Another scrappy performance as we scramble through to the knockout stages where formidable teams await us. However, the priority was to qualify and that was achieved albeit a not so convincing display of football.
The team as a whole didn’t get into gear throughout the match. There were a few occasions where we went a gear up. The next second, however, we would be back to playing ‘give-the-ball-away’ which left me thinking that had the moment of brilliance actually happened. The reason I feel was that yesterday there seemed no communication among the team. No one picked the right pass, no one made intelligent runs and none tried to counter the good pressing play by Partizan. Credit to Partizan on playing some good football.
The defence as a team was very poor; the centre backs in particular had no communication and looked shaky at times. The midfield gave away possession on many occasions and never opened up Partizan. Upfront there was no real spark.
Coming to player ratings:
Fabianski: Didn’t have to do much. Made no saves in the first half, was not at fault for the goal, as it had a deflection and made one good save near the end. His Distribution was satisfactory. 6
Sagna: He was doing well for most part of the games. Sometimes was caught out of position but covered up well except on one occasion for which he was red carded. His crosses were decent. 6.5
Squillaci: Is he leading our backline the way he should? At the moment I fear not. He does his job but needs to communicate with the players around him and get his decision making right. Yesterday at times he was unsure of what to do. Was at some fault for the goal as he didn’t close down Cleo, but he was led into the situation by Koscielny’s mistake. 5
Koscielny: One thing I like about him is that he is good in making crucial tackles. The thing I am concerned about is that although he does close the opposition players early, it leaves him out of position at times which leaves plenty of space at the back. Good opposition can greatly exploit it with some intelligent passes and movement. Yesterday it was similar. His performance was decent although he made a few crucial mistakes one of which led to a goal. 5
Gibbs: He is on route to joining Van Persie on being labeled injury prone. No rating
Song: He wasn’t spectacular yesterday as he gave away the possession a number of times. Going forward he was also quiet although one brilliant moment from him led to our third goal. If he is going to proceed with his new role then better not give away possession cheaply as it leaves our backline exposed. 5
Van Persie: Not a good performance by his standards, although he is still new to the playmaker role. He was dropping down deep to get the balls but upfront he didn’t quite get the understanding with the players around him. His final ball wasn’t great and also didn’t make intelligent runs. Some of his touches and flicks were still good and tucked away the penalty nicely. 5.5
Denilson: He can be a good player If he just stops giving away the ball unnecessarily and in dangerous positions and increases his pace (but maybe that is too much to ask for). Yesterday at times he was very good but gave away possession on many occasions. 5
Nasri: He was by far the best player out there for us although he too went anonymous on a few occasions. Still his movement on and off ball, his intelligence and decision making was excellent. And he was on target again. 7.5
Chamakh: He looked tired to out there. Wasn’t effective at all as he didn’t make intelligent runs off the ball and never really threatened the Partizan defence. 5
Arshavin: Poor game from him but it was visible he was trying. Just couldn’t make things happen out there. I do hope he gets to his best against Man Utd. 4
Eboue: Slotted in nicely at left back and made a couple of good runs. Was good in the one-on-ones. 6
Walcott: Scored the crucial second goal and did disturb the Partizan defence with his runs. Still his final ball is no where good enough. 6
Bendtner: Didn’t have much time to make an impact although he was involved in the third goal. No rating
I would take a win anytime but performance like this is not acceptable. We need to sort out our problems (I hope) or we will be butchered in the coming weeks (I hope not!).