Date:Monday August 27 2007
The events at the Emirates are becoming more and more predictable. Or are they? Another truly suffering but in the end, joyful experience as Arsenal takes all three points courtesy of Cesc Fabregas. Teams are unable to keep up their tempo with us and City's resilient effort seriously dipped shortly after the hour mark. This is something AW stressed last year and we are witnessing it again. Arsene knows.
It was another remake of the infamous 'Let's make their keeper a hero' show as Schmeichel Jr. took center stage, great performance. Citeh's defence also deserves credit, but once again we saw a mentally tough Arsenal side that coped with all the shortcomings and troubles and came away with the Win.
Manu Almunia - 7.5 - did everything in accordance with the 'book of safe keeping'. Excellent inauguration between the sticks for the winner of the Arsenal Crossbar challenge. Looked very focused and motivated. The highlight was a great save from Mpenza's close range shot as he timely came out to narrow the angle. If he can maintain a high level of performances, Jens has a tough, tough job on his hands and AW will have some hard decisions to make.
Bac Sagna - 7 - a victim of an unfortunate accident involving Matty Flamini. The 19 minutes he played were quite his standard and I am sure he'd have gotten a higher rating had he stayed on the pitch. Hopefully he'll be back ASAP, although I doubt AW will risk him against Sparta. Time for Hoyte perhaps. Subbed by Denilson after only 20 minutes.
Gael Clichy - 7 - steady as he goes. I can't imagine our back 4 without him. Part of a makeshift defence that got caught on the break a few times, recovered a few times, and got a bit lucky a few times (the shots by Petrov).
Kolo Toure - 7 - having Bert next to him is almost as good as having Billy Gallas. I think he took great pride in captaining the side but he also seems to be more confident alongside the senior men in the squad. Brushed off all the physical challenges of the City attackers. A little shy going forward this time.
Berto Silva - 8.5 - he did make one particular mistake as he mistimed his interception of a dangerous ball in 1st half, but taking into account that he took Senderos' place prior to KO, it was his 1st game this season, out of position, and after not being given the captaincy - he was bloody excellent. Broke up a couple of pacy counter attacks with the greatest of ease. Should take the next pen if in the side. MOM for Arsenal along with one Matty Flamini
Flamster - 8.5 - I know most of you will disagree with me on this, but for me Matthieu is playing his best football since he arrived. And I mean football, even better when playing left back instead of that c***y character called Ashley. Yes he was caught out of position a couple of times when moved to RB, but he did overlaps, tracked back, crossed, passed, tackled, got involved. His effort, spirit and movement earned him joint MOM.
Cesc - 7.5 - He was a bit quiet two thirds of the match, some notable contributions his cross to RvP that the latter just missed. Turned provider for Hleb to win the penalty. Popped up at the right place at the right time and the Belarus returned the favour. The finish was one that DB10 would have been proud of: right between the horns of the young Dane with power and accuracy. Got 'punched' by Hleb during the celebrations. Loved it.
Tom Rosicky - 6.5 - two things. Make that three: he didn't play bad at all, he seriously needs games, and the one we all have figured out - he is no left winger. Very lively display, however had a very solid Corluka on him, who btw should have been booked after a foul from behind. Made some darting runs with average effect and almost added to our tally after the goal.
Alex Hleb - 7.5 - part 1 was just plain awful. Inaccurate passes, too many touches on the ball, ineffective dribbling. However, as usual, in part 2 he was in the midst of almost everything of quality we produced. Even with off performances (on the right of midfield if I may add) he still managed to win a penalty and provide the pass for the winning goal. I like the fact that he is shooting more and more.
Adebayor - 7 - obviously rusty with his 1st touch, dribbling and shooting but kept annoying Sven's CBs. Had a goal-bound shot deflected in the 1st half and held up the ball as good as he could. Got visibly tired hence subbed by Eduardo in 74th.
RvP - 6.5 - it looks a low rating. Explanation:he missed a penalty (expected more placement from him like against Fulham) and left a trailing foot as it looked to me as if he could have jumped over their goalie. I don't like those things. I hope it wasn't malicious. Other than that, he had a few bombs and one was specifically on target but Schmeichel had his number. Got leveled by a nasty tackle from the least talented City player - Dietmar Hamman. Subbed in 86th by lately my personal favourite - Alex Song Bilong.
Subs: Denilson - 6.5 - a pretty average display in MF by his own high standards. Tried to keep it too simple at times, and him and Fab seem to be too similar to play alongside each other in the center of the park.
Eduardo and Song - not rated - Eduardo was on for 15 minutes only and got into very nice positions up front. Hleb didn't see him when he took a left footed shot from the right as the Croatian was alone at the penalty spot. As for Alex Song, as usual I leave it for you to say something.
A great one-Nil to the Arsenal!
Date:Monday August 27 2007
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