Date:Sunday October 7 2007
After a brief exile, the player ratings are back, and what a game to rate.
I do not know what the general opinion on Roy Keane is, but I have never liked him. As a player, he was fantastic. A dominating figure in his own team Keane was the only midfielder who could give our own Patrick Vieira a game. Forget about StevieG, and Fat Frank; the event of the season for a long time was Pat vs Roy. Although commanding respect as a player, Keane showed his true nastiness with the incident with Alf Inge Haaland.
Having said that it is obvious that Keane has managed to embed his fighting spirit and determination in this rather limited Sunderland side. Assisted by an ex Gunner and fellow Irishman, Niall Quinn, Keane has managed to put together a side that is capable of surviving in its first season in the EPL, and the best move so far seems to be Gordon.
Everyone seems to be catching on the Wenger phraseology and regarding our game as tests, as if we're the only ones playing in this league. Well this was a different kind of 'test'. A situation where Manyoo had overtaken us on the table, and we had to mentally cope with the fact that our defence was tits and Sunderland came from 2-0 to draw 2-2.
Manuel Amunia - 7 - Initially was going to give him less as I feel he could have done better for both goals - in fact I am sure that he could have done better, but a few very good stops in the end saved his rating. Not a commanding performance he needs in order to cement his place.
Bac Sagna - 6 - THE worst game he's had so far - Was it a Samson effect after losing his hair or was it too much comfort? His positioning was suspect and deserved to be substituted in 69 mins (Eboue).
Gael Clichy - 6.5 - Gael was on song with the rest of his colleagues at the back - he was equally lost on a few occasions although he did his usual running and recovering. He was better than Sagna thus the 0.5
Senderos - 7 - it was a borderline clever/fluke goal and I leave it up to you to judge it. Phil was great in certain moments only to lose his focus later. I feel could have done better for the 2nd goal, but it was a massive defensive collapse as Clichy and Sagna were left to tickle Jones while Toure was covering Sagna's vacated position and Senderos stuck with Chopra when he should have perhaps went for the tall Trinidad man.
Toure - 7 - very unlucky not to score with a thunder from all of 30 yards. Not at his best and part of a few messed up situations - should have done better for the first goal. Battled hard with Jones who seems like a poor man's Adebayor.
Diaby - 7 - Had Mr. Styles and his assistant actually done their job, Diaby would have been on the score sheet and this game would have been a repeat of the Derby game. Abou was quite good in the first half, and his footwork was sometimes more of Zidane than that of Patrick Vieira. Not sure if his early sub was a tactical one or was Arsene upset with him. Decent performance ended in 57th minute with Theo coming on.
Cesc - 7.5 - An 'average' game from Cesc, where he played under a strict watch all day - but still managed to run the show and spread the passes left, right and forward. He dished out some serious tackles too and those were the most pleasing aspect of his game today.
Flamini - 7.5 - I honestly thought Wenger was going to rest him and give Berto a start - but was I wrong or what? Flam did his usual stuff, never seemed to panic and was cool in the passing. He was left all alone on the right for the 2nd goal, 2 Sunderland players interchanging quick passes that left him stranded. Will he get a new contract?
Hleb - 7.5 - on the receiving end of another late and malicious tackle, this time appropriately punished by the ref. Seems that Hleb dribbles his opponents so much during the game and escapes with the ball from the most difficult situations that he actually pisses them off and they just want to kick him. 2nd in line for MoM along with Flam.
Adebayor - 7 - Ade tried a TH finish at the death but it didn't go in for him. He was involved in most of our attacks and is a huge asset. High balls, he either knocks them down for the oncoming midfield cavalry or chests them down and holds up play than spreads it wide. Short passes, controlled closely, too. His pace and long strides that can nick a ball in front of every defender. His partnership with RvP is growing.
RvP - 8 - ??M. What brilliance. He was due a rocket free kick and I almost fell sorry at Gordon after seeing his confused face as he was trying to find a fault in his wall. The fact is, that was literally unstoppable. Could have scored another 3 goals during the course of the game, but the first touch and placement for the winning goal were just pure class. I expect more goals from free kicks soon. Subbed by Gilberto before the end.
Eboue - 7.5 - a very positive outing for the Ivorian at his old position. Compared to the poor game he had against Steaua, this time he was electric and determined, actually knew what to do before he went on to do. His and Theo's introduction gave us that spark we needed to win the game.
Walcott - 7 - unlucky not to be on the score sheet after Hleb's mazy run provided him with a gaping goal. Still redeemed himself big time with a great pass to RvP. He seemed very confident and determined. He needs a goal.
Berto - not rated due to his late introduction, and did the 'shut up shop' function.
Rob(bed) in Style(s) - the name says it all.
Another international weekend is upon us *yawns* and we will just have to hope that our sick bay remains as empty as possible. Top of the table and Bolton is next. I hope they receive another nudge towards the Championship. A big thank you to Tittenham who managed to strip L'pool of 2 pts in their pursuit for 4th place. 7 pts from 9 games to our 22 from 8.
Test passed. Next!!
Date:Sunday October 7 2007
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