Monday, April 28, 2008
Arsenal’s title hopes are still alive. Player analysis and ratings Vs Derby
By 1970’s Gooner
Call me the eternal optimist if you like but as I have been saying throughout the last week we would still have a chance if only Chelsea would beat Manchester United.
Now they did and the fact we have reduced the gap by thrashing Derby means that the scenario that would give the title to Arsenal is not that implausible….
The ridicule I have received is welcomed especially if Manchester United and Chelsea slip up in the next two games.
All we need is for Manchester United to loose one and draw the other of their two remaining games and Chelsea not to win any (as we have a superior goal difference over Chelsea)
Manchester United play against West Ham (home) and Wigan (away) and Chelsea against Newcastle (away) and Bolton (home).
Oh and Arsenal have to win both their games against Everton (home) and Sunderland (away).
Manchester United 36, +53, 81
Chelsea 36, +37, 81
Arsenal 36, +41, 77
Highly unlikely you might say but it’s not over until Vic Akers sings; and as in life, the most unpredictable things can happen when you least expect them…..
Tonight’s game can be characterised by the word “undisciplined”. When Arsenal went 1-0 up and then again 2-1 up they lost their discipline and started prancing about as the game became too easy for them.
They were lucky they were playing against a Derby side that was undisciplined and lacking in defencive capabilities. Darren Moore looking like a pub player than a Premiership come championship centre half.
Any other team would have punished Arsenal’s stepping off the gas like a lot of other lesser capable but more disciplined teams have done in the past causing Arsenal crucial points.
Nevertheless you can’t complain much when your team score six goals at a canter.
He showed us both his strengths and weaknesses. He is a very good shot stopper as are a lot of goalkeepers who hail from Leagues that play the ball more on the ground rather than send crosses in at every opportunity.
But he is weak on the high balls as he always opted to punch out rather than catch the ball in the air. He was also partly at fault for the equaliser as he stayed on his line when the corner was placed in the heart of the defence. 6
He made a few mistakes tonight that unfortunately resulted in the two goals that Derby scored. The first he failed to jump in order to head the ball away from the corner, may be waiting for Fabiansky to come out.
For Derby’s second goal he took the ball out of the defence too much and then proceeded to make a hush of a pass that was intercepted. He was then course out of position in the center of our defence which Earnshaw took advantage and raced on alone to beat Fabiansky. 5
He was professional enough and kept to his position and role quite well up until the final ten minutes when it was obvious that the game was won. He tried to go forward to get a goal but couldn’t manage it. 7
He has been along with Fabregas Arsenal’s best player this season. If it wasn’t for a few lapses of concentration he would have had a perfect season. No one got passed him tonight and went forward all the time. 9
Solid and looked less tired tonight. Had a couple of shots that went very near to getting him another goal for this season. 8
The little maestro was back to his best. He was controlling midfield spraying the passes left right and centre. Not even that idiot hatchet man calling himself a footballer (Savage) could get near him. 9
He started very tentatively and looked out of the pace and game. But after 20 minutes or so he started contributing constructively and from then on he bossed the midfield along with Fabregas. He was also quite good at stealing the ball and setting counter attacks up. 8
He was less frivolous tonight and actually got his crosses in early and to the right areas. One of his better games for Arsenal. 8
He was always a danger on the flanks as the Derby defenders couln’t keep up with his pace. When he began to look up rather than just hair down the line he became much more dangerous. This was very evident in the second half as Derby tired and he found more space.
He scored a wonderful goal which was a carbon copy of a goal he scored for the under 21s against Bulgaria (I think). He cut into the area from the left and curled a shot around Carroll into the net. 8
Combined very well with Van Persie for the first goal after they played the one two. He took his goal coolly into the opposite corner.
From then on he had an average game until the second half when in an withdrawn role (Van Persie had gone off with a thigh strain) he showed that he has the vision and the pass to set up his fellow players.
Adebayor was guilty of not scoring more goals as Bendtner set him up on his own in the area but he failed to beat the goalkeeper. 8
Played only one half but he of course oozed quality. He missed a sitter though when he did all the hard work to get a clear shot on goal which he put wide.
But he made up for it by scoring soon after controlling Toure’s delightful high ball which he brought under control with his chest inside the area and slotting passed the hapless Carroll. 8
Came on the second 45 minutes but managed to get his second hat trick of the season (the first was against the same opponents at the Emirates).
His first was a tap in after good work from Walcott who cut in from the right after a delightful through pass from Denilson.
The second came after wonderful interplay in the middle of the park and wing play from Clichy who cut in from the left and laid a through ball across the area for the oncoming Adebayor to slide in.
And his third after a sumptious through ball through the middle from Fabregas which left him with only Carroll to beat; which he did by dancing passed him and rolling the ball into the net. 9
Man of the Match: Adebayor