We threw everything at them bar the Adebayor… then we did… and the boy made it happen!
Yesterday was an exercise in patience and discipline and I think we did very well. West Ham had a few decent chances and held their own for a lot of the game, but for me… the big players stood up and were counted and there were a few very promising performances from our younger more inexperienced players.
This was the line-up:
Eboue Gallas Silvestre Clichy
Theo Song Cesc Nasri
The big questions I had were these:
Could Song impose himself on the centre midfield
Could Nikki B take his chance?
How would Gallas play next to a bruiser?
Well, I’ll let you know in the player ratings:
Almunia: Pulled off a string of top saves again. The best of the bunch was when Bellamy raced through on goal, big Al came out, made himself big and managed to get a leg on the shot and turned it over the bar. He also made the most of a top corner bound shot in the first half. Almunia is a top keeper these days and no one can deny that (How about Capello?). 8
Eboue: His passing left a lot to be desired, but when you leave him at right back, it doesn’t matter too much. He is reasnobly solid and he does a good stand in job for Sagna. 7
Gallas: I was really impressed by the Captain today. He made some great tackles and he marshalled the defence quite well. Ok, so West Ham had a few chances but at the end of the day that is going to happen in an attack minded team. 8
Silvestre: A big improvement on the last game, but then again he was playing with a real centre back. I thought he looked solid and he did well in the air. It is almost reassuring having him in the box for set pieces. He doesn’t play Wengerball… but that is what we need at the moment. No nonsense defending. 7.5
Clichy: Not his best performance in yellow, but adequate enough. I’d love him to get a decent cross on him… I am sure it will come and when it does, he’ll be even more of a threat going forward. 6.5
Theo: Who stole Theo Walcott and replaced him with powerful winger? I want to know so I can shake their hand! Theo was tenacious, strong and a constant threat today. He hit the bar early on with a rasping toe poke, then he forced a couple of good saves out of Green. Theo was all over the park today and he is really beginning to repay the faith Wenger has in him. My favourite part of this game today was when he tussled with a West Ham player for about 20 yards, dispossessed him then carried on into the box to set up a chance… most of us in the pub thought it was Song or Gallas. Super performance. 8
Song: I was very pleased with him performance today. He quietly went about his job just sitting deep of Cesc. It was an understated performance much in the same way Berto used to play, but don’t take anything away from him… he was pretty good today. I wonder if that spells the end of Denilson in that role this year? I wonder if Diaby is only good for the 4-5-1? 7.5
Cesc: I’m not sure I have too many memories of Cesc today, he was a but quiet compared to his normal self. He also played a bit deeper than he normally would. Maybe taking on more responsibility for the team is adversly affecting his attacking game psychologically? 7
Nasri: A very quiet performance considering what he has been doing over the last few months. He is only 21 so expecting Pires type performances on a regular basis is probably asking a bit much. He was subbed late for Diaby. 6
RvP: Hit the post with a superbly struck freekick. He also forced a few decent saves out of Green (Who had is customary stormer against us). Nothing really dropped for him tonight, but he is still fit and he is still performing. 7
Nikki: He worked very hard for the team often going deep to pick up the ball. He also made Green look good on a number of occasions and overall I’d say he did his reputation no harm. He is certainly going to be a more Bergkamp type of player than a straight Ade replacement. It is also worth mentioning that it was Nikki who leathered the 50 yard pass to Ade for his goal… an amazing pass by anyone’s standards. 7.5
Adebayor: Came on with about 25 minutes to spare and changed the game almost immediately. His power and pace put the Hammers on the back foot straight away and it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken. He weaved his way through the West ham defence and fired across goal… Faubert panicked and knocked it in. Ade then found himself in another good position, his shot was well saved by Green and Ade missed the open goal. Finally, Arsenal broke from a through ball, Ade raced onto it… rounded the keeper and slotted home for the winner!
Do you forgive him? I do… he has done his part to regain my love. 9
Diaby: I can’t really remember too much of him. 6
A great win for the boys and a game we could ill afford to draw. I thought it was great that we had players to come off the bench who could change the game and I thought the stand ins did ok. It was also nice to see Wenger make subs early in the game.
The great news is the chavs lost their home record to Liverpool, the Mancs drew and we look like we’re in a pretty good position.
Next up… the Spuds!