Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Player ratings and more Cardiff considerations

Almunia, 7: Did well. Claimed the ball when it came in from corners or crosses, and made a couple of smart saves. Question marks can perhaps be asked about the first goal - would Cech have let it in? - but largely blameless aside from that. Main problem seems to be his lack of gravitas: he doesn't have the same presence as Jens, which might have unnerved the defence slightly.

Traore, 6. A weak link, I would have to say. Did well getting forward, but, especially when exposed by Diaby's defensive naivety, Chelsea had much joy in attacking down their right hand flank. Bale and Clichy may prove to be a superior partnership of left-backs.

Toure, 6: Defended stridently and marshalled the team well, before losing his temper and marring his performance. His form has been patchier this year than many have suggested.

Senderos, 6.5: Beaten by Drogba for the second goal, but was not at fault for the first and actually did reasonably well against his nemesis for the majority of the game. I still think there's a top defender in him.

Hoyte, 6.5: Solid without being spectacular. Whilst eminently preferable to Eboue at the moment in all areas apart from attacking flair, Justin really needs to learn how to get forward more if he's going to entrench himself in this position.

Diaby, 7.5: Excellent, Vieira-esque passing, movement and skill. Needs to tackle more and Wenger should stop playing him out of position on the left. It's clearly not his natural position, as seen by his frequent forays into the centre which left Traore exposed. A real prospect and let's hope his ankle is not too bad. Could have won the game early in the second half.

Denilson, 7: A massive test for the youngster, and one he came through in a largely positive fashion. Notably tired by the latter stages of the second half. Was slightly out-muscled by the, er, weight of Lampard, Essien and Ballack, but he won't be next time.

Fabregas, 8: Superb - largely dictated the game, and showed he can run almost any midfield. Also, extra-marks for taking on a man twice his weight and possibly coming off best. He needs more silverware though or he could become frustrated at the club. He also needs to start scoring and improve his shooting.

Walcott, 7.5: The real Theo Walcott stands up. A blinding goal which he thoroughly deserved, and which will hopefully shut some of his critics up. Not always able to beat Bridge, but showed enough talent to emphasise his colossal potential.

Aliadiere, 6.5: Huffed and puffed, and made a nuisance of himself without ever really looking like a real goal-mouth threat. If not now, when?

Baptista, 7: In retrospect, a good performance. If not for Cech's superb save he would have scored, and did cause the Chelsea defence problems. I'm still relatively undecided as to whether he's really Arsenal quality, but I don't think that performance would have done him too much harm.


Eboue, 5: Skinned for the goal, unable to get forward, and an idiot in the melee. A new right-back must be found, regardless of his attacking potential.

Hleb, 5: Disappointing. Nowhere near as effective as his cameo at the Lane. Rosicky may have been a better option, if he'd been available.

Adebayor, 5: Not given enough time and was unable to get into the game. His, perhaps understandable, reaction to the sending off was ill-advised, probably precluding any removal of his ban.

A few final points

- Whilst he has been subsequently praised for it, Mourinho's intervention - and Arsene's - onto the pitch was not the right thing to do. To me, it smacked of a manager desperate for the lime-light and prolonged the incident.

- Will the Chelsea fans be punished at all? The celery throwing was, obviously, unlikely to cause injury, yet still riled the Arsenal fans up, and it's also worth remembering that the reason Gary Lewin was able to treat Terry so quickly, was due to his presence at that end to treat Almunia, who had been struck by a missile thrown from the Chelsea end.

- Is winning everything? Would Arsenal fans prefer our current crop of inconsistent artistry, or a ruthless trophy winning machine? A lot rides on the future of our young lot, but they need to start winning things either this year or next.

- Drogba and Cech won Chelsea the final. Cech was magnificent; Drogba took his chances. They were the difference, and were it not for them we would have prevailed. For the difference between us and Chelsea to be so slim is obviously a cause for hope, but we need to start tangibly showing it soon.


Anthony said...

mate I totally agree with everythign you said. I too thought it was Cech and Drogba. Maybe its me - but perhaps I need to see a little more of Eboue again before we send him on his way...

Rufai said...

I disagree about Senderos. He was not holding the line during the first goal and there for played Drogba onside. Same for goal nr. 2 he was not close enough to Drogba and not attacking the ball. You really have to use your body against a truck like Drogba wich Senderos deffinetly didnt do.

Goonerboy said...

True for the first goal, but Drogba had too much space to play with due to Diaby and Traore.

Djourou might have been a better option, but then Phil has played and won in a final in Cardiff - in 2005 - in which he was superb. It's tough to know whether he'll make it or not; I think he will.

otariq said...

I must say I'm very proud of the Arsenal Youngsters. Arsene did the right thing by playing them. I really did not expect them to perform that well against Chelsea.
Baptista is Arsenal quality, you have to remember it's taken Drogba three years to get use to the pace and at this stage Baptista is a better player then Drogba was. His is going to be massive if given the chance. I've watch this guy since his playing days in Brazil and we have never seen anything like him when he is on his game.

Anonymous said...

Once again another Eboue slater..consider his age and the fact that he has been out for a significant period of time..you're just another one of those who likes to make a scapegoat out of him when he did very little wrong..furthermore he has shown this season that against united, porto, hamburg and the scum in the cup that he can make telling contributions that actually win us games.

Anonymous said...

Think everyone is a bit harsh about Traore. He was very good in the first half, and only in the 2nd half lokked a bit dodgy against robben but what full back doesn't. He also looks strong enough as was seen when he bundled Essien over. His sliding tackles were all timed perfectly. Walcott scored a terrific goal, strange to think he's scored in a final for Arsenal and "King Henry still hasn't. Think we should keep Baptista as he offers something different, he just needs the rest of the season to adapt as he hasn't got enough minutes on the pitch yet this season

football tickets said...

Ya Fabregas deserves the rating ofm 8 or even to say 9.

He has been wonderful through out the season for arsenal/He has been playing continuously. He has never rested.I think he needs some rest when RVP comes back

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