Speaking after our 2-0 loss to Manchester City at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mikel Arteta will be out for around 3 weeks with a calf injury. The good news is that Abou Diaby, who was drafted in to replace Arteta, seems to have got through the City game without too many problems. This is extremely important given the games that we have coming up in the next few days/weeks. We play Swansea (h), Chelsea (a), West Ham (h), Liverpool (h) and Stoke (h) within the space of 18 days.
“He has a scan on Monday, [he will be out for] approximately three weeks. It is a strain on his calf. Of course [it's a blow]. In midfield he gives us stability, experience and tactical knowledge. We will miss that.”
Whether Arteta will be out for 3 weeks or 3 Arsenal weeks remains to be seen. The difference is quite big. Abou Diaby seemed to be 3 weeks away from a return for about 3 months. This injury will almost definitely put further pressure on Wenger to bring in some new players in January. However, Wenger concedes that players of Arteta’s level are hard to come by at this time of year.
“We are in the market, but to find players of a calibre of Arteta, available in January, I wish you good luck. We try very hard, believe me. We have a team around me who analyse everything. We select targets, I watch them… But it’s difficult to speak about any names.”
“Diaby became stronger during the game. I feel he was like the team. He started very slowly and became stronger in the second part of the game. I took the gamble [to replace the injured Mikel Arteta with Diaby] because I feel that it was needed. It’s good that he came through well. He will become stronger very quickly.”
Diaby himself then spoke about his return and how he felt about the City game:
“I feel good physically. Of course I have been out for a long time so I am not at my best, but importantly I did not get any reaction [against Manchester City]. This is good for the future.
“I knew the day before the game that I was starting, so I just had to prepare for that. I had been out for a long time, so I did not expect to be on the pitch so quickly. But it doesn’t matter, you just need to be prepared and see how it goes.”
A full match write-up will be published later. I was at the Emirates and would like to watch some highlights (especially of the red card incidents) before I write anything.
Arsene Wenger has given the latest Arsenal team news ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup 3rd round match against Swansea. It is all good news; there are no new injuries and Diaby/Santos have returned to full training. Emmanuel Frimpong is back from his loan spell at Charlton, but I don’t see him making it into the team any time soon.
Lukasz Fabianski & Vito Mannone:
“We have Fabianski injured and Mannone sick, but apart from that, everyone is alright. At this stage of the season, we have the whole squad available.
Abou Diaby & Andre Santos:
“We have Diaby coming back into full training, Santos coming back into full training. They are not completely match fit, but they are back. Overall the situation is very satisfying.”
“Frimpong is back with us. He is unfortunately sick today.”
Will the squad be rotated after a busy Christmas period?
“We play at Swansea; it’s a difficult tie, but of course we want to come out on top. The FA Cup is something special because it is exciting, it is watched all over the world.
“I just play the team that I think has the best chance of winning the game, without considering any rotational desire, unless I think one or two players need a breather.”
With the 2-0 loss to Swansea at the Emirates still very much in mind, Wenger will be hoping to get a bit of revenge as Arsenal look to push for what is realistically our biggest chance of silverware this season. One thing is for sure; we cannot afford to play like we did against Southampton on Tuesday.
Our new boys have been enjoying themselves recently – goals for Podolski and Cazorla against Liverpool, along with the latter scoring and assisting for Spain the other day. They’ve also been giving plenty of interviews as the media swamp Arsenal’s summer signings. If you have Arsenal Player, Giroud’s interview is worth taking a look at.
He says that Wenger has given him the freedom to do what he wants on the pitch. He indicated that Wenger’s philosophy is to control the game, and along with Cazorla’s desire to see lots of the ball, it makes sense to put him behind the striker. Arseblog have a great post showing how close the average positions of Giroud and Santi are during the Liverpool game, check it out here. In a way, Cazorla’s position is a lot less definite than a lot of Gooners thought. He’s not just at the top of our three man midfield – he floats around to support the striker and press high up the pitch. In the Liverpool game, Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain were dropping right back alongside Arteta and Diaby to form a bank of four when we defended. At long last, we seem to be playing a more fluid formation which could be a 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or something inbetween.
Santi also mentioned that Arteta has been a great influence, and has taught him that English football is faster but actually less tactical than in Spain. We saw in the last match that the speed of Arsenal’s play completely bamboozled Liverpool, and if we can keep it up then the style of Arsenal’s football will be a lot more like it was several years ago, in the Fabregas/Hleb era.
On learning English, Cazorla told El Pais that he is attending the same classes as Cesc did. He said he is putting a lot of emphasis on learning the language because it will be important, and he will go to two classes a week, depending on where he is. I’m assuming he’ll miss a few classes in the coming weeks as we have a pretty busy schedule with 7 matches in about 3 weeks.
On the other hand, Giroud’s interview on FIFA’s official website is slightly less encouraging – he said he’s freezing up when he gets in front of the goal.
“I’ve been freezing up a little bit just when I’ve been about to pull trigger and that’s exactly what happened in my first few matches for France. I’m not too worried about it, because I’ve been scoring in training and I feel pretty comfortable being a part of this team.
“I just need to not think about things too much, so that I feel as relaxed as possible when the time comes to stick the ball in the net.
“I really want to improve my English and speak fluently, without having to think about what I’m about to say.
“Being at Arsenal will help me with my development, and with a manager like Arsene Wenger in charge, I’m definitely in good hands.”
Although that is a bit of a worry, Olivier is nowhere near the place Torres was in when he was struggling to score. It’s only been three games – it took even longer for the legendary Thierry Henry who, as has been heavily discussed by Gooners on Twitter, scored his first goal against Southampton (who we play in 4 days).
A few missed chances by Giroud isn’t really a worry for me. I’m more concerned by reports that Diaby could be injured, yet again. Deschamps has sent him back to Arsenal and said the following:
“Diaby took a bad shot and he has muscular discomfort. He is not free in his movements. Today he does not train.”
Some are suggesting that it’s not a big deal and he’ll be back for the weekend. Others are saying this is “typical Diaby” – like it’s his fault! A few people say it’s not surprising that he gets a few knocks after so long out – which is a good point, but he’s already had plenty of setbacks, this isn’t the first one. Hopefully this is just precautionary, because he was excellent against Liverpool.
Following on from his fine form for Arsenal on the weekend, Santi Cazorla grabbed the opening goal and the assist for the second in Spain’s friendly against Saudi Arabia. Spain were 2-0 up inside the opening half an hour and went on to secure a comfortable 5-0 win.
Unlike Abou Diaby (who scored his first goal for France yesterday evening), Cazorla had already scored 7 international goals in 46 appearances. I would include a video of the assist, but the goal is more interesting and the highlights of the full game are pretty long. However, if you want to see a great free-kick from Xavi then you can check out the third goal on youtube.
According to reports, Arsenal have signed the 23 year old attacking midfielder Alvarez from Velez Sarsfield. The Argentinian club is quite successful, having won the league 7 times. However, this player is relatively unknown. He has played three seasons at the club, scoring 28 goals in 46 games. At 6’2″, he is one of those physically imposing players that Arsenal have been missing since the likes of Vieira, Petit, Gilberto and Edu.
Ricky can play all the way across the midfield, much like Nasri, Rosicky, Fabregas and Diaby. Unfortunately, he is not an out-and-out winger, something which I think Arsenal lack, but he is reported to have great technical ability and an eye for goal. He has an Italian passport, which will allow him to come to England straight away, without having to gain a work permit.
Such a transfer will probably allow players such as Arshavin and Rosicky to leave. Although he may not be the experienced superstar that Gooners are crying out for, he is undoubtedly talented. The Argentinian press really believe he is something special. He has been compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, although comparisons like these often turn out to be false. For example, wasn’t Diaby the new Vieira at one point?
Wenger has made comments which indicate a busy summer at Arsenal, which makes me believe that this transfer is very likely to go through.
“There will be some movement of players who have played less, who need to play and as well of course we will try to strengthen our squad again but we want to keep the basis and style of play we have.
“We are very very busy all over our Club, we are looking, analysing, talking to people. There are two steps in the transfer market during the summer, the first is very early and the second one is very late.”
When questioned as to whether this summer is one of his most important at Arsenal, Wenger replied:
“Yes, I think so, we had a few important ones but this will certainly be a big one, on all fronts.”
Likeliness Rating: 4.5/5
Arsenal are just one of the clubs thought to be interested in signing Mikel Arteta after suggestions that the Everton midfielder is considering handing in a transfer request. It is known that Arteta is unhappy at the lack of investment in the Everton squad and does not believe that team have made any particular progress this season.
Speaking to Sky Sports this week Arteta said:
“I think we need to strengthen the squad a lot to get better… Everybody was expecting a much better performance this year from the whole team, and we haven’t reached it.”
Having been a relatively consistent player for Everton over the last 7 years, Arteta is definitely not lacking Premier League experience and, with the possibility of Cesc Fabregas leaving the club, he could be seen as the decent replacement by Arsène Wenger. Arteta was voted the Premier League midfielder of the year by the readers of the Sky Sports magazine in the 2005/06 season and, although yet to make an appearance for the senior national team, has represented Spain at U21 level.
However, the Spaniard signed a new 5-year contract extension with Everton in August 2010. Everton would be looking for a transfer fee that is significantly higher than the £2 million that they paid Real Sociedad in 2004. Add to that the emergence of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, and that Wenger does not like to sign players that may hinder the growth of other members of the team, then this transfer looks increasingly unlikely.
Five points from our last 6 games places us 18th in the Premier League form table. Far from the form of champions; it is more like the form of a side threatened by relegation. So, does it matter what happens tomorrow? We are guaranteed champions league football, so who cares about finishing 3rd as opposed to 4th? I hope that this is not the mentality that the players have. It does matter. It is almost irrelevant in terms of our success this year. But it is highly relevant in terms of our pride as a football club. We, as fans, need to see the desire to win, even if there is nothing to play for. We need to see that the players want to win, even if all is lost. This is the mentality that is lacking from the squad. When things don’t go our way, it often seems like the players cannot respond and lack the hunger and desire to drive the team back into contention. We have seen this countless times this season. I also want to see my team go out on a high. We have endured yet another frustrating end to the season, so a win on the last day of the season will help remind us of the positives.
Bear in mind that Arsenal could win this game but still come 4th. Man City play Bolton at the Reebok, having recently won the FA Cup and defeated Stoke 3-0 on Tuesday, which propelled them into third place.
Fulham still have 7th place to fight for, which would equal their best ever Premier League position (under Roy Hodgson). They could also qualify for the Europa League through the Respect Fair Play rankings. Let’s hope that if Arsenal do come fourth, they won’t be playing Fulham in Europe next season! Finishing in fourth place would mean that Arsenal would have to win a tricky qualifier to make it to the group stages, or we could face a season in the Europa League.
Arsenal and Fulham have played 48 games against each other. Arsenal have won 34 times, Fulham 7 and there have been 7 draws.
Samir Nasri has scored just twice in the league since the two sides met in December.
If RVP scores, he will equal the record number of league goals scored since 1st January (18 goals, record held by Henry and Ronaldo).
Almost a third (30%) of Fulham’s goals have come from headers, the highest proportion in the league. Arsenal have conceded over half their goals from set pieces, and over a quarter of their goals from headers.
Arsenal have only won 19 league matches this season. In the last 13 seasons, Arsenal have only failed to win 20 games once, in 2006/07.
Arsenal’s away form isn’t terrible - 8 wins, 6 draws and 4 defeats. It was the best away form in the league up until a few weeks ago.
Arsenal – DDLWLL (18th in the Premier League form table)
Fulham – LDWWLW (6th in the Premier League form table)
Fabregas has been ruled out as he has suffered another setback with his injury. Nasri, Clichy and Diaby all face late fitness tests while Djourou is a major doubt. Koscielny should return following his absence last week against Villa.
1-2 victory for Arsenal
At the risk of sounding optimistic, I reckon Arsenal will nick the win. Three defeats in a row would be something of a meltdown. Although Arsenal’s season has staggered to an undesirable halt, I don’t feel that the doom and gloom surrounding the club is necessary. However, the relationship between the fans and the club/manager/players seems to be at an all-time low. We need to see some great away support and plenty of effort from the players. It is possible that Wenger will start some of his squad players, like Bendtner and Rosicky, but this seems unlikely as I doubt he will want to suffer backlash should we fail to win.
Our manager may be off his rocker, but this rumour is completely crazy. When Wenger signed Silvestre from Man Utd in 2008, that was weird enough. To sign an experienced player from our arch rivals is unusual, but even more so when he is merely a fringe player in their squad. Hargreaves is just another example of such a player – experienced but not a key member of Sir Alex‘s side. The 30 year old has played only 39 games in four seasons at Utd, mainly due to a set of injuries that even Robin van Persie would be proud of.
Song has had very little competition for his defensive midfield spot. He has been accused of failing to put in his shift at times during the season, perhaps this is due to the fact that Wenger has no other option. Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas and Wilshere have all slotted into Song’s position at times in the last year, but none of them have been particularly impressive. Denilson can sit back and control the game with his fantastic sideways passing, although you may remember that our Brazilian failed to do this against the might that is…Leyton Orient. Diaby is not a defensive midfielder – plain and simple. Fabregas and Wilshere become inhibited when they are placed in the holding role. Their attacking prowess should be harnessed, and this position can stifle their talents.
So it seems that a defensive midfield back-up would be a good way of bolstering the squad. Hargreaves would be able to transfer to Arsenal on a Bosman – meaning that the only cost would be his wages. It is rumoured that the Englishman is on around £70,000 a week – in Arsenal’s wage structure, this is apparently quite high. Then again, it would probably place him below most of the Gunners’ top earners.
Neither Arsenal nor Bolton are in particularly strong form going into this game, with both teams looking to bounce back from disappointing results this week (in Bolton’s case a 5-0 defeat to Stoke in the FA Cup semi final). The draw against Spurs has seen Arsenal lose further ground on Manchester United, and the club has even overtaken by Chelsea. The Gunners have only won 2 of their last 10 games – the only wins coming against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup, and 2 weeks ago against Blackpool. Nevertheless, Arsenal have won 14 of the 23 games against Bolton in the Premier League, with wins in all of the last 8, so the chances of a win for Owen Coyle’s team are very slim.
Today, Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the table to 9 points. A late Hernandez goal secured yet another home victory for the Red Devils. Fergie’s team have turned Old Trafford into a fortress (winning 16 of their 17 games this season), whereas the Emirates is far from the safe haven that it has been in previous seasons. We have already lost to Newcastle, West Brom and Spurs. The good news is that we head to the Reebok Stadium with the knowledge that we have by far the best away record in the league.
Chelsea also have a superior home record this season, and Fernando Torres helped them to a victory over West Ham which moves them three points above us. Yes – I have double-checked, and Torres has scored a legitimate goal. However, £50 million still looks ridiculously stupid when you consider that Maxi Rodriguez scored a hat-trick today.
Interviewed after the Spurs game Wenger said:
“We have to get ready for the next game and fight as we do. This team has a remarkable attitude. We are on a 16-game unbeaten run [in the league], but recently we haven’t got enough points because of too many draws.”
Recent league form:
The chances are that there will only be one change from the team that played against Spurs. Abou Diaby is injured, so Jack Wilshere, who started on the bench on Wednesday, will probably return to the starting line-up.
I have named the team for tomorrow, and therein lies the problem. I already know the team, and Owen Coyle knows the team. The team never changes. The line-up is almost always the same and Wenger is not flexible with the formation. Occasionally Wenger is forced to make changes if we have injuries or suspensions.
Since Robin Van Persie returned from injury, Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh haven’t had many opportunities in the starting line-up. In fact, Chamakh wasn’t even on the bench against Tottenham. Bendtner and Arshavin normally feature towards the end of the game – introduced at around 80 minutes – and have little or no effect.
The team is just a bit too predictable. We aren’t anywhere near as difficult to play against this season as we have been in previous years. All it takes is a scrappy goal against our less-than-satisfactory defence and teams feel that they can get a point (or maybe more). The side has not been particularly strong in recent weeks and will be low on confidence following the draw at White Heart Lane. Hopefully, they will go out tomorrow and prove me wrong.
Neither team wanted a draw. Both sides attacked with speed and skill, and three goals had gone in after only 12 minutes. Naturally, this fiercely contested North London derby ended with a point apiece, leaving both clubs in a difficult situation regarding their league targets.
Where did we go wrong? Every player had decent moments (bar the substitutes), so how did we not come away with three points? In my opinion, the main issue was Wenger‘s tactics. And these tactics have lost Arsenal points too many times over the last few seasons, leaving the squad mentally drained of any winning mentality.
We started with a 4-2-3-1, Diaby and Song were holding and RVP was up front.
The first goal came from Walcott playing straight down the middle. This is where Theo needs to play. He isn’t quite Henry, but he could turn out a very similar player. He is wasted on the wing.
Diaby and Song don’t seem to like defending. Although they were capable at times, and their attacking passes were sharp, they left our frail defence with little back-up. Modric and Van der Vaart controlled the midfield in the second half, because Song and Diaby played too high up the pitch. And with Cesc playing in the hole between them and RVP, we couldn’t get our captain in the game for long periods of the second half.
Again, Wenger didn’t react to substitutions. At the Emirates against Tottenham, Harry brought on Defoe and he out-jumped Clichy to allow Spurs a route back into the match. Last night, Lennon was introduced and Wenger did nothing. He didn’t get Song to stick on him, he didn’t get Sagna to stay back. This was a mistake, and it cost us dearly for the penalty incident.
Wenger’s substitutions were poor. Bendtner and Arshavin were lazy. You cannot be lazy in a derby. Bendtner was stuck on the wing. Why didn’t Wenger bring on Chamakh and/or Bendtner and stick them up top in a 4-4-2? He seems to think RVP must play alone, but our Dutchman enjoys coming deep. Let him play in an attacking midfield role and stick a tall striker up front. That way, we could have lobbed it upfield and kept the ball. Instead, we hoofed the ball into their half, and lost possession.
Twice against Spurs, last weekend at home vs Liverpool, away to Wigan, Newcastle, Leyton Orient, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sunderland. We keep losing leads. This list of teams is hardly the guide to the best clubs in the world, yet we failed to win any of these after being ahead.
People say that there is no Plan B. Arsenal attack, and if it doesn’t work, we are stuffed. To an extent, this is correct. These results were due to a lack of leadership. Man Utd and Chelsea would never consistently lose leads like this. Last night, at 1-3 to Arsenal, I said we would need a five goal lead to win the match. It was completely tongue and cheek, and yet I wasn’t entirely wrong. We need our captain to be barking orders at his teammates. We need every player to be bursting with pride in a derby, busting a gut to get to every 50/50 challenge. Mistakes cannot be made in a game that could’ve given Arsenal another shot at the title. And yet, Arshavin and Bendtner strolled onto the pitch like it was a training game. Diaby and Song tried, but couldn’t do the simple things right. When you are leading by two goals, you need to keep the ball, make simple passes and tire the opposition. We didn’t do that.
I might as well mention that Arsenal had a perfectly good goal disallowed at 2-3 to the Gunners. RVP was certainly onside, but it wasn’t given. That is now twice in the last few games that Arsenal could’ve got three points, but ended up with one thanks to a poor decision by the linesman (the other being Arshavin’s goal vs Sunderland). This is no excuse for our failure to win, but it does pose the obvious question (once again) – why can’t we have video replays and goal line technology. Barcelona had a goal ruled out for offside against Real Madrid last night. It was very close, but probably just onside. They went on to lose the Copa del Rey.
Szczesny 6.5 Had a very mixed game. Produced some wonderful saves but could’ve done better for Van der Vaart’s goal and gave away a penalty when he should’ve stayed on his feet.
Sagna 7 Contained Bale well but awful defending for the penalty incident.
Djourou 6.5 Made a terrible challenge on Modric and was often beaten too easily to allow Spurs to get shots away.
Koscielny 7 Not a bad game from the Frenchman. Composed and covered well for Clichy.
Clichy 6.5 Lots of crosses came in from Gael’s side, from Corluka, Kaboul and Van der Vaart – he couldn’t deal with them.
Song 6.5 Made a few rash challenges and failed to contain Modric and Van der Vaart at all.
Diaby 6 Decent in possession but poor in defence. Didn’t stay tight enough to Van der Vaart for their first.
Fabregas 7 Several magnificent passes such as those for Theo’s goal and RVP’s ‘goal’. Needs to lead the team better but took some great long range shots.
Nasri 7 A great strike for the goal – shows that we should take more shots from outside the box! Didn’t get involved much in the second half.
Walcott 8 MOTM Very dangerous in the first half. Great run and finish for the first, composed chip for the third. Had plenty of chances and always looks better when he was central.
RVP 7 Involved in plenty of good moves and took the goal well. Should’ve had a second, but ruled out for offside.
Overall, this was a great result for Manchester. The title is Utd’s to lose and City can cement a Champions League spot if they beat Spurs. If Chelsea and Arsenal beat Sir Alex’s side, then the race is back on, but can we really expect that to happen? Arsenal have won only three of the last 21 matches in all competitions against Man Utd, so it doesn’t seem likely.
As mentioned in the match preview, Blackpool have been an exciting addition to the Premier League over the last eight months or so. That impressive record at Bloomfield Road, whereby no team has managed to keep a clean sheet there all season (including Blackpool themselves), continued after a great game of football ended 1-3 to Arsenal.
The first half started with Blackpool taking the initiative, much like West Brom did a few weeks ago. Arsenal could barely keep possession, and gifted the Tangerines with a few early corners. Mistakes were being made by every player in red and white, and it seemed that even Lehmann‘s presence couldn’t produce a calming influence on our makeshift back four. Our 41 year old keeper had been drafted in at the last minute when Almunia picked up an injury just before kick off.
However, I do wonder what would’ve happened had Lehmann suffered an injury or if he had been shown a red. Wenger had no other keeper’s at hand, and Robin van Persie admitted after the game that he would have gone in goal. When you consider that RVP couldn’t even stop his son scoring against him in training, you have to question whether the Dutchman would have been an apt replacement… even for the error-prone Almunia, who was our number one at the start of the season!
After 10-15 minutes, Arsenal began to keep the ball and move forward with purpose. Despite this, the 18th minute strike from Diaby was certainly against the run of play. Our captain lifted the ball over Blackpool’s defence to RVP with ease (and this move continued throughout the game), and our striker slid the ball into Diaby’s path for an easy tap-in. The opposing midfielders had simply allowed our Frenchman to run into the box unmarked, but the goal was a very slick counter attack nonetheless.
And only three minutes later, we added another. Some more precise passing opened up their defence – Eboue made a one-two with Wilshere before rifling a shot past Kingson to score his first of the season. Eboue’s attacking contribution was decent, but he did lack the defensive nous of Sagna. Blackpool’s flowing football often exposed such frailties, and without a defensive midfielder to clean up, Squillaci and Koscielny were constantly troubled.
The rest of the first half saw Arsenal miss a flurry of chances to take the game beyond Blackpool, but profligacy from RVP and Nasri meant that we went in 0-2 up at the break. Just before the whistle, Blackpool had a great chance which Lehmann managed to stop with his feet, before Cesc cleared under a lot of pressure. Jens was pretty good yesterday – he made plenty of catches and seemed to possess a commanding influence in the box. I’d like to see him start in the big games that are coming up against Liverpool, Spurs and Man Utd.
The second half started much like the first, with Blackpool in control. A quick counter attack, which involved two advantages being given to Blackpool, saw them halve Arsenal’s lead. Lehmann brought down DJ Campbell just before Taylor-Fletcher tapped the ball into the net, and there is an argument in favour of our German keeper seeing red. Luckily, he was not penalised, but Blackpool kept up the pressure in search of an equaliser. Koscielny brought down Blackpool’s goalscorer just inside the box, but the penalty was not given. If we are going to win the league, we will need that kind of luck. From that moment on, Arsenal pushed forward, and more chances were missed. Our best chance came when RVP rushed a volley, after Cesc released a perfect through ball over the top.
However, the introduction of Walcott for the ineffective Arshavin proved key – and it was Theo’s pace that created the third goal. Diaby chipped the ball to our captain, who flicked a first-time pass into the path of our pacey winger. Walcott squared the ball for van Persie, who slotted the ball into the net for the winner.
It was a nervy game, because Blackpool kept exposing the weaknesses in our defence. However, Arsenal should have had ended the game in the first half, and will need to do better in front of goal in the next few weeks.
Lehmann 7 - Despite pulling down Campbell just before their goal, he was impressive – no errors is better than most of our keepers!
Clichy 6.5 - Provided some attacking threat, but made a few awful defensive mistakes.
Koscielny 6.5 - Lucky not to give away two penalties – needs to be more aware in the box.
Squillaci 7 - A decent game from a player who often receives criticism.
Eboue 7 - A well taken goal, but he should not be deployed at right back.
Diaby 7 – We saw the good and the bad sides of Diaby – he made some surging runs but too often his final ball was poor. Missed a great chance in the first half when the goal was gaping.
Wilshere 7.5 - Kept possession very well and battled for every ball.
Fabregas 8.5 MOTM - Excellent performance from our captain. His passing was impeccable and he created the majority of opportunities.
Arshavin 6.5 - Quite a quiet game from our Russian, he didn’t make mistakes but seemed uneasy on the ball.
RVP 7.5 - Created one and scored one. However, his finishing wasn’t great – he could’ve had a hattrick.
Nasri 7 - Continued plugging away on the wing. Not at his best, but very effective and should’ve got a goal with his volley which hit the outside of the post.
Walcott 7 – Put the game beyond Blackpool with a great run and pass for the third goal.