Player Ratings & Analysis: Arsenal 1-0 Portsmouth
- Manuel Almunia = 6.5
All he had to do was come catch a few alerting balls and Crouch’s header did catch him unaware somehow. He was not under Friday’s pressure. So very quiet.
- Abou Diaby = 7
Diaby was actually quite composed. His through ball that set-up Adebayor for the closest chance in the first-half was sublime. His substitution was a bit of a shock, but he seems more contributive from central midfield. He didn’t have too many dribbles to make unlike when trying to break in from the flanks.
- Bacary Sagna = 6.5
He didn’t have to repeat his heroics at Villa because he simply didn’t have to. It was not a testing day for Arsenal defenders and Sagna supported on the right wing in attack well as usual.
- William Gallas = 7.5
Very, very massive moment he had. And there was a feeling of not gifting the lead away this time because this man had scored. That’s like the third time he has salvaged the team this season with goals like that, and did numerous last year. For defensive notes, he actually seemed the most active, but only Crouch’s notable header caught him because Portsmouth were toothless to be fair.
- Mikael Silvestre = 6.5
Silvestre looks more like a mobile Senderos. More athletic but as clumsy. He did not have much work to do frankly, Portsmouth’s threat is one of the most rusty Arsenal have faced this season.
- Gael Clichy = 6
A quiet day for Clichy, one of the usual men who toil up most of the yards. He was fairly solid with his job and Nugent did test his pace sometimes.
- Samir Nasri = 7.5
He was the only one who still gave a bit of that missing Arsenal spark in attacking breaks. He was very active and even came close with his one-on-one against James. Did well to use his skill to deny a déjà vu of Friday night.
- Denilson = 6
Denilson might seem short of a great midfielder but there’s no doubt he works hard. Most of the time, he’s running up and down tirelessly but today was an exception. He was fairly quiet. Great curl on the free-kick though. Nasri was taking all off them before and on Denilson’s turn, it was Fabregas-like.
- Emmanuel Eboue = 5.5
Not necessarily getting on the Ivorian’s sour side but he was quite ineffective today. A few final passes/touches by him went back into Portsmouth’s possession and those giveaways could have been costly as we know.
- Nicklas Bendtner = 6
Surprised at his start in the first place but Van Persie who is still lasting into the new year needs a breather. Bendtner was good…but as a deep midfielder or a lay-back winger. He made Adebayor look like he was playing upfront alone and lacked the edge of a support striker.
- Emmanuel Adebayor = 5
Very, very, poor. Did not help much today apart from holding up the ball in the last few minutes to squash time and perhaps his charm of giving Arsenal better chances of winning when on the pitch. He was the typical Adebayor of old – missing sitters. And if Gallas had not scored, then the Togolese would have taken the better part of the blame today.
- Carlos Vela=7.5
Don’t know if he would have been as effective had he started. You got to understand Wenger. Bringing him on after some time was a new formula for Portsmouth’s brick wall to handle. Maybe they would have been much prepared and ready to stop if they began the game defending Vela. But the youngster was very, very influential. His interventions and runs were really helpful. Plus, he is the one who was fouled to create the free kick which resulted in the winner.
- Aaron Ramsey= 6
Ramsey reminds us of the Fabregas composure when on the ball. He unleashed some pace too sometimes, but just not really physical. That’s not his plus, but very smooth with his passes. Friday’s birthday boy (18 ) did the best he could to help.