It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Well that is how I felt about last nights thumping 5-2 victory!
On the one hand we had mesmerising football and clinical finishing… on the other, some defending so shoddy Spurs fans would have been smirking. Seriously, it was that bad. Song looked so hopelessly out of his depth I actually felt really bad for him… if Song was a boat, he’d be hanging out with the titanic. It’s like someone slipped horse tranquilliser into his lucozade before the game started… he was constantly caught napping and if it wasn’t for the poor finishing of Guiza, we could have finished that game 5-5. Silvestre didn’t do much to help him out… but at least he was holding the line with the rest of the defence.
Attacking wise we looked fantastic though. Diaby was, as predicted… fantastic! He showed great skill throughout the game and he even managed to score a goal. Cesc also looked marvellous, as did Theo.
However, today I will be mostly praising the stand in captain. Manuel Almunia was nothing short of world class. He made at least 5 fantastic saves… in short, he put on a captains performance…. when was the last time you said that about an Arsenal player (Gilberto I reckon). Anyone left with any doubts over the Spaniards ability must surely lay them to rest now. He played superbly last year, and this year it looks like he is ready to continue that form… he has earnt that number 1 jersey, and no one can say otherwise.
So… how about some player ratings?
Almunia: He saved at least 4 one on ones, he blocked at least two goal bound shots and he put on a great showing. Without Almunia between the sticks, tonight could have been a very different story. World class… and my man of the match. 9
Clichy: The one shining light in the back 4. The ever dependable Clichy made a super goal line clearance after an Almunia save early in the second half… that’s two for the week! This guy will become and Arsenal legend and we should all be truly appreciative of his hard working displays. 8
Song: Sloppy passing, terrible positional play and a real lack of pace to boot. Not a good performance from the young Cameronian. I didn’t rate him before tonight… and I certainly don’t after. He did score a great goal though. After Nasri won a freekick… the ball was whipped into the box, Silvestre got on the end of it and Song Volleyed home the looping header for our 4th. The commentator quipped,
‘How much more extraordinary can this night get?’
A veiled dig for sure!
Great goal, but don’t let it cloud the reality… he ain’t no centre back. He needlessly fouled to concede the freekick that led to the first. Some are blaming him for the first, but for me it was probably a foul… but then again, I don’t think a better defender would have been in that postion in the first place. The second goal was conceded when Song failed to clear a header properly… Guiza latched onto it and lobbed Almunia. However, I am not to fussed… hopefully he will be displaced by our Big Swiss defender on Sunday. 5
Silvestre: Hard to judge someone who is playing next Song. If I was playing doubles Tennis with Andy Murray against Nadal and Federer… would you slag Andy off he we got hammered? (Geoff would). That is how I saw it today. He wasn’t great but he was having a tough time of it playing against someone who was often out of position. 6
Eboue: Didn’t do a lot wrong tonight. If anything, he was pretty quiet. He made a few good interceptions and he did well to set up our new Welsh wonder at the end. If tonight proved anything, it is that Eboue is great cover at right back… and no more. 7
Nasri: Not his best performance in the red and white, but lets not forget he is new to the English game. He looked a touch jaded and I have noticed that he is part of the same ‘low pain threshold’ club as Eboue. He went down like a fairy for the freekick that led to Songs goal. Not his night tonight, but he was still more of a threat in front of goal than Hleb ever was… and he certainly knows how to muck in. 6.5
Denilson: Not the best, not the worst. He quietly ticked over in midfield this evening and looked a lot more comfortable playing in a 5 man midfield. Stuart Robson said that he isn’t the best passer, he can’t go round players and he is weak… harsh, but some would say fair. 7
Diaby: Well, what a come back game eh? Fast, skillful and more confident than ever! There was one point where I though, ‘jeez… he thinks he is Adebayor!’. He absolutely mugged a defender to whip in a cross in the first half… then his goal came. A long ball pierced the Fener defence, Diaby latched onto, he jinked inside, lost his defender and buried it past the keeper with his LEFT FOOT! I was amazed! When he eventually came off, he was greeted by a standing ovation from the Turks. A real compliment you have to say! There is however a big question mark… is he disciplined enough to defend in a 4-4-2? 9
Cesc: Looked like he was approaching his devastating best tonight. He played 2 killer passes in the first half to set up Ade and Theo and he pulled all the strings for most of the game. He also did his fair share of defensive work. I hope he can build on that now, and hopefully he has seen enough in this team to motivate him for the rest of the season. 8
Theo: Well Geoff has been raving about him for the past 2 years… and finally, it seems like Theo has landed! For his goal… Cesc fed him a beautifully weighted pass right through the middle of the Fener defence, he knocked it round the keeper… it took a slight deflection… Theo found himself with the ball a little under his feet… then without even looking up he turned it in! Super goal from a player on fire. His pace is scary and again… I hope he can keep on building on his rapidly improving game. 8
Adebayor: For me, Ade played well tonight. I think he has been taking an unfair amount of flak so far this season. He was greedy when negotiating his contract… big deal. People need to get over it and start supporting him. Ade was first on the score sheet tonight after Cesc weighted a beauty of a ball through to him early in the game… he beat the offside trap, ran for 20 yards and cooly slotted past the hapless keeper. A great finish from one chance. The rest of the game he did what a lone striker should do… work hard for the team. He is becoming more of a team player and people have to acknowledge that when watching him… knock him all you like, but 7 goals and 4 assists at this point in the season is impressive by whatever standards you wish to judge him by. 7.5
Rambo: The young Welshman was given ten minutes at the end to see what he could do. He came on and ran round like a lunatic trying to impose himself on the flagging game. The first thing he did was try and audacious back heel (Eboue is set to sue him for stealing his gimmick)… the next thing he tried was a one two with Eboue…except Ramsey fancied giving the return pass to the inside far post! What a shot and what an introduction to the biggest competition in football! Well played Aaron! 7
Vela: Nothing really to tell you! 6
JD: Definitely looked less concussed than he has done recently 6
We are scoring goals from all over the pitch, our attacking play is excellent. However, we are conceding very poor goals and we look more fragile than ever at the back. Hopefully JD can remedy the problem until Kolo and Gallas get back (Yes, I did say that…). Another positive was that we have finally found a striker who is offiside more than Ade! Daniel Guiza broke the record this evening with 82 offsides! On a serious note though… he walked through our defence on a number of occasions… and that my friends is a warning, we wont score 5 goals every week.
So… plenty to talk about today Grovers!