Who calls Cristiano Ronaldo, Ron?

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5/5/09

Some rough thoughts on the Champions League game between Arsenal and Manchester United. The Reds won 3-1.

What a tough break for Arsenal. An early slip by 19-year-old Kieran Gibbs in front of the goalmouth, which let the ball run to Ji-Sung Park, chopped not only Gibbs confidence down, but also the whole club’s. The game was over early.

Gibbs was taken off at halftime, it was an Eboue like moment, perhaps not as bad, as he wasn’t booed off the pitch, but tough to go out at the half and not have a chance to make up for the mistake. Wenger has a load of talented youngsters, but lacks those key experienced players to lift them out of tough spots. They surely could have used the Cup tied little Russian: Andrey Arshavin.

It wasn’t an easy finish for Park. Almunia closed him down well and Park had to deftly lift the ball up into the open space of the goal – over Almunia, as Toure dove to try to nick it out of the net. The crowd was crushed.

But it was all about Ron, as in Ronaldo. You start to get a new name when you keep scoring big goals. Ronaldo is now Ron. He’s not a kid anymore.

Both Ferguson and Wenger praised Cristiano as the player who made the difference. He was dangerous whenever he touched the ball and his free kick killed the game – again a long-range blast. In the space of three minutes it was lost for the hopeful Gunners who’d had a tough season as it was. With Cesc injured most of the year and patches of brilliant football and then lack luster.

You have to take your hat off to Rooney too. His partnership with Cristiano is growing and improving with every game. Will they split this up? Will Ron leave for tapas and sun in Spain? I think so. It was a beautiful layoff for the third goal. A three pass counter attack that started off with a Cristiano heel pass to Park, who then played the ball out wide to Rooney, who then slotted the ball nicely across the box and into the path of a trailing Cristiano to finish.

When you start talking about Manchester though it becomes evident how good they are in every position. Evra silenced a speedy Theo Wallcot. Rio wins everything in the back in the air or on the ground. Carrick spread the ball around the field with ease. They have Giggs, Scholes and then Tevez on the bench. And on and on down the line, they are just too good at every single position.

Beckham looked on from the stands in Emirates Stadium, cheering as Cristiano smashed home the third goal and clinched it for the Red Devils. Flamini was there too. A player Arsenal could surely use right now, to do the running for the team, as Park does for Manchester when he plays.

The red card to Darren Fletcher was undeserved. He got a piece of the ball and was able to kick it away, so he’ll miss the final.

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