considerably, and that the Gunners were not playing like a team fighting for their position in the league.
Unfortunately, even if they played the better game, it only took one mistake to undo United’s chances of retaking the third place slot. Late in the second half, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott got hold of the ball and took a shot at the goal. Manchester defender Tyler Blackett—a late-game substitution for the home side—got a piece of the ball, but only served to deflect it accidentally into the net. The result was an own goal for the United side, and it left the football game tied 1-1 at the 11th hour. Match time ultimately expired with the same stalemate score.
For the Red Devils, the draw was a huge disappointment—not just because of the stakes involved in the game, but also because they came so close to a win. As Ashley Young put it, “We should have taken all three points,” while manager Louis van Gaal spoke of his squad’s difficulty at finishing games with the same strength that they start them.
The draw was a letdown for the Gunners too, though, as it leaves them five points behind Man City without much hope of catching up. Arsenal could theoretically win their last two games (a pair of home matches against Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion) to pull ahead of City’s 76-point score. But City are expected to win their at-home season closer against Southampton—an outcome that would clinch the runner-up slot regardless of what happens to Arsenal.
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