By Atishay Agarwal
Well, some more sloppy defending and some individual brilliance conspired to call time on our season but strangely it didn’t hurt as bad as the game at Anfield. Maybe because we as Arsenal fans have been through a lot of heartache over the past two months, which has left us a bit numb now, or because the players put in a great effort yesterday, and showed everyone that in terms of pure quality, there really isn’t anything between us and the potential champions. It probably took a lot of mental strength to come back from the nadir that was Anfield and perform like we did at Old Trafford, but yet again, we failed to deliver the killer blow, or the Coupe De Grace, as Arsene would call it. Nevertheless, the ratings:
Lehmann – 7.5 – I think he showed everyone that we don’t have a better shot-stopper at the club. Almunia may be the steadier, calmer goalkeeper, but he can’t save matches like Jens can. It’s unfortunate that despite two brilliant saves against Rooney, the match was still lost.
Clichy – 9 – My man of the match, and one of my ‘men of the season’. His energy levels never cease to surprise anyone who watches him play. He’s only 22, and has played over 50 games in the season, and still manages to sprint the length of the pitch throughout the 90 minutes. Nullified Ronaldo and got forward to good effect so so many times. Brilliant.
Gallas – 5 – In truth, he didn’t have a very poor game, but that one moment of madness cost us 3 very crucial points. There really wasn’t any need to stick his arm out at that ball, and one would have thought that the team, especially our captain, would learn from the defensive mistakes at Anfield. Sadly, that wasn’t to be, and the moment really deflated the confidence of all the players.
Song – 6.5 – I feared the worst when I saw the starting line up, and a player who hasn’t played in the league since I don’t know when in the heart of defence. It was a big risk that Le boss took, but I think Alex put in a decent performance. It would have been a brighter one, but the error that let Rooney through on goal took a bit of sheen off it.
Toure – 5 – It was quite a surprise that, despite his recent travails, he was still positioned at right back. Was sloppy at times and really looked out of place. Basically, the story of his performances in the last 2 months.
Eboue – 5.5 – Ineffective as usual on the right side of midfield. Showed a bit of skill once or twice, but somehow, even if he plays well, I don’t feel like appreciating it. I think he’s reached the point of no return, for me.
Fabregas – 6 – He’s looked tired and jaded for a while, and atleast now he’ll get a good rest. His passing was alright, but the speed and those defence-splitting passes have gone missing.
Gilberto – 8 – This was a big, big occasion, and our ex-captain showed much more desire and passion than his predecessor. He came up with some stunning tackles and did some great work defensively. But he has lost a yard of pace, and he didn’t possess much anyway.
Hleb – 8 – He stepped up during Cesc’s dearth of creativity, and really was the force behind all our attacks. A fantastic performance, and he must be retained for next season.
Van Persie – 6 – His performance overall was still rusty, but the cross for the goal showed us the quality that he has, and that we’ve been missing. Please stay fit next season Robin.
Adebayor – 5 – It was Emannuel’s evil twin, Wasteful, who showed up for the game yesterday, and his misses cost us dearly. Even for the goal, he needed to punch it in from two yards out. Quite disappointing, and he really isn’t the finished article, which is exactly what we need up front.
Walcott – 6 – Wasn’t as effective as he was against Liverpool, but then that had to be. Came up against some good defensive players in Hargreaves and Evra, but still showed solid signs that he’s going to become a great player for us. Hopefully he’ll start the remaining 4 games.
Bendtner – 6.5 – I like this player, and I feel that his ability to win headers and hold up play is way better than Adebayor’s. I do hope there isn’t any truth in the rumours that the team has a problem with him. As Arsene said, next year he’ll turn into a ‘real striker’, especially with regular chances. Went close to scoring twice from crosses, when the angle was against him.
Hoyte – NA – Came on right at the end to replace a visibly tired Kolo Toure, and apart from delivering a cross or two, didn’t do much.