In The Merry Month of May. Player Ratings.

May 28, 2017

Just great to be a Gooner this morning.

You all watched the game so this will not be a minute by minute match report, more a flow of consciousness which considering I went to bed full of G&T’s, white Sauvignon Blanc and a nightcap of finest single malt, could be a little confusing. So this could be a long one.

Are you sitting comfortably?. Then we’ll begin ….

Firstly, Mr Wenger. He remains a wonderful manager. In recent weeks his team has beaten Guardiola, Me-rinho and Conte. So much for him being a man left behind in terms of tactics.

Prior to the game I was fairly relaxed thinking, as chas said “que sera, sera”, but within minutes of the kick-off when I watched Xhaka, Ozil and Ramsey completely dominate the midfield I knew we could win, and that made me tense, very tense.

In my bullet points in yesterday’s pre-match describing how we could win, a main one was a strong refereeing performance. Much to my amazement Mr Taylor was very good. Missed a bit of Costa thuggery and was a little soft on the Chav fouling but overall good. The decision over the Sanchez goal could have gone either way, I think it was the correct decision but understand why pundits said Ramsey interfered with play.

The Back 3. It just works. GIE is right when he says we could have won the title had we started earlier.

I was very concerned when I saw the team sheet with Ox on the left. Given that Hazard can be so dangerous and Moses is the new Lazarus (look it up) I felt we would be exposed but can you recall a single time that Hazard threatened? Lots of flashy runs and twists and turns but nothing to worry about. In fact Chelsea’s only real threat came from Costa – I may dislike Costa in a Chelsea shirt but I would absolutely adore the chap if he played for us.

How did that happen? Because of AW’s tactics and the exceptional work-rate of the entire team.

With some better finishing, worse Chav defending and a bit of luck we could have been 4 up at half time.

I expected Chelsea to dominate the start of the second half as Arsenal went back to their rope-a-dope tactics and hit on the break. Both Bellerin and Ozil had great chances to finish the game whilst Chelsea toiled.

Then Moses got sent off for cheating. Has that ever happened before in an FA Cup Final? Well done Mr. Taylor that was a gutsy decision and a correct one. Not much in the press about the dive but next season it will see Moses in the FA dock.

Against 10 men my nerves receded and I thought I would enjoy seeing us coast to a 1-0 to the Arsenal victory. But we don’t do that anymore, do we ? No, Costa scores a very good deflected goal ( I don’t agree that Ospina was at fault, he would have saved it but for the deflection) and my heart sank. Could we recover? Would Chelsea be inspired and go on to win?

OG and the Welsh Wizard had other ideas. Brilliant goal made by OG’s quality and strength allied to Rambo’s unbelievable energy.

From then on despite a couple of scares and some fine goalkeeping from Ospina, we were in Easy street. Didn’t stop me from wanting the final whistle though!

On such a day, I hope you will indulge me and let me continue to …

Player Ratings.

Ospina.  I have to say I questioned AW’s decision to play him. I was wrong. Ospina did not put a foot wrong all afternoon.      10

Holding. Loved the way he confronted Costa. What a player he can become. Needs to be a little stronger.  10

BFG. Imperious. Played a magnificent game. Our MotM.   11

Monreal.  Perhaps his best game in the shirt. Huge energy, solid in the tackle, stopped all attacks down the left.    10

Bellerin.   Back to his best. Would have loved to see him finish what would have been a superb goal but it wasn’t to be. Stopped everything coming down the right.   10

Ramsey.  His best game for ages. 3 FA Cup winners medals, 2 winning FAC goals. He deserves them.  Ran 14.4 kms during the game, the most of anyone in history (apparently)   10

Xhaka.  Magnificent. I said earlier in the season that we should build the team around him and Xhaka is showing why. Dominated the game in a Vieira-like fashion.    10

Ox. We just have to keep him. So versatile and developing into a true International class player    10

Ozil. Worked so hard to dominate the midfield. Played deeper than usual which I assume was on AW’s instruction    10

Sanchez.   If we goes he will be missed. MotM for the TV commentators. I disagree but the little Chilean had a fine game and I love his smile.    10

Welbeck. Worked so hard. Made so many runs.  10

Subs.

OG. What a set-up for Rambo. Made an immediate impact.   10

Coquelin.    Tried to be Sanchez in his cameo. Amusing.   10

Elneny. Played 2 minutes. Not at his best    5

Mr Arsene Wenger. Answered his critics in a display of tactical excellence. Out-thought Conte. More FA Cups than anyone in history which is record unlikely to be beaten. The Man.   10

Chelsea .   Complete over-hyped rubbish. Kante. Did he play? Hazard? Flatters to deceive. Sponge Bob? Ordinary. Costa and Chaill? Only players who lived up to their reputation.       1   (for turning up)

So. A successful end to a difficult season. We have silverware but Thursday nights. Spurs have as much chance of winning the Champions League next season as we do and have nothing in the trophy cabinet.

Deep Joy.

 

written by a Very Happy Big Raddy

 

 


Everton: Player Ratings

May 22, 2017

A sunny day, the end of the PL season, JC last game (?), a fine win yet one mingled with regret and disappointment

Given that we played 80 minutes with 10 men against a strong Everton team and a bent referee it was a fine victory. Had we not been cheated out of a point at Everton away, it would have meant much more but in the end we were the 5th best team in the PL. Thursday nights and lots of Sunday games await.

Player ratings.

Cech. Magnificent … Again. He has been superb the last few games. Had little chance with a well -taken penalty. Cut out the ball early from crosses, made an acrobatic save from a Lukaku header and his distribution was faultless.     9

Holding.  In a constantly changing back line he played well, made the odd error of judgement. Continues to improve and must have won a place in the Cup Final    7

Koscielny. Stupid and rash challenge which deserved the red card. Out of the CF.   5

Gabriel. Until his injury the Brazilian was outstanding. Looked a nasty injury. Got a yellow card for his pains when he was in front of the man and got the ball.    8

Monreal.  Was it a penalty? I couldn’t tell. Other than that he played well with his usual energy. After Kos ‘s red card Nacho was understandably more defensive   7

Bellerin. Finally getting his speed back. Non-stop work up and down his wing. Scored a tap in but was there to do so. Better.    8

Ramsey.  Started slowly with inaccurate and poor choice of passes. Improved second half and scored an absolute peach.    7

Xhaka. Terrific. Is becoming the player AW hoped for. No more stupid tackles, even Oliver could find a reason to give him a card.    9

Ozil. Once again in good form. Worked tirelessly, as usual created some chances. Hopefully not his last game at THOF     8

Sanchez.  Typical Alexis game. Non-stop workmate, dangerous on the ball, hugely frustrating in his timing and choice of pass, scored. Brilliant player and I love to watch him. Hopefully not his last game at THOF.    8

Welbeck.  Worked hard. Missed an absolute sitter and should have scored at least two of his chances.      7

Subs:

BFG. Great to see our Club Captain. Fitted in seamlessly.    7

Coq. 30 minutes & but didn’t embarrass himself    6

Iwobi. Seemed to be everywhere on the pitch in his cameo.    7

Mr Wenger. On a difficult afternoon he got his tactics spot on.    8

Referee:  Michael Oliver. Dreadful. Lost control to the point that a quiet Emirates resounded with “you don’t know what you’re doing”.      2

written by Big Raddy


Southampton. Player Ratings

May 11, 2017

Cech. Terrific, even his distribution was good. Saved a couple of one on ones and made a spectacular flying save from Redmond.   9

Holding. Early to make this huge statement but this man has a touch of the Tony Adams – he could be that good. Calm, clever, determined and strong. 8

Mustafi. A welcome return and he seems very comfortable as the fulcrum of the back 3. A couple of times he was out of position which allowed S’ton to get behind the defence.  7

Monreal. I think he is a better attacker than Gibbs but also a better defender and he was very solid last night.   7

Ox. Made an energetic start but often his final ball was inaccurate. Made one lovely cross before injury.  6

Ramsey. Massive energy and ambition but as usual much of his work comes to nothing. Clever headed cross for Giroud. 7

Xhaka. He is becoming the metronome of the team. This is both good and bad as sometimes he delays his passes or goes sideways but I have high hopes for his future at AFC. Tried a couple of long-distance shots which was positive. No yellow card – again!!  7

Gibbs. Settling into his role but (and I know I keep saying this) he is not good enough in the opposition half. His crossing is not accurate, he is not on a wavelength with Sanchez. That said, he played well   6.

Ozil.  As always he worked hard. Made a lovely pass for Sanchez goal.  Love the bloke.   7

Welbeck. Plenty of runs but had poor service. I cannot recall him forcing a save from Forster.  6

Sanchez. Brilliant but oh so frustrating. Every game I despair as he gives away ball after ball then he pops up with another outstanding, match-winning goal   8

Subs

Bellerin. Doesn’t seem comfortable with the 3 at the back  system. Feels as though he needs the summer to re-group and come back fitter and faster.   5

Giroud.  Just on the pitch for a few minutes and scored to once again hit double figures for the season.   7

Mr. Wenger. Another clean sheet indicates that the Back 3 experiment is working. We have conceded just 3 goals in 5 games. Substitutions were as expected.  7

My MotM. Cech.  An outstanding performance

A competitive first half with Southampton dominating the opening 15 minutes, from then on Ramsey and Xhaka controlled the game and I was always confident we would win.

written by Big Raddy

 


Arsenal. Player Ratings.

April 3, 2017

In the absence of both our post game analysts, I will try to fill in.

I have ambivalence – happy with a point given our current malaise but disappointed that having equalised we didn’t push on and attack a fragile defence.

How many clear cut chances did we created? Hopw many did we allow? Was it a penalty with the Monreal “handball”?

Perhaps it would be easier to do this by player assessments.

Ospina. Could have done better for the Aguero goal. Beaten with a cross shot. Cech may have saved it but Ospina made some good saves and was secure   6

Bellerin. One of his worst games. Where is the wonderful player of last season? Awful defending for the first goal. Poor passing throughout the game. He made Sane look a good player  4

Mustafi. Fine goal. Good in the middle of the area and made some good passes out of defence. He tried to lead the team after Kos’s substitution   7

Koscielny. Let’s hope his achilles is short-term. Quality player who is let down by his colleagues.   7

Monreal. Very good going forward and consistently gave Sanchez an outlet. Some decent crosses and stopped attacks down the right..  8

Xhaka.  Another yellow thanks to a dive fro a MC cheat. Combatative and won the midfield battle in the second half.   6

Coquelin. His best game for some time against a strong MC midfield.  7

Ozil. I expect more. He is world class and today had a chance to influence the game. He didn’t. Appears to to lacking in confidence  5

Sanchez. Busy, as ever. City always double teamed him and reduced his effectiveness.    6

Welbeck. Anonymous. Worked hard but didn’t get any service.  5

Walcott. Scored. Unhappy to be subbed which is not an issue. Worked hard but was a bit of a passenger. Extra point for the goal.  6

Subs:

Gabriel. A good half and one must wonder why he isn’t starting. 7

Giroud. Hardly touched the ball and didn’t receive a single cross.   5

Iwobi. We had more impetus when he came on. Could have scored.  7

Team: As a whole it was obvious the team lacked confidence. They worked hard but lacked the lovely intricate pass and move of earlier in the season. It was a workmanlike performance. Once again our defence looked porous.

I was concerned (as were others) about spirit of the team, they seemed very fragmented and this raises concerns about the common good. Walcott’s petulance, the lack of excitement when Walcott scored  but perhaps they just don’t like Theo!

Overall, a point against City was acceptable given the circumstances but if we were to achieve Top 4 a win was essential, and it is worrying that the team did not push on after Mustafi’s goal, if anything City looked more likely to take the 3 points.

written by Big Raddy


Palace: Player Ratings

January 2, 2017

A bread and butter win against a poor Palace, with Özil out, presumably to flu, it gave us a chance to see what life would be like with a proper Mesut injury and to my surprise it didn’t look as bad as I feared. His absence seemed to embolden some; freed from having to pass it to the German Genius whenever he is available; players started to express themselves more than usual and it worked well. The Good Guys moved the ball around crisply and seemed to advance with a greater sense of urgency on the break. I will take those kind of wins all day long.

Cech: more confidence oozing from between the sticks; he had a chance to show off his skills three quarters of the way through the second half, making a series of impressive saves in the space of thirty seconds. 8

Bellerin: Hector, I am on first name terms, was even better than he normally is adding more to the attacking cause than usual while always doing the right thing in defence. 8

bellzaha

Easter: with Mustafi on the bench the competition for places is hotting up in the back line and this fact wasn’t lost on our Brazilian; he upped his game accordingly and made it harder for the Boss to consider making a change. 7

Koscielny: this really should be a weekly copy and paste. Another game another captain’s performance, calm, thoughtful and well organised. 8

Monreal: I scoffed when RC78 made the comment at the end of last season that Nacho was the weakest link, I thought it a bit unfair but in view that there always has to be one weaker area than all the others, I feel confident in saying that the first new signing in the summer will be a left back. 7

Elneny: I really enjoyed his performance today, he seemed to add a bit of zip to things, the ball seemed to be moving around a lot quicker, compared to Coquelin there is less lunge and more thought. 7

Xhaka: a few people on here have said that they can see Vieira in him; it happened again, someone sitting behind me at the game said the same thing. For the life of me I cannot see it and I cannot tell you how much I want it to be true. Palace may have been poor but he was impressive, he is starting to take control and his passing was as accurate as Arteta on a good day. 7

Iwobi: my MOTM, with Ozil out Alex had a chance to play more centrally and wow was he good, I know like everyone else that he is a great prospect but I didn’t realise until today just how big a prospect he is. The man ran the show. 9

Sanchez: so what do you think: is he more effective on the wing or in the middle; full of beans as ever and a joy to watch. 8

bellgir

Giroud: in the first half Arsenal were playing some super quick pin ball machine football the only one unable to keep up is Ollie, but if you can score goals like that you are likely to keep your place. 7

Perez: “I believe that Perez really adds fluid movement and quick passing in the Arsenal school of thought” (Aaron) .  After spending the best part of the game surrounded by people criticising him it really made me feel good to read this when I got back onto the blog. Whereas Giroud will never be part of Arsenal’s quick interplay this guy could and the more of those the better things are in my humble opinion. 7

Written by LB


Arsenal vs WBA: Player Ratings

December 27, 2016

This is what I think.

Cech: if you keep a clean sheet you must have done something right. Commanding, confident and his usual array of hoofing the ball upfield. 7

Bellerin: the curious thing about Hector is none of us know how good he is going to end up being; his upward curve of improvement continues at the same angle as China’s global trade output. I say this because although he is not putting away that many chances of those that come his way it suddenly dawned on me — what would happen if he did? 7

Easter: as I said above, you can’t knock a clean sheet but Mustafi he ain’t; still, playing against a Pulis mob is never an easy task and he did well. 7

giroud2

 

Koscielny: the doomsday scenario would be if Kos got injured; he has been playing so well he has become irreplaceable again another great Captain’s performance. 8

Gibbs: we are very lucky to have such quality back up for the LB position but that is what he is, back up; he is so one footed it gets a bit embarrassing; defenders show him inside which he takes and then realises that he is so out of his depth that he makes a meaningless pass to salvage something but yesterday he tried to run with his right foot; he inevitably lost control and then to compensate unnecessarily lunged to recover, the result being that he got injured – again. 6

Coquelin: Francis pretty much has to start as he is the only midfield ball winner we have; we may be chock full of midfielders but he is the only defender amongst them. This is, of course, a double edged sword; he is a defender so against teams that come to park the bus and time waste he is not as multi functional as we need; that’s to say, he is not about to join the list of goal scorers in the foreseeable future and that is exactly what we need from our midfield. 7

giroud

Xhaka: both he and Coquelin are the problem; they were the problem against Everton, against City and were five minutes away from being the problem yesterday. As a partnership they are incapable of augmenting the attack and without that you have the four in front of them being easily harnessed or more easily than they should. Ramsey may not be everyone’s favourite Welshman but he is capable of adding weight to the attack. As for Xhaka I don’t get it, his arrival confuses me. 7

Ozil: I have had a theory about this man for a while, there are in fact two Ozil’s the one that you see on telly and the one that you see when you go to the game. The problem with this is that it cannot be proved; I either have to watch the game live or watch it on telly. Every time I watch this man play at THOF he spends 90 minutes running his heart out, making me wonder how anyone could ever question his commitment to the cause. Not a bad game, not an outstanding game but he still did send in the superbly weighted cross for the lumbersexual to head home. 8

Giroud: and on the subject of the lumbersexual, I think I really should start by complimenting him on how well he took his goal which put a stop to a stadium erupting in booos just five minutes later and trust me, that is exactly what was about to happen. Giroud is OK; I would still have Perez playing for the ninety minutes but hay ho. 7

foster

Sanchez: a centre forward, hmmm, really, the fact that we still discuss this shows that he jury is still out. The red hot chili pepper was on the wing yesterday and mercifully he was feeling the need to beat two players, before he passed, far less and it helped — it helped a lot. 7

Iwobi: West Brom were predictably going to be extremely well organised so we needed the silky skills of everyone’s favourite Nigerian to try and twinkle toe his way past the lines of defence and break the dead lock. It didn’t really happen for him, he is a great prospect but he still wouldn’t make my starting eleven. 7

written by LB


Reading: Player Ratings and Analysis

October 26, 2016

Well, that was fun wasn’t it?

Reading were no pushovers but not good enough to really threaten, that said, Martinez made a couple of fine saves which highlighted our abundance of quality keepers.

At 24, Martinez was one of the oldest Arsenal players, he is older than Ox! Fortunately for him GK’s have a longer shelf life.

And what of the Young Pretenders? Iwobi shone as one would expect. He could be the Real Deal, a future superstar. Up there with Messi and DB10. He has amazing dribbling ability, great balance, a good eye for a pass, he can shoot, tackle (?) and has stamina. I hope AW allows him to develop slowly and not overplay him, thankfully Ramsey is about to return and perhaps Iwobi will get some rest.

Jeff, and Niles found it hard to get into the game but showed flashes of their potential. Both typical Wenger youths; inventive, fast and confident.

Once again, Holding was impressive. Alongside Gabriel we looked solid in the centre of defence. Gibbs showed why he is good enough to play for England but not good enough to start for Arsenal, in other words the best FB on the pitch.

Jenkinson must have been delighted to start again for the club he loves. As one would expect his performance was full of energy but The Corporal has the problem of always being second fiddle to the best RB in the PL.

Elneny held the midfield and did his work efficiently and without too much drama.

Upfront we continually chose or misplaced the wrong final ball. Perez was busy as was Ox but we really should have  put more pressure on the Reading goalkeeper. I cannot recall Perez having a shot on target however it is easy to see why Mr Wenger has such confidence in him, Perez needs Ozil and Sanchez to flourish.

Ox. I love this bloke. I love his energy and his passion. I love his intelligence. But …. he should be progressing faster than he is if he wants to stay at Arsenal. Danish TV had Ox as the Man of the Match . Yes, he scored twice but his passing, especially this crossing, was wayward (I say this without the benefit of stats!). Against a young Reading side in a game with little pressure Ox was the best player on the pitch but I expect more.

The subs did well. Zelalem and  Willock both got a taster but the best news for Gooners was the return of the mighty Giroud. He looked fit and strong , bringing out a marvellous save from Al-Habsi (who had a great game.)

Overall, Arsenal played some wonderful, dynamic passing football making for a really enjoyable evening.

Player Ratings:

Martinez     7

Jens               6.5

Gabriel         7

Holding        8

Gibbs            7

Iwobi            8

Elneny          7

Maitland-Niles       6

Jeff                6.5

Perez            7

Ox                 8

Written by Big Raddy