Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Player analysis and ratings Vs West Ham

By 1970’s Gooner

This was an important win as it was a real opportunity to make up some of the lost ground on Chelsea and Manchester United.

West Ham were up for it and did not look to put men behind the ball and try and defend in numbers. They broke with pace every time they won the ball pushing their midfielders forward to support Carlton Cole. They were therefore dangerous throughout the game.

Nevertheless three points and a clean sheet puts us in a nice position at this juncture in the League. Let’s hope that we do the same against Spurs on Wednesday night.


What a fantastic goalkeeper he is turning out to be. He personifies calmness and self confidence. He has developed the knack of making significant saves at very important points during the game to keep us from going behind thus providing the basis on which to move forward for the victory.

He did it on several occasions in Turkey and he did it again against West Ham where he saved Bellamy’s shot when he raced through onto a one on one against him with the score at 0-0. 8


Was steady tonight but just that. His runs down the wing were nowhere to be found. This was puzzling and it looks like he was on orders to refrain from doing so maybe in order to counter Bellamy’s runs. 6


Again he too was not that willing to make runs down the wing and his passing was not up to scratch. Maybe Wenger was worried about the lack of pace from his two central defenders. 6


He came back to action well and full of energy. He took up good defensive positions and covered for Silvestre’s rustiness. Looked to be out of pace when Bellamy raced through on goal though. 7


I am still cringing from remembering some of the howlers he made during the game in Turkey. He improved a lot tonight but was still below what I would consider match fit. On the one occasion when pace was needed he was found wanting and it took a save from Almunia to keep us into the game.

I still think playing these two (Gallas and Silvestre) in the centre of the defence is too risky as they both lack pace and therefore cannot cover for each other. Toure should hopefully return on Wednesday against the Spurs. 6


Looked to be below his best in Turkey and seems to have carried this indifferent form against West Ham. He did not go past his marker once, I don’t think, preferring to come onside all the time. This coupled with Clichy’s reluctance to go forward meant that we lacked width and penetration on the left hand side. Wenger has a decision to make whether to start him against Spurs. 5


The opposite can be said for this little devil. He, along with Van Persie, were the only real danger for West Ham.

His runs and penetration down the right wing were really unplayable.

I held my head in my hands when Wenger took him off in the second half as it was from him that I looked to find an assist or a goal.

He should have been kept on as Diaby’s contribution was really neutral. 8


Had a solid game in the middle of the field receiving and passing the ball around him. He needs to be a bit more forceful in contesting the ball and also be quicker with his passing so as to keep the tempo of the game up rather than slowing it down. 6


Looked tired and was not up to his top best. His passing was not as precise as say it was in Turkey but he still run the game for Arsenal. 6

Van Persie

Was dangerous throughout the game and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. His shot from outside the box drew an excellent save from Green (who had to be at his best tonight) and his wonderful free kick rocked the post. It was from his pass to Adebayor (after he drew two players onto him as he shaped to shoot) that resulted in the first goal. 8


He was not in the game for the whole of the first half. He lacked concentration and could not connect with Van Persie well. It was as though they were both playing in isolation rather than in tandem as they should have been. He had one good shot saved by Green but his wonderful long through ball to Adebayor to send him clear for the second goal was something else. 6


He only played 25 minutes but what a contribution he made. I had my doubts when I saw the team sheet prior to the game with Bendtner and Van Persie in and Adebayor on the bench.

He is such an important player for Arsenal as he is the target man through which nearly all our attacks go through especially when we want to switch our style of play by playing the long ball. This was missing against West Ham and with Nasri, Clichy and Eboue reluctant to venture on their respective wings left us with less options going forward. 9

Man of the Match: Adebayor


Israeli Gunner said...

Man of the match was Alex Song. For the first time this season, Wenger chose our natural defensive midfielder to play alongside Fabregas, and the result was solid midfield and less risk for the defence. Song was strong in his tackles, took the ball forward confidently and stopped a lot of the hammers attacks. What a difference for Arsenal when having a real defensive midfielder like Song in the starting lineup, unlike playing with Denilson which is too offensive and mellow. Song proved he should play regulary with Fabregas in the midfield.

Nasri again, no impact on the game, a very weak performance. Apart from his 2 goals this season, I have seen nothing from him. Arsenal misses Hleb very much, because he took some burden off Fabregas in controling the ball and creating chances.

Almunia, brilliant again today!

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can really rate a substitute as man of the match. And Van Persie doesn't deserve an 8 because if he did we would've scored before Adebayor came on. I'd give Van Persie a 7 at maximum and Gallas definitely deserved an 8 (apart from the time when he conceded the corner but no one can contest that Almunia deserved an 8 and he made a rash clearance once to Nasri that got us into trouble). Song too I would've given an 8 for his break up of the West Ham attacks although he needs to learn to let the ball go quicker as he often lands himself into trouble due to his inability to do this. Finally I'd give Cesc a 7 because he played well defensively covering up for Eboue's poor positioning.

Spike said...

I thought West Ham played like the away team, with men behind the ball only going forward on the break.

The fact that Wenger's substitutions won us the game, so saying Theo should've stayed on the pitch (which is exactly what I was thinking!) is a bit churlish of both of us!

I would rather Gallas played with Djourou personally, although Wenger doesn't seem to be of the same thinking.

As for Song, well, I really do not rate him, in any position.

Anonymous said...

Song was man of the match!

Anonymous said...

That was a glorious over the top rating for Theo. The guy did three good things. He should slaughter his opponents but he seems to dither around doing nothing until he decides to try.

Anonymous said...

Hansen's pissed up again on MotD2.


paul said...

Song played well thought we were much more solid with him the middle of the park

theo played well and Almunia pulled off some great saves though his distribution could do with a lil work

bops said...

i think Song played very well for a 6.. i wud give him an 8..

Wiseman said...

Song was definitely man of the match! I haven't seen Arsenal so stable defensively this whole season!

gazzap said...

Not sure you were watching the same match as me!
Song was massively important and did tons of good breaking up of west ham attacks. he was really well positioned to do that whereas Denilson would have been up the field somewhere.
RVP was poor other than the 2 moments you mentioned.

GunnerPete said...

The anti Song bias is getting boring. I thought that our wobly defence looked capable of holding a lead for the first time in 12 months, and that was mainly due to Song and the tactic of restricting the full backs to defending.

Song I would give an 8 and Aia another 8. Nasri is a match winner normally so he must have been unwell or something? Walcott should have stayed on but AW was thinking about the Spuds match.

The Brain said...

Man of the match was Adebayor. Changed the game. Also by using Bentner and Van Persie on their unnatural side it allowed us to get more men closer to Ade and the box.

Chris said...

A little harsh on Song, he played well and deserved more.

Anonymous said...

The best players on the pitch were Song, Gallas and Almunia. I'm not sure what game you were watching. There's no way Toure should come back when the team was so solid defensively.

Anonymous said...

song is great!
get over your irrational hatred of this classy young player.

if he can add a bit more aggrssion and speed to his game he'll be the perfect defensive midfielder.

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