Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Absence of wise hands leads to injuries (plus player analysis and ratings Vs Spurs)

By 1970’s Gooner

What was noticeably absent was the lack of a wise hand in the middle of the defence.

Senderos amd Djourou were very square and did not really work as a pair. Berbatov and Keane run them rugged with Berbatov dropping deep to receive the ball and with his trickery dictate play.

If Gallas had been in the line up things would have been a lot different in defence. He would have brought organisation and positional awareness.

Arsene Wenger will need to consider correcting this imbalance between youth and experience for the return leg if we are to go through to the final for a second year in succession.

However who will be fit to play in the return leg in two weeks time and indeed for the Premier League games coming up in between is now debatable.

The imbalance in the line put the whole team and certain players under a lot of physical pressure which inevitably led to injuries.

Robin van Persie, Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos and Theo Walcott are undergoing scans today. All four are now major doubts for the game against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Senderos injured his medial knee ligaments and Djourou has a groin complaint. With Kolo Touré and Song already departed for the African Cup of Nations only William Gallas is now the remaining available centre-half. Hoyte looked a viable alternative to me.

Arsene Wenger said: We don't know yet how long the injured players willl be out."

Van Persie complained of pain in the thigh he hurt last month. "It might be just scar tissue but we have to respect the injury," said Wenger. Walcott also twisted an ankle late on and was substituted by Randall.

It was a flat performance with a lot of the players playing below par in all areas of the pitch.

As feared the central defensive pairing of Senderos and Djourou was suspect throughout the game and was the weakest link in the Arsenal line up.

In midfield players like Diaby and Denilson were wasteful in possession contributing very little in their respective roles.

And in attack Van Persie did not look match fit and therefore could not link up well with Bendtner or be dangerous enough to bother the Spurs defence.

The draw flattered us.

Here is the player analysis and ratings which was also posted last night.


Overall had a good game and made two good saves. Made a couple of mistakes dropping the ball in the box in front of a bunch of players and once his burst out of the area was not fast enough to catch Berbatov. Due to his inexperience in the Premier League I would be worried if Almunia got injured. 6


Steady and reliable. Impressed me a lot when he had to play centre back. In fact he steadied the middle of the defence something that was missing before Djourou was substituted. 7


A much better game than at Burnley. Was well positioned and strong in his challenges. Lennon was kept mostly quiet which is a very good compliment to pay for Traore. Got forward a lot more in the second half and put in some useful crosses. 7


Has not improved this year. I have to say he is probably the only one of the “younger” players that has not added a lot to his play this season. Was out of position again on a few occasions. Played better in the second half. 5


Disappointing. The pairing with Senderos did not work. They did not cover for each other and were both rather flat. His mistake on the header he misplaced was not helped by Senderos lack of cover and Keane was through to lay the ball for Jenas to score. I would be worried if Gallas got injured and we had to pair these two in a league game. From tonight’s performance I would prefer Hoyte instead! 5


Played much better today. Was more combative and commanding in the air. His passing was not at its best and he faded a little in the second half. 6


One of his worst games for Arsenal. Passing was off, decision making below average and he go caught with the ball too often as Spurs employed the tactic of pressing from the front and not allowing any space for the midfielders to turn with the ball. It was on one such an occasion that he lost the ball in the middle of the field which led to Spurs getting their goal. 4


Pass the ball man! Don’t try and show us that you can play football. He ended up slowing the game up every time he got the ball and held it up selfishly. I can’t remember any occasion where he got passed his man on the wing. Contributed very little for the whole. 3.5


Tried to be busy and use his pace but he hardly got any joy on the wing as he kept running into opponents. It was only when he ventured in the middle of the Spurs defence to receive a lovely through pass from Eduardo that he actually scored. 6


Busy and got a lot of headers. Dropped back a little bit in between the midfield and the attack but his passing was not at its best. He wasn’t helped by Van Persie’s lack of mobility. Got into a good position to head Walcott’s cross but Cerny saved it. Was more active in the second half. 6

Van Persie

Unfit and therefore less mobile. Was not able to contribute much and rightly substituted for Eduardo for the second half. Still he had to play so that he could get match fit. 5


I think if he had started he would have probably scored. Gave a delightful assist for Walcott’s goal and generally prowled around sniffing for the goal opportunities. Arsenal’s below average play did not help however. 7


Came on at half time for Djourou and had a fine game at right back bringing some experience to bear to what was a beleaguered back four prior to that. Ventured forward putting some dangerous crosses. 7

Match Statistics

Arsenal, Tottenham

1, goals, 1
0, 1st half goals, 1
4, Shots on Target, 5
3, shots off target, 5
2, Blocked Shots, 3
4, Corners, 5
16, Fouls,15
0, Offsides, 6
0, Yellow Cards, 0
0, Red Cards, 0
76.3%, Passing Success, 73.8%
30, Tackles, 35
70%, Tackle success, 74.3%
51%, Possession, 49%


Anonymous said...

As much as Senderos and Djourou were a concern, my feeling is that they had absolutely no protection in front of them. Like Sunday Gilberto and Denilson just don't work well. They are too slow across the ground, their passing is erratic and they have no understanding of when to sit or go. It meant the Spurs central midfield were able to pass and move at will.

As a bright point in a very average performance, Justin Hoyte looked good at CentreBack and did well at nullifying Berbatov who given all the time in the world during the first half.

Anonymous said...

Only one positive emerged from this match and that is Hoyte playing at centre back. I think that he should be given a chance alongside Gallas against Burmingham and lets see how he does. Couldn't be much worse than Senderod and Djourou anyway. Another thing... Gilberto must NEVER run onto the pitch wearing an Arsenal shirt ever again... he's terrible all around (except maybe at corners).

Anonymous said...

The draw definitely flattered us, but perhaps we should take some consolation in the fact that Sp*rs first team playing their best game of the season couldn't beat our reserves playing shit.

Whilst CB may be a slight concern with Toure gone, I thought Hoyte looked good there and would play him over both Senderos and Djourou. More concerning for me is the midfield- it was non-existent. Gilberto has had it, Diaby and Denilson seem to be going backwards and Walcott, goal aside, offered very little (but as he scored, he can be forgiven). If Diarra goes (though, idiot that he is, I hope he doesn't) we don't have much decent cover in centre mid if Fab or Flamini get injured again.

Anonymous said...

I feared the worst when I saw the pairing of Senderos and Djourou in the starting line up and that is just what we got. There was no positional cover and Spurs could just stroll through the middle. How they didn't score more goals I will never know.
Like others here, I would like to see Hoyte partner Gallas in central defence on Saturday
However this situation was basically caused by the terrible performances of Gilberto and Denilson who were non-existent as a shield for the back four which allowed Spurs the freedom of the middle park.
The situation was just crying out for a combative Diarra in there and sadly he was missing. Come on Arsene sort this out

Anonymous said...

Too harsh on Diaby, made a couple of bad decisions, and carried the ball too much, but was the only guy in midfield trying to do something. He had to play on the wing and cope with the day-off from denilson and gilberto.

Sure it wasn't a good game for him but i don't even get how u can rate him under Bert, who was like a retired player.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe there are words in the English language that are too harsh for Diaby. He was absolute shite!

He slowed everything down; killed off every move he was involved in and, while I can excuse a player whose touch is a bit off, there is no excuse for switching your brain off. Why does he always have to try to beat two or three players before releasing the ball? Why does he pick the ball up in space and carry it into a ruck of opponents, trying to batter his way through, before losing it? And the guy deserves to be shot for dribbling right across his own penalty area, until he loses the ball in a very dangerous place.

Diaby needs to start thinking very hard about his game, as he is killing the creative flow in the team at the moment. I think 3.5 was a generous mark for him; I would give him 1.0.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Gilberto had a good game. His passing was off a few times but he really stabilised the game and helped contribute to the scoreline.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you on Denilson and Fabianski.
Denilson, in middle, was our only better player able to control and pass it accurately.
Fabianski had a good game; without him in goal, I think we could have lost it.
Gilberto has improved from previous performances, but it was still average.
I can't really blame Djourou and Senderos for having a poor game, as both are not playing regularly and Djourou, inparticular who fought his days at Arsenal were numbered can't perform well under such state of mind.
Walcott needs to pass the ball instead of wasting opportunities.
Diaby is the player to sell, not Diarra for me. Diaby lakes any vision, losing possession after possession, and doesn't seem to learn anything from his mistakes.
But I blame AW for the injuries, because you can't keep playing young players who are still developping physically their body against any Premiership top teams week in, week out. The among of energy they would have to deploy to win a ball makes them paye by getting injured.
Even Kolo and Gallas could not stop Berbertov, you can't expect Djourou and Senderos to do it.
Common sense must prevail.
We should get Inzogbia in exchange if Newcastle take Diarra although I am against losing him.