Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fabregas, Clichy and Gilberto shine as Arsenal click into gear to thump Spurs. L'Equipe: Gallas trains lightly

By Eros, Arsenal Analysis resident season ticket holder at the Emirates (North Upper Stand Row Q)

I know it’s wrong as it’s too early but I am getting very excited by the prospect of what this team can achieve THIS year. Some passages of play against Portsmouth were a joy to watch.

When our forwards begin to get it together even more, then we are due a very big score soon, very soon. Spurs beware.

First the team ratings vs. Portsmouth

Manuel Almunia

He was not tested very often but commanded his area well, hugely improved from the player that played against Man U a couple of seasons ago, but still needs to improve his handling.

Although 1970’s Gooner does not agree with me, I am not convinced he is number one material. He is a very competent number two - 6

Mathieu Flamini

If you read this blog on a regular basis you will know how highly I think of Mattie! He is the Joker in our pack; he can cover any position requested of him with ease, and was superb once again yesterday.

He kept Taylor very quiet and joined in to help Hleb going forward. A bit naïve at times especially in the second half when we were a man down; he was often the most advanced player on the pitch!! – 7

Kolo Toure

Excellent display by the skipper for the day, throwing his body around to block any attempt on goal.

He changes his style of play when Gallas is not in the team, curbing his attacking instincts so that he makes sure that the defensive line is solid. He is solid– 7

Philippe Senderos

Played well until the sending off dealing comfortably with anything Pompey threw at us. Should have scored with a header at the beginning of the second half. If he had he would more than likely have not been sent off.

A bit harsh on Big Phil but he was out of position (one of his weaknesses) and the challenge was clumsy. He was the last man however and the letter of the law says he had to go. - 5

Gael Clichy

Started the game slow but got up to speed quickly. I have watched almost every home game Clichy has played for us and I am still amazed by his fitness levels.

The guy never stops running. Defenders have to realise that if you dwell on the ball when he is around you are going to concede a goal – is that the third goal we score like that this year? -

Once more he pinched the ball – after losing it on the left wing – passed to Cesc who played in Van Persie for the penalty. Made one mistake all game, being too far forward to stop the cross to Kanu for the goal.

Comfortable defensively and excellent going forward, I doubt we’ll see a better ball all season from the one that he put on Diaby’s head! – 8

Alex Hleb

Started the game brightly and under obvious instructions to play the early ball in to take advantage of the space created by Adebayor and showed he can add this type of play to his arsenal.

As usual his close control was excellent and made defenders look silly! Faded away in the second half which was understandable because of his illness – 6

Gilberto Silva

It’s amazing how much difference he makes to the team, everyone looks calmer, more assured and infinitely better when he is around (especially Cesc next to him).

His positional awareness is second to none and makes it almost impossible for opposition midfielders to find space to play.

Muntari was almost anonymous and he starved Utaka and Kanu of any decent service.

I always think that he speeds our game up significantly making us dangerous on the counter attack.

Also covered very competently as a centre back after the sending off – 8

Cesc Fabregas

No words can describe the young Spaniard maestro, now the complete player!

Excellent movement on and off the ball, sublime distribution.
He is now always looking for the goal.
No one can live with him in this sort of mood.
Man of the match - 9

Tomas Rosicky

One of the best games for the Czech in the Arsenal colours. Valuable outlet in the second half when we were a man down and scored the all-important 3rd goal.

He is starting to settle in his new left wing role and looking more dangerous every game. If only he could stay fit… -7

Robin Van Persie

Different player since he missed the penalty against City, badly needs a goal to boost his confidence. Worked tirelessly but never looked threatening. International break will do him a world of good – 5

Emmanuel Adebayor

Run himself into the ground as usual, and scored a very confident penalty, his link up play however was shocking. If Henry was playing with him he would have had an earful.

Needs to improve his passing and start finding RVP, Cesc, Hleb and Rosicky consistently when they make runs for him. – 6

Gilberto may be missing for the derby!

The bad news for the Spurs game is that Gilberto may not be available as Brazil called him up for more meaningless friendlies in the States, unbelievable, meaning that there are two spots up for grabs for the derby! Centre back and central midfielder.

Gallas is also doubtful. He might be back depending on how well he responds to the treatment he is receiving.

The French sports newspaper L'Equipe is reporting that Gallas did not participate in the training session but had very light training with some floor exercises yesterday, Thursday. It's considered highly unlikely that he will make it for the Italy game on Saturday.

However I have a feeling that Domenech out of spite towards Wenger is going to use a half fit Galas maybe for the Scotland game making him almost certainly unavailable for the next couple of weeks.

The good news for us is that some of our players have not been called up. Flamini, Clichy, Almunia and Denilson are not with their national squads so they have a few days off and should be well rested for the big game next week.

Flamini especially deserves it having played every minute of every game so far this season.

The players that have been called up on international duty are as follows:

Croatia v Estonia, September 8, Andorra v Croatia, September 12

William Gallas, Bacary Sagna
Italy v France, September 8, France v Scotland, September 12

Philippe Senderos
Switzerland v Chilie, September 7, Switzerland v Japan, September 11

Jens Lehmann
Wales v Germany, September 8, Germany v Romania, September 12

Tomas Rosicky
San Marino v Czech Republic, September 8, Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland, September 12

Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue
Gabon v Ivory Coast, September 8

Theo Walcott
Montenegro Under-21 v England Under-21, September 7, Bulgaria v England Under-21, September 11

Abou Diaby
France Under-21's v Wales Under-21, September 7, Malta Under-21's v France Under-21s, September 12

Gilberto Silva
USA Vs Brazil, September 9th (Chicago), Brazil Vs Mexico, September 12th (Boston)

Enjoy your international week, if you can.

Gilberto’s international call up may leave a huge gap in Arsenal’s defence to face Spurs