Last night’s game was crying out for someone to put their foot on the ball and calm the whole thing down. It made no sense to me and seemed totally unnecessary that we played at such break neck speed. Players look to their captain to dictate the pace but Fabrégas was guilty of repeatedly trying the Hollywood pass when a shorter, calmer pass, guaranteeing that we kept possession, would have been the better option. I’m not trying to suggest that he had it easy it was very obvious that he had been singled out by the Portuguese to systematically have his ankles hacked at. But in between that we really needed a clear headed Captain to take control of the game. Nasri was no better, neither was Rosicky in fact most of the play resembled school children running as fast as they could around the playground. Can you name me one passage of Wengerball that took place between Fabrégas, Rosicky and Nasri? You can’t because it didn’t happen; we have got to be the only club in the world who cannot make the collective talent of those three players work.
For some reason I felt less pain after we lost to Manu and Chelsea I remember consoling myself by saying that on the day we lost to a better team but we do not have that excuse last night; Porto were not better, in fact, although both teams looked liked they had built their defences using the Three Little Pigs guide to construction, and I am not referring to the sensible one who opted for bricks, Fabainski aside we were the one that looked like we had opted for the better building material of sticks rather than theirs of straw. They left do much space at the back we should have crucified them.
I don’t remember a recent game in which I was so nervous before the start perhaps it was because ITV were repeatedly showing Sol’s last goal in the Champions League Final in Paris which brought back all that pre match anxiety. The kick off helped calm me, although, that lasted two minutes before one of the Porto players went flying towards our goal with Sol, looking way out of his depth, in chase. I feared the worst but he recovered with a tackle as good as any other defender in the game, if not better. In fact this tackle calmed the whole game down for a short while; we established our shape and all looked well until that is Clichy got ripped to shreds once again on the left by one Porto player, I don’t remeber his name, before he sent in a pedestrian cross that somehow Fabianski managed to put in his own net. Our confidence viably dropped and was not recovered until they only good thing to happen last night and that as you know was the goal from Sol, if the game had ended there the world would have been a very enjoyable place to be this morning but it didn’t. The night was marred by Fabianski’s school boy error in the second half; it was a perfectly good goal which in the cold light of the day I am sure Wenger will realise but what worries me more is will he realise that we desperately need a goal keeper.
Fabianski: isn’t there a building site that this man should be on. A career in plumbing or carpentry might be a more appropriate line of work because it sure as hell is not goal keeping. 0
Sagna: the Frenchman is one of those players who so obviously benefits from a break, ran tirelessly tonight but as we are have all come to realise we are never going to get anything from him in the final third of the pitch. 6
Campbell: I felt really sorry for him at the end; he gave everything he possibly could and deserved so much better than to be playing with that idiot in goal. Man of the Match. 8
Vermaelen: not his usual composed self, obviously missed the pace of Gallas but did every thing that was needed well enough. 6
Clichy: am I going mad or do I remember this player being able to patrol the left back position with authority and composure? I must be going mad because he now leaves me worried every time a player runs at him. In fairness he did have a better second half but now as far as I am concerned, he is only keeping the jersey warm until Gibbs returns. 5
Diaby: I was very impressed with his performance in the first half and was getting excited about writing this report as I really felt the comparison with a younger Vieira was justified, his tracking back was superb, his tackling sharp and his driving runs forward were inspirational, unfortunately, he faded in the second half and by the end he was guilty of his most characteristic error: not getting rid of the ball quick enough which lead to us loosing possession. 6
Fabregas: please, please, please walk into Wenger’s office tomorrow and tell him that if he doesn’t get rid of these clowns, your off. Ran his heart out, but compared to his normally high standard of passing he was sloppy. 6
Denilson: I completely disagree with ITV’s half time criticism of him, he put in a decent performance, improving as the game went on, it is worth remembering he was simply cover for Song and he will no longer get in the team ahead of Diaby so he is what he should be at his age and stage of development – squad cover. 6
Rosicky: a few good runs but by now he should having a far greater say on games like this he is the Czech Captain but he has all the authority of Bounced Cheque. 5
Bendtner: he is not a number 9 and I cannot ever see him becoming a number 9, but compared to Arshavin’s recent contribution his height helped as did his presence, that said, unless an opportunity arrives on a plate he aint going to score because he does not have what it takes to create a goal out of nothing. 5
Nasri: the Frenchman ran a lot, gave sneaky little digs in the ribs of the Porto players when the referee wasn’t looking but was ineffectual, in fact, I would say that Eboue contributed more in the five minutes he was on than Nasri did for the whole game. 5