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Man Utd Fails First Big Test
The Daily Mail, September 18th, 2006 4:23PM

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Manchester United failed its first big test of the season when it fell 1-0 at home to old rival Arsenal. The Red Devils were outhustled and outplayed in front of a record crowd at Old Trafford. The manner of defeat will be the most worrying takeaway for Sir Alex Ferguson and co. United looked casual in possession and lacked sharpness in the man-marking departmentparticularly on set plays. Said captain Gary Neville, "It was the toughest test we have faced so far this season and we failed it. We definitely let ourselves down with our passing. It wasn't fast enough, crisp enough or accurate enough." Cristiano Ronaldo was at fault on the goal; the winger was stripped well into United's half by Cesc Fabregas, who then played a sublimely weighted pass to Emmanuel Adebayor to stab it home. John O'Shea in the center of midfield was also caught in possession several times. Neville insisted the loss came down to more than a collection of individual errors. "It is not about one player giving the ball away, it is about all of us doing it at one stage or another in areas where Arsenal could capitalize," said the 31-year-old defender. "They may not be as strong as they have been in the past in terms of physical presence but they have players in midfield who will punish you if you give them the ball and we did it too many times." Read the original story...


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