Thierrybayor strikes in a game of two halves + Player Ratings and review.

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The road to El Madrigal shot by Geoff yesterday.

The road to El Madrigal shot by Geoff yesterday.

Don’t ask how that Photo was taken… just accept that it was at about 1400 yesterday afternoon… hail stones in Spain! About as likely as seeing Adebayor score a bicycle kick to draw us level in the Champions league quarter finals I guess!

Almunia

Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

Walcott Denilson Song Nasri

Fabregas

Adebayor

Nasri slotted in for Arshavin and the rest of the team was the same as the City line up. For me, it was the best team the coach could have put out and everyone was pretty revved up for a Man City type mauling…

Were we as fans slightly guilty of complacency? I believe so…

Arsenal didn’t start particularly well… there was a lack of fluency and pace in our passing, there was little creative edge and to be fair to the Spaniards… they did a fine job of nullifying us.

It didn’t take long for the dead lock to be broken. Senna picked up the ball about 25 yards out, clipped his nails, made a cup of tea, read the first chapter of War and Peace… then picked his spot and buried a perfectly placed bullet into the top corner. It was sloppy defending from Arsenal, not the type of goal you’d expect to concede when you have two defensive midfielders in the side. Senna should have been shut down immediately and he should never have been allowed to get that shot off…

Things got worse for Arsenal… Shortly after the goal, Almunia decided an earlier challenge from Rossi was actually quite painful… so on came Fabianski. Questions over whether he was focussed enough were soon answered when he saved another pile driver from Senna, jumped up and saved the second shot powered in by some Spanish looking guy.

Oh… then it got even worse… Song cut across Rossi just outside the area… as he chopped him down, Rossi fell onto William’s knee and crunched him… Willy went off on a stretcher… then came back on… we nearly conceded… Willy decided actually medial knee ligament damage couldn’t be run off… Cheerio Gallas… season over. It’s not often I scream for the whistle to blow… but today I did… I was worried a lightning bolt would wipe out the team or something equally as unlucky might happen… as first halves go, it was a bit of a shocker!

The ref blew up… half time talk was of bringing on Bendtner to partner Ade… and it looked like Wenger was going to do that, but he changed his mind just before the game kicked off.

The second half started in a more familiar manner. Arsenal started to believe in their game, players headed forwards and we began our search for the elusive away goal. Nasri should have shot but instead over hit a pass to Theo who couldn’t get any power on his effort back accross goal… Ade headed just wide after one of those really neat chipped crosses from Theo (Did I say neat, I meant ineffective)… Kolo jinked into the box, played a cheeky cross accross the area, but no one was there to finish… were we ever going to get a goal?

We needed some magic…

Cesc picked up the ball about 40 yards out, looked up, played a perfectly weighted ball to Ade…. Ade, with his back to goal, chests it up… changes the angle of his body and hit the most outrageous overhead kick into the far corner!

Hooray I cheered! Hooray! We had the goal, and the rip roaring gooners were one up! Terrific!

Arsenal continued to push for an winner, but sadly it was not forthcoming. However, our slick passing returned and Villarreal looked pretty demoralised. The ref blew up, the game finished 1-1 and we had the advantage… now all we have to do is keep a clean sheet at home and hope Porto follow suit.

So… how about some player ratings?

Almunia: Could do nothing about the goal, shame he went off. I heard he’s out for two weeks. 6

Sagna: I thought Sagna had a solid game today. He made some crunching challenges and went forward with a bit more conviction. 7

Gallas: I thought he played quite well until he went off. I was a bit shocked he was sent back on when he was quite clearly in pain… that could have cost us, thankfully it didn’t. He looks set to miss the rest of the season. Bad luck Willy, you’ve done yourself and the team proud over the last few months. 7

Toure: I thought he stepped up quite well when Gallas went off. I was a bit annoyed he was out jumped at a corner, but other than that, he did ok. 7

Clichy: Zero input attack wise in the first half. He and Nasri don’t seem to click at all. I think he worked well with Rosicky because Rosicky released the ball quicker… Nasri holds onto it and tends to move into the middle. I thought he was better in the second half, he went forward more often and linked up in a lovely move in the last minute. Needs to work on that cross. 7

Song: I thought he had a poor first half. I thought he was slow off the mark to close down Senna, which cost us the first goal. His sloppy challenge cost us our best centre back and nearly cost us a penalty. Thankfully his game picked up in the second half and he made some good challenges… his passing has been better of late, but by Arsenal’s high standards, I feel it is pretty sloppy. 5.5

Denilson: I thought he was pretty impressive today. He is much more efficient than Song and he allows our quick passing game to flow. I think playing him and Song is over kill… it crowds out the middle of the park a bit too much. Denilson would be my first choice going into the next game. 7

Nasri: A bit like Robinho isn’t he? Very good at home… anonymous away. I thought he was very poor in the first half… i said earlier in the year that he doesn’t seem to have the drive to make things happen… I think he needs to work harder to create magic, like Arshavin does… he needs to take more risks. I also think he holds onto the ball too long. 6

Theo: I wasn’t impressed. He runs up too many blind alleys, he rarely runs at full pace because he’s thinking about what to do for ten minutes… and I hate his silly little floated chip crosses. They are rubbish. Theo needs to sharpen up… Eboue is fit and ready to take his place. * I was impressed by some great tackles. 6.5

Cesc: Wasn’t his best game… he looked a little rusty and I’m not sure whether playing in the hole suits him as much as playing a bit deeper. However, that pass to Adebayor was a little bit special. The freekick was a little dim, but I appreciated the ‘risktakingness’ of it all. Oh how we’ve missed him… 7.5

Adebayor: He was taking a lot of flak at half time… he wasn’t having his best game, but I think it’s pretty difficult to look good when you’re playing up top on your own. However, that goal was straight out the book of Thierry. Magical, majestic…unbelievable… pick your superlative… because the chances are it would be too modest! Goals like that are great for Ade… he thrives on confidence… so hopefully he’ll bang a few more in during the home straight! 8

Subs:

Fabianski: This was a big moment for the young Pole, could he come on in a crucial game and impress? Could he contain his nerves? Could he show us why he should be number one? Emphatically yes. Within minutes of entering the field of play he pulled off a remarkable double save. He commanded his box pretty well, bar a few communication lapses when coming out to clear the ball. Overall, I thought he played a blinder. 7.5

JD: Again, brought on at a difficult time against an extremely able team. There were a few moments of madness, but overall, I thought he did his first team credentials no harm. There have been some doubts raised over his ability to step up to the plate… but I am confident he will demonstrate his ability for us till the end of the season. 7

Eboue: A game just isn’t complete without the token appearance by Eboue. In fairness, I was still pretty awe struck by Ade’s goal to make a sound judgement on Eboue. From what I remember, he didn’t do to badly… so I’ll give him a 6.5

Conclusion

The important thing to remember is that form goes out of the window when it comes to these games. Everyone raises their game and I think the only criticism that can be levelled at the team was the lack of urgency to press Villarreal at the start. We more than made amends in the second half and I have to say, I’d be pretty upset if we didn’t make it through to the next round where we’ll be playing FC Porto.

So… what’s that… 18 games unbeaten now?

We’re turning in a bit of a run, aren’t we!

See you in the comments!

1,139 Responses to “Thierrybayor strikes in a game of two halves + Player Ratings and review.”

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  1. A

    bbk we won the fa cup with senderos at the helm and very nearly won the champions league….

    and we’re gonna win the fa cup and champions league this year with denilson and song

  2. Stu

    BBK, i agree we wont win anything with Denilsong or JD in the team- certainly not if they are vital members of the XI. But Bendtner and Senderos? Hmmmmmm never know.

  3. Stu

    It was a right slap in the face of both Senderos and Flamini to get dropped for the CL final for Campbell- who went buts earlier in the season and Cashley Cunt.

  4. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    seriously bendner can’t finish his dinner and sendedross is the new cygan/stepanovs another one of wenger’s reat defensive finds

  5. A

    stu we’re gonna win something this season, possibly the cup double, potentially the treble!

    bendtner even if he doesn’t win things with us will win things as many top clubs in europe are after him so if he left he’d win things with someone else.

    senderos probably won’t fulfil his potential but he’s already won things with us

  6. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    a i don’t even think you believe your own hype m8!!!!!!!!!!!!what top club would want bendtner upfront oh yeah i forgot birmingham

  7. A

    i do stu – if porto beat utd we’re basically in the final if we get past villareal, and then we’ve got a very good chance. We also have a big advantage in the fa cup with a fresher and bigger squad than chelsea, not to mention a completely fresh arshavin.

    I’m VERY confident we’ll win one or the other, if not both, and although the league would be a miracle it isn’t an impossibility!

  8. Stu

    Prem – big no
    FA Cup – If/when we get past the chavs then we will have united in the final. Defo winnable but a long shot.
    CL – European football is always a lot harder. Even if we somehow dont get Barca it will be either Chavs or dippers and they both have our number in europe with luck and all that. Small, very small chance.

  9. A

    what do you mean excuse bbk?! if we don’t win the treble, then it’s the whole team’s fault, not any one or three players, cesc ade and vp are just as to blame as bendtner song and eboue

  10. Stu

    Bendtner will come good….most gooners have realised that now BBK, why cant you.
    Senderos- our second most successful defender with us. Not hard but he has still won us something.

  11. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    you seem to think that winning the fa cup is very possible when it isn’t you also think we can win the champs league when clearly man u will beat us if villa real don’t put us out,

  12. A

    bbk mourinho was an official quote, he said he liked bendtner but arsenal weren’t interested in selling. bayern was also official it was in the quotes about selling podolski but again said we weren’t interested in selling. roma and milan was just paper talk i believe.

    stu why is it a long shot beating utd?! they’ve completely capitulated, their squad is absolutely exhausted and suffering from in fighting and shit attitudes etc. AND we beat them earlier in the season. We’re better than we’ve been all season, and will be better by the time the big games come along against chelsea and utd, and i’d almost say we’re favourites against them. They’re on the downer at the end of a hard season, we’re on the way up and getting players back etc

  13. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    we need him to be good now not in 3 years time i higly doubt he will become a major striker in world football anyway he hasn’t got the killer instinct now he will never have it

  14. A

    also stu – i don’t expect utd to beat everton such is their current plight, i genuinly expect everton to beat them

  15. A

    we’ll see bbk, i hope you’ll be man enough to come on here and admit you were wrong if we win something! as i will if we get nowhere near as you claim

  16. Stu

    He might have a killer instinct. However unlikely it is there is still a chance. He was record goalscorer for the reserves a few years ago so he can score goals. Obviously the reserves if totally different from the first team but it shows that he can do it. Whether or not he can eventually do it at the highest level is still up for debate.

  17. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    a-when we get beat by cuntski and the mancs im going to ask you especially what happend,you said we could beat them and we couldn’t please explain yourself…..

  18. goonermichael

    bbk
    The mancs are shit everyone else can see that. They are going out. They have to beat Porto away. They haven’t beaten anyone one decent away this season unless I’ve forgotton someone.

  19. Stu

    We were fortunate that United couldnt score at the Grove. They had more than enough chances to beat us. We just happened to come out on top. Its not like we played them off the park. There is no saying how the next game against them could go.

  20. A

    i don’t think bendtner will ever be prolific, but that isn’t his strength, and never will be, he’s exceptional in other ways and offers much more to the team.

    stu lupoli was reserve wonder scorer bendtner scored a fair few though.

    He’ll score his fair share of goals but not be a 30 a season man ever

  21. gnarleygeorge9

    Got up to see Barca 4-0 infront, & saw the highlights of one of those “sadder” European Nights @ Anfield πŸ˜† Mustn’t have paid the ref enough this time. Anyway, it could be conceived that Chelski & barca are finding form @ the right time of the year?

    Or it could be seen as showing their cards too early, coz we all no/hope that The Arsenal has a night like that in them yet to come. And also both clubs will cancel each other out.

    Let me tell u people, The Arsenal is looking good.

  22. PDT

    Looks like TH14 might get sold in the summer…

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Ade swapped with TH14 and a few million…

  23. ethangunner

    dave

    personally id prefer to see RVP and dudu back for the 2nd leg , and play a tight 4-4-2
    use ade as an impact sub , he is just too unproductive having him in the whole game ..

    ades game plan has changed this season to meet and greet the long ball / pass …
    and that makes a 4-5-1 so ineffective its got balls on it !

    if he is playing the role of lone striker dont get caught way out on the wings
    get into the box , there was a few times he was out on the wing trying to cross the ball in ?!
    too who ? himself ?

    it was a shambles ..
    if not for his bicycle kick goal he would cop a huge bollarking from me !

  24. The Turk

    BBK just phoned me. He was crying. Seriously guys you need to go easier on him, he’s a fan like the rest of us.Disgusting on here sometimes.

  25. A

    nothing particularly interesting in terms of footballing relevance in the Q and A really, apart from it seems milan were in for him in january as well but he chose us because of our style of play and the fact that the italian league is more defensive.

    and he was given the choice of 6, 13, 23, or 29 as squad numbers!

    he thinks bendtner is a good player and he has a normal relationship with van persie. and loves all the arsenal players equally, how sweet

  26. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    hahahha he thinks bendtner’s a good player i like how you got that one in there a well done

  27. BOY BETTER KNOW SHO!!!!

    lets face it milan want a whole new team i was watching champs league weekly they interviewd maldini and he said that the italian clubs can’t match the same finacial power as the english clubs which i found odd

  28. A

    they lost all their tv funding bbk which fucked them somewhat a couple of years ago. is very weird how honest arshavin is in those questions, imagine it’ll have to change though or be taken off because the english gutter press have a lifetime of potential headlines they could make up from it!

  29. A

    it is good though that we can attract players to come to us because of wenger and our style of play over big clubs like milan

  30. David

    I think just about everybody disagrees with Songs 5.5 rating.

    Whatever happened to the he is only 20/21 excuse?

  31. David

    You think this is the last time we seen Gallas in an Arsenal shirt?

    Somethings in Arsenal are not adding up…Like Fran Merida…and…Bichslapp…they all made first team appearances and then disappeared.

  32. kelsey

    Morning Geoff and all,

    Are you back in the UK ?

    That first half at Barca was something else,and Henry still has a lot to offer.However get them in a neutral venue and we will get our revenge in the final.

  33. iceman

    kelsey

    I’d like that very much….. but don’t you think the chavs will have something to say about that?

  34. tonyadamsisgod

    Morning, morning!

    So Arsenal have been asked to submit their statements over the spit-gate scandal to the FA within the next week. Why the fuck are these complete muppets even entertaining Phil Brown like this??

  35. David

    I like how Martin O’Neill is charged by the FA for his Untd bust up….but Phil Brown goes Scott free!

  36. dennisdamenace

    You just know these fucking FA cunts are desperately trying to justify a three match ban for Fabregas, based purely on a proven liar’s testament. I hope AFC wheel out their highly paid lawyers to counter sue the FA and that Oranged faced Northern cunt.

  37. Geoff

    Morning all! Yes I am back in blighty, I know that because it’s not raining any more!

    The chavs only looked good because the scousers were shit.

  38. kelsey

    iceman,
    chelsea will have to play barca over two legs,whilst we (having eliminated Villareal) will beat Porto over 2 legs and Barca in a neutral venue in Rome are a different proposition.Now is that optimistic enough. πŸ™‚

  39. iceman

    kelsey

    I appreciate your optimism…and I wouldn’t be happier.

    Revenge is on the cards folks πŸ˜‰

    On another note….how awesome would Essien be in our midfield? Sigh.

  40. gnarleygeorge9

    Kelsey

    I am going to run with that. I have analysed your statement & find it 10/10 for correctness. Yes chaps & chapesses 2009 will finally be the year that Arsenal are European Champions.

  41. gnarleygeorge9

    Isn’t it amazing that after all the crap that has transpired this season the ultimate prize beckons.

  42. Pedro

    Oh right Gnarley, Pedro just ain’t enough anymore?

    I know the score… I get what your saying… πŸ™

  43. Steve

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you Gnarley. Don’t forget Geoff is away for 345 days per year. He has more fucking holidays than Judith Chalmers.

  44. kelsey

    It will be interesting to see what the odds are now for the Cl. Obviously Barca will be favorites but I reckon we will still be something like 7 to 1 or more.

  45. gnarleygeorge9

    No Pedro

    Geoff is Morcombe, U r Wise. For the wheels to turn smoothly on here it needs the both of you playing off each other, thats all I mean. Unfortunately the Bear has been missing.

    Like when you have been missing & Geoff has held the fort, its just not Le Grove like when I 1st discovered it.

  46. Wardo

    Morning all,

    Anyone see Liverpool finally run out of luck !! Not pleased at all for the Chavs but, pleased liverpool were smashed at home…….doesn;t matter anyway, Eto’d, Messi and Henry will knock the chavs out in the semi’s

  47. barry

    what a load of rubbish !!!

    clichy was terrible
    never close to his man which led to alot of presssure
    song was excellent worked hard passed well
    tackled well
    he was everywhere !
    walcott worked his socks off but adebayor offered no movement which meant it was very hard to pick him out

    adebayor scored a fantastic goal
    no denying that
    but he was abysmal !
    poor passing, no control, no movement,
    but hey