Player Ratings: Blackpool 1 – 3 Arsenal

April 10, 2011

That was one good win even if it wasn’t convincing at times. We put ourselves in a spot of bother on more than a few occasions but overall it was a win we deserved and what we needed after so many draws.

To start off with, it was good to see Lehmann in goal and it seems that he is ready after all. He didn’t have much to do in the first half but made one massive save in the second half that helped us stay in the game. To be honest, I was happy that Blackpool scored the goal or else Lehmann would have been shown a red and we would have been down to 10 with no keeper to replace him.

We did score three goals but we should have had at least 8 if not more. I am not being negative but we need to change our habit of taking 5 chances to score one goal, we will need this against Manchester.

At the back too we need to improve our positioning or else we will be having difficult times in the coming games. The way Blackpool got through on a few occasions was alarming and resulted in some nervous moments for us.

Despite all that I am relieved that we got the win and as I said in my preview, hopefully this will prove to be a catalyst for us and we will go on a winning streak from now till the end. At the moment we are still unbeaten in 2011 in the league, so that is saying something.

I would also like to point out that we were lucky today with a couple of decisions that should/could have been penalties. Where I stand, I would say that after plenty of decisions going against us throughout the season; it is a nice change that we got some going our way. But that doesn’t take away the fact that Blackpool had at least one clear penalty not given. Blackpool has been at the end of many wrong decisions going against them this season and imagine what their fans will be feeling right now. Most likely similar to what we were feeling with wrong decisions going against us. And as I said in my preview, I hope they are not relegated.

As for Diaby’s yellow, that was deserved and it will be good if someone tells him to show some common sense when we are winning. He needs to be reminded about the Newcastle draw if he has forgotten it.

Coming to player ratings:

Lehmann (7.5):  An overall good game from Lehmann. His decision making was awesome and made one massive save as mentioned before. It was good to see that he was communicating with the defenders.

Eboue (7): Offers us more while going forward but at the back he is still lacking discipline. Scored a very well taken goal after a good one two with Wilshere and always provided good width on the flanks.  He needs to improve his positioning at the back and his decision making though.

Squillaci (7): Played one of his better games today. Looked composed and made some good tackles especially in the 76th minute which then led to our third and vital goal. He needs to continue with such performances.

Koscielny (6): We were lucky today that some of his clumsy challenges didn’t result in penalties against us. Besides that, he did well.

Clichy (5.5): Clichy did leave his side exposed a lot today but dealt with the dangers nicely. He provided good support upfront too. However, as always, he made one stupid error which could have resulted in a goal. Thanks to Lehmann, we weren’t punished for it. Was also partially at fault for the first goal.

Diaby (7): Opened up our account after he finished a good move involving Fabregas and Van Persie and which was started by him. Initially he failed to make his presence felt but improved as the game went on. As for his booking, stupidity is the word that comes to my mind. Diaby needs to be reminded what happened the last time he acted like that.

Wilshere (6): Good work rate from the young man. Was all over the pitch and combined well with Fabregas. Tried his luck with a good chip that was saved by the keeper. Did get an assist for the second goal.

Fabregas (7): It was good to see him back today with his delightful passing. His vision is just out of this world and the way he coolly executed the passes was awesome. Should have had 4 assist to his name today had our forwards been clinical. And still he is a long way from his best.

Arshavin (5): Was anonymous for the entire time he was on the field. Nothing went for him today but we all know he can produce something out of nothing. Hopefully, next time.

Van Persie (7.5): Was good to see him finally getting on the score sheet after he possibly missed three open chances. Got an assist on the first goal too.  My only gripe, he needs to be more clinical, despite his 12 goals this year.  

Nasri (6): I was disappointed that he didn’t score today. Otherwise, he had a normal game.

Subs:

Walcott (6.5): Brought pace to our attack and made a good run to assist for the third and vital goal that secured the win for us.

Ramsey and Gibbs had very little time to make an impact. No ratings for them.


Arsenal 2 – 1 Barcelona: Awesome result!!A great comeback as we were just brilliant

February 16, 2011

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! stuff by Arsenal as we came back from a goal down to beat Barcelona at the Emirates.

Goals by Van Persie, who scored from a very tight angle in the 78th minute and Arshavin, after a brilliant counter attack involving Nasri and Fabregas in the 83rd minute allowed us to finish the game on a high and take a slender lead in to the second leg.

Earlier, David villa had given the lead to Barcelona after he was released by Messi in the 26th minute.

However, despite Barcelona dominating the first half in possession and looking in control, we turned the match upside down in the second half. We were the better side in the second half as we stopped Barcelona from playing. We looked solid at the back, composed in the middle, and creative up front. It was the complete opposite of the first half where we had dominated the proceedings in the opening minutes.  

In the first, after Barcelona took the lead, they didn’t give us any space and dictated the play. However, we showed great resolve and excellent work rate as we stopped Barcelona from scoring more goals. Add to that some brilliant saves by Szczesny.

And this is where this win is remarkable and all the more sweeter. We won the match by playing better than them in the second half. It wasn’t that they had an off day and weren’t playing good. We kept our focus and we beat them at their own game and we never looked intimated. An excellent result and this had further increased my belief that this season we are going to change everything.

Hats off to the team for an excellent display of football and an awesome result. The second tie can wait for now as we savor this moment.


Player Ratings: Newcastle 4 – 4 Arsenal

February 5, 2011

You can win with 11 men against 14, but 10 against 14 becomes a very daunting task. People will say that Arsenal should have done more in the second half, and I agree, but it doesn’t change the fact the standard of refereeing was just poor today and it’s not for the first time. It is there for all to see how much the ref can influence a game. And I know it will be forgotten in a minute and no one will talk about the refereeing as they will have Arsenal to talk about. And such pathetic standards will continue because the FA is incompetent to the very core of its existence.

Coming to the performance of the team, it can be divided into two halves.

In the first half we were very much in the driving seat as Newcastle were at times mere spectators. We controlled the midfield, our passing was sublime, the movement was excellent and the finishing was spot on. At the back we were comfortable as we dominated the game.

The second half, however, was very poor as compared to the first. Down to 10 men, we struggled to control the midfield as Newcastle attacked our goal aerially through set pieces and long balls. Upfront there was no movement as we were stuck up at the back.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (7): Was a spectator in the first half. In the second he was the centre of attention. Made some brilliant saves and cannot be blamed for the goals. Still needs to improve his distribution on kicks.

Sagna (6.5): Good first half as we dominated the game. In the second did well on most occasions while we were being showered with long balls. Good cross for the assist on the fourth goal.

Koscielny (6.5): Top performance in the first half. Made some very good interceptions and was strong in the air. In the second he continued with it but we had too many long balls and set pieces to defend. The penalty conceded was very soft; in fact the ref was in no position to award it. However, he must be careful in the future in making such tackles in the danger area.

Djourou (7.5): Also had a top game. Partnered well with Koscielny and did well on every occasion. Scored a good goal. I hope he isn’t seriously injured.

Clichy (6): He too was brilliant in the first half. In the second made only one mistake that led to goal. Otherwise did well.

Diaby (7.5 – not taking into account his sending off): Impressive first half as he broke up the play of Newcastle very easily and linked up nicely with the forward players. However, he should have kept cool when fouled by Barton. It was what Barton wanted and Diaby complied.  

Fabregas (6.5): Awesome first half. The number of delightful balls he delivered in the first half was just a treat to watch. However, in the second he couldn’t do much as the pressure mounted.

Wilshere (6): He too was very good in the first half and similarly to all, vanished in the second. Isn’t the answer to our defensive cover in absence of Song, Diaby and Denilson.

Walcott (7): Looked dangerous whenever he had the ball. Took the first goal very nicely and good cut back for the assist on third. Provided defensive cover in the second half before he was substituted.

Van Persie (6.5): Scored three goals, one of which was called offside though. Provide good cover in defense in the first half but didn’t do much in the second. Delivered in some good free kicks and corners.

Arshavin (7): Another two assist to his name. Helped the team overall before getting substituted.

Subs:

Squillaci (6) needs to improve his communication with Koscielny as we can’t go on like this forever. Didn’t do anything wrong but also didn’t help the team with his experience. Rosicky (3.5) failed to do for what he was brought. In fact he made things harder for us. The second penalty was never a penalty, it was just incompetent refereeing which will go unpunished as usual. Eboue (4) also failed to provide cover in defense.

Well, we have certainly dropped two points which after the first half none would have imagined that we would drop. As it stands, we have to move on from here and not let this result be our downfall. There is still a lot to play for and with United losing, it’s not that bad. And I hope the result doesn’t affect us psychologically.

And seriously, one can only win against 14 men once a week.


Wenger on Bendtner’s goal and performance and Sagna’s injury

January 26, 2011

Arsenal qualified for the finals of the Carling Cup after beating Ipswich town. Arsenal scored three goals in the process but  had to wait for an hour to find the first goal. It was Bendtner, who opened the scoring for Arsenal in style when Wilshere found hin with an excellent pass.

Speaking after the match, Arsene Wenger acknowledged that both the goal and the pass by Wilshere that led to the goal were great.Wenger also enjoyed the goal scored on the corner that saying that it was fantastic for him as Arsenal score very few goals on corners.

Speaking of Bendtner’s performance, he said that it he had an outstanding game. Wenger said that he is getting sharper and sharper with every game as players returning from injuries are not hundred percent and get better by playing.

He talked about rotation being vital as Arsenal has played a lot games in December and January. He said that the rotation also shows that he has the confidence in his squad.

Regarding Sagna’s injury, Wenger said that he had a concussion and needed to go to the hospital. He was sick after the game and there was pain at his nose, but wenger said the most worrying was the concussion of his head. However, Wenger was hopefull that there will be good news in the morning.

Arsene Wenger after the match said:

“It was a great goal, yes, with a great ball from Wilshere as well. He had an outstanding game tonight. I must say I enjoyed the corner as well because we score so few goals from corners, for me it is fantastic.

We rotate, I rotate from game to game because we play nine games in January and we played eight or nine in December as well. I show them as well that I have confidence in every player, no matter how big the game is. Of course sometimes when a player has not played for a few weeks, when he comes in he is not 100 per cent, but after a few games Bendtner is getting sharper and sharper.

Sagna had a concussion. He has to go to hospital, he was sick after the game. He has pain at his nose but the most worrying is the concussion of his head. Hopefully we can get good news tomorrow.”


Player Ratings: West Ham 0 – 3 Arsenal

January 16, 2011

After the cup games, that was one very refreshing performance from Arsenal. There were a few hiccups at the back but upfront and in the middle we were just brilliant. The way we moved, passed the ball and created openings was a delight to watch. The whole team helped each other out and showed great understanding amongst each other.

The defense was a bit shaky yesterday but only the right side and it was mainly due to bad positioning of Eboue compounded by some bad decisions from Djourou. However, they both improved in the second half.

In middle, we passed the ball around well and kept a high tempo. We never gave space to West Ham and whenever they got the ball, Song and Wilshere would cut them off nicely.

Upfront, the movement was also very good. Everyone combined nicely and the finishing was excellent.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (6.5): An overall good game from him. Made some excellent saves and his distribution was also fine.

Clichy (7): Another one of his better games. Defensively was good and helped in attack by providing good width. His pass to Van Persie that led to the second goal was brilliant. However, needs to improve his crossing.

Koscielny (7): Brilliant game from the Frenchman. No usual mistakes and was always quick to close the opposition down and clear the ball. Made some vital tackles and clearances and aerially was also better.

Djourou (5.5): He was the guilty party in defense yesterday after committing a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. His decision making was very bad. However, he did improve in the second half. I hope it was just a one-off.

Eboue (5.5): He leaves his side very exposed and I feel it was the main reason for an uncharacteristic performance from Djourou. Was always caught out of position in the first half. Did improve in the second half and made a couple of good runs. However, he needs to be aware of what is happening around him as at times he looks aloof.

Wilshere (7.5): An excellent game from the young Englishman. Great in cutting off the west ham attack and he always found the right pass. Was never afraid to hold the ball and was involved in every move upfront. Could have also scored a goal. However, he needs to improve his touch and off the ball movement.

Song (8): Another dominating game from Song. Was a beast at the back and skillful while going forward. Broke up west ham’s play with ease and linked up play with the forwards nicely.

Fabregas (8): Another captain’s performance. It wasn’t anything flashy but a very effective game.  Didn’t get any assists but was at the heart of everything. Dropped back deep to bring the ball out, combined brilliantly with Nasri and Van Persie and showed good work rate.

Walcott (8.5): Had a slow start but went onto have a very influential game. Got an assist on the first goal, scored the second and won the penalty for the third. Enough said!!

Van Persie (9): This is what we have been missing. He really is a treat to watch. Linked up play nicely, created space and openings, scored goals, got an assist and played the full 90 minutes. He needs to stay fit for sure.

Nasri (7): Didn’t score goals or get any assists, but still he showed his brilliance. Combined really well with Fabregas and Van Persie. Made some good runs with and off the ball. And a great step over on the first goal.

Subs:

Denilson, Arshavin and Gibbs had too little time to make an impact. No ratings for them.

In the end I would just say that the result speaks for the performance itself, ‘Three goals and a clean sheet’. I only hope that we continue with this in all competitions and whoever starts for us in the coming games puts up similar displays.


Player Ratings: Arsenal 1 – 1 Leeds

January 8, 2011

The overall performance of the team was not up to what we have displayed in the last two games. Our passing and movement was slow and we weren’t decisive enough. We still had plenty of possession but it was of no use as Leeds easily defended whatever we created. We improved greatly when Fabregas and Walcott were brought on though.

The defence was not bad but there were few occasions where we were caught sleeping. Djourou clearly was a beast there and Szczesny was excellent.

In the middle, we did create a lot of chances but the passing tempo was slow.

While upfront, no one really made an impact despite presented with lots of chances. Walcott was the one who made the real difference.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (7.5): Great keeping. Kept us in the game when it was level and also when we were a goal down. Nearly saved the penalty and overall good decision making from him.

Eboue (7): He was a constant threat while going forward. At times however was caught out of position at the back. Some of his crosses were really good.

Squillaci (5.5): Not impressed by his outing today. He should be the one with experience and confidence and today he himself looked short of both. Some of his decisions were poor.

Djourou (9): This man impresses every game. We would have lost today if not for him and Szczesny at the back. Reads the game really well and was always present at the right place at the right time. Made some vital interceptions and clearances.Was strong in the air and on the ground. Top performance!!

Gibbs (6.5): A good game by him while returning from an injury. Some of his runs and crosses were good.

Song (6): Looked unimpressed by the proceedings. Still did most of the things correctly.

Rosicky (6.5): He started very brightly and helped our game flow. His movement and touches were good however lost it in the later parts and was rightly substituted. He also gave away the ball at the wrong place on a few occasions.

Denilson (5): I don’t know what to say on him. Some of his shots were great as they tested the keeper. However, he just doesn’t have pace and strength. Gave away a silly penalty too.

Arshavin (5): I am at a loss as to what has happened to him. He is a genius, a master in his game if he plays, sadly most of the times he doesn’t. Nothing went right for the Russian today as he did try on a few occasions. On others he simply didn’t. Should have scored the opener on Rosicky’s lobbed pass. However, showed good technique on a few shots.

Chamakh (4): Another bad performance from him. IMO he is feeling the rigors of the Premier League.

Bendtner(6): Started the game well but went onto miss plenty of chances. Landed most of his headers over the bar.

Subs: Fabregas (8.5) changed the game when he came on. His presence increased the momentum of our passing and we looked more of a threat. Great composure while taking the penalty. Walcott (8) also made a big impact when he came on. Made some good runs and used his pace well. Still should have scored at the end when he shot the ball straight to the keeper. Vela (no rating) had very less time to make impact.

I will conclude by saying that we have to put this behind for now and look ahead to our next game. We still have a chance to qualify for the next round and hopefully when we face Leeds at their home we will get the job done.


Player Ratings: Birmingham 0 – 3 Arsenal

January 2, 2011

Yesterday, it was again a very impressive performance from the team. After a somewhat slow first half, the way we went on to dominate the game was just brilliant. All the players played their part and it was a nice win.

The defence was very much organized and the way we used the offside trap was very good. The communication was there and everyone was supporting one and other. There were a couple of moments in the first half where we were caught but thankfully weren’t finished. Aerially we also coped well with the long balls delivered by Birmingham into our danger area in the first half.

The midfield did their part by providing the cover to the defence and linking up play ahead. They pressed up nicely and did well in breaking up Birmingham’s game.

Up front it was all together a different story. With plenty of chances missed, we still ended up in scoring three goals, thanks to Nasri, Fabregas and van Persie. They simply were phenomenal in creating things up front. Nasri and Fabregas combined really well to take the game away from Birmingham.

Coming to player ratings:

Fabianski (7): Great when called upon. Made a brilliant save in the first half and did well on the aerial balls. Still it would be good if he catches them. His distribution at times was great.

Sagna (7): Good game from the Frenchman again. Never looked troubled and provided good support on the right.

Djourou (8): Another top class and dominant performance. Powerful on the aerial balls and had good communication with Koscielny. He needs to remain fit for sure.

Koscielny (7): An improved performance from him. Made some good tackles and looked at ease.

Clichy (7): Another one of his excellent performance. Offensively was superb and delivered in some good crosses. At the back was solid and never looked troubled.

Song (7): Did his job superbly without being too flashy. Didn’t have to do much upfront as Fabregas and Nasri had the situation under control.

Wilshere (6): Looked a bit slow and off pace. Still did his job. Should have scored when presented with a chance by Nasri.

Fabregas (8.5): Top game from our captain. Involved in everything upfront. His movement, on and off the ball, plus his passing was superb. Teamed up nicely with Nasri for the two goals. We surely need him to remain fit.

Walcott (6): Always was a danger whenever he got the ball.

RVP (6.5): I was impressed by his movement off-the-ball. Some of his touches were impressive but should have done better with the chances. Any other day he would have ended up with four goals. Still scored the first and vital goal.

Nasri (9): Another excellent excellent game from the Frenchman. His movement and touches were just awesome. His final balls on all the occasions were beauties and deserved a goal every time. As mentioned before, the way he linked with Fabregas was awesome to watch. The goal he scored was as simple as it can get yet it was brilliant.  He too was involved in everything good upfront.

Subs:

Arshavin and Denilson had very less time to make impact.  Arsahvin nearly scored a goal on his first touch while denilson did his part. No ratings for them.

To conclude I would say that this is yet another important result that we have achieved. Let’s just hope that we continue with it.