Not a great game yesterday it has to be said. One can't argue with the result, of course. It's great to get a home league win under our belts at the Emirates and for Thierry to get a goal. But we were far from convincing, and as late as the 65th minute, it could have plausibly been 'one of those days'.
At a base level, half our team didn't seem to click or be playing at anywhere near the top of their game. Rosicky didn't have any long range efforts, Fabregas's passes were going astray, and no-one seemed to want to give the ball to Freddie. Indeed, Freddie actually had a decent game yesterday, depsite the midfield's reluctance to try and use the right flank. He had a great header blocked with a reaction save, and even if his shooting continues to look slightly unconvincing, I thought he looked more of a threat than against Boro.
But the chief culprit of our woes was Henry. I would dismiss the charge that he was lazy yesterday, and ascribe it more to a odd form of overall malaise in his play. Neither his flicks, passes or shots seemed to be coming off, and when he had a very decent chance stopped with a fine save in the first half, it seemed to sum up his current difficulties.
It all added up to an insipid and lethargic first half. The players seemed to be running through treacle, and all our best play seemed to be coming from our back four, who were excellent all game. Although he comes in for some stick, I think Hleb is actually pretty much key to making our team click nowadays, and we missed his passing and overall ingenuity.
The second half started with a little bit more of a bang, which the crowd deserved. There was a great atmosphere in the stadium at kick off, and I was worried that our first half display might have squandered it. We continued to put on pressure, and eventually Sheffield's Championship nature shone through. Henry tried a rather speculative piece of skill, by flicking the ball over their defence - it worked, with Fab controlling and Gallas blasting home to get a deserved first goal. He was excellent yesterday, and the debate must surely now rage - should he continue at lb, with senderos or Djourou at cb, if Clichy isn't going to establish himself at lb? Or would this be a waste of one of the world's finest centre backs?
We quickly added a second from an own goal, stemming from an even more speculative cross, put in by Henry. United were coming apart at the seams, and Eboue found acres of time and space to put the ball on Tel's head for our third.
It was good to see a win, but I thought the scoreline slightly flattered us, if not United. They had no real spark, and didn't even seem capable of parking the bus. I talked to a very disgruntled United fan after the game who wanted Warnock out. One could almost feel that United didn't expect to take anything from the game. While this is a realistic attitude, it's not the right one for a team to take, who will undoubtedly find themselves in a relegation battle. I think they'll go down.
So, overall, some movement in the right direction, and a win is always a win. However, I don't think we've seen Arsenal put in a great performance at the Emirates yet.