Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Player Analysis and ratings Vs West Brom
By 1970's Gooner
Even a local pub team would have given West Brom a game tonight. Their defending was abysmal and their attacking as tame as pussy cat. If it wasn’t for Scot Carson’s excellent goalkeeping Arsenal would have got near to double figures.
Yet even if Arsenal enjoyed a lot of possession the defenders conjured enough mistakes to have allowed West Brom to get back into the game.
Djourou had a bad game. He was probably unfit not having played for a long time and he looked it. His aerial challenges more often than not ended up pushing the attacker rather than winning the ball thus giving away free kicks in dangerous positions.
Their goal came from just such a free kick. Eboue inexplicably stepped aside while in the wall to let the low ball slip through into Almunia’s unsighted corner.
West Brom’s very strange insistence in not putting a high ball into the area from the free kicks but opting to pass the ball sideways meant that they failed to capitalise on an Arsenal weakness that could have provided more dividends.
Djourou also fell asleep again in the second half letting Fortune slip away from him on to a through ball. It was only the excellent Almunia’s fingertip save that reprieved him.
Bendtner used his power and self confidence well tonight taking advantage of slack defending to score two well taken goals. The first with his left foot when he went passed his defender rather easily from the right hand side and shooting low past Carson in the 5th minute.
His second and Arsenal’s third came from the only decent long ball that Toure managed to supply Bendtner with all night. Keite went asleep, Bendtner controlled brilliantly with his knee and shot powerfully and diagonally through Carson.
Arshavin turned provider for Arsenal’s important second goal. Clichy won a free kick on the left hand side of the pitch and Arsenal did not do what West Brom did with most of their free kicks.
Arshavin who took the free kick placed an in swinger into the penalty area and Toure was completely unmarked to head the ball into the net.
Wenger did not help matters with his substitutions.
Putting Ramsey in on the 66th minute and then Merida in the last 10 minutes almost backfired when Ramsey hit a weak back pass which took a deflection off Sagna and put Fortune in clear on goal. It needed a quick reaction from Almunia to block the danger injuring himself in the process.
This was a very important win for Arsenal putting pressure on Villa to get a win at Manchester City tomorrow.
He didn’t have much to do but when he was called upon he was excellent.8
Returned to form for this game. Kept his position well, was never caught out and also did well in the air. 7
The same cannot be said of Clichy. He is still below his best, not marking tight enough and his crosses left a lot to be desired. I hope he returns to form soon. 5
Scored a rare goal and performed very well, both on the ground and in the air, throughout the game. Real leadership shown. 8
Continued his average performances as of late. His marking was not tight enough and his passing failed him again. 4
Getting better and better. Swept very well in midfield and made many more forward passes tonight always finding his man. 7
Influential in the first half faded out in the second. Assumed the playmaker's role and combined well with Arshavin. 6
Resumed his enthusiastic performances as of late but he lacks decision making. Still provided that quickness and thrust that is needed to drive the team forward especially coming out of defence. 6
Looked more threatening tonight combining well with Bendtner and Nasri. He was set up on several occasions by the unselfish Bendtner and could have had his first goal if it wasn’t for Scot Carson. Still looked unfit especially in the second half. 7
Had one of his better games scoring two goals, hitting the post and Carson denying him his hat trick on several occasions. 8.5
He came on for the injured Toure with Song reverting to centre back. Immediately slotted in and dictated play with ease and forward thrust. He is really looking the business in midfield. 8
Man of the Match: Scott Carson! Yes he was really the man of the match but from Arsenal’s point of view it has to be Bendtner.