Sunday, 22 April 2012

Arsenal vs Chelsea Post Match thoughts and Player Ratings

Afternoon all,

With both Arsenal and Chelsea being seen to need a victory in order to keep their league-aim hopes alive, one wouldn’t/shouldn’t be wrong to expect a game of high intensity, players working their socks off and lots of attempts at goal. It was with some surprise then that I stared at my television in disbelief as Chelsea parked the bus from the word go.

This is a club with almost limitless funds and with a squad that took hundreds of millions to assemble yet their only intention was to draw. They obviously have things they consider more important on the horizon but you would still expect a Chelsea side in sixth place with a chance of still making the top four to try and win the match. This was not to be however and what we were all subjected to was in fact an encounter abject of any competitiveness.

We tried to win the game but found it difficult to break down a team who were, if nothing else, a very organised outfit. There were still a number of chances and had we won the game, nobody could claim it wasn’t deserved. We hit the woodwork twice and missed a host of other chances without ever hitting top gear. It is probably pretty hard getting into top gear if the dreaded handbrake is up.

It is with this in mind that the mind boggles at why the match panned out in such a way. Why was a Chelsea side with aspirations of winning the Champions League be content to eek out a draw against one of their London rivals? Why were Arsenal unable to play at the required tempo to win the game? And why oh why do we ever play with the handbrake on?

Despite a fairly average performance I still felt we deserved the full three points and rued the two points dropped. I feared what might come of our quest for third place when Tottenham had the chance to make some real headway and potentially getting back to level pegging. How foolish of me to worry without cause.

Tottenham’s torrid time continued with a disastrous defeat to QPR to extend their poor run of form. They have only won one game in the last six and are 16th in the Premier League form table

So what seemed to be two points lost in actuality became one point gained. Well over Tottenham anyway. Newcastle though, extended their fine form and put Stoke to the sword, meaning they are only three points behind us with a game in hand. This though, changes little. We still have to go out and win every game we play from here on in. Newcastle have been great but looking at their last four games, even the most optimistic of Newcastle fans would have to think they will struggle to win all their remaining fixtures against Wigan (A), Chelsea (A), Man City (H) and Everton (A).

Player Ratings

Wojciech Szczesny - 6.5
Had little to do aside from fairly routine saves. Did rush out unnecessarily which could have been punished. Great organisation of the defence.

Thomas Vermaelen – 7
Vermaelen had a fantastic game. Was defensively solid and drove the team forward from the defence.

Laurent Koscienly – 7.5
Was solid and rarely threatened. Kept a “world class” attack quiet and never strayed from his responsibilities. Made a superb last ditch tackle to prevent Chelsea a great goal scoring chance.

Kieran Gibbs – 7.5
A decent performance which helped stabilise the Arsenal back line. Was very impressed with his commitment and positioning yesterday. Certainly has the ingredients to become a top class left back.

Bacary Sagna – 6.5
Great in the air and defensively very sound yet again. Did not offer as much attacking impetus as he usually does. Recovered well from a fairly poor performance earlier in the week. His legs are certainly beginning to look very heavy though.

Aaron Ramsey – 5.5
After some awful passing and touches early on he eventually grew into the game. He was however caught in possession far too many times and managed to slow the game down almost every time he touched the ball. Some neat passing in the middle and was defensively responsible.

Alex Song – 6.5
A mixed bag. I felt he was sloppy all game with his passing where he attempted too many through balls when playing a simple ball would have been far more beneficial for the team. Was fairly solid defensively and made some good challenges though.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Worked his socks off to try and get the ball and create some magic but was unable to really get any joy out on the wings. Attempted to get himself into the game by coming infield but ended up crowding the centre even more.

Theo Walcott – 5
Quiet and unimaginative. Was stifled throughout the game by the opposing full-back and eventually pulled up injured. His hamstring seemingly was overstretched but he inexplicably attempted to play on only to make it worse. Will be out for the rest of the season.

Tomas Rosicky - 5
A fairly bright start eventually evolved into a quiet and subdued performance. Much like the rest of the team was starved of any real space to create any magic.

Robin Van Persie – 5
Could have scored a few but it seems as though he has lost a little confidence in front of goal at the moment. Still had a fantastic season but just needs to regain some of that mental sharpness.

That’ll do for today. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday.


1 comment:

  1. Just a thought, if Arsenal had the Newcasle team they would win the league.