Sunday, August 26, 2007

Are the draws turning into wins?

It's funny how a goal and a win can change the perception of a match. For 80 minutes yesterday, Arsenal built pressure and had shots on goals without scoring and flattered to deceive. A 0-0, perhaps worse, seemed on the cards.

And then the little Catalan steps up, works his magic, and a game we might have drawn last year is three points. A win is a win, but its games like these that we should be winning more comfortably, and the team still seems to lack a little coherency and balance.

Credit where it's due though: City have improved massively. Richards and Dunne are as good a centre-back partnership that exists in the premiership, and with better players in front of him, Elano would have had an assist. One thing does need to be cleared up: Schmeichel did not have a good game. He was protected by a superb defence, and when he was tested he flapped and parried. His penalty save was illegal (he was about five metres off his line when it was taken) and not very difficult (RvP hit it straight at him). Just because his dad was good doesn't mean he was 'impressive'; he wasn't.

A few things in particular need to be said about our performance. Firstly, the Djourou loan is increasingly looking like madness. We have, at current, one fit centre-back at the club. Gilberto is not a centre-back and looked uncomfortable there.

Secondly, while he can 'do-a-job' there, Flamini is not a right-back. He was particularly guilty of allowing Petrov acres of space which a better played would have punished.

Hleb was our man of the match. Cesc may have scored, but Hleb won a penalty, got an assist., and caused all sorts of trouble. Finally, I think, people are starting to give him some credit, and he's been outstanding so far this year. Yes, Hleb can lose the ball; but at times he looks like the only one of our players who wants to make something happen. His continued unwillingness to shoot remains my major criticism of him, but this seems to be gradually changing.

Almunia was solid, yet only had two real saves to make. The jury remains out, but he didn't put a foot wrong yesterday.

Rosicky is becoming a worry. He's not scoring, even though he's been afforded chances. Personally, I don't think a right-footed central midfielder should be playing on the left. We so clearly need a left-winger, I would almost see it as wilfully negligent of Arsene not to go for broke and try to sign one in the next few days.

Bendtner should have come on after an hour. Adebayor didn't look fit and struggled badly at times. Bendtner looks like a player who can change a game from the bench, and Arsene needs to make this substitution earlier in future.

van Persie was effectively nullified by the City centre-backs and started acting petulantly. He had a visible fall out with Rosicky, and also was unhappy at a final ball from Eduardo. Lets hope he can keep these primadonna tendencies in check.

Overall, 3 games, 2 wins, 1 draw. I can't help but feel that last year, we would have drawn this match, and possibly that against Fulham. When Mark Lawrenson even begins to visibly hedge his bets regarding us and a title challenge, perhaps our status as dark-horse contenders is not wholly unjustified.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about Schmeicel, he was crap and the thing i thought most strange about the penalty was that the assistance lifted his flag to indicate to the ref that he was off his line and it should be retaken but the ref ignored it completely.

The only things i disagree with you about was that Gilberto was very good at CB i thought. He looked comfotable and at times was doing two jobs at once, both his invisible wall job and the CB role, and did both well. Also although at times RVP did looka little whiney on both those occasions the balls to him were very, very poor and maybe that warranted criticism. If we are alowed to criticise why cant he?

Anonymous said...

Wenger says there'll be no more new signings. That better mean he's bought a player or two and not announced it yet because as you said we are badly in need of a cb and a left winger.

Anonymous said...

Nope the 3-0 or 2-0 wins are turning into lucky 1-0 's

Anonymous said...

What game where you watching Hleb was rubish first half kept giving the ball away. 2nd half was much better although petrov pulled little Flami appart because hleb forgot he needs to track back. As far as Gilberto he was excellent. I do agree that we should have 4 cb.

B'lore Gunner said...

Enjoyed the review of the game. Not sure about how much Flamini was at fault for Petrov's increasing runs and how much Hleb was for his lack of tracking back or defensive cover.

You're spot on with Rosicky's problems--I wonder what happened to the guy we saw towards the end of last season. I wonder why Hleb can't play on the left side, he seems to favour his left foot?

AusGunner said...

Gilberto looked uncomfortable at centre-half? I thought he was outstanding, making at least one brilliant, crucial tackle and clearance, and coming in at short notice too. I thought he was excellent.

Goonerboy said...

I just found it faintly ridiculous that we ended up playing with 6 central midfielders on the pitch yesterday by the end of the game, and only 2 were playing in their preferred position. I really don't think the squad is thick enough.

GunnerAmerica said...

I agree with most of the stuff that you said, however Gilberto did play pretty well but we need him in midfield and Senderos isnt good so we need another centre-back fast. One thing you left out is how Denilson played, he should that he should be starting over Flamini by his performance yesterday. He is more creative with Cesc and reads the game better.

Rumors are going around about Urby from Ajax as a late buy by Arsene. He is a extremely talented young left back that also plays left winger. We will see how that develops.

Agree About Bendtner he should have come on if not start of Abe, and Abe come in as a late sub. But Da Silva showed us his creativity with some of his passing yesterday, but he needs to stop trying to round players with pace 30 yards to goal that will not work in the league like it worked for him n Croatia.

Arsenal America

Anonymous said...

why do arsenal fans moan moan moan all the time. we played fairly well, deserved to win, and did. whats the problem. if we need another CB we can recall djourou - all loans have had a recall option in the past and wenger would have to be stupid not to have included one in this deal, which he's not, so there is one.

i don't think we should do that yet though as senderos IS a good defender and a better complement to toure than gallas whilst gilberto can provide cover and so can sagna as his injury is not too serious.

flamini is a decent squad player and when you look at the options of the top 4 for 4th choice RB/LB and 5th choice CM then we are stronger. by far. i'd rather have flamini than o'shea/fletcher and brown for instance.

rosicky has been injured, only back a few games - give him time. if he continues to underperform and get injured then he will be moved on. simple. hleb has always done the things he's doing now just that a couple of goals at the start of the season has let ppl recognise it.

cheer up. the team has obviously improved since last year despite our record goalscorer moving on.

the one thing i would say though is get ade out of the first team. he's just not good enough.

Anonymous said...

Agree about Flamini. He gave Petrov way too much space.

Mark Wellington said...

Why all the doom and gloom? If we were in the position that Manure or (ha, ha) Tottenham are in you lot would probably be suicidal by now.

At the end of the day, we won. We're turning draws into wins and loses into draws this season compared to last. It would have been easy to have failed to score in this match and conceded on the break -- just ask any ManUre fan.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the Djourou loan, mistake. And is big Phill made or porcelain or what? When he's fit he leaves body parts on the pitch and he's off for another season....Arsene should get another serious CB and move Kolo forward to take ol'Pat's place. We will not get back to the top of this league with light holding MF's. Our own box is not the place to win 7 out of 10 balls. Adebayor doesn't cut it for me at all. He's a bad Kanu at best. Bring on the big dane and leave him there.

Anonymous said...

Lots of sensible stuff here. I can't understand the criticism of Flamini though. No, he's not a right-back, nor was he selected to play there. He filled in as well as can be expected when Sagna went off injured. The comments are even stranger given that, even with Eboue injured we still have Hoyte as a third-choice option at right-back before we'd have to play Flamini there. Quite right about Hleb being MOTM, he looks as confident as he's been in an Arsenal shirt. I wouldn't be too harsh on Rosicky either, he had an indifferent first-half, but looked much sharper later on: running at defenders on the break. He was unlucky not to score late on too.

Anonymous said...

Good review -- I thought Rosicky was the worst player -- many bad passes, esp in the first half. Ade looked not up to full form and should have come out sooner. I noted far more shots taken yesterday, not counted thanks to excellent work by Richards and Dunn. I do wish Hleb would shoot more, earlier -- he might find it opens things for him or others a little more if everyone doesn't assume he's going to pass. He's dangerous anyway.

Valentin said...

Denilson and Fabregas cannot work together. Both are passers and none of them make any run forward with the ball at their feet.
When Flamini replaced Sagna at right back Arsenal lost a lof of impetus.
We missed Diaby.
Hleb was very good, but Rosicky was poor. He always seems to shoot the ball with all his force rather than try to place it. Unless he surprises the goalkeeper or he can wack it close enough most good goalkeeper will stop them.

We need a left sided winger.

Anonymous said...

u know what

Isaiah said...

I don't get u people, Rosicky was bad, check out his marks he got, 7 out of 10, what else do u want? he was good, and i agree with u, Denilson always ahead of Flamini

Anonymous said...

This Arsenal has the best approach play, still bugs me that Wenger will not fill in the missing picece, search where you want, anelka is still the most equipped to fill TH14 boot, he can assist as well, he is only jogging and still making defenders look silly. Him and Martins and I seriously believe we would walk the Prem.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with you about Rosicky. The guy was continually creating opportunities for Van Persie and Adebayor with percision passes up the gut of the defense.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Rosicky wasn't having a stormer but he had a good game! If one of his shots had sailed in you would all be praising him...

Magic Hat said...

Some people seem to have forgotten that Ade was making his first game back from injury, he was nowhere near match fit but he will get fit and be a useful player.

About the CB "problem", Senderos and Sanga were only minor knocks and we can play our three remaining cb's, Sanga, Gilberto, Hoyte, Song and a youth player but we should also be able to recall Djorou if need be. He will learn a lot at Brummie so I think it will benefit Arsenal more then sitting on the bench for 3 weeks