By Atishay Agarwal
Nothing interesting to say, really, as it was a painfully drab affair at the Grove today, the kind that makes you want the season to get over as soon as possible. It was a game reminiscent of the first few games at the Emirates, when we dominated in patches, hogged possession but rarely created clear cut openings, and looked susceptible on the break. Their play looked like a computer hung up on a good broadband connection but suffering from bad and old hardware – slow, incosistent, intermittent. The only difference was that we didn’t concede in the first half, and were able to sneak a victory with our customary second half goal. I don’t think any player on the pitch produced the kind of performance he would remember even a few weeks down the line, but I guess they want the season to end even more than we do. Ratings:
Fabianski – 7 – Looked a tad more comfortable and at ease in goal today, and produced a fine save in the first half to prevent us from doing what we do best, go a goal down at home. And what was more remarkable about him, was that he managed to get smile out of Lehmann!!
Toure – 6 – An efficient performance from our makeshift right back. Defended well and was strong in challenges. Wasn’t very effective going forward though.
Gallas – 6.5 – Both center backs didn’t have anything too drastic to do, but there were a number of tricky situations where a slight mistake could lead to trouble, and he got out of quite a few such situations with relative ease.
Song – 7 – Seems to be quite a revelation at center back. He was tested more today than the last two games, and he was up to the task with some very good interceptions and tackling.
Clichy – 7 – Routine hyper-energetic performance.
Walcott – 5 – He was hardly involved in the game today, except when delivering corners. I would have liked to see him play upfront, but the lack of available wingers led to him starting on the left. I noticed that quite a few team members still don’t show enough confidence in him and pass to other players even when Theo is in more space. Did you too?
Denilson – 5 – Sadly, he’s no Fabregas. In fact he’s more like a Flamini, and it wasn’t surprising that he underperformed today. Was given the wrong role to play in midfield today, but he’d still be disappointed with his outing today. The early promise that he showed at the club seems to be dwindling just a bit, and he’ll need to work hard in the summer to push for a bigger role at the club next season.
Gilberto – 7 – I think the best word to describe his performance today would be ‘comfortable’, and he really was so. He still has a lot to offer, and his passing seems to have improved considerably.
Eboue – (-5) – Arsene did you watch that? How can you let him start game after game, when he puts in a ‘strictly decent’ performance at best only once in about ten games?? Killed off almost every Arsenal move like no Everton defender could in the first half. Milan wanted this guy?!
Bendtner – 7 – Wasn’t a bright performance as such, but the superb header that won is the game merited the extra point. Really sad to see no one really celebrating with him though (A high five isn’t celebrating). The lad can really head the ball, and not just while scoring. The way he wins long balls or flicks them on with is head is fantastic, and better than Adebayor. The two can form a great combination with Bendtner doing more of the heading, and Ade doing more of the running. I just made it sound so simple didn’t I?
Adebayor – 5 – Not that he didn’t try, but we didn’t click as an attacking unit today, or as the boss would put it, we played ‘with the handbrake on’. He was playing almost alone upfront with Bendtner coming nearer to the midfield to collect the ball, and didn’t get any real service.
Traore – 7 – Now here’s a fullback who could make it as a winger. I’ve always been impressed by the guy’s pace, and now we all know for a fact that he’s a wonderful crosser of the football. Came on and made a clear impression instantly, and produced a sublime cross for Bendtner to head in. Questions have been raised over his defending in the past, and with some more work on his attacking play, he could seriously think of a change in position.
Senderos – NA – It was good to see him recover from the Anfield setback and return on the pitch, and although his defending has cost us dearly in the past, we need to support the young guy at the moment. Had nothing much to do today though.
And maybe for the final time,
Lehmann – 7.5(Overall rating) – That’s my rating for him over the five years that he’s spent with us. You’ve been a great keeper for us Jens, and I’d like to thank you for all those wonderful, spectacular saves, and for all the theatrics that would light up dull periods of play on the pitch. You probably shouldn’t have complained so much this season, but I think we all will forget that, and the few bloopers, and remember you as the man who got us to the Champions League final in ’06 and won us the FA Cup in ’05. Thanks for the so many memories!