By 1970’s Gooner
It was a game Arsenal needed to win so as to finally take advantage of Chelsea’s indifferent form as of late. And the boys looked hungry and determined to get all three points.
It wasn’t until Wenger made two significant substitutions that Arsenal began to pass the ball quicker and in more penetrative positions.
Fabregas who replaced Denilson added trickery and more incisive passing. He added the goals of course…
But the other substitution was also important in my mind. For a start Walcott replaced Eduardo who was again disappointingly ineffective.
Walcott also added width which stretched the pitch as he drew on to him Villa’s left back. This left more room for Fabregas and Diaby to roam.
Didn’t have much to do and on the occasion he had to he managed to palm the ball away from Agbolanhor as he was close to turning it in five mnutes from the end. 7
Kept Downing quiet and also went forward combining well with Nasri. He looks fresher than a few games ago when he looked in need of rest. 7
I was very relieved when the news came out that he was fit enough to return to the left back position. Silvestre is a real liability as a left back (and as a central defender too).
I would much prefer Sagna to play left back and Eboue brought in at right back if the need arises again.
Traore looks the part now. He is strong, fast and tenacious and what a marvelous cross field ball he made to Walcott which resulted in Arsenal’s second goal.
Wenger will really have a big problem when Clichy and Gibbs return. 7
He looks rejuvenated with Vermaelen partnering him rather than Toure. He is stronger and much more determined in the challenges this season. He nearly scored today but Friedle saved from close range. 7
He wasn’t going to let Agbolnahor or any of the Villa forwards get the better of him. You could sense that all game personified by the chase against Agbolanhor from which he came out a winner. 8
Another strong performance from Arsenal’s anchor. Dominated midfield with his strength, close control and tenacity. His passing however was not up to his usual standards giving the ball away too often. 6.5
He has managed to dispel that part of his game that got us all so frustrated last season. That which saw him hold onto the ball too long, draw too many defenders on him and then lose it.
Now he is far more sensible. He wins the ball and then if he doesn’t see the space to exploit he passes short to a team mate. Simple football means great performances and this is what we got today from this awesome football player.
He also scored a wonderful third to cap a fantastic performance. 9
He is another that got us all debating last season as to his footballing abilities. But at 21 he has improved so much this season chipping in with vital goals (eg vs Hull) and becoming much more efficient in his ball retrieving and passing. 6
Enough said. He was magnificent today for 28 minutes scoring two great goals. He is a much more direct and efficient player this season. He knows when to pass, when to shoot and which positions to take… 10
Another disappointing performance from Eduardo. He gets into very dangerous positions but fails to convert. He did it against Hull when he turned into the box beating his man with only the goalie to beat. He repeated almost the same move today with the same outcome.
I believe that he is still afraid of picking another injury which makes him rush his shots or be reluctant to go for 50 50 balls. Unless he shakes this fear off he will never be the same player again.
I think he should be dropped for the next game and Walcott (or even Eboue) brought in on the flank. 4
Had a better second half. He was meeting the ball far more effectively in the second half something which he was failing to do in the first.
Villa compressed the space around him so he had litle room to manouvre.
He also suffered due to Fabregas’s absence in the first half as Cesc is able to play him in far more easily than Song, Denilson or Diaby. 5
He was more of a peripheral player today which is strange as with the absence of Fabregas from midfield he should have been doing more of the playmaking. 6
Provided much needed width when he came on and he looked fresh and more with it today than in his previous outings. Of course he can do that much better when he comes off the bench with the opponents tired.
Once he recovers his fitness he will have a very important role to play this season. Provided the assist for Fabregas to score the second with a very precise pass into his path. 8
Man of the Match: Cesc Fabregas