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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Arsenal’s average age was 22 1/2. Player ratings and analysis Vs Villareal



By 1970’s Gooner

It was very obvious what was wrong with Arsenal in the first half of this Champion’s League Quarter Final against the yellow submarines.

The 4 2 3 1 formation adopted against Manchester City was not good enough to counter a skilled and determined Villareal side. The reason it worked against Manchester City was because they are an awful team especially away from home.

Tonight against Villareal, Fabregas was not playing in his familiar role in the heart of the midfield which meant that he was lost in no man’s land between Adebayor and the two Arsenal midfielders, Denilson and Song.

The result was a double negative (as is often in football). First we lost the creativeness that the team thrives on and secondly Adebayor was starved of any support up front.

Add to this tactical weakness the fact that Song and Denilson were defending too deep in front of the back four and you have a huge gap in the middle areas of the pitch which Villareal exploited to the full.

Their goal was scored because Denilson positioned himself too deep to be able to thwart Senna from taking his shot without any harassment.

In the second half one of these weaknesses was corrected. Denilson and Song began to compete for the ball in the more forward areas of the pitch thus pushing Arsenal much forward than before.

They also became much more competitive and combative which resulted in Villareal being confronted with resistance in their own half. This allowed Fabregas to receive the ball in more dangerous positions and thus take the game to Villareal.

Both Adebayor and Fabregas need at least two more games to find fitness as they both looked short. Nevertheless two brilliant acts from each resulted in the goal.

Fabregas’s long range pass uncharacteristically found Adebayor on side and inside the area. He stopped the ball with his chest and jumping backwards completed an overhead kick which stunned the Villareal goalkeeper into inaction.


A quite brilliant goal.

Arsenal ended the game with an average age of the players on the field of about 22 1/2.

It showed in the second half as Villareal couldn’t cope with the high tempo and fast attacking game that Arsenal adopted. It is this type of approach that will be needed from now on if we are to progress further in this competition.


Almunia

Couldn’t do much about that Senna goal. Otherwise his covering outside the area was quite good though he got injured in the act. 7

Fabiansky

I was impressed with Lucas. He came out to collect the high balls with ease and made a brilliant follow up save in his near post early when he came on. I feel safe with him in the goals if Almunia cannot play on Saturday against Wigan. 8

Gallas

It was from a corner when both he and Kolo allowed the ball to bounce in front of Almunia with Clichy clearing off the line. Otherwise strong and authoritative. 7

Toure

Was quite solid, strong and took up the leadership role well when Gallas had to go off. Also went forward with the ball and provided a real threat when he did so. 8

Djourou

Slotted with ease next to Kolo. Did not have a lot to do as Arsenal pressed forward for three quarters of the second half but in the last ten minutes defended well. 7

Clichy

Back to near his best. Good at defending and purposeful going forward. 8

Sagna

Very good at his defensive duties but needs to spend more time on the training ground practicing his crosses. 7

Song

Sat too deep in the first half and was unable to stop the opponents from using the space in front of him. Improved his competitiveness in the second and won many tackles. 7

Denilson

He is getting better and better with each game. Was able to win the ball, control it and pass it even when under pressure. 8

Walcott

Was the only shining light of the first half.

His pace posed real problems and Arsenal’s only penetration came from him. Pitty Adebayor was alone up front and Fabregas was too far away to exploit his balls into the area.

I was surprised that Wenger took him off to replace him with Eboue who was anonymous. Walcott was our only chance of getting a second goal late in the game but may be Wenger wanted to shore up the draw. 8

Nasri

Was disappointing. He posed no real threat nor was he able to come infield and help Fabregas run the game. 6

Fabregas

Looked tired but he still produced an amazing assist for Adebayor’s goal. It is now three assists for Arsenal’s last three goals form the little maestro. 8

Adebayor

Looked lethargic again until he scored that goal which seemed to breathe into him new found enthusiasm. He needs more games to find fitness but nevertheless it is three goals in his last two games for Arsenal. God knows what he can achieve when he finds fitness! 8

Man of the Match: Adebayor, give him the ball and he will score….


19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Song 7 and denilson 8. Come on denilson was at fault for the opener n was nt there in the 1st have. Plus he gave to much back passes i hate that. Song was full of runnin so i think its song 8 n denilson 6.

Anonymous said...

Song, way better then Denilson. Not only tonight, all the time. At least he passes the ball for fwd.

Anonymous said...

Denilson was too slow to close down, as he was with Giovanni's goal v Hull. But the whole team was a bit one-pace compared to VR for the first half at least. And c'mon: you can't legislate for that shot - esp for the movement on the ball.

Anonymous said...

Song 8 - Denilson 6

Denilson wasn't even trying for parts of the game. He wasn't pressing. Song performed and looked great especially in the second half!

Anonymous said...

Who gives these rates anyway? Song was man of th match! Especialy th last mhnutes when Villareal were pressing for a winer. Wtf?

terry h said...

after a very difficult first half, we reposnded well and looked like we could win it. A combination of Super Bob coming on and Theo going off, handed them back the initiative for the last 15 mins. I hope we do not regret not going for the second by keeping Theo on - they were clearly shit scared of his pace and he battled well - but Toure was immense - he is back to his best and we will need him if Gallas is out for long.

Vertino Aleci said...

8 for fabregas is too much. Apart from the assist which was more down to ade making it for himself (I think otherwise the defenders had it covered), Cesc passing was wayward especially in first half.

arsenalcolumn said...

It was Villarreal's style of play that caused problems as the wingers came inside and congested the middle. This opened space outside, coupled with great movement and passing allowed them to totally dominate. Song and Denilson had a bad first half but improved but it wasn't about the formation, it was bout who played where.

Anonymous said...

Song and denilson were world class!!!!
especially song.

Anonymous said...

I dont normally comment on blogs but do you really think Clichy was an 8 out of 10?????? Last night especially in the 2nd half he was awful

The boy has been shoocking this season and commits himself far too easily and gets out-tricked far too often. Like Sagna, he is unable to cross a ball to any decent standard - no wonder Troare wants to come back next season to fight for the left-back berth!

Anonymous said...

noticed song was bad in first half didn't even see din.invisible-wall.
Ya and 8 for Clichy,maybe if he could cross the ball.Would love to see kolo and cesc in midfeild.Song + Dinelson = 1 player

Anonymous said...

I'd say Song was probably my man of the match. I prefer Denilson but in this game Song was better IMO. Fabregas and Adebayor did not deserve 8, Fabregas' passing was quite poor compared to his usual standard and Adebayor has no idea what offside is (someone should tell him to get onside BEFORE the ball is played). Nevertheless he scored a great goal so I'd give him 7 and also he did get the goal that we needed so I can see some reason to give him 8, although I definitely don't think Cesc deserved 8.

I wouldn't give Walcott 8 either, he was our best player in the first half but quite poor in the second. And Clichy didn't deserve an 8 either, although Song did.

This is gonna sound quite hypocritical (because I think you overrated many of the players) but your article's too negative, we got the away goal that we needed and I predicted this result for us as well (sorry, can't help but boast) so I'm happy because I didn't expect us to lose two key players to injury and play quite as poorly as we did, even though we were very poor against Roma away.

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