Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

Player ratings + long rant

Posted by James Dall on 12, February 2007

Here we go then, getting a rant off one’s chest always feels good but this one really has a bitter edge to it. We came out 2-1 winners yesterday in a game which certainly would have been entertaining for the neutral. For me however, and I presume the rest of the Arsenal following, it was a nightmare.

We begun the game with a similar starting line-up as predicted. The only change was the Bap gaining a start in front of Adebayor. This excited me as I do not think Henry and the Bap have started up top together. The game started averagely for us and very well for Wigan. So much for my rousing speech about getting at teams early on. Gone are the days we would hammer teams from the first second, do you remember when we used to sometimes go two or three up in the first twenty minutes killing off the game? Wigan carved a couple of opportunities out, as did we but Wigan seemed more up for the fight. With regards to our first chance Rosicky was slid in by Henry but then flashed wide. Walcott then whipped a ball to the far post and Henry missed a sitter blazing over. Rosicky then curled in a dangerous ball which almost ended in an own goal. Then came the moment we all feared.

A long ball down the channel was chased by Agahowa, he out muscled Djrouou but his pass was cut out only to roll to the edge of the area. This is where I got annoyed, no one seems to have pointed this out. From a coaches perspective, Gilberto does not get there quick enough. He does not squeeze Landzaat in a way which might upset him. He bumbles over giving Landzaat time to take a touch and bury one top corner. Now I take nothing away from the strike it was superb. Hats off to him but I feel it could have been prevented. You can see the goal here, pay attention to Gilberto. 1-0 down then, familiar circumstance eh. We deserved to go behind due to the fact we are still not starting games fast enough.

We then should have been 2-0 down, a clever reverse ball saw Heskey clean through. If it was not for an excellent save where Lehman tipped onto the post we would have been dead and buried. Just before half time Henry had another real chance but he headed wide. Disappointing.

Adebayor came on early in the second half for the injured Djourou, with Gilberto slotting in at the back. Then to give us a little bit more, Flamini and Aliadiere came on for Hoyte and Walcott. Then came a moment of huge controversy. Heskey was through and Flamini got caught, he placed a hand on his shoulder and Heskey went down. I am not sure it was enough to bring him down but for me it probably was a pen, I always try and think if it was at the other end would I have appealed, and I definitely would have. If a pen had been given, Flamini would have been sent off. It was almost identical to the Senderos’ decision last week. We were fortunate I guess. Wigan then had a player go off to get treatment and we counter attacked. Adebayor slipped a wonderful ball through to Flamini (ironic) who then blasted across goal and in it went of Hall for an o.g. We were back in it and Paul Jewell was obviously furious. Henry went mental and celebrated in Kirkland’s face. To some up Kirkland had been taking the piss all game. Now I understand, 100% in fact, that if a team goes one nil up anywhere really, that they will time waste slightly. Especially when you need the points so badly but Kirkland was a joke. Every goal kick he would move the ball to the opposite side of the goal. Prat. So Henry shouted in his face and got booked. I can understand the booking as it is un-gentlemanly conduct but I bet it felt good. You can see the goal here.

We had the momentum now, our second goal came in the 85th minute. Adebayor played a stunning ball into Baptista who whipped the ball in and Rosicky headed home. Delightful. A superb comeback. You can see that here.

We hung on. Now Kirkland was a jerk all game but in a way I can understand it.

Now for some player ratings –

Lehman – 8 – kept us in the game, plus made me laugh when he wasted time, got booked though – ridiculous.

Hoyte – 6 – not bad, not much going forward, Eboue offers a bit more, he has grown on me though.

Toure – 7 – as Arseblog mentions he continues to lump it forward? why? played well though.

Djourou – 6 – sturdy game, went off injured with a suspected broken nose.

Clichy – 7 – bombs forward and was a threat.

Walcott – 6 – a good first half but faded away.

Fabregas – 6 – unusually quiet, he got a knock on his knee, I hope he is ok.

Gilberto – 6 – first goal annoyed me, played well though and was sou nd at CB.

Rosicky – 8 – energetic and has a real spark about him. Deserved his first league goal for us.

Baptista – 7 – was mroe involved first half but went quiet in the second, a key cross though for our second.

Henry – 6 – missed two sitters really, lead the team well though.

Subs – Adebayor – 7 – helped change the game with two brilliant passed, Flamini – 6 – mixed bag, Aliardeire – 6 – lively.

Moving onto reactions, Wenger talks about the usual charecter etc here. Henry defends himself Wenger defends him here.

That is it for today. One last thing did I mention Richard Keys annoys me? Just to round up, at least we won but we need to start starting games better and take the lead. Referees have a hard job but they don’t half make it hard for themselves. As Paul Jewell said yesterday ‘the only thing consistent about the refereeing is the inconsistency’. A good summary. Enjoy your Monday. See you tomorrow.


16 Responses to “Player ratings + long rant”

  1. Frederick Baptist said

    I’m with you mate: I hate Andy Gray and the Key Dick. The folks at Sky have hated the Arsenal and still do. A word on the “penalty” which after having watched the game on my recordable DVD at least 3 times I can safely say is a dive by Heskey who having seen Yakubu from Middlesbro get away with it had tried to do the same himself. Was Flamini offside? After seeing the DVD a few times, I couldn’t see any daylight between him and the last defender. Was Adebayor offside? Again no daylight. How many times in the past has Henry been onside but wrongly called off? How many times have the gruesome twosome gone ballistic when this has happened? Full marks to Lehmann who is now my hero; you see Arsenal players cannot waste time but if you are Chris @#$%land or Jussi #$%@^%&nan then it’s perfectly okay to do so. I have no sympathy for Wigan or the refs because the quality of refs in England is pitiful and has been for many years and while video replays are not used, sadly things will stay the same. I now also know after watching the DVD why Arsenal get so many yellow cards and yet so few fouls; the pathetic excuse for a referee actually booked Rosicky for celebrating. I think back at all the Arsenal games this season and I realised that we get booked for the most ridiculous things which has now convinced me that Arsenal are indeed discriminated against by the refs. Remember Henry getting booked for the handball that never was after getting a perfectly good goal disallowed? Henry got booked for rightly telling off that wanker #$%^land who somehow escaped a booking for doing the very same thing that Lehmann did! You are lucky though; in Singapore we have a real minging show on ESPN called “First Edition” which is a pissed poor half-hour long drivel of the Key Dick telling us poor folk from the colonies what the headlines from the sports pages of Fleet street are as if in this day and age we cannot to that by ourselves on the internet. Trust me, I’m not interested in what Rooney’s girlfriend or Posh are up too. A stupid waste of airtime but what can you do.

  2. JD said

    clichy just 7 ???
    he was motm for me.
    and why is Henry’s banter with Kirkland condemned by all media and ‘one size’ fitz hall’s attempt to break clichy’s legs ignored?

  3. ken said

    I am with you on this. Never liked him. Think Andy Gray will support anything that is Linked to Sir Alex. So never liked him too. Feel soory for Wigan though because the only teams that deserve to conceed such goals against us are Man U, Chelsea, Westham, and Bolton to pay back for their many sins against us.

  4. Baz said

    All this fuss about TH14 and Kirkland should be put in context.. Wrong, maybe, but why all the fuss??

    Surely the “tackle” on Mendes by Barton was more horific than anything that was witnessed yesterday…. I’ve seen people arrested for lesser crimes than that!

  5. I have ready sent my comment to your there.

  6. Passenal said

    Why is Henry expected to behave in a gentlemanly fashion when no one else does? Personally, I’m sick of him always trying to be Mr Nice Guy to the opposition and glad to see a bit of passion. Kirkland broke the rules and was not called on it by the referee (I wonder why?) so he got his just desserts. Also, if Heskey’s tumble was a penalty, so was Clichy’s since Taylor’s hand on his shoulder was no more than Flamini’s on Heskey.

  7. TH14 said

    Something else that is very frustrating is our corners. How hard is it to put a good ball in?
    And why dont any players attack the ball from the edge of the area? Instead everyone just stands around and hence we dont score any because the defenders always beat us to the ball.

  8. Whoever took these photos must sit nesr me – orange quadrant section six??

  9. yes sir Wenger, your know the only good football culb for me is only arsenal in the world so the only thing your have to do is, get same defender so that we see what nex.
    with the forme of toure,clichy and tomas, let see what can stop us not beat Bolton and if posibal also one striker.greeting to all the arsenal players and fans

  10. Fishy said

    I have got to agree with TH14, 7 corners and nothing from them. Walcotts corners were the worst, in fact his crossing was pretty poor to until he managed to pass to henry, who then missed! I was also wondering what Thierry was saying to Walcott before the kick off? What ever it was it only seemed to last for about 10 mins before he disappeared into obscurity again. He will become fantastic if he can add tactical ability and vision to his pace, but the jury is still out for me.


  12. Rufus Ruffcut said

    You’re right about Keys, Gray et al but the biggest question is, “what’s happened to Keys hands?” Once without doubt the hairyest ever recorded on TV (even by Mr Attenborough) they are completely smooth now – enough said.

  13. zeguyz said

    I thought I was the only person that HATE R.Keys because he seems to always look for the negative part in a match that invloved my classic ARSENAL. One someone will definitely knock him off his chair.

  14. Cesc Magic said

    Totally agree about Keys – what a dick. Have you noticed that not only does he ask continued ridiculous questions, he interupts the answer before the person has even finished? Every single time! Looking forward to subscribing to Setanta Sports next year:)

  15. amiripz said

    I am pissed off the way Arsenal is handling these home matches.
    Always trailing and then catching up late in the game.

    Hope this is the last time this happened.

  16. melvyn said

    whisper it very softly but Arsenal are a better TEAM without TH14 and without TH14 & Flamini our record is Premiership winning football !! Denilson is magnificent Jeremie A deserves a place in the first team he is excelling in training and is now doing it on the pitch – the future looks bright – the future looks red & white !!

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