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.


Arsene Wenger on Arsenal’s performance and Lee Bowyer’s tackle on Sagna

January 2, 2011

Arsene was delighted after Arsenal overcame the physical battle against Birmingham and recorded a convincing win yesterday at St Andrews. With goals in both halves of the match, Arsenal dominated the game with Birmingham at times mere spectators. 

However, Birmingham did try to get something from the fixture by resorting to their physical game. Arsenal coped well with it and responded with some excellent passing which completely shut Birmingham out of the match.

When asked about the match, Wenger said that the team was mentally prepared for the physical challenges. The plan, Wenger said, was to keep the ball down and play their game. Wenger said that the team played well with plenty of chances in the first half and an outstanding game in the second half.

He gave the credit to his players for keeping their focus and staying calm and intelligent in the game. He further praised the resilience showed by his squad and said that he was proud of them.

Regarding Lee Bowyer’s tackle on Sagna, Wenger said that he can’t comment on it as he hasn’t seen the replay. He continued by saying that he doesn’t want to think about it because the way Arsenal want to play football is more important. Wenger is, however, convinced that the win will have further strengthened the belief in the squad.

Arsene Wenger after the match said:

“We were prepared mentally today to face physical challenges and we prepared ourselves not to lose our game and be calm, intelligent and especially to have the focus to put the ball down and play our game. We had chances in the first half and in the second half we had an outstanding game.

We needed to be resilient without losing our nerves. I give great credit to my players for doing that because they kept calm, intelligent and never let nerves come out in their game. I am very proud of my team today.

I don’t want to talk too much about that because I haven’t seen a replay yet. I don’t want to keep that in my mind tonight because what’s more important is the way we want to play football. I am convinced this win today will strengthen the belief of the squad.”


Birmingham vs Arsenal preview: Let’s start the year with a win!!

January 1, 2011

Just a quick preview as I have to prepare for my finals.

Today is the third game that we are playing in quick succession and, in short,  the team will have to deliver today as we cannot afford to drop more points.

St Andrews is a tough place to go to and get the maximum points. In recent years we have witnessed some frustrating draws against them. Today they will frustrate us again.  They as usual will park the bus at the back and try to score on set pieces or counters.

For us, some quick and persistent passing along with clinical finishing will do the job. They will let us have the ball but we will need to be creative. Patience will be the key. At the back we will need to defend as a team and our midfield will have to stay alert at all times and clear away the second balls.

As far as the starting eleven is concerned, I will go with the same team that was put out against Chelsea with the only difference of Szczesny for Fabianski. Fabianski lately has looked weak on the aerial balls with his poor decision making. Tonight there will be plenty and to deal with  it we will need someone like Szczesny. He is confident, he communicates and is good in collecting long balls.

Probable Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Walcott, RVP, Nasri.

In the end I would just say that it’s our first match of the year and let’s start it with a win.  And Happy New Year to all and May you all have a good one. Hopefully it will be a good year for us  in terms of silver ware too.

Keep your fingers crossed!!