Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Player evaluations and ratings Vs Blackburn
By 1970’s Gooner
The good the bad and the ugly. We saw all these three characteristics emerge as this Carling Cup tie evolved.
The young guns with an average squad age of 19.6 years fought magnificently and bravely and totally outclassed Blackburn’s first team for the entire first 45 minutes.
They scored two well carved out goals the first from Diaby as early as the 5th minute from a beautiful cross by Bendtner and the second on 29 by Eduardo who was put through by the very impressive Denilson.
This was mesmerizing football with the result that the Blackburn players were chasing shadows.
A wrong decision by the linesman for allowing a clear offside which led to the cross for Santa Cruz’s first goal just before half time gave Blackburn hope.
In the second half Blackburn played with more tenacity and with long balls over the Arsenal centre backs heads. This troubled them, especially Song, who otherwise had a very good game.
It was a high swerving ball by Arsenal old boy Bentley who took a free kick conceded by another promising young gun, Randal, that resulted in Cruz’s headed equalizer.
It was now turning into a battle and Arsenal’s slick and fine football deserted them as the game showed its bad and ugly side. The boys showed that they can mix it as tackles and hard challenges were flying in.
Denilson overdid it right on 90 minutes sliding in on Dunn with both feet up and even though he did not catch him he saw red.
Blackburn sensed that they could get a winner but it was the young brave hearts who found the resources to come back with a third on 104. Song providing the assist for that clinical finisher Eduardo to slot in his second and Arsenal’s third.
Had a good game making several saves. He looks a good shot stopper but showed some uncertainty on crosses electing on some occasions to punch rather than catch the ball. When he improves on this aspect he will be a fine goalkeeper. 7
A sterling performance. Very strong and determined in his tackles. Practically saved the day by flinging his body in front of a shot blocking what looked a certain goal for Blackburn near the end of extra time. 8
Don’t worry too much if Clichy gets injured. This boy has got it. Arsene Wenger probably found a new set of magic to “copy and paste” Clichy and create a clone called Traore! Defended and attacked in almost equal measure and effectiveness. 8
Only made a couple of positional errors which resulted in him loosing his player but overall had a strong performance. 7
Impressed me tonight. He was strong, tenacious and calm throughout the game. He was however troubled with the long high balls over the top and this is an area he needs to improve on. A beautiful assist for the winning goal by bringing the ball out of defence and playing Eduardo in. 9
His best game for Arsenal so far. Practically won nearly all the tackles he went for and dominated in that crucial central midfield area. If he could release the ball a bit earlier he would improve his overall effectiveness a great deal. 9
Performed what was required of him very well. He made himself available to receive the ball and then laid it off with intelligence and accuracy. A very mature performance until he lost his head. He would have got a 9 from me but… 7
Did ok for his debut. Was played out of position but he nevertheless showed that he has the skills to have a future at Arsenal. Laid a nice ball to Bendtner on the edge of the box who then provided the assist for Diaby’s goal. 7
Growing in stature with every game. Just like Vieira you need three players to dispossess him! He will surely become a regular in the first team eventually. Took his goal well. 8
Becoming a class act. He not only is good in the air but he has skills on the floor. He led the line very well and I was impressed with his ball control which is better than Adebayor’s. 8
What a finisher. This boy is a killer. He is the best finisher in front of goal in the club I think. However he still needs to be able to hold the ball better up front as he was often dispossessed. 8
Man of the match: For me it’s close between Diarra and Song. For his assist for the winner…. Song
Subs: they all came on late in the game
Barazite: unlucky to get injured but showed some nice touches
Merida : looked assured
Gibbs : not enough time on the pitch
Brad Friedel, Didn’t have a lot of shots to save 8
Ryan Nelsen, Strong performance 8
Christopher Samba, lacks confidence and positional awareness. Responsible for not cutting the ball to Eduardo for his first goal and missed a sitter right at the end 5
Stephen Warnock (Zurab Khizanishvili), Did well defensively but was not as effective going forward 7
David Bentley, Here there and everywhere. A very good performance 8
David Dunn (Aaron Mokoena), Gave everything 8
Morten Gamst Pedersen, Was not penetrative enough 6
Steven Reid, Looked rusty. At fault for Arsenal’s first and last goal 5
Robbie Savage, not his usual strong performance especially in the first half 6
Matt Derbyshire (Benni McCarthy), A beautiful cross for Blackburn’s first goal 8
Roque Santa Cruz, Excellently taken goals Blackburn’s Man of the match 9