The Goonerater – Arsenal v Manchester United

WTTGT Writer: Devon James Andre Halls (@halls_dja)

Szczesny: Our number 1 put in a far better shift than he did last week against Swansea and was largely faultless for the goals we conceded. His distribution improved markedly and his communication seemed to give confidence to rest of the team about their responsibilities. He made a couple of fantastic saves low down to deny Giggs and Nani (I think it was them). There was a miscommunication between him and Koscielny at one stage which could have led to some difficulties, but Welbeck was flagged offside. No harm no foul I say.

 Rating: 7/10

Djourou: Well based on tonight’s performance I would give the Swiss a miss next time round. A sensationally lackadaisical performance this evening led to him being subbed at half time for a younger and far more inexperienced player in Yennaris, who really outshone his older and more practised counterpart. We all realise he’s playing out of position and is technically our 4th choice centre back, but there’s no excuse for lack of effort he displayed this evening. If I had a £ for every ball over the top which fell at Nani’s feet under no pressure, I may have had a tenner by half time. This lack of effort was displayed no more obviously than when Giggs put in a cross under no pressure which ended up being converted by Valencia.

Rating: 3/10   

Mertesacker: I’m convinced that our long-limbed German gets unnecessary bad press on an almost weekly basis. The man doesn’t miss a tackle and he makes countless interceptions as a result of his positioning. This was the case today as far as I’m concerned, as again he didn’t put a foot wrong. When Welbeck was sent through he naturally outpaced Big Mer, but our centre back worked hard to get back and cleared the ball off the line after Welbeck’s shot had beaten Szcz. He stepped up field and acted as a target man for the last 10 minutes of the game, and while not overly effective he had a decent header blocked in the dying moments by Evans when it was almost certainly beating Lindegaard.

Rating: 7/10

Koscielny: Contrary to Mertesacker this man is currently raking in the plaudits in all forms of media from newspapers to television, and deservedly so. Another fantastic performance from the Frenchman tonight, and even when his positioning lets him down he has the pace and strength to recover well. Welbeck made one of a number of runs behind our defensive line which eluded interception, yet made up the ground and did enough to force Welbeck’s shot well wide. A surging run in the second half displayed his desire, and he linked up well with The Ox whose shot went just wide. Tackles and headers come naturally to him and he did very well in both departments, one tackle in particular on Rafael which led to our goal was spectacularly well timed.

Rating: 8/10

Vermaelen: I hate to say it, but I was disappointed with our vice captain’s performance this evening. Seeing his name on the squad sheet gave me genuine hope that we would have a bit of solidity on our left hand side, but he largely struggled to cope with Valencia. He put in a couple of decent tackles but also missed a worrying amount, which led to decent opportunities for the northerners in our box. Valencia was able to score his header as Vermaelen failed to pick him up after his clearance, and it was generally a performance where one could see he hasn’t played in a while. I’m sure he’ll pick up his performance for the next game.

Rating: 5/10

Song: This was another game in which Song had both good and bad moments, and I think we remember the bad ones more vividly as he plays in a position where any turn over can be costly. He put in a few good challenges and played a lovely ball over the top in the final moments of the game, similar to the assist he made for Persie’s goal against Everton. There were a few missed passes however especially in the first half which counters some of the good plays he made.

Rating: 6/10

Ramsey: Another game in which he failed to get a hold of the middle, which was disappointing when considering we had a numbers advantage in that area of the park. He couldn’t get Van Persie involved at all in the first half and seemed to continue to struggle again in the second. I think finds it difficult without the experienced head of Arteta playing alongside of him. He made a couple of nice passages of play but was essentially absent for a lot of the game.

Rating: 5/10

Rosicky: He showed some promising signs during the first half that he was ready to run with the ball at pace through the midfield and create some chances, but at times I had to Czech to see whether he was still on the pitch in the second half. Admittedly that was awful but I think he needs to get himself on the ball more often, as he looked to be our best player in midfield tonight and was the only one taking any initiative and linking up with our 3 forward players. Based on tonight’s performance I would consider starting him alongside Arteta, as Ramsey looks as if he is a little burned out and in need of some rest and TLC.

Rating: 7/10

Walcott: I’m beginning to run out of superlatives for Theo, as I think I have used every adjective going over the past month to describe how bad he is playing. When I see him in an Arsenal shirt I’m not expecting a Messi performance, but a messy performance is what he gives time and time again. The basics are seriously lacking in this young man, and if he hasn’t picked up any technical ability after 6 years of coaching at Arsenal Football Club, will he ever? He failed to pass, failed to shoot accurately and failed to make any decent attacking movement. I consider Evra to be a first class arse in football ability as well as character, but he didn’t trouble him once. Apart from Djourou, he was the worst player on the pitch for Arsenal.

Rating: 4/10

Oxlade-Chamberlain: “WTTGT Man of the Match” I was delighted to see the youngster start for us tonight, and he didn’t disappoint. In fact he exceeded my expectations as he was the best player on the pitch bar none. His movement on and off the ball was superb, his skills were exemplary, he made intelligent passes all night and he dazzled with his skill and trickery on the ball. His first touch after Rosicky played a decent ball to him was etched with quality, and the pass to Van Persie which set up the goal showed he has a final ball in his locker. Why Wenger took him off for an uninterested Arshavin I’ll never know, as he looked one of the few players who could give us the winning goal we so desperately needed.

Rating: 9/10

Van Persie: Our captain couldn’t really get into the game in the first half as he was feeding off scraps from our midfield, but managed to get more done in the second half. His goal was splendidly taken but he missed a golden chance to score for us about 10 minutes before hand after excellently working some space for himself following decent work by Rosicky.

Rating: 6/10  

Yennaris: Was considerably better than Djourou which frankly shouldn’t be the case, so congratulations to him. Throwing him in at the deep end doesn’t really come close, it more resembled taking him out into the middle of the Atlantic and casting him overboard, with a house tied to his waist! He did very well to halt Nani who was rampant in the first half, showing pace and technical ability.

Rating: 6/10

Arshavin: Demonstrated to the world why no one was happy to see him replace The Ox, as was careless on the ball and appalling defensively, allowing Valencia to cut inside him with ease and create havoc in our box, culminating in the winning goal. He looked entirely disinterested, and while I’m sure the boos as he came on were aimed at Wenger it can’t have boosted his self confidence. If Arsene has any brain cells remaining he should get rid of him before the deadline.

Rating: 4/10

Park: I think he passed the ball 3 times and did nothing more. He didn’t give the ball away though.

Perhaps they’re the positives that Wenger is talking about.

Rating: 5/10

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section if you fancy, especially if you disagree. Much love.

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3 Responses to The Goonerater – Arsenal v Manchester United

  1. Nik January 24, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    I guess it would have been a diff story if the line up was

    scz
    sagna kos verm santos

    ox wilshere/arteta song gerv
    ramsey/rosc
    persie

  2. Nik January 24, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    or last season's squad

    scz
    sagna verm kos clichy

    walcott wilshere song nasri
    fabregas
    persie

  3. Nik January 24, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    or last season's squad

    scz
    sagna verm kos clichy

    walcott wilshere song nasri
    fabregas
    persie

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