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.
Subs: 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.
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