Yesterday’s match was actually entertaining of some sort to me, despite my mates dozing off mid-way through the match. Match report by Arseblog probably summed it up best what most of you thought. However, a good 1-0 win I felt, and here’s why.
Yesterday’s performance was boring, and the way we won wasn’t pretty to watch at all. However, it was effective and got us a good win to boost morale, and 3 important points in qualifying for the last 16 stages.. Being able to grind out a win, is important, as there will be days when the players are out of sorts. So, I have no issue with the way we played yesterday, and how we won it. This is truly a skill if you ask me, and I am glad Arsenal showed that they are able to do this.
Qualifying for the last 16 is important, as in January if we were to go out and get reinforcements, champions league games would be an attraction. This group stages are as important as the qualifiers against Udinese no matter how you look at it. Even if we were languishing in 7th spot in January, as long as we are within touching distance of 4th spot, and still in the CL, players would still be more inclined to choose Arsenal over clubs like Sp*rs or Liverpool.
For the game, the goal came rather late, in the 92nd minute. A cross was swung in by fellow subsitute Djourou, who completely refuted my claim he’s a shit crosser, and Gervinho tried to bring the ball down and failed. Fortunately, that slight touch was enough to divert the ball low enough to Ramsey, who controlled the ball easily and placed his shot at the bottom left corner of the goal. Nice finish, and great to see the lad scoring 2 goals in 2 games so far.
I also must single out Koscielny for praise. The Frenchman was simply tremendous yesterday. He was effective in tackles, and his reading was near immaculate, getting into positions well all the time to prevent any real attempt at goal. May be it’s because he was playing in his native country, and felt at home, hence the brilliant performance, but whatever it was, it was good. Fingers crossed he keeps it up.
Jenkinson did well too, and showed his ability to cross the ball well, shame he got injured though. Now this is really bad news, as Eboue’s departure means that we lack a natural right-back with first-team experience. Solutions may be to put Santos at right back when Gibbs returns, or to put Djourou there. Fingers crossed Jenkinson injury is not too serious as either options seem pool to me.
I was really surprised when Wenger started with Van Persie, as I expected him to be rested. We need other strikers to step up as Van Persie cannot score every game, well it could, but over reliance on him is unhealthy. I felt yesterday’s match was a good time for players like Chamakh to come on and show his ability or at least get some playing time to stay match fit. At this rate, when Van Persie drys up, we have no second alternative and Arsenal would really be struggling to score goals then.
Rambo believes that this young midfield can only get better, especially when Jack returns. Based on yesterday’s performance, I would say yes. Some choose to say that Marseille lacked determination, and didn;t press our midfield and leave us with little space. I believe otherwise, and that we were able to control the midfield, and prevent Marseille from trying to give us pressure. The players were disciplined, holding their positions at all times, and refused to allow Marseille to bully us in the middle of the park.
After the match, Arsene said we must be humble, and prepare for the next game. Damn right Arsene. It takes only one poor game to destroy all the confidence that the past 2 victories have brought.
One game at a time, do it nice, do it good.
Players ratings are as below, and MY personal views and thoughts.
Szczesny – Nothing much to do, as the defense was solid. Claimed balls confidently and you could see that a good defense makes him a more composed and assuring person at the back. 6.5 / 10
Jenkinson – Marauding runs down the wing, good crosses. Hard to believe he was only playing League One last season as he did not look out of depth yesterday. Got injured in the 63rd minute though. 6.5 / 10
Santos – Nice touches and all for naught. Should know his place as a defender to try less of this, was efficient in challenge though that said. 6 / 10
Mertesacker – Was trouble by Remy a few times, but managed to keep the Marseille’s attack quiet. Got in blocks to prevent shots at goal. 7 / 10
Koscielny – Kosmmander he was. Led the defence well, got stuck in when required. Never found wanting, and if he keeps it up would be my choice ahead of Mertesacker to start alongside Vermaelen. My man of the match. 8 / 10
Arteta – Not as inventive as I would have hoped, but he is no Fabregas. Still, managed to keep the midfield together and not allow Marseille to assert any midfield presence. Good corner to Van Persie for the goal-bound header. 7 / 10
Song – Made a poor challenge at the start, but recovered well to hold the midfield. What was he thinking when he tried to dribble the ball out of a congested penalty box though? 6.5 / 10
Rosicky – Liked the look of him yesterday. Got forward when he needed to and showed some pace. Growing from strength to strength. Fingers crossed that he recovers those long shots and through passes of his. 7 / 10
Walcott – Took the ball, hit it forward and run. Then do nothing with it. Had one good chance but didn’t make it count. Neededs do to more as an attacking right forward. 6 / 10
Arshavin – The failure of the night. Promised so much after the weekend’s game, but failed to deliver yesterday. I guess I am judging him by his previous performance for Arsenal, and know he is capable of much more than the nothing he is giving right now. 4.5 / 10
Van Persie – No goals, but our skipper was certainly lively and on any other day with less competent keepers might have been able to score at least once. Good movement saw him receive the ball in the box and his shot was saved by Mandanda. Had a goal-bound header cleared off the line. Unlucky. 7 / 10
Djourou – Came on for Jenkinson, was strong and held his ground well. Was involved in the build up to the goal, and proved me wrong with a decent cross. Not bad for a 30minute cameo. 6.5 / 10
Gervinho – Came on for the ineffective Walcott. His introduction showed a change in our attacks. Was lively, and created problems for Marseille, linked up well with Van Persie to provide him with a good chance.
Rambo – Was introduced for Arshavin in the 77th minute, and didn’t do much till he scored the goal. By winning us 3points alone probably merits a 7 / 10.