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Match Ratings v Sunderland

Match Ratings v Sunderland

1.Manuel ALMUNIA- My doubts about him evaporate by the week. Didn't have a great deal to do, but a smart save from Cisse in the first half kept us in the game and, as with every other goal we have conceded this season, there was little he could have done about Leadbitter's strike. Distribution could do with work but I wonder how closely the Spanish coach is watching. 7

3.Bacary SAGNA- A much less effective display than we are accustomed to, largely due to Walcott's lack of defensive nous. Defended well against Andy Reid, but could not strike up an understanding with Walcott on the right, Eboue has to be a starter away from home. 6

4.Francesc FABREGAS- Was played a little further forward, which robbed him of his effectiveness as he couldn't dictate play. Was notably more productive when Nasri came on in the centre and Cesc dropped deeper. His injury time header was a sign of quality, desire and spirit. Perhaps less illuminating, but similar to the moment he visibly decided to win us the match in the San Siro in March, he stepped up when it mattered. It keeps me awake at night thinking what we would do without him. 7

5.Kolo TOURE- Coped with the threat of Cisse well enough, but was a little cumbersome bringing the ball out of defence and giving the team an attacking impetus, which is surprising. It was Gallas who drove us forward later on. 7

10.William GALLAS(c)- Arsenal did not have a great deal of work to do defensively, but what was required he produced. Looked noticeably more swithced on and cajoled his players more than I have seen at any other point this season. Ended the game as an emergency striker. 7

11.Robin van PERSIE- Put in an industrious shift, tracked back when it was required and showed for the ball. However, his manager really should have moved him upfront in the second half when it was apparent that 4-5-1 was not really necessary. When he did move more central when Bendtner and Vela were on, he was at the centre of two good opportunities. 7

14.Theo WALCOTT- Did not defend at all, did not retain the ball well, did not pass it well, he had a poor game. That said, as usual he produced some end product when he set up van Persie's ill fated goal. He still isn't ready to play this sort of away match, certainly not at the expense of Nasri or Eboue. 5

15.DENILSON Pereira de Neves- With Cesc sat forwards and Song positioned in front of the back four, it wasn't particularly clear what Denilson was supposed to be doing. He didn't seem too sure either, worked hard enough and was economic with the ball. 6

17.Alexandre SONG Billong- Was impressive shielding the defence and kept the ball well. Overall he did the job he was deployed to perform, whether it was and absolutely necessary one is another question. You've the feeling that both Song and Denilson were required. The only reason Song gets a higher mark than Denilson is mainly due to the manager rather than the individuals, Song had a clear role, Denilson didn't. 7

22.Gael CLICHY- Was not his penetrative self going forwards, but didn't really have a great deal to do defensively. Another average performance, I still wonder if he is carrying that knock from Kevin Davies and Wenger has to trust Silvestre for a game. 6

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR- Worked manfully, but was isolated and could not effect the game. van Persie should have been moved upfront alongside him at half time. Had to drop deeper to try and effect play which took away some of our threat. 6


26.Nicklas Bendtner- Another very impressive cameo and the Dane is pushing very hard for a start. He's always had the vision to be more than a target man, but his execution has improved no end. Drifted in from the right to great effect. 8

8.Samir Nasri- Came on in the centre, freeing up Cesc to drop and influence the match. Very clever play and added another dimension to our attcaking play,nearly scoring on one occasion. Probably should have started. 7

12.Carlos Vela- Came on for the last few minutes and kept the ball impressively, particularly in the attack that led to our productive last minute corner, shrugging off a challenge from three players to move us forwards. 7

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

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday October 5 2008
Time: 1:46PM


That was brave of you to criticize the English wonder boy! But I agree. Theo is good going forward and his speed does frighten the opposition defenders, but he still has a lot to learn on the flanks. He has not made a good partnership with his right back either going forward or defensively despite all the games he has played in that position. I wish those who criticize Arsene for picking Eboue over Walcott would look at these aspects of his game for the reason why.
05/10/2008 14:04:00
Theo lost possesion too many times in that game. still very inconsistent, wonderful in some games, poor in other games. Bendtner has been brilliant lately. he should replace Ade when Ade is not doing well, especially in the first half.
05/10/2008 14:43:00
Good to see that Theo only got 5 as he did nearly give a gift of a goal to Sunderland, and by all accounts Theo had a poor game.
05/10/2008 15:28:00
I was saying to my dad ( I don't care what people's opinion on Gallas are) Fabregas and Gallas are my favourite Arsenal players as they are the most hungry and aggressive. None of this smiling when they miss shots and they tend to come through in dire situations. I don't care much about the Birmingham game if I was Gallas captain or not I would have been *****ed off, it was a bad day in the office but something positive almost came from it and Cliche kinda effed it up. I still believe we were cheated out of this game but that's football.
05/10/2008 19:52:00
good to see that someone else also rates bendtner very highly. he get no mention anywhere else. even goodplaya (opinion I rate) doesnt see it. best report and ratings of the game by far.
05/10/2008 21:01:00
Re Cesc Fabregas - "It keeps me awake at night thinking what we would do without him" - love it and know exactly what you mean!
05/10/2008 21:41:00
It should also be noted that Sanga almost gave away a goal in a similar position to Theo. It seems Sunderland and Hull seem to have been watching George Graham method of how to win the league. It may be boring but it does seem to work. I thought we played Nasri in the wrong position. The left side of the field seemed so much better against Porto. I would have like most preferred in games like this for Theo to come on as a shock tactic with Bendtner. Why were no long balls used, its great to have passing skills on the ground but the odd variety would be great and as in the past the long ball also works when someone parks the bus in front of the goal. I totally agree Eboure would have been great to have at least someone to run at the defense, we did seem to predicable.
06/10/2008 01:05:00
What is it with teams scoring wonder goals against us Whilste having the refs rule out legitimate goals? It isn't an excuse, it is a fact nothing more nothing less. Well played to Hull yesterday they have surprised everyone including themselves I'm sure. Without the 'help' from the referee's we would surely of picked up more than 1 point from 2 games, possibly? But what the hell was Wenger doing playing a defensive formation (albeit with offensive minded players) away to a very ineffective Sunderland team who aren't exactly known for the swashbuckling style of play? Manager made the costly decisions and got them wrong this time it is Wenger who has to take some blame for a poor-ish performance that should still of comfortably yielded 3 points.
06/10/2008 11:49:00
If I was the board of Sunderland I would wonder why i had allowed a manager to spend £70 million or whatever and still produce football as dull and negative as that!
06/10/2008 11:49:00
Keane is a t1t & can spend/waste all he likes you can only attract so much quality to the north east.
06/10/2008 15:18:00
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