WTTGT Writer: Devon James Andre Halls (@Halls_dja)
- Szczesny: I’m a big fan of our young Pole but struggled all afternoon with his goal kicks and clearances, many of which were directly caught by those in the stands. There was little he could do to prevent the unjust penalty from going in and probably even less for their second goal. However he came off his line for the third which caused confusion between himself and Koscielny as to who was going to take possession of their through ball, and was therefore out of position for their third goal.
Djourou: Unfortunately he looks very insecure on ball at all times going forward, which is understandable in many respects as he is playing out of position. His pass for Theo however was very nice, something he needs to do more at right back. Yet he was caught out defensively on many occasions and never looked particularly solid, highlighting our desperate need for Sagna to return. He did make a very good tackle after our defence was split for the umpteenth time and the ball was cut back across which prevented a certain goal, so I’ve given credit for that. However overall, he must do better.
Mertesacker: Contrary to the post match opinions of Jamie Redknapp I thought he played rather well, making numerous interceptions and tackles throughout. Apart from one misplaced pass and one sliced clearance, neither of which caused any danger, I hardly think he put a foot wrong defensively. That aside he did miss a golden chance after the ball dropped at his feet during a corner late in the game, cutting it wide from close range.
Koscielny (WTTGT Man of the Match): I thought the young Frenchman was absolutely superb today, winning almost every one of his personal battles and mopping up many through balls which caught all our other players out. Showed his desire drive the team onwards by getting on the end of a parried save from Michel Vorm, acrobatically connecting with the volley which was also saved by Vorm. I am genuinely of the belief that he and Vermaelen could form one of the most solid centre back partnerships in the Premier League. The through ball caught him out for the third goal yet I feel he would have beaten their man to the ball hand Szcz not run half way to collect it, causing confusion and ultimately the goal.
Miquel: Another player forced out of position because of injuries, but I thought he also played very well. There were a few instances in the first twenty or so minutes in which I thought Dyer may well run him off the park, but he settled into the game and made an impressive amount of tackles. He was also surprisingly effective with his crossing, sending one tantalising ball across the six yard box which just evaded Van Persie and Walcott. Considering his inexperience and the fact he’s not a left back, I though he did well.
Song: Our controlling Cameroonian didn’t do much controlling out there today, and he think he had one of his less good games this season in the middle of the park. There were a few instances in which he turned over the ball in the centre of the pitch, and he didn’t make his customary 40 tackles. I thought he was suspect for the second goal we conceded, not being alert to the free man behind him who wandered into the box after an Aaron Ramsey turnover.
Ramsey: Our young midfielder’s return to his homeland didn’t go according the script, yet his endeavour I think made up for any technical deficiencies. I can think of a number of occasions where he turned over the ball or sent a wayward pass, yet when considering the amount of time he spent with the ball and the number of passes he must have made, especially in the absence of Arteta, I think he did fairly well out there. The supposed “penalty” given against him was a disgrace, and was a yellow or red card were it to happen anywhere else on the pitch (yet another instance where we should have technology). I dread to think the number of kilometres he must have run, as well as shaking off a couple of nasty tackles without making a fuss. A fantastic effort.
Benayoun: For me he didn’t really do enough, even though he didn’t really do much wrong. He made safe passes and didn’t lose the ball very often, and looked disappointed to be subbed for Rosicky, perhaps rightly so. But for me he needed to put himself about a little more and maybe take a few more risks. I think it was all too placid from him today.
Arshavin: The little Russian played ok today, but seems to have lost all ability to shoot on target. His work rate was decent, he pressed their defenders well, made a few nice passes (including the assist for Robin Van Persie) and linked up quite well with the midfield. However he really must discover his goal scoring form in order to keep his place in the starting line up, as there were a couple of occasions where he blasted both high and wide. When Henry and Chamberlain came on into the left attacking positions they both looked more dangerous on goal and in their final ball.
Walcott: Theo was phenomenally poor for the vast majority of the game, displaying a clinic in how to run the ball off all available touchlines and pass to the opposition. He didn’t even seem to be that quick today, being regularly outpaced on his chuck-and-runs (to use the technical term). His finish was fabulously taken, granted, but I don’t think it’s enough to redeem a performance which frankly wasn’t up to scratch. How long until we give The Ox a start?
Van Persie: The Captain took his finish very well early on, getting us off to a very good start. He looked very isolated for the majority of the game due to the lack of productivity from Arshavin and especially Theo. He showed a couple of instances of truly sublime, and when he was on the ball comfortably displayed why he’s our best player. He did miss a decent opportunity in the first half however, one which I’m sure he would have expected himself to finish.
Henry: He didn’t score, but that doesn’t tell the story for anyone with a brain. He came on made sizable impact, holding onto the ball and making incisive passes to break their defensive line. You may say I’m looking at this through Henry-tinted glasses, but aren’t we all?
Chamberlain: Is technically superior to Walcott in all aspects and showed it, beating players with ease, putting in decent and intelligent crosses and defending superbly. Wenger has maintained that he hasn’t played much yet because they have been working on his defensive game, but he made 3 or 4 good tackled and tracked back superbly. Is he ready for his first start? I think so.
Rosicky: He didn’t get a lot done in the time he was on. He passed the ball well and skied a couple of shots but didn’t make many other contributions.
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