By Karl M. Tinsley

Photo 1 - Blackpool's English defender Alex Baptiste AFP/Getty ImagesMY 3 STARS

#1. THEO WALCOTT: Safe to say Walcott made the most of his chance against a 10 man Championship side. Of course bagging 3 goals gets all the attention and hype…BUT…I was just as pleased with his creative and intelligent inter-play with his teammates, in particular Rosicky, Arshavin and Chamakh.

The first and third goals he netted were something a professional footballer at this level should bury 99% of the time…so I’ll save my praise for his 2nd goal which demonstrated a great first touch, balance and a lovely heads up finish to the far corner…that was lethal and unstoppable.

He was getting his crosses over and picking out his teammates effectively. Also showed much more intelligence in effectively checking his runs to stay onside as evidenced in his first goal. Big Ups for these improvements in his game. Still needs to improve his understanding of his teammates runs and recognizing when they are open and when they are covered. Great match all the same…lets hope he can build on it and develop the consistency that we will need IF we are to achieve our title ambitions this season.

#2. ANDREI ARSHAVIN: Nice to see the “Russian Schemer” being a lot more influential this match compared to last weeks effort against Liverpool. He looked very focused and pacy down the left flank, early and often. Maybe the new haircut brought some new fire to his game?. Whatever it was…it was a welcome sight. Sold his dribble, drew the defenders and then calmly picked out the slashing run of Walcott to gift the young Englishman his first goal of the campaign. Was unlucky minutes later when Walcott returned the favour with a inch perfect cross to the feet of Andrei that he superbly trap volleyed onto the net and that required a reflex save from the Blackpool ‘keeper to deny.

His P.K. was clinically taken…even with the Blackpool ‘keeper guessing the right way…the placement was perfect into the side of the net. I felt that his parlour tricks at 35 mins with us up 2 goals was a little premature however. In the second half he tossed out a lovely slide-rule pass to pick out the angled run of Walcott. I was stoked to see Andrei open his account and to see the rapidly developing chemistry between he and Chamakh…hopefully a good portent of things to come this season.

#3. MAROUANE CHAMAKH: Started the match a little sloppy when he squandered a gilt edged chance (from the Blackpool ‘keepers turnover deep in their territory) with a careless pass, but quickly redeemed himself with a lovely pass in traffic to Rosicky that launched us towards our first goal. Made intelligent runs into space all match and showed a positional awareness (that Adebayor could only dream of) with his checked runs to stay onsides. Was snake-bit for most of the match…BUT…I love the scowl on his face when he misses (something Vela should take note of) and his refusal to hang his head.

His big motor and commitment was finally rewarded with a clinically taken header that was driven low and to the bottom right corner of the net…unstoppable. Didn’t take long for him to add the aerial goal threat into our mix of attacking options. Suddenly, we look look dangerous on set-pieces with Chamakh and Vermaelen attacking the net. I think it was crucial for him to break his duck in the match after squandering a few sitters. He was obviously pressing a bit too much…but now he has opened his account…he can relax and just let it flow.


TOMAS ROSICKY: It was a toss-up between he and Chamakh for that 3rd Star but I felt that after a torrid first half where he was at the centre of almost every attack…that “Helmet-Hair” kind of drifted out of the match in the last 30 minutes. Hence, his bump down to Honourable Mention status. He was working seamlessly with his midfield partners and Striker, pushing the ball in a direct manner, dancing in traffic and dishing the ball like he was tossing lawn-darts after a downpour.

The “Little Mozart” has been living up to his reputation from his Bundesliga days…after all the injuries and set-backs it really is a testament to his willpower and commitment to football that he has been able to fight his way all the way back. I was one of the harshest critics about keeping him around during those dark days and am pleased to have been proven wrong by Tomas. Touch wood Rosicky can stay healthy and that Wenger is astute at managing and protecting his legs.

BLACKPOOL TRAVELLING SUPPORTERS: Embarrassed themselves early with the “…same old Arsenal, always cheating” chant after a clear foul on Chamakh was rewarded with a PK and straight red by the referee. It was very uppity of them and dishonest…if they wanted to slag anybody they should have been having a go at the referee not our lad.

BUT they redeemed themselves later on with their robust and continued vocal support on a day they had precious little to cheer about AND their rendition of the Beach Boys classic “Sloop John B”…with the twist…”this is the BEST trip I’ve ever been on” was both cheeky and hilarious. PROPS to the Tangerine Army!!.


CARLOS VELA: I know, I know…how can I can I give a lemon on a day we romped 6-Nil. But for the sake of the format I will hand it out anyways. I give it to Vela for his laughing and smirking after missing a couple of quality chances on net late in the match. That is the type of behaviour that reminds me of that slack-jawed idiot Adebayor and frankly not what we need on this squad.

He really needs to wake the feck-up and watch how Robin, Anderi and Chamakh react to misses…with a scowl!!. He’s been with us for 3 years and still isn’t doing much to warrant his place in the side…time to stop clowning and get his head in the match.


Glad to see us take care of our bizznass at home and not lift the foot off the gas pedal until late in the match. I am not going to get too geeked over a thumping over a 10-man Championship side in our building. That said, the game did serve some important purposes (other than 3 pts) in that it got Arshavin, Chamakh and Walcott accounts open for the season, it gave our defence a game off, we picked up no fresh injuries and it gave The Boss another week to get us sorted out at GK and CB. Now its on to Blackburn for an early fixture with Big Sam and his anti-football tactics.

Always love to beat Big Sam after enduring years of heartache at the Reebok when he was in charge of Bolton. Should be a dandy and a good test of our ability to both breakdown packed defences and to defend the aerial ball in our 18 yard box. Ohhhhhh…just came through the newswire…we’ve got Squillaci (pending his medical) and with Schwarzer being a scratch again last night…it looks like it is just a matter of haggling over a few shillings and pence to get him into our kit. A late summer Double Swoop by The Boss…dreamland stuff for the Gooner Camp.

As always…


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