Monday, February 11, 2008
Player analysis and ratings Vs Blackburn. The young guns can prove everyone wrong
By 1970’s Gooner
It was a rather nervy performance but it was understandable really considering how much was at stake. Yet these young guns have proved everyone wrong. Yes they can win the League and they can do it in style, which is not something that a lot of teams can do.
What these "Mr know it alls" underestimated of course (not here though) was the room for improvement and the speed with which these young players have been improving week by week.
Getting an early goal I felt should have helped settle the nerves, but it didn’t.
It rather had the usual effect an early goal has for this Arsenal team which is to relax them too much and lull the players into a false sense of security. But Blackburn were depleted and not at their best. They kept possession but had no threat up front as Arsenal’s back four played very well.
Sagna was very good once again bombing forward getting past Warnock with ease. He was also pretty good in his defensive duties not putting a foot wrong. 9
On the other hand Clichy, probably by design and under instructions, was not that forthcoming in his offensive duties. His brief was probably to look out first and foremost for Bentley who in the end had a pretty average game. He is after all in my opinion an average player anyway (he stands out in Blackburn’s team because a lot of his teammates are not even average). 8
Gallas was strong and forceful once again. Consistency is his game and he was also foraging forward trying to get that second goal which would have killed the game off. 8
But Senderos had one of his better games for Arsenal. The way he got his goal showed that he must have been practicing at London Colney how to get free of his marker from a corner. And he had to twist in mid air to get a proper header on target which hit the back of the net with force. 8.5
So good was Arsenal’s defensive play that Lehmann had hardly anything to do. But he was very safe coming out of his area to catch the ball and relieve the pressure from corner kicks. 8
Hleb was fantastic tonight returning to his best form. He was always looking for the ball and once he got it they found it difficult to get it off him. His contribution was even more important as Fabregas was wasted on the wing (especially in the first half) and Hleb, coming infield was able to direct play more than he normally would have.
He even had two very accurate shots on goal and was unfortunate to see the first hit the post and the other saved acrobatically by the impressive Friedel. 9
Fabregas I thought was rendered ineffective on the right wing but when he drifted infield in the second half he was much more influential and got into some very dangerous scoring positions.
His shots were nearly there and it looks to me that he will get amongst the goals soon. His passing was again not at its best and he did look very weary but Wenger has said that he was ill for the last three days and he got out of bed to play tonight. 7
I can understand why Wenger chose to keep Flamini in the middle and push Fabregas on the right. His energy and covering in front of the defence is second to none. But also Gilberto is not really up to playing that role these days. Another box to box from the Flamster. 8
Gilberto had a decent game but he has slowed down a lot and I don’t recollect any tackles that he made tonight. Wenger has to let him go in the summer so that room for growth is created for the younger gunners such as Diaby, Denilson and Song who proved to everyone in the Africa Cup of Nations that he has bright future. 6.5
Eduardo is now very used to the Premiership and its fast pace. His all round game has improved and it showed tonight. However I thought he was reluctant to release the ball when it was called for, especially in dangerous areas where Adebayor was in a far better position to do something with it. 7
Adebayor improved in the second half where the game required him to receive the ball and hold it up so as to relieve the pressure. But in the first half after the goal was scored he was playing as though we had won the game already.
He came close to scoring before he did but what a goal he scored. It was similar in a way to the second goal he scored at Tottenham in the 3-1 win. He was inside the area on this occasion when he allowed the ball to bounce off his foot before swiveling round to hit it first time in the air into Friedel’s bottom right hand corner. 2-0 game over! 8
Man of the Match: Alexander Hleb
55% Possesion 45%
7 Shots on target 1
6 Shots off target 7
2 Offsides 5
7 Corners 5
12 Fouls 7
1 Yellow cards 0