Archive for February 12th, 2006

Player Ratings Vs Bolton

346 comments February 12th, 2006

A 1-1 draw against Bolton has to be seen as a decent result these days. The manner in which it arrived was particularly pleasing: a last minute equaliser after half an hour of immense pressure. It was good to see the team mixing it up and launching balls into the box – it had real impact.

Here are my thoughts on the individual performers:

Jens Lehmann
Absolutely superb. Blinding. Astonishingly good. Not only did he make a fantastic save in the opening minute, but he also twice shoved Matt Jansen to the ground, and swept up like Franco Baresi. Germany’s #1.

Mathieu Flamini
Defensive positioning awful, he played like an auxillary midfielder, which did certainly help going forward. Still, we miss Lauren massively – at times it was too easy for Stelios or Davies to get in behind him.

Sebastian Larsson
Like Flamini, doing a job, but not particularly well. Was replaced by Bergkamp, who looks finished. He’s just not a threat, however good his touch remains.

Philippe Senderos
I’m doubtful of him, but this was his best game for ages. He was the man who, in the dying minutes, took the game by the scruff of the neck, with several forages forward. Can’t really pass, but today he seemed tougher than usual.

Johan Djourou
Had an unusual tendency to chuck it long to the strikers. Not his best game, but still a big prospect.

Cesc Fabregas
Far far happier when moved to the centre and half-time. I like him in the wide roaming role, but the problem arises when he gets to the byline. He hasn’t got the quick feet to go past people, or Beckham-like crossing ability, so he either loses the ball or goes back to the right-back. We ask so much of him – he is our playmaker at 18. Insane, and he can’t always be expected to deliver.

Jose Reyes
Looked spritely, before that horriffic challenge. Genuinely awful. Personally, I never felt Diaby’s was that bad. This to me looked a definite straight red, and I just assumed Reyes had broken his leg. The amount of treatment he recieved seemed to suggest so. Robert Pires, who came on for him, looked well off the pace: nothing he tried came off.

Was utter gash in the first half. My 10 year old sister, who is hardly an expert, described him as “very crap”. I am a Gilberto fan, but he gave the ball away an awful lot in this game. I’m so grateful for another last minute goal from him, but he was lucky to stay on ahead of…

Abou Diaby
Surprised he’s been criticised by some for his 45 minutes of football. Got about well, put in one very big tackle, and showed neat control. The midfield area was very congested, but he certainly handled it better than Gilberto. Was marking Davies at set pieces, and did well. I hope he comes back in for Liverpool. Freddie Ljungberg came on, and played mostly at right-back, from where he attacked well. Still lacks penetration and creativity.

Thierry Henry
Outstanding. In the first half he was quiet, but only because the service to him was laughably bad. In the second, he was Captain Fantastic. He set off on foraging runs down the left, tackled back, and something I have always said is that his ability to win high balls is underrated. He has a fantastic leap, and won more in the air than Adebayor. Thierry deserved a goal today – my only criticism is that when we had a corner late late on and a chance to win it, he played it short and tried to dribble. Foolish when we had a very big side all forward.

Emmanuel Adebayor
Funny one. Yes, he looks a bit like Kanu. But the two couldn’t be more different. For example, he has none of Kanu’s silky skill. He’s far more similiar to Dogbag, only without the strength. He’s basically a bit of a lump. He’s not fantastic in the air, falls over easily, and isn’t particularly powerful. He’s just a body. The difference he makes is, as Wenger says, presence. But that’s about it. He changes our game because he stands close to Henry when a high-ball is launched, and the two can play off each other. That’s a positive thing. But I do have to question whether this was the best target man that was available. For £7m, I expect a little more. Don’t get me wrong: I’m pleased he’s here, because he presents an option we never had before – I’m just not convinced he’s really a top quality player. It’s not hard to be the best of your type at Arsenal if you’re a target man, because we haven’t got any others. Saying all that, I’d keep him in the team.


Kolo’s back soon. And last minute equalisers are always great. Now let’s stuff Liverpool 12-0.

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