Sunday, April 26, 2009
Player analysis and ratings Vs Middlesbrough
By 1970’s Gooner
It feels nice to type out Emmanuel Almunia’s name when giving the ratings for an Arsenal performance. He was called to the rescue twice and he was equal to it.
The first from a long range shot from Downing which he saved at the second attempt and the second from old boy Aliadiere who found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat.
I am not sure if Fabiansky would have saved Aliadiere’s effort from such a close range and the whole game would have taken a different turn at 1-1. 8
Good going forward but positionally naïve when defending. He was often caught out with the attacker finding himself with loads of space on Arsenal’s right.
The first such occasion was with Marlon King when his cross thankfully found no one but the second nearly resulted in a goal by Aliadere (as described above). Provided an excellent assist for Fabregas to score the second goal. 6
Growing in stature with every game and was cool and collected throughout today’s encounter. Defended well and came forward a la Clichy mode.
I am not sure however how he will cope, if he plays, with a Manchester United team that will put pressure on him like Liverpool did the other night nor how he will cope with the quick movement of the United players.
Still if he gets the support from the left sided midfielder he may grow in stature again. 7
Has been consistently good as of late, marshalling the defence both on the ground and in the air. 7
Coped well with King who is a big and strong player but who is not blessed with pace which always helps with slow and ageing defenders.
How Silvestre will cope against United’s movement will go a long way towards deciding the goals against count for Arsenal. 6
On the other hand Wenger may have thought for opting for Djourou at Old Trafford but not after this display. He came on for the second half and did nothing to help his cause.
He was off the pace, gave the ball away, dangerously at times and provided the cue for Boro to take the initiative and look for that equalizer for a short while.
Still Johan is the type of player that needs a game or so to get into his stride as he proved after a very average performance against West Brom away which was then followed with a good run into the side. 5.5
I hope he does not start against Manchester United. He had a much better game today but it was against an opposition that was not that physical or adventurous enough to put him under sustained pressure. Even so his passing still failed him at times and did nothing but pass the ball sideways all game. 6
If he can score two goals and play in second gear like he did today then I will take that.
He was at the heart of Arsenal’s creative play and dictated play like we have grown used to see him do.
He was also at the centre of Arsenal’s exquisite first goal receiving Bendtner’s flick on and immediately releasing the little Russian demon down the left wing into space. He then followed the play up receiving Arshavin’s pass and unleashing an unstoppable shot.
Took his second goal very well rounding another young keeper who, like Fabiansky against Chelsea, made the mistake of mistiming his run out of the area. 8.5
For a player so young he often amazes me by his maturity. He hardly makes a wrong pass, his decision making is very mature and is also good at tracking back. He did all these today although he faded a little bit in the second half. 7
Well, he couldn’t repeat that scoring performance against Liverpool could he? He did not get on the score sheet but was much more involved in play than at Anfield.
He was part of all Arsenal’s attacks and posed a real threat all day long. His part in the first goal was excellent.
Pitty he can’t play in the Champions League as he provides that spark, pace and devilry that the team lacks when he is absent. 8
If only he could get his final ball right he will be the perfect winger.
He uses his pace and new found body strength to get past defenders with ease but today he often chose to go for goal instead of passing across the area. And when he did cross, the ball usually hit the first defender.
I am sure he will get this right as it comes with more experience and he is an intelligent lad after all. 6.5
Was more purposeful today, getting up for headers and directing them to a team mate as best as he could. His play on the ground was also good, an example of which was the first time pass to Fabregas which eventually led to the first goal. 7
If he is going to look as disinterested at Old Trafford as he did today and frankly as he has looked in his last games for Arsenal then I would seriously urge Wenger to consider dropping him on the bench.
Really, he contributed nothing when he came on in the latter stages of the game when the Boro players were on the ropes. 4