Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Player analysis and ratings Vs Newcastle. Flamboyant Flamini Flames the Emirates up
By 1970’s Gooner
They say that patience is a virtue. And Arsenal were very patient tonight. They kept probing and playing their passing game until eventually Newcastle caved in. But they didn’t cave in due to asphyxiating bullying pressure like Manchester United tends to put opponents under.
No, they caved in due to Arsenal’s superior football technique. This is more pleasing as it is a superiority that is borne out of pure football.
It is however an attribute that is risky to possess because if the team is having an off day then it may find it difficult to switch to any other style of football. It is also risky because you are always exposed to the sucker punch (remember Birmingham at the Emirates)?
So it was just as well that Newcastle were again toothless with Owen still looking out of match practice. Alan Smith was also not much of a partner as he was obviously instructed to drop back into the midfield. And as is his usual style he sacrifices what little football he knows for tenacity and fouling.
Still Arsenal needed Flamini to play probably his best game for the team in order to overcome a resolute Newcastle side where Butt was outstanding in his midfield destructive role.
Flamini however was outstanding in all aspects of his game. He did not put a foot wrong or a pass astray.
He was excellent in his midfield role running a thousand miles more than his colleagues, swept up in defence at dangerous moments and chipped in with an outstanding assist of a precise cross onto Adebayor’s head for him to score Arsenal’s first and decisive goal.
Make a note of this. Arsenal have scored from another header!
Flamini was also flamboyant and you don’t always say that about him. But the goal he scored was beautifully struck from 25 yards and the moment the shot left his boot you knew it was going to fly in the top right hand corner. It’s the kind of goal every one of us dreamed of scoring as a kid.
I have not witnessed a more complete performance from an Arsenal player this season yet. I think he deserves a 10
Adebayor impressed me a lot tonight. His control was very good, he held up play well and brought his team mates into the game. Scored a beautifully taken goal. 9
Eduardo was below par. He found himself in a few dangerous situations but fluffed his chances. 6
Diaby on the other hand is improving every game. This is because he is now becoming a team player and is using his strength and skill for the benefit of the whole. He is still a little bit slow to release the ball but at least he is releasing it and on most occasions to the right player. 7
Hleb was again full of trickery and kept himself on the wing and in this way helped keep Newcastle stretched; which was the intention of course.7
Fabregas was again below par with his passing needing more accuracy. He is not bossing the midfield the way he used to at the beginning of he season. He looks a tired player to me but when can Wenger rest him?
Nevertheless even if playing below par he still is quite influential. He is back in the goals again and this may kick start his come back. 7
Gallas doesn’t look like he needs a rest. He was commanding in the air and on the ground. He relaxed a little bit too much in the end when we were 3-0 up and nearly let Ameobe in but Almunia saved well. 8
Senderos on the other hand keeps failing on his distribution. Any ball he tries to pass that will be more than 10 yards he gets wrong. He either passes to an opponent or puts his colleague under pressure.
Nevertheless this would give an unfair view of his contribution in the game. He was otherwise faultless, strong in the air and on the ground. 7
Clichy again gave an almost faultless performance. What else can I say! Wenger seems to produce these type of left backs one after the other. Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Armando Traore and Evina (if you watch him for the under 18’s you will know what I mean). 8
Sagna is back to his best. Strong in defence and was penetrative going forward beyond the opposing fullback. 8
Almunia was and looked very safe. He was comfortable in the air and on the ground. But he is also lightning quick out of his area playing almost as a sweeper. 8
Man of the Match: Mathieu Flamini