Saturday, December 22, 2007
Player analysis and ratings Vs Spurs. No more turning points… please
By 1970’s Gooner
Where do you begin to tell this story!
It had so many twists and turns that it’s difficult to pick a starting place. Everything happened in the second half and every time “it” happened you thought that this will be the turning point that would define the rest of the game. But every time you were proved wrong.
The first false turning point was Adebayor’s goal in the first few minutes of the second half after a sublime back heel by the lackluster Fabregas. You thought Arsenal will now kick off from there go on and dominate the game and get a second goal.
But no. We reverted back to our sloppy passing and allowed Spurs to come back.
Robbie Keane missed a sitter from about three yards hitting the bar when it was easier to score! But this did not make us sit up and take notice and within minutes the very dangerous Berbatov scored from a very tight angle ala Fabregas’s goal against Manchester City earlier in the season.
This goal you felt was another turning point. Could it propel Spurs to go forward and win the game now?
When Robbie Keane was lining up to take the penalty you could tell which side he would put it by the way his body was lined up. Almunia did too becoming the hero of the day. Was this another turning point?
Wenger must have thought so. He went for it and Bendtner showed his worth by scoring with his first touch of the ball.
No more turning points please I prayed.
His penalty save was pure intuition and that is a good attribute for a goalkeeper. But his concentration let him down for the equaliser because he was positioned correctly on his near post but the ball flew in over his head. 8
Did not venture forward as much as we have been accustomed to and for this reason we lacked penetration on the right wing. He defended soundly bar for the keane miss when he was caught out of position. 7
Had the better of Lennon who was kept quiet mostly throughout the game. Was more attacking minded in the second half. Berbatov’s goal came from his side of the pitch but you couldn’t really blame him for it. He gave the most accomplished performance of the game for me. 8
His usual solid performance but he did panic a little bit when Berbatov had the ball in the area sliding in against his leg and conceding the penalty. 7
Missed a few headers he went for otherwise again very solid. 7
A good if unspectacular showing. Busy and energetic but due to the team’s overall below par performance that is as far as it went. 6
Was more pragmatic and sensible playing a more controlled game. I don’t recollect him giving the ball away as much as he did in his previous games. He also offered good defensive cover when needed. He has the qualities and I think with more application he can improve his game a lot further. 6
Was not at his usual best. A lot of his passes went astray which is uncharacteristic of him. He did manage to get one right though; the back heel to Adebayor for his goal. However even at below his best he still is the maestro of the team. 7
One of only a few Arsenal players who played up to their usual level. Energetic and purposeful and covered a lot of miles as he usually does. 8
Showed his sublime skills in the first half dribbling his way past defenders as though they were not there. He dropped too deep for my liking picking the ball up and making the play from there. I think there is duplication here with Fabregas doing the same. This meant that Adebayor was often alone up front when he received the ball especially the long balls. I think his needs his Robin back. 6
Took the goal like Henry would have done by opening his body before striking the ball pass the keeper. Otherwise he tended to concede possession when he should be keeping the ball and trying to bring other players in the game. Wasn’t helped however by the lack of another support player up front. 7
This boy is a big game player. He has the potential to become an Arsenal great. He rose for his header beautifully and hang a little bit in the air before he buried it in the net. Even though he could have kept the ball up front a little bit better he still gets a 9 !
Kept in front of the defence and protected the area in the closing minutes. Made one bad pass however and I am increasingly worried about his lack of pace. 6
Man of the Match: Almunia for providing the final turning point