Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Arsenal vs Milan Post Match Thoughts and Ratings

Evening all,

Arsenal vs Milan Post Match Thoughts

Arsenal 3 – 0 AC Milan

Another scintillating night to be an Arsenal fan and despite ultimately falling short of our goal for the night, we can all be proud at what The Arsenal achieved last night. Arsenal 3 – 0 Milan.

It was an admiral performance full of hard work, determination and more importantly; effectiveness. We were quick and hungry and it was a real pleasure to see. At the half way point I was genuinely convinced we were going to do it but it just wasn’t meant to be. Fatigue kicked in and we were no longer the same team after the hour mark.

As bad as we were in the first leg, and we were woeful, we were that good in the second leg, particularly in the first hour of the game. I think the main objective for last night was to restore some pride and by the same token provide a platform to build on by continuing our positive momentum. In that regard; job done.

The game panned out like a dream in the first half; an early goal set the tone and it is fair to say Arsenal were very much on top. It seemed like we might score at any moment and Koscienly, Rosicky and Van Persie all made no mistake when the opportunity presented itself. There were other near misses at both ends but I think to go into it and worry about what may have been had Van Persie scored in the second half detracts from the positives of which there were many. None more so than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who in my opinion was an absolute phenomenon.

From the word go he controlled the midfield with a performance beyond his tender years. He was disciplined yet creative with a range of passing that may put other leading Premiership stars to shame. He has been a revelation this season and his performance is sure to further enhance his rapidly growing reputation.

Following the match, whilst Wenger was certainly happy and proud, he was also a little incensed by the referee and his general performance. I would agree in that it was a truly awful performance from a chap who clearly hadn’t a clue on how to approach a game of such intensity. To be fair to the referee though, I don’t think he was particularly biased, I just think he was genuinely awful and perhaps the Milan players dealt with the referee better than we did.

Well either way, Wenger has found himself in hot waters with the powers-that-be in UEFA and has been charged with Improper Conduct. Judging from experience I would say it is inevitable that he will be found guilty.

Player Ratings

(Be warned I am quite harsh usually)

Szczesny 7.0 – What can you say about this young man? He has a range of stops in him and he with regularity uses all of them to keep Arsenal in games. His kicking was suspect at times and I felt he was riskier than usual and could have been punished, but thankfully was not.

Sagna 7.0 – Perhaps the biggest compliment you can give to Sagna was that he was largely unnoticeable last night. This may sound like a bad thing but Sagna was solid, defended well, was not caught out of position and did all the basics right. A solid, if not spectacular display.

Koscienly 7.5 – Started the ball rolling in every sense of the word. His early goal set the tone for a fantastic performance. He was dominating at the back and rarely ever seemed in trouble. Another good performance and a well taken goal.

Vermaelen 8.0 – If there was a performance that was an analogy of the two legs then this would certainly be it. As woeful as he was in the first leg he was that majestic, kept one of the “best” strikers in the world quiet with apparent ease and was keen to push forward and help out in any way he could. Dominated aerially as well and was back to the Vermaelen that we all know.

Gibbs 6.5 – Had another decent game and provided our best attacking outlet on the left. Was left exposed by Gervinho a little bit but managed to cope well generally. Did get caught out of position on a few occasions but never was punished. Certainly some learning points but a largely positive display.

Song 6.0 – Went from the sublime to the ridiculous over the course of the match. He was solid enough but I felt that he was a bit naïve at times with his positioning and strangely an attacking wide player had more positional discipline than him. He did make some good tackles and kept the ball ticking but was equally culpable of needlessly giving the ball away summed up by our last attack where he overlooked two simple passes only to lose the ball. I would say it was not his best game, especially by the recent high standards he has set himself.

Chamberlain 9.0 – Words are difficult to come by to describe quite how good he was. This reminded me of the game where Wilshere, against odds outplayed the best midfield trio in world football against Barcelona. It feels like this was similarly a watershed performance from the young gunner. It is no surprise that following his withdrawal, Arsenal’s performance began to drop. Let’s hope the injury is not too bad.

Rosicky 8.0 – So his resurgence continues. Another fine performance from a very fine player. He has had his doubters and no doubt still has them but he is proving them wrong. The more cynical amongst us might think that with his contract coming up for renewal he has responded with his performances. I think that a prolonged run in the team without injury has been far more important in his form. A well taken goal capped off a wonderful performance.

Walcott 7.0 – I personally thought he had a decent game and whilst not spectacular was a constant threat. His decision making was interesting to say the least but it was not a bad performance. I am not his biggest fan but I will not complain especially with the amount of effort he put in. Had a big part in destabilising the opposition defence.

Gervinho 4.0 – I don’t know if he is still feeling the effects of the African Cup of Nations but he certainly did not look like the lively player that joined us. He was largely anonymous throughout and did very little to help the cause.

RVP 7.5 – Perfect penalty to give Arsenal a real chance to win the tie. Was a constant threat throughout and inexplicably missed from 3 yards out to complete the come back. Despite this, he worked his socks off for the team and had a decent game.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.


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