By Karl M. Tinsley
MY 3 STARS
#1. Song: He had himself a nice bounce back game after a suspect performance on the weekend against Wigan. He showed much better positioning, ability to read and anticipate the play and he had a real sense of urgency about getting to the ball first. As well, his passing was a lot cleaner and crisper as he avoided the cheap turnovers. Well done Alex on a night the Club struggled.
#2. Denilson: WOW…this is more of what i like to see from the young Brazilian who has definitely upped his game in his last two outings. He was around
the ball all night, either battling hard on the defensive side of things or distributing the ball to his teammates or pushing it up the field with conviction and purpose. Demonstrated a tremendous work-rate and a real desire to influence the match…it was a pity he didn’t have much to work with up top (Bendtner) or beside him (Diaby). Keep up the good work.
#3. Ramsey: He showed of his technical skills on several occasions down our right wing with his his clever and intricate dribbles. Showing us he does have to capacity to hold onto the ball and dribble inside a phone booth. He also had a nice go at the net with his left foot curling shot that was well read by Helton who managed to tip it around the far post. Definitely a game he can take confidence from and build upon.
#1. Vela: He ran his ass off all night, which should be the minimum expectation fans have for an offensive minded player that is not able to get into the match in an attacking role due to lack of service (you hear me Nicholas). Even though he didn’t have much opportunity to express himself on the ball, his hustle and battling spirit was great to see on a team that looked very flat all night.
#2. Eboue: Gotta give him a little love after the way things went down late in the Wigan match. While i did envisage a more attacking game from him, he did get forward on several occasions and served up a couple crosses that went begging. Thought he did a decent job patrolling and controlling our Right Flank and preventing any serious threats movements coming down this side of the field. The fact both goals came from down the left flank bolster the claim that Eboue while not having a great match…did take care of his defensive responsibilities.
#1. Diaby: Showcased again his lack of commitment to playing hard nosed defence when he was piss-poor with his man-marking of Bruno Alves on the corner kick that allowed Alves to waltz in and power home a free header from the edge of the 6 yard goal…at this level of football it was practically a gift wrapped goal for the Porto man. Dismal from Diaby. I was also troubled by Diaby’s return to the over-dribbling and slowed down ball movement/distribution we have seen all to often in the past. Poor man-marking on set-pieces and over indulgent dribbling is not what The Arsenal need from their CDM. This game was a regression for the lanky Frenchman.
#2. Bendtner: Showed us more of what we have come to expect from the Dane…a garbage first touch, abysmal passing, total inability to make diagonal runs to get himself into space and present a target for the midfielders. Granted he was playing alone up top and was often isolated…but I saw no attempts by him to drop deep to pick up the ball or to make those runs in the channel for Denilson etc to pick out. The guy is a classic English forward from the 1970’s and 1980’s who needs to have the ball played either onto his head or chest to be effective. He is a late sub and not much more for The Arsenal.
While it was a youthful side put out against an experienced side that has been dominant against English teams at home…i can’t help but feel more than a little disappointed by the lack of fluidity and cohesion the squad demonstrated last night. The passing was horrendous, the inability of the midfield and strikers to link-up was disturbing and by the 30 minute mark of the match…the team seemed completely bereft of ideas and imagination on how to break the Porto defence down. Another worrying thing was the fact that the Back 4 were again suspect in their play. On a club fighting for confidence…a performance like this is not what was needed to restore the swagger and self-belief we need for the critical matches against Aston Villa and Liverpool!
Feeling a little bummed…but bottom line we are going through to Round of 16…the extra money has been secured ;-) Time to turn the page…and get the focus and player mixture right for the Premier League in December.
GUNS IN GUNS OUT!