Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Youngsters graft to gain deserved point

Posted by James Dall on 11, December 2006

I think the first point that is vital not to neglect before I say anything is to look at the week we have had. We knw it would be a huge week and it panned out nicely if you ask me. 3-0 against spurs – wondeful, 0-0 Porto through to next round – superb and a battling display agaisnt Chelsea away with a young team in which we almost won.

1-1 it finished between Chelsea and Arsenal yesterday and my what a game it was. Fantastic entertainment – a true delight for the neutral.

For myself of course being an Arsenal fan it certainly was nervy. We took the lead with about 10 mins to go through Flamini. Most were surprised by his inclusion, including me, however he earnt his start, through hard work and a goal to top it off. We then pretty much hung on after that and Chelsea equalised through an outrageous strike from Essien. After that Chelsea had the momentum and pushed forward hitting the woodwork twice, once through Essien from about 2 yards, the second through Lampard after Jens had almost gifted him the goal – more on Jens in a bit. We hung on and more than deserved the win. There was some controversy surrounding Chelsea’s equaliser where Hleb got chopped by Cole before the goal, it was a foul in truth but such a delightful goal after took the light away from the incidient. On top of that for us to ride our luck slightly at the end I think everyone will agree a draw was a fair result.

We started the game with a very young team, the average age was 23 compared to Chelsea’s 29. A supremely inexperienced back four who coped pretty well. For the first 20 mins we looked comfortable but as the game wetn on Chelsea stepped it up pegging us back. After watching match of the day 2 – awful show with terrible production – I noticed they only showed 2 Arsenal shot, so to the people who did not watch the whole game and relied on the highlights I can assure we played very well indeed.

Player by player ratings will give my insight into each players’ display –

Lehman – 6 – made some good saves however had a stupid incident with Drogba which if the ref saw could possibly have resulted in a pen. A worry at the moment…

Eboue – 6 – going forward excellent, defensively poor. his distribution fromthe back upset me greatly. it put us under a lot of un needed pressure.

Djourou – 7 – looked fine and solid to me, hard to believe he is 19

Senderos – 5 – I believed in him however in the first 20 or so mins he looked dreadful, very dodgey indeed. got better as the game went on

Clichy – 6 – one of his better displays this season in my opinion, again his positioning needs work plus his choice of pass

Hleb – 8 – his balance is awesome, and his turning rapid, kept things tidy and looked a threat.

Flamini – 8 – would have been 7 if he had not have scored. but worked tirelessly, looked shattered at the end

Gilberto – 9 – a captain’s display, showed his experience. truly terrific

Fabregas – 7 – kept things ticking over.

Van Persie – 6 – i really wish he would start up top. his control is amazing and clearly wants to be up front. worked hard though.

Adebayor – 7 – very pleased with his work rate and when he ran at players looked dangerous

Sub – Freddie – not involved much, was brought on for a bit more protection for Clichy late on

Overall a fantastic game, Jose went on about how we were negative but that is just rubbish. We played a system that has won us many games plus Wenger was right to justify protecting a youthful back four. We had big players out, Henry, Gallas, Toure, Rosicky and Lauren all in my opinion if match fit would have started. So no Jose you are wrong, pipe down.

Wenger’s thoughts can be found here. More from him here too about how he simply has not given up catching United – why shouldn’t we believe eh.

Right I need to get back to my 3000 word assignment, there is so much more I could write but that is for another time. Enjoy the resy of your day.

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