Individual Player Ratings: Celtic 0-2 Arsenal + Man of the Match

First of all vote for your man of the match!

Man of the match against Celtic (1st Leg)

  • Vermaelen (43%, 320 Votes)
  • Song (32%, 238 Votes)
  • Fabregas (15%, 108 Votes)
  • Gallas (6%, 47 Votes)
  • Arshavin (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Denilson (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Sagna (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Diaby (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Bendtner (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Van Persie (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Clichy (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Almunia (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 739

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What a heartening performance by the lads! Celtic Park is never an easy place to visit for any team, but we battled it out for 90 minutes in a display that oozed professionalism, class, and sheer grit. Two lucky breaks gave us the goals, but who cares? It’s high time we had luck on our side anyway. The ratings:

Almunia – 7 – He didn’t have to do much all night to be honest, so the rating is primarily for turning up, and doing the basics right. Well protected by his defence, and Celtic’s lack of cutting edge.

Sagna – 6.5 – Got caught out of position a few times in the first half, and was tested by McGeady, but was up to the challenge and improved in the second period. Even had a left-footed shot on goal from distance!

Gallas – 7.5 – Solid performance by Willy, and scored a lucky goal which he will claim full credit for, as he very well should. Also came up with a fantastic interception in the first half, which clearly suggests he is by no means “past it”. Looks much more of a leader now than when he had the armband.

Vermaelen – 8 – He’s just the player Arsenal needed. Not just is he a class act is defence, but has that fiery no-nonsense attitude that was missing in the side. That darting run back towards our goal to deny an almost certain Celtic goal was absolutely brilliant. However, occasionally he does commit to challenges a little too early, but that can comfortably be worked on.

Clichy – 7 – I think his cross for the second goal was the best cross he’s ever come up with! Still not at the level he played at so consistently in 07-08, but was efficient and committed enough throughout. He needs to change his boots though, he slips way too often.

Denilson – 6.5 – An efficient performance by the Brazilian, but his passing was slightly off today. He performed his defensive duties well, but still needs to work on retaining possession when under pressure, as well as his final ball.

Song – 7 – Was immense in midfield again, even if not as brilliant as on Saturday. Showed some good touches, and hassled Celtic midfielders whenever they had the ball.

Fabregas – 8 – My Man of the Match, and a true leader on the pitch. He was everywhere for the 90 minutes, that too after being a major doubt for this fixture. He got forward a lot more than usual, which is a result of the new system put in place by Arsene, with Denilson and Song staying further back. Struck the ball beautifully for the first goal, which took a deflection off Gallas. Also, it must be said that he was clearly being targetted by the home side, but he battled on despite all the clumsy tackles. Hats off to the skipper.

Bendtner – 6.5 – Won many aerial balls and ran hard, but couldn’t do much of note in the final third to be a goal threat. Again, the right wing isn’t where he belongs. Wenger could maybe try and rotate Van Persie and Bendtner during the game to see which system works better.

Van Persie – 6 – Poor outing for RVP, as hardly anything he did came off. He tried hard, but he’s not a centre forward. He’s a second striker, and still isn’t as adept at leading the line. Also, he should really stop moaning about misplaced passes and un-awarded free kicks like Thierry did so much in his last season.

Arshavin – 6.5 – This is the second game in a row where Andrey’s not been too involved, but then facing a committed and physical Celtic side at home isn’t the easiest task for for someone a few months into English football. I’m waiting to see how he performs at home this weekend.

Diaby – 6.5 – Played his part in the buildup to the second goal, but not much seems to have changed. Makes your jaw drop one moment, and makes your fist clench the other.

Agree, disagree or simply want to add to the comments above? Respectfully add your comments below and vote for your man of the match above. Join the arsenal talk on Twitter.

  • Vermaelen was my man today Atishay! Even though I thin Fabregas was amazing also. Not in a genius footballing sense even. More from a hard working desire sort of way.

    • Atishay

      Yeah both were equally good, but I chose Cesc because he showed amazing commitment despite being injured before the game. Also, in a tight, physical contest, he worked extremely hard in midfield to create chances, and carried on despite being blatantly targeted by some of the Celtic players. Vermaelen was classy as well, hope he keeps it up!

  • cheese

    Arshavin was a 5 at best. Looked unfit!! Defensively Bendtner played really well pressuring, and Van Persie was doing this too. I also thought that Denilson had a stormer, and intercepted almost everything and covered a lot of ground. Another top Song performance, starting to expect nothing but now!!!

    As for Vermaelen and Gallas, absolute class and gave us the comfort for our attacking players.

    Last night wasn’t the greatest attacking performance, but the team defensive performance was brilliant. Everyone was closing high up the pitch, putting pressure on the opposition.

    We were also very mature, one of the problems last season was taking the lead and then conceding, occasionnally even at 2-0 up as well. We could always crack at any moment. Now we look controlled and unfazed. Hope it will last!

  • Jonny

    Song was the man of the match for me. I already thought he was huge against Everton, but had a bit less work to do. Against Celtic he was always behind all of the important tackles in midfield. For a moment I felt as though I was watching a young Vieira.

    Vermaelen and Fabregas were fantastic for sure, and I thought Denilson had a few moments of brilliance as well. I’m really loving how our defense is clicking so well this year. I’m also fascinated by our new-found talent for scoring from set pieces, even if today it was somewhat serendipitous (OK, /very/ serendipitous).

    Amazingly, my only cause for concern has been our forwards. Arshavin and RVP seem to be frustrated – especially the latter. They’re creating chances which is fantastic, but I’d love to see them get off the mark for the season so that they can start relaxing and just do what they do best – grace the pitch with their class. Oh, and score lots of goals.

    Bendtner’s game seems to have matured quite a bit, and granted there’s still a ways to go, I’m liking the kid more and more. I keep forgetting he’s only 21, and I think that he’s starting to understand that he can wreak havoc with his height and jumping. It seems that when Almunia kicks the ball up-field, it’s almost always targeted at Nicklas. More importantly, he’s starting to do a halfway decent job of controlling or passing to a teammate. I have a feeling he’s going to keep improving during the year and become a serious threat as the season progresses. Of course for that to happen, he needs to stop taking ridiculous shots when he can’t find any other options. He’s more patient than last year, but still not quite patient enough. It’ll come though, I’m sure of it.

    I think what will be interesting is what Wenger will do when Nasri and Theo are available again. I can easily see Nasri take Bendtner’s place, but then we’d lose that height advantage. The crosses would be better though, and I’m sure that Cesc, Arshavin and Nasri will come up with some moves that will make defenses’ heads spin (as well as make us jump out of our seats!). Likewise with Rosicky, it’s easy to forget that the player is pure class because he hasn’t played competitively in so so long. But fingers crossed, this year will be the one he makes his comeback.

  • Vermaelen definitely my man!!!

  • Dgob

    I think Song was our man-of-the-match, closely followed by Vermaelen. Cesc was his usual self although he was hustled out of the ball more than is normal. However, I put that down to the hard work and constant pressure that Celtic applied.

    Overall, an inpsiring performance with more faith in our defensive prospects than I have had for years:

    Chim, chim-eney,
    Chim, chim, cherew
    Who needs old Kolo
    When you’ve got Djourou (Gallas and TV)?

  • Trennon

    Def between Cesc and Song for me. at performance and once again this team has proved that the occasion is never too big for them.

    Two things stood out for me. Wenger needs to figure out who his number 1 striker is in this system. RVP does not do well in that position. I get the feeling that when we play 4-3-3 right wing must be shared between RVP and Walcott, with Bendtner and Eduardo rotated for the middle.
    The second thing is Arshavin will play more centre when we go 4-4-2. This is a very affective system being played by Wenger and I am even more convinced that the boss will not buy another striker because there is no room for 3, let alone 4 strikers.

  • rayman

    Great result last night. Won for us by Cesc, Song, TV and Gallas who were all superb. Cesc MOTM for me purely on involvement in anything useful we did going forward and his incredible work rate, but only just ahead of TV who is looking like a vidic mkII and Song.

    Can’t help but feel slightly disappointed that the tie wasn’t put to bed last night. The front 3 were poor as an attacking force (did well defensively). RVP was the most disppointing for me. I know he isn’t a lead striker but his first touch was poor and he never seemed to know where his team mates were.

    I suppose everyone is trying to get used to the formation but I thought RVP played in the same formation for Holland so its a surprise to me that he so clueless playing it. Would have likes to see Eduardo come on to nick the third that would have sealed the tie. Now we need to play a fairly strong team in the return leg instead of being able to rest a few before the Man U game. Slightly annoying but still a great night and another big step in the maturity of the team.

  • Harry

    Man of da match is Song for sure… thats quite obvious . Fabregas did well but not to warrant man of the match. Its between Song and Vermeleen… The game was about Arsenals defence.

  • arsenal 4 da prem

    i thought cescs passing wasnt great but and gallas was my motm because he stopped mcdonald from an easy goal