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Saturday's Player Ratings

Errrm, new feature I suppose. Where workloads etc. permit I will try and produce one of these after every game. However, I think it would be nice for this to be a kind of democracy, so if you fancy a stab at rating and slating the glorious Gooner boys, post on the forum and we'll see about publishing the good ones. Am I the civil libetarian of the digisphere, or mining new depths of idleness? I can't even be bothered to decide.

1.Manuel ALMUNIA- A quiet day at the office overall, but made a smart save from Kim Do Heon's deflected shot. However, still woefully lackadaisical off his line, as evidenced when Miller was amazingly allowed to reach a through ball that was 80-20 in Manuel's favour. His wander against United in 2005 seems to have left endemic scarring. Overall, my doubts surrounding him as a number one were neither vindicated nor impugned..............................7

3.Bacary SAGNA- Not called upon too often in a defensive function, but was his usual, industrious and faultless self. Provided a constant outlet for Walcott on the right which caused the Baggies problems until Toure came on. Expect to see this number against his name pretty much every week....7

8.Samir NASRI- One cannot ask for too much more than a winning goal on a player's debut. Nasri showed embryonic signs of a partnership with Clichy which, at this stage, is based more on the quality of the respective individuals than any chemistry. Nasri drifted from the touchline with impunity and consequently he became nigh on impossible for West Brom to pick up. A gorgeous through ball for Adebayor was another of his pleasing cameos.............8

10.William GALLAS- Once again marshalled the backline well and got a bit angry the one time it was found wanting. The back four were rarely troubled in any serious way, but an aerially dominant defender is imperative to compliment Gallas' nous......7

14.Theo WALCOTT- Awkward, easily moved from the ball and with some immature decision making. Yet, oddly enough, quite effective. Once Toure replaced him on the right, our threat eroded, Theo's pace terrifies defenders, pushing them further back and allowing other players a chance to weave their magic. Walcott still needs to learn how to harness his natural strengths, but he still offers something offensively. (A peak at his assists record over the last two seasons suggests this is no new phenomenon). A beautiful spin away from Cech in the first half suggests he's getting there..............................6

15.DENILSON- Adept defensively, read the game intelligently and made play with some excellent and intelligent use of the ball. Stepped in to make important interceptions breaking up West Brom's counter attacks and forced the issue. Nasri may have taken the glory, but Denilson's altruism means he takes my man of the match award............8

20.Johan DJOUROU- Largely a very assured and impressive game, though Ishamel Miller was allowed to send some Gooner hearts a flutter more than he should have, it points to the fact that Gallas and Djourou need a destroyer alongside them. The one foot Johan did put wrong in playing Miller onside, saw him make amends with a goal line block.................................7

22.Gael CLICHY- Much the same as his full back partner he was exactly as you would expect. Solid, determined, defensively sound and always carrying an attacking threat with his boundless energy. Stayed close to the touchline whilst Nasro cut in, stretching the West Brom full backs to breaking point. His improved delivery means standing off him is no longer an option for the opposition, as evidenced by his involvement in the goal...................7

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR- Probably tried too hard in an attempt to win the supporters back, the less than sonorous booing he received in the second half showed there is still work to do. Poor finish from Nasri's slide rule pass, particularly when Bendtner was positioned for a tap in. That said, created two chances for van Persie and one for Walcott with his running and crossing..6

26.Nicklas BENDNTER- Never afraid to become involved with the build up play as elucidated by his role in the goal. Sometimes showed a lack of sharpness with a slightly heavy final ball, but the idea was always right and you feel that with a few more games the execution will come. Divides opinion amongst Arsenal fans, but I have high hopes.................................7

27.Emmanuel EBOUE- Well, he was better in central midfield than on the right flank and had an average game. But I am not polyannaistic enough to believe he can fulfill that role long term, his anticipation is poor (I am not sure whether that is due to idleness or lack of intelligence) and his strikes at goal are increasingly the stuff of the famed John Smith 'ave it! adverts. The fact that WBAs best player was Kim playing in the hole, the very area of the pitch Eboue was operating, speaks volumes..................5

5.Kolo TOURE- Had absolutely no idea how to play right wing and why should he? The substitution may have been an attempt to tighten defensively, but ended up being an exercise in futility. A harsh mark which is really more down to the manager's judgement than Toure himself. I felt for him.........4

11.Robin van PERSIE- Added variety and had two half chances in his short time on the pitch. Though more trust in his right foot might have bought a goal after some quality pivoting in the area.......................7

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 18 2008

Time: 9:54PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Generally agree, and am as much an Eboue "hater" as most others, but I think he had a very good game (as evidenced by your chosing Denilson as the MOM - imo his performance was helped by Eboue). I think he did the simple thing very effectively and chose his moments to break forward with good effect. His shooting was horrendous hence probably a 6.5 or 7, but 5 seems a little harsh.
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18/08/2008 22:27:00

I agree that Bendtners ideas were right. He has a midfielders eye for a ball though the execution wasn't quite right. But he is going to be a really good player that seems evident. Having said that Ade's comparatively low rate can only be because he didn't score. When comparing the stats between Bendtner and Adebayor; Bendtner had 3 shots, made 24 passes with 54% accuracy and had one assist attempt. Adebayor was on the pitch longer of course but had 5 shots made 41 passes with 90% accuracy and had 5 assist attempts. Even when adding RvP's stats to Niks their joint contribution still falls short of Ade's. Stats don't tell the whole story of course, and can even be misleading, but the work that Ade gets through can be under appreciated for want of a goal.
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18/08/2008 22:27:00

Agree with most everything in there except Eboue's rating. I don't like Eboue particularly, (being American he causes me too much embarrassment when I have to explain diving to a non football fan) but he did an adequate job in the role this week. He panics when it is his time to shoot so I don't believe he is even a third choice answer for the DM role, but for the week he did well enough. In a way, I think Denilson's positive rating owes much to Eboue being next to him. I think he rated a 6/7 for what his role really was on the day.
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18/08/2008 23:43:00

A 5 for Eboue?? Ouchy!!!
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18/08/2008 23:57:00

I also have go agree that Eboue deserved a higher mark than 5. Hmm maybe 6. Kind of like Kolo, that's not his daytime job (which is what, I'm not sure, other than Sagna's backup in RB). He did well considering he's not a DM by trade. Otherwise I agree with LD's marks and what you guys said above.
Lou the Gunneress
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19/08/2008 00:01:00

... especially the Denilson bit. I was jumping up and down about Nasri. But yes, I'm sold on the suggestion that Denilson's altruism and ability shone through the (joint) MotM performance.
Lou the Gunneress
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19/08/2008 00:08:00

c'mon tim, surely clichy deserves a 9 at least. he was faultless. best LB in the league.
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19/08/2008 02:04:00

I still think that Ade wanders too much into midfield and the left flank looking for short passes and little one-twos. This means that most of the time when crosses come in from the full-backs, he is often way behind the ball and struggling to get into the box. He tries to emulate Thierry Henry a bit too much by always wandering to the left flank but he is not as good. In front of goal, he had a chance that Henry would have buried eyes closed but he failed to get any bend on the ball. 6 sounds fair.
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19/08/2008 04:11:00

imo Bendtner should have been a 6, for me he played too many heavy passes and misread a few runs of the other players. I also think that the Eboue's 5 was just too low, yes, ok he had a few wild shots, but overall he deserves a 6 imo
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19/08/2008 07:44:00

I'll explain the Eboue one a bit more, the DM position is as much about what you do off the ball as what you do on it. Eboue didn't offer any cover at all when WBA came forward, when the ball happened to come close to him he was o.k, but he didn't chase it and Kim was allowed to affect the game further than any WBA player. I rarely saw him in the position he was meant to be in and he spends so much of a game rocking back on his heels, that he just doesn't win any 50-50s. For me Denilson played both positions, defensive and attacking, Eboue was largely a bystander. The irony here is that I am not an Eboue hater and tend to stick up for the guy a fair bit. Adebayor's six was down to poor decision making in the final third, this was partly a lack of sharpness and partly him trying too hard to impress, my source of annoyance with the sitter he missed was not the missed chance, but the fact that Bendtner was standing on front of an open goal and onside to his right, Birmingham last season should have taught Ade a lesson that he clearly hasn't learned. But I believe I acknowledged his role in creating us a few chances.
Little Dutch
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19/08/2008 09:07:00

I think your arguments are much better than your ratings. Why do Clichy and Sagna with their spotless performances only get 7's? If a defender does his job perfectly, plus contributes to attacks, surely they must be above the fairly average 7? Ok, maybe 10 calls for something spectacular, but nevertheless. Can I suggest a simpler system that rates from 1 (send him to Mongolia) to 5 (Real Madrid will tap him up).
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19/08/2008 09:45:00

And isn't it "pollyannish", not "pollyannaistic"? I'm waking up to the fact that there's a nerd in me, waiting to get out...
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19/08/2008 09:48:00

LD, noted u've indicated in ur previous article that "Gallas expressed his displeasure at Djourou" following a J. Morrison shot in the 2nd half (Although I actually saw it the other way round - that it was Djourou who had a go at Gallas for maybe failing to track Morrison?), am getting a little edgy on this. I recalled Theo and Van Persie had a similarly not too pleasant "discussion" during a pre-season (think it's the Amsterdam tourny) as well. Hope we dont have a repeat of the Adebayor-Bendtner spat last season.
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19/08/2008 09:51:00

crap, Nasri pulled out of the France squad due to injury. By the next match the tea lady has a good chance of making the team sheet.
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19/08/2008 12:02:00

I don't regard the minor arguments as anything to worry about, you get it in every team. I saw Rio and Giggs have a bit of a go at one another on Sunday, it comes out of having winners and winners are not easily satisfied. Obviously, the Ade Bendtner thing went well too far (and was almost 100% Ade's fault in my view), but minor spats are likely to break out in a competitive environment. RvP does that sort of thing a lot, you may remember him lambasting Robben at the last World Cup for not passing the ball enough, which is ironic because something he really needs to develop is his team work. He also laid into Baptista at Watford two seasons ago when the Beast went on a brilliant mazy run and nearly scored. There was an opportunity for RvP to lay Sagna in on the right on Saturday and he elected for an impossible shot instead. But it's part of what makes him a sparkling individual, his goals at home to Villa and Blackburn in the 05-06 season were acts of brilliance borne out of selfishness, I think it can be accomodated. The reason Sagna and Clichy, along with the other members of the back five, were given sevens was because they were not exactly stretched defensively, but what did need doing they did tidily enough. Gallas definitely had a pop at Djourou because he didn't play the offside trap along with the other defenders and allowed Miller in on goal, but that's Gallas' job to make sure people do their jobs properly. The guy is always very candid about his own mistakes. I think Arsenal are too nice as a team at times and that's why I see Gallas as such an essential component of our team and I won't complain as long as Gallas is making sure the job is being done and RvP wants the ball desperately when he is twenty yards from goal.
Little Dutch
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19/08/2008 12:08:00

Fair ratings, except for Eboue & Bendtner. I thought Eboue deserved a 6 - put in a tidy, competent performance. Bendtner also deserved a 6 coz he didnt get into the game often. He was left out of play and although I have high hopes for the lad (I think he will be in a position to replace Ade by this season end), that performance did not deserve a 7.
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19/08/2008 12:45:00

Amos - but the work that Ade gets through can be under appreciated for want of a goal. To be honest mate, if we want a work horse we should pay heskey to bundle around up front. Lets face it, he wants Henry money and Henry respect, start playing like it and not the utter shambles we were forced to watch on Saturday.
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19/08/2008 14:17:00

"start playing like it and not the utter shambles we were forced to watch on Saturday" -- amen, LondonGooner! Re Nasri’s supposed “injury” — followers of the France team (that includes me) are suspicious about this. There’s a rather huge soap opera that’s been going on between the France NT’s young players v. the veterans for a long time now (lots of petty stuff about Benzema’s and Nasri’s conduct with Henry and other vets) — and some personal feuding between some of the young players. Nasri and Ribery, e.g., reportedly hate each other. Here’s the latest discussion thread on Nasri and Benzema for the Sweden friendly from an English-language France NT blog: And here’s some more info on the ongoing soap opera within the team, with some mention of Nasri: Domenech may well have expelled both Ben Arfa and Nasri from the NT for reasons not at all related to injury. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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19/08/2008 15:22:00

if you're going to use words like "pollyannaistic", you should proabably make sure you spell them correctly...
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19/08/2008 15:56:00

And the prize for the most pretentious, petty **** on earth goes to……….
Little Dutch
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19/08/2008 16:47:00

Thanks jaelle, he has been struggling with it, so in this case the international break can actually help in that it gives him time to rest. It also gives times to Kolo, Cesc and van Injury to get their fitness sorted out.
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20/08/2008 10:20:00

I thought Nasri had a superb debut (goal nonwithstanding), he looked lively, wanted the ball and there seemed to be a purpose to him being on the pitch (unlike Hleb). The overall display was a bit lacklustre (Abebayor and Bendtner were especially disappointing) but the important thing was getting the three points.
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20/08/2008 20:35:00

'pretentious' said the pot to the black kettle
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20/08/2008 23:42:00


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