By 1970’s Gooner
There are two aspects of Arsenal’s play and formation that are stifling the creativity of the team. If they are not corrected then we may find it very difficult to get a result at Goodison Park against an Everton side that will not be satisfied with a draw like Portsmouth were tonight.
The first concerns the role of Fabregas in connection with Hleb’s free roaming role. What is actually happening is that Hleb is not only depriving Adebayor of the support that his play craves for but his dropping deep in the middle of the park actually inhibits Fabregas.
Fabregas is taking a step back to allow Hleb to dictate play but this means that his creative brain and penetrative passing are really being missed.
As a result Adebayor is playing a really lone role up front. This was belatedly corrected with the introduction of Bendtner in the last part of the game and almost immediately Nicklas created very good scoring chances.
What is clearly needed is the reintroduction of 4 4 2 with the return of Van Persie or if he is not fit then Bendtner should be paired with Adebayor. Hleb should be told to keep to the left of midfield and Rosicky on the right. Let Fabregas run the show again and then we will see more chances created and hopefully goals again.
Very assured and safe. Came out very fast to make Benjani rush his decision when he was one on one against him. 8
Had a good game. Defended well and went forward a lot in tandem with Eboue. 7
Strong and determined. Kept Benjani mostly quiet and got back very well to put him off when he raced through on his own. 8
Had a sound game and nearly scored near the end of the game. 7
Played well and also went forward but no luck. 7
It must be said that the defenders had a relatively easy time of it as Portsmouth were more concerned about defending rather than going forward much.
Was quite mobile and was up for it tonight. Tried one very dangerous shot from outside the box which James saved very well. 7
Was trying to make the play dropping deep but the movement off the ball seems to be a lot less from the rest of the players. 7
Was very much involved in the play form the off combining well with Sagna. However his crosses and attempted cut backs left a lot to be desired. He needs to improve on these if he is to keep his place in the team. 6.5
Was rather quiet in the first half probably due to Hleb’s tendency to drop deep although he did try to make those ghost runs into the box. Came more into the fore in the second half and as a result Arsenal looked more threatening. 6.5
He played his normal game of protecting the defence and breaking up play. 7
“Too lonely this Xmas”. I feel sorry for him really. He needs some support. But he tried his best under the circumstances. 7
Diaby: took some time to get into the game and lost the ball too often. 6
Bendtner: made an impact as any substitute ought to. Helped create a very good chance for Rosicky which he should have buried. 7