“PICK OF THE BUNCH.”
From match-day to match-day there are certain individuals in the Arsenal team whose performance leaves them standing head and shoulders above the rest. The ones whose blood, sweat and tears are shed to ensure the team wins or at least makes a good attempt doing that. This weekly feature is going to make an attempt at picking the best player from each phase of play; DEFENCE, MIDFIELD and ATTACK. A simple, uncluttered review of the top players in each phase, with a shout to notable mentions in each phase, if there are any.
NB: WINGBACKS ARE A PART OF THE MIDFIELD, ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS ARE A PART OF THE ATTACK. K
P.S: Here’s to hoping we do not have any match-days like we did against Liverpool, when there was no player worthy of praise. J
ARSENAL v NORWICH CITY.
MATT MACEY. (C+)
Trust me, I had a hard time settling on the young graduate as the best of our defensive players. Our entire makeshift defence proved to be exactly that on the night and you really begin to question why Arsene is keeping up with the El Neny at CB experiment. Once again, he was the weakest link and it smacks of disrespect for our opponents which also creates a sense of complacency amongst the players. Debuchy looked leggy which was warranted considering he is returning from a long period out with successive injuries and Holding, the slide continues. Ultimately, Macey came up trumps and saved us in some key periods, allowing us to fight and claw our way back into the game. The El Neny experiment should be shelved, he does not offer much as a CB and Holding needs a break to catch up with his form from last season.
REISS LUKE NELSON (C+)
Another tough choice today. Sigh. Our midfield was in shambles today as Arsene made another terrible pairing in the middle of the park. Jack looked a shell of his former Cup performing self from this season as him and Coquelin could not handle the midfield at all. Nelson on the day was pegged back many times by the excellent Murphy but he shows he has the skill and ability to try to affect a game positively if he wants to. He showed flashes of his drive on some occasions but needs to learn to take games by the scruff of the neck. Arsene declared Niles close to dethroning someone from the first team, unless there is a spot open for ball boy or something I cannot see it. He is being played out of position, but when you get into some of the positions he got into your final decision making should be of the highest level, to prove you belong at the highest level, no more, no less.
Oli G cut a frustrated figure up front today, and could not be bailed out by a golazo, unfortunately for us Gunners and fortunately for next year Puskas competitors. He did hold the ball up well when needed but those around him could not jump on that to any advantage. Some of you who read my columns think I have it in for Theo Walcott, but for a 28 year old captaining a team he has been at for 10 years, in the League Cup with a bunch of youngsters looking for inspiration, his performance encapsulates all that has been wrong with him ultimately the club in ages. The man just does not deserve to start, as he does not apply himself enough or well enough even. The number of times he runs offside, at 28, after a decade at Arsenal, my Lord! He comes up with goals when necessary sometimes, but in totality the man should be shipped off. We need ruthlessness ad sentimentality put to the side if we are ever going to recapture our glory days. Iwobi was a mixed bag as well as he could do nothing positive to affect the game but to throw his hands up when he got dispossessed as the opposition run to counter.
Our saviours ultimately were off the bench. The uninspiring bench threw up Nketiah and Akpom (yes he is still here) whose energy, verve and zeal lead to us creating some key chances and ultimately winning. Nketiah especially oozed of confidence and calmness with the way he took both goals. He seems to be a younger version of Iheanacho and that is only a good thing. I hope Gunners though can temper expectations and allow the young man room and space to properly develop, lest he becomes like perennial ‘potential talent’ Theo.
FEEL FREE TO LEAVE COMMENTS AND OPINIONS ON WHOM YOU BELIEVE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SELECTED, IN WHICH PHASE, AND WHY. TA!