NASRI MAKES THE GUNNERS ROAR; WE'RE ROCKING: Arsene Wenger (Far Left) Celebrates after Arsenal's Victory at Emirates Stadium, Nasri Blasting the Gunners into a 2-0 Lead. A Dejected Sir Alex Ferguson (above) Feels the Pain of Defeat

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

NASRI MAKES THE GUNNERS ROAR; WE'RE ROCKING: Arsene Wenger (Far Left) Celebrates after Arsenal's Victory at Emirates Stadium, Nasri Blasting the Gunners into a 2-0 Lead. A Dejected Sir Alex Ferguson (above) Feels the Pain of Defeat


Byline: Rob Draper

2 ARSENAL 1 MAN UNITED Nasri (22, 48) Rafael (90)

THE kids, it seems, are all right after all. At the end of a pulsating game at Emirates Stadium, the driving rain finally cleared and the sun broke out. Clear blue skies appeared overhead and the stadium was bathed in a yellow light. You almost expected songbirds and a rainbow to appear overhead in the style of a Walt Disney film as a metaphor to illustrate Arsenal's season.

If reports were to be believed, this team were dead and buried. Yet here they had come to life and beaten the European champions and Premier League title holders in a style that few teams on the planet could hope to emulate. .

William Gallas, the captain so derided for his leadership, took charge of the celebrations as enthusiastically as he had led his defence, acknowledging all four sides of the ground and punching the air, looking a man revived and renewed.

His team-mates had proved themselves capable of defending a twogoal lead only just, it should be noted and he was not about to let the moment pass unnoticed.

Even hostilities between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were suspended, as each took time to praise the other. Ferguson acknowledged Arsenal might have merited their win and Wenger was so respectful of his adversary that he was asked if he was in danger of becoming friends with his counterpart, and allowed himself a smile. It was a truly momentous day.

United could take equal credit for contributing to a game which is unlikely to be equalled in terms of its quality and attacking ambition this season. But, principally, it was a day to laud for Arsenal. They started with seven players under 24 years and without main strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie.

Those who were on the pitch were the men universally derided as kids by the old-school ex-professionals who have queued up to question their spirit and mental aptitude in the wake of capitulations against Tottenham and Stoke, and the goalless draw against Fenerbahce.

Yesterday they had their answer.

Led by a devastating 21-year-old in Samir Nasri, prompted by the clinical Cesc Fabregas, also 21, and with the added steel of Abou Diaby, 22, they hauled themselves back into the title race and recorded a victory worth much more than three points..

They even survived the loss of keeper Manuel Almunia for the final 14 minutes, the Spaniard departing after an accidental kick in the head from Michael Carrick..

'It was a big game for the future of this team and for the club, and a very important result,' said Wenger.

'I can imagine what would have happened if we'd lost and it was mathematically very important to stay close to the top. As well, we had to show the kind of defensive spirit and mental attitude to keep going no matter what happens.' That they did in abundance. True, they had to absorb an early United onslaught and they would have been suffering again had Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney taken the simple chances that came their way on 19 and 49 minutes respectively. …

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NASRI MAKES THE GUNNERS ROAR; WE'RE ROCKING: Arsene Wenger (Far Left) Celebrates after Arsenal's Victory at Emirates Stadium, Nasri Blasting the Gunners into a 2-0 Lead. A Dejected Sir Alex Ferguson (above) Feels the Pain of Defeat
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