Arsenal News Blog

fact and opinion intertwined

A second victory but poor defending + player ratings

Posted by James Dall on 18, April 2007

Another three welcome points then in a game which was not as plane sailing as the scoreline suggests.

We started well, with some slick passing. Diaby was impressing me, playing just between the midfield and Adebayor. He made a crunching tackle which resulted in the first goal. He slipped it into Eboue, who put a decent cross in the box, the full back waited for the ball to arrive and Rosicky made a superb late run into the box and poked home. I was delighted.

We then began to take our foot off the gas, there seemed an over confidence that they would not score. Fabregas hit a good long range shot but that was it. Annoyingly Diaby got injured and The Bap came on. Then came a moment of just sheer terribleness, Jens scuffed a back pass, Barton picked it up, knocked it to Johnson, who easily committed Toure – crap defending, who then slotted it to Beasely, who rolled it into the corner. Disaster, especially from Jens. Also Eboue on the goal was poor, he did not look to see where his man was. Lehman then worryingly parried a weak shot for a corner, he looked all over the place.

At the beginning of the first half City played well and created a couple of half chances. Slowly but surely though we grew into the game, Adebayor came close after a wonderful ball from Cesc and Hleb sliced wide. Hleb does appear to be shooting more but he is poo at shooting really and yesterday most of his shots were with his left foot, which is even worse. We created two further chances, one a brilliant move which saw Ade leave the ball for Rosicky, instead of shooting he pulled it back but Ade’s shot was blocked. Hleb then chipped in a cross for Ade who headed into the corner, it was expertly saved though. Trevor Francis the commentator spoke a lot of crap during the match, his most stupid comment was that Adebayor was 6ft 5, no he is not – fool. He is 6ft 3.

Finally we scored a second, and it was that man Fabregas. He hit a superb volley on the edge of the area. It was a truly great strike. City did score a second but it was rightly ruled out for offside. The worry for me was that Toure attempted to step up for some bizarre reason, if he had got that wrong, which he almost did, we would have been in all sorts of trouble.

The game was wrapped up through The Bap of all people, who had looked pretty annoymous since coming on. Hleb workeed the ball and got a little fortunate, Baptista then stabbed home. Samaras could have made it 3-2 but Jens saved.

You can see the goals here.

Overall a deserved victory but our defence really worried me. Player ratings then –

Lehman – 5 – really shaky, could have cost us two valuable points, worried me greatly.

Eboue – 6 – going forward he was good, positioning/awareness in defence though was a concern.

Toure – 6 – Not his best games, exposed quite a few times.

Gallas – 7 – kept things calm at the back.

Clichy – 7 – harried the opposition well, he is lightening quick isn’t he!

Hleb – 6.5 – worked so hard, even had some shots, needs to get his confidence back.

Gilberto – 7 – pretty important I feel, he did the ugly things well.

Fabregas – 8 – excellent once again, superb goal.

Diaby – 7 – up until being taken off looked a real threat.

Rosicky – 8 – tireless display and another important goal.

Adebayor – 6.5 – I think a goal is just around the corner for the lad, came close on many occasions.

Subs – Baptista – 6 – scored but apart from that he was pretty absent, Denilson – 6 – late sub. Senderos – 6
The main thing to take from the game is that we need to tighten up defensively, if we defend like that against Spurs or Chelsea we will be punished severely. I think the manager will persist with the back four of Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy. I do not mind him doing so but they clearly need some basic coaching in organisation and positioning.

With regards to Diaby’s injury he should be ok for the weekend, as should Freddie –

Freddie Ljungberg for Saturday should be available and Diaby as well.

You can read the rest of Arsene’s reaction here, where he speaks about Fabregas’ goal, the crowds frustration and other topics.

There we have it, two victories in a row means that we are in a situation where there is not so much pressure on us to win at the Lane, with less pressure we should be free to play our natural game. I will say one thing though, Spurs will be hungry to beat us and last time we played a team which we had beaten over the season, Liverpool, we were out fought. The fans will not be so forgiving if the players fail to rise to the challenge on the weekend.


17 Responses to “A second victory but poor defending + player ratings”

  1. Robert said

    I think your Judgement of the Beast is based on his recent performance. While I agree with you he wasn’t up to scratch, I think his performance against City was a huge improvement. I think he linked very well with Clichy, (not firing on all) and Rosicky. His passing was for the most more accurate than previously. Let’s not forget that he made himself more availlabe for passes than Adebayor did. Finally, when Hleb came waltsing into the box, Adebayor put himself miles offside and and on the far side, while Batista simply sneaked in to the six yard box to make it easy for Hleb to just roll the ball to him. Mark my words the Beast is staying for next season and he will score more goals than Adebayor.

  2. The injury to Diaby affected Arsenal’s game in that the formation changed to 4 4 2 and The beast was not really up to it even if he scored a goal. It was a sitter anyway.

  3. Glo said

    Robert; Bap was shit period. He came on and destroyed the game. It was Cesc that changed the game. Yesterday showed how bad a player Bap is. Diaby had his first game as a supporting striker against Newcastle and he was great; his first game at that position and yesterday was his second at that position and he was great. Baptista can go….

  4. Glo said

    I meant he wasn’t great against Newcastle but was fantastic against Man City.

  5. theshelfattheclockend said

    Robert, how can you possibly say that Wendy’s performance was a huge improvement. The man is a total waste of space and should go NOW! My mother could have scored the goal he got – and she’s 82 – which was a bit of a scuffed miskick anyway. If he is at the Emirates next season, people will really start to get on his and Wenger’s back because all can see (and let’s pray that includes Wenger), he has no future whatsoever at Arsenal.

  6. km1980 said

    I really have to disagree with the negative comments about Baptista’s peerformence last night. I am the first to admit that over the the last month or so he has been awful.. truely awful. But last night he was significantly better. It might not have been spectacular stuff but he moved the ball to the next player with simple 2-touch football. Sometimes thats all it needs to help a move continue on its way. In previous games the first touch was not there and the ball would bounce off his shin or something.

    And he got the type of goal that we have been screaming out for from him.. being in the right place at the right time and just tucking it away with no fuss.

    If he plays like he did last night then he can play for us in the future. If he plays more often than not as he has done over the previous month, then no he cant play for us. Lets give hime a chance in the last few games though.

  7. DG said

    When he first started I though Eboue was an exceptional player but his lack of defensive ability/sense is really beggining to tell. He also seems to invite consant critism/trouble with his diving and inflammatory antics.

    I would love to see Gilbert back from Cardiff as he was really doing well both attacking and defending (unlike Eboue)before his serious back injury curtailed his involvement with the first team.

    I also think Wenger should select Toure/Djourou as his first choice central defenders with Senderos as back up (he is not nearly as quick as Djourou which often leaves him exposed). Gallas just seems to be coasting which is really disappointing considering you would think he had a point to prove to Chelsea.

    As for Jens perhaps he needs another forced break because from what I have seen of Almunia he is far more focused and generally competent at the moment.

  8. The only thing that baptista does right is his positioning in the box

  9. tim said

    Have not fully read article as time is unfortunately sparse – nonetheless I just wanted to make my feelings clear about Eboue

    The man seems to make little effort defensively, tackling timidly and making token efforts at tracking back. Perhaps he feels like a superstar already, perhaps he is carrying a niggling injury – either way I am not happy with his performances and when coupling his medcocre playing ability with his off the ball tendancy to go to ground like hes been shot from a tap on the ankle and pleading with refs to book opponent players – I would prefer never to see him in an arsenal shirt again. I can understand and sympathise with lapses in form etc…however with this player I think he has the wrong attitude and he either needs to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck or to be shown the back door by Le professor…

  10. lc said

    The Arsenal has always performed well when Eboue, Hleb and Rosicky are in the squad. We conceded recently 6 goals in five games:
    4-1 against Liverpool. Directly guilty were Toure/Gallas partnership.
    0-1 against Westham. Directly guilty was Kolo (still Toure/Gallas partnership involvment).
    2-1 for The Arsenal against Bolton. Toure was out muscle and allowed Bolton to score (Kolo/ Gallas ‘s partnership problem).
    3-1 for The Arsenal against City. Toure’s another blender (Kolo/Gallas partnership is in question).
    Eboue’ s cross helped Rosicky to score. I know his recent defending has not helped much; but I think it’s time to put your criticism of Eboue into prospective and criticise those clearly responsible for defending poorly recently instead of being on the same player all the times. It’s unfair and biase.

  11. Phillip Three said

    Thanks DG.

    They are my thoughts exactly and haven’t seen them written about too much.

    I felt the same way about Eboue. But I always said he should be a winger/midfielder where his defensive and strategic vision will not be questioned and where he can take on players, make tackles, combine in one-twos or triangles, and send balls into the centre box.

    Djourou is a first eleven player. Simple as that. Why he has been rested I have no idea. Why not drop the coasting Gallas for a game or even Toure. Might give them more time to think about how to shore up defences and also gives height to the defence.

    I also like Gilbert. I really thought he made an excellent right back. Strong, skillful and positive. So I can’t wait to see Muamba and Bendtner in the squad as well.

    And Jens. It is time to go. Why? We need a keeper who will form the foundation of a strong defence for the next ten years. Lehman cannot fulfill that role. And his castigation of players when they make mistakes is really a negative thing on the team. Someone should have given him some of his own medicine back with hiss atrocious clearance kicks that give the initiative straight back to the opposition and even a goal ala Man City. As well as his flapping at crosses which just further unsettles an already under-confident defence. We need someone to give thee team back-bone as it develops over the next five years. Having Jens leave in a year or two will only destabilise an already young and fragile team.

    And I am allowed a low blow. I could easily say good-bye to Hleb, Abedayor, Freddie and Baptista. Hleb is a futsal player with no vision and does not inspire the confidence to allow Henry to run into space. As for Adebayor I probably think Bendnter is far better so why need two. I even think Ali is more a true Arsenal player than Adebayor who really is just like Kanu; can’t shoot or head but can play beach soccer. It will also mean I dont have to owatch the love dance between himself and TH14 again to the exclusion of the rest of the Arsenal team. Freddie has been replaced by Rosicky. Another reason why we don’t need Hleb as we have Rosicky. With Hleb and Rosicky we had two lightweights in the midfield. Give me Djourou, Diaby, Denilson, Fab, Silva and more steel breaking tackles in midfield and surging forward. Even bring PV4 back too add some steel and show them how to control and hold the midfield from where we can launch attacks. Hleb just holds the ball and is the reason fantasy football has all of a sudden become over elaborate. He does not have the vision of Robby or PV4 let alone DB10. At least Rosciky looks up once in a while. And Baptista is just a bull in a China shop. I had hoped and hoped I would see a Robinho if not a Kaka or even Emerson, but no. Unfortunately he even said himself. He wants time to produce overhead scissors kicks, fancy flicks and so on but he does not have the time in English football. Well as we know you have to be a class player to make time for yourself to do the things you want with the ball in the first place and in the second to work towards the team effort of defending or attacking. Platini, Zidane had it, Fab has it but Bap has not.

    Irrespective of this, AW would conjure wins with this weakened outfit because overall he seeks to play a style of football that when played right by the right players and combinations and formations is just pure fantasy.

  12. Arief said

    i think arsenal, might add depth in the team. not to sell some clinical player like hleb or freddie.
    just collaborate the young guns with the experience player.
    i’d prefer to bring tough experience defender and frighting pace attacker.
    i hope arsenal could rules in the next premiere league season.

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