Saturday, February 21, 2009
Lethargic, lethargic Arsenal. Player analysis and ratings Vs Sunderland
By 1970’s Gooner
It was another lackluster, lethargic performance. Too slow, too predictable and without enough drive and determination.
Arsenal seem to actually want to play in this rather slow way where the build up to the attacks is undertaken with a lot of sideways passes and slowly progress to the opponents box.
The reason for this of course is that the other team put 10 men behind the ball. But they put 10 men behind the ball because they are given the time to do it.
Even at times when Sunderland ventured forward and left gaps behind which Arsenal could exploit, the counter attacks lacked pace.
Arsenal’s biggest weakness was the two central midfielders.
They slowed the game down too much with the main culprit being Song who was also wayward with his passes. There were only a few forward and penetrative passes coming from them.
Nor, more importantly, were any meaningful tackles. This meant that not enough balls were won in midfield and therefore not enough pressure placed on Sunderland’s defence.
As a result Sunderland were able to pass their way out of trouble and through Arsenal's midfield which allowed them time to breath and take the sting out of the game. To their credit they did this quite well (but only because we let them do it).
In attack Van Persie and Bendtner did not click together. I don’t remember a pass they made to each other all game. It was as though they were playing in different teams.
The positive is that Arsenal’s defence is beginning to play very well keeping another clean sheet.
Toure and Gallas have started to find form (Gallas ever since he was stripped of the captaincy).
Almunia is growing into a hell of a goalkeeper. With his calmness, shot stopping and aerial ability he brings the feeling of security to the other defenders which in turn helps them in their performances.
As above 7
Was below his usual high standards. His crosses need improving but he defended well enough. 6
Defended well but was not penetrative enough going forward. 5
Had a very good game. No mistakes and nearly scored the winner at the end. 7
Is finding good form and also pace as he showed when he beat Kieran Richardson to the ball when he looked to have raced clear. 7
Had one of his worst games for Arsenal. He was slow, wayward in his passing and had no urgency in his play.4
This boy was Arsenal’s best performer today. He covered a lot of ground, passed the ball well and did not make any mistakes. If only he could tackle. 8
Showed glimpses of what he can do. He can take shots alright and he nearly scored if it wasn’t for Sunderland’s goalkeeper who was on to form to keep his shots out. Arshavin tired in the second half but he will add that creativity and penetration that Arsenal have lacked. 6
He played his usual game by coming infield to dictate play (as Denilson and Song are not really able enough to do that) but he found no creative movement from his front players in Bendtner or Van Persie. 6
Returned to his usual low standard today. He could not hold the ball well, could not lay it off and more importantly could not connect with the rest of the players. 5
Usually dropped back to counter Sunderland’s five in midfield but this meant that Bendtner was isolated up front. Missed that chance in the first half which would have put as all at ease and generally lacked drive and penetration. He is the type of player that needs a strong and commanding forward to play off him. 6
I feel sorry for him as he missed those glorious two chances to score but he snatched at the ball on each occasion. He did provide width and drive from the left hand side when he came on though. He will come good. 5
Man of the Match: Denilson