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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Match Ratings v. Stoke City

1.Manuel ALMUNIA- His puppy eyed apology pre match reaked of a lack of confidence. Though he made a good save from Diao, he lacked any kind of authority from set pieces and looked a shadow of the sturdy keeper of early season. 5

2.Abou DIABY- Produced and offered absolutely nothing, after a couple of promising performances, he looked like the lazy, half arsed player we saw marooned on the left last season. 4

3.Bacary SAGNA- A fairly sound match before going off injured, however, the defence collectively failed to deal with Stoke's sole threat. Aerially adept enough to have offered a bit more authority than he did, but cannot be essentially blamed. 6

4.Francesc FABREGAS- Tried in vain to create chances, but found a well drilled wall of red and white in front of him. Got his foot in very impressivelybut was unable to create much, had he had Nasri, you felt more outlets available. 7

5.Kolo TOURE(c)- Offered little in the way of leadership and looked a shell of the enthused ball of molecular vibration of seasons past. His shoulders were slumped much of the game and he simply could not deal with Delap's throws, not could he organise those around him. 5

15.DENILSON Pereira de Neves- Got through his fair share of tackles in a competitive midfield and came out on top over Diao and Olofinjana in that area. Retained the ball fairly well and largely did his job. It's not his fault the manager selected a side devoid of attacking inegnuity. 6.5

17.Alexandre SONG Billong- One of his less impressive games, though Stoke did not threaten much coming forward, he was sloppy in possession and did not commandeer aerially in the way we know he can. In a game where our big men needed to stand firm, he could not really cope. A promising boy who was asked to performthe job of a seasoned pro. 5

18.Mikael SILVESTRE- Could not augment Stoke's aerial play and seemed the most panic stricken and indecisive member of our side. He is looking a very poor purchase to me. 5

22.Gael CLICHY- After his aberration on Wednesday night Gael responded with a display of heart and determination. Not the most gifted in the air but put himself in the firing line, was still plugging away when the game was lost and deserved his goal. Demonstrating any sort of passion was always going to make him stand out in this match. 7.5

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR- Looked like he would really rather have been anywhere else. The abuse he received for having the temerity to get injured was close to sickening. But it was a listless display when we needed someone to lead the line with conviction. 5

26.Nicklas BENDTNER- Spirit was willing but touch and passing were poor. Tried in vain but often found himself crowded out by a disciplined Stoke side and a lack of support from midfield meant he was ploughing a lone furrow. 5.5

SUBSTITUTES

11.Robin van Persie- His act of petulance ended the game, probably not a red card, but he needn't have given a referee as poor as Styles an invitation. N/A

12.Carlos Vela- Could do little on the left hand side as the game was up by the time he came on. Griffin and Diao doubled upon him to offset any threat he might have offered. 5

14.Theo Walcott- Did not get involved in the game enough when he came on, that said, every time he did he was hacked to the floor. The third such intentional blow saw him stretchered off. 5




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 2 2008

Time: 7:37PM

Your Comments

All's not well in the Emirates Towers then?
merlin
So why was van Persie's foul on Sorensen not a red card then? The rules say if you raise your hands to an opponent it is an automatic red. They don't say it is only a red if you do a full blown karate chop. And why did he do it anyway? How was it supposed to help Arsenal to win the game? In van Persie's defence, if Wenger thinks it was a yellow then how is van Persie ever to learn what is acceptable and what isn't?
fornside
Because van Persie didn't appear to raise his hands from where I was. Like I say, I haven't seen it back yet, but it looked a shoulder charge to me. It's funny, us Gooners are often chastised for not liking the rough and tumble and harping on about the old days. Nat Lofthouse once scored a winning goal in a Cup Final doing what RvP did yesterday. He was stupid no doubt, but perhaps you can tell me fornside how Andy Griffin stayed on the pitch after doing two hatchet jobs?
Little Dutch
Toure is a shadow of the accomplished, athletic, strong and commited player he was. Diaby was self-indulgent at times. We always seem to concede the first goal and in this game, with Stoke's pitch so narrow and all their men back behind the ball bar one, it was going to be a tough ask to pass through them.
Gooner_Vin
There appears to be a complete lack of leadership and hunger in the team. I defended AW when other fans were criticising his lack of new signings, but I'm really starting to lose faith in the team. I'm still prepared to give the players more time to prove themselves, but unless we win on saturday then it's just going to be a battle for 4th place, no chance of even getting 3rd I don't think. Just watching the la liga highlights and thinking how much I miss Pires..and Viera, Campbell,..:(
jubair
after mid week draw ye gained a point.so ye say... moved up table...on sat we gained 3...........lol...watch yer back.....just kiddin
123spurs
i think wenger shud play the ladies im sure cesc wud love to captain them
123spurs
how come nasri didn't play?? was he injured AGAIN??? or part of the selection policy??
ArabianKnight
Fornside, v persie fell for sorensen's "get the ball if you can or we'll just run down the clock even more" taunt/trap and when charging for it. On a given day a striker would have just stop the moment the keeper is "forced" to pick up the ball and get the match going. But at that fateful moment v persie succumbed to his frustration and did not pull the stop. Perhaps to prevent the accident of locking lips with sorensen v persie raised his arm to the chest of sorensen to break the momentum of the charge. The charge was stupid and once again v persie let himself, his team and fans down with his failure to check his anger. On another day a ref might have taken a more sympathetic view and dish out a yellow card instead but few of us gunners will argue with Rob Styles cos v persie exposed himself to the situation. But Sorensen played his part to ensure he get the most out of the situation and LD was spot on that if it was Lehmann involved in the same incident the outcome would likely be very different. But you are right fornside that AW should make it very clear to v persie that his behaviour was unacceptable and he must learn his lesson
Temasek
Its a red card. u cannot tackle a keeper with possesion, no matter what, let alone charge him down.
korodon
The keeper didn't have possession when RvP went into the challenge, so technically he was entitled to go for it. One must also ask why Andy Griffin was allowed to rake his studs down Adebayor's calf when the ball was already out of play and not even get a yellow card. What does van Persie's offence go down as? Violent conduct? His arms weren't raised, neither were his studs, nor did he motion his head towards the goalie. Ungentlemenly conduct? Having a lots of grey hair for a 25 year old? I don't see how it can be a red. You see that sort of challenge all the time when a player is shepherding a ball out for a goal kick and someone shoves into him. Is that a red card now? The fact is, Styles is guilty of not applying/ knowing the rules of the game. Little wonder he has twice been relegated this season.
Little Dutch
I have to agree with Little Dutch on RVP, although what he did was silly it was an act of frustration. I heard it on the radio and the commentator said he punched him in the face?? I watched MOTD hpoing to see a bit of ultimate fighting but I didn't think it was anything more than a push. Stoke are tough at home as they know thier game but you should have wiped the floor with em tbh. My only question after this game is. How on earth is Styles STILL allowed to ref premiership games??
woddywoo
if i ever meet sorensen, im gonna perform a lobotomy on him, that freeking asswipe
gooner_till_i_die
lol.. strong words!
JT_daniel
It was that **** Shawcross LD who finished Ade mortal kombat style. Griffin was the man responsible from the lunge that ended Sagna's game and the cynical challenge that will probably keep Theo out for the foreseeable future.
hazzagooner
I think Mikael deserved a 4, he really didn't do what was required of him. Djourou would do a better job than him anyday
stukazufuss
I saw bentdner buying guitar hero in Watford yesetrday with some reallt fit bird. Too bad h cant score on the field
paul_ownz
Having heard your fans on various talk shows, anyone would think Wenger was Iain Dowie - calm down!
Boxer
I still can't believe what RvP, did it was just so stupid! He's suppose to be one of our senior players, he's suppose to set an example. It's such a pity that Clichy's 1st goal was in such a poor game for The Arsenal, but well done to him anyway!
hackneyval
 

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