By Karl M. Tinsley
MY 3 STARS
1. THOMAS VERMAELEN: The lanky Belgian “SuperStella” was really getting it done from the back today. He and Gallas are just pure terror on our set pieces. Feels so nice to finally have players that can do damage and wreck shop in the air on our CK’s and FK’s…been at least 4-5 years since we had that type of threat. Adebayor who??.
The second goal was a Van Persie-esque type goal…curled top corner with Kirkland left clawing at thin air…CLASS finish if you are ever going to see one. Didn’t have alot to do at the back but stood strong and dealt with any threats that did materialize.
2. WILLIAM GALLAS: Willy “G” is playing like a supreme force of nature this season. That knee looks to be holding up fine (touch wood) even though he seemed to have given it a wee tweak early in the first half when he made that delicious goal saving tackle in our box to deny the Wigan striker. The technique was perrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect…ALL BALL!!. He was dancing forward all match…hungry to make a difference and push our troops forward.
Saw him work a nice 1-2 with Robin in the Wigan box early, showed us his usual “balls to the wall” crashing of the net on set pieces and was unlucky not to score early when the Wigan defender cleared Willy’s header off the line. His deep through ball to Eboue in the first half was goregous as the man from Cote D’Ivoire didn’t have to break stride. Gallas showed us his wheels late in the first half (36 mins) when he got back quickly to snuff out the potential Wigan breakaway and seconds later he saved a goal with his acrobatic bicycle kick clearance off our goal line. Major PROPS to William for an awesome performance.
3. EMMANUEL EBOUE: My boy “Da Screwface” delivered the goods today. He was hustling on the ball, penetrating and winning at least 3 F.K.’s around the edges of Wigan’s 18 yard box. You gotta respect his willingness to invite contact and draw those fouls. Pity that other than Eboue, Robin and “The Russian Schemer” we don’t have that type of player who is willing to sacrifice their body on he offensive side of the ball.
I felt Eboue and Robin had excellent chemistry all match with each other…they were running for each other and being generous with the ball…magical stuff. Robin and Eboue understand The Arsenal way of playing…pass and move, one touch, pass and move. Pleasure today to see those two dudes work their magic. Eboue did a great job picking out “SuperStella” in traffic at the top of the 18 yard box which he proceeded to bury with aplomb. He had some great overlap runs BUT showed his lack of confidence in his finishing with some very sketchy attempts on net. That said…he didn’t hang his head…kept plugging away and was rewarded with that lovely deflection of Eduardo’s shot to effectively kill off the game at 3- Nil.
I found it a disgrace to the man (after the abuse he took at The Emirates) that the stadium announcer didn’t bother to correct his initial announcement giving the goal to Eddy…the numerous TV replays confirm it was a clear deflection off Eboue’s right leg that fooled Kirkland and took the ball into the back of the net. Eboue will never be a polished and smooth finished product BUT his versatility, attacking instincts, relative good health and infectious spirit with the players make him a valuable cog in The Arsenal machine.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE: What can be said…the dude is just snakebite around the net. In his defense he isn’t missing sitters and he has to be doing something right to be in position for all these chances he is getting…he just can’t catch a break. Its a pity because with just a little kinder roll of the ball he’d have 7-8 goals in the EPL right now. So I don’t worry…his luck is due to change and then we’ll see him on a serious roll. Had a lovely stroke on that early F.K., it had a nasty bend and dip to it as it shaved past the far post…Kirkland didn’t even move.
Robin made numerous intelligent runs into space and in the first half served up a lovely dished ball to Eboue who was slashing in from the right wing…it had goal written all over it until Eboue panicked and chunked it way wide…OUCH!!. I felt Robin was very greedy and foolish in extra time in the first half when he attempted to hit a swivel half volley with his back to the net when he had Eddy wide open for a sure goal. But that was probably due to him pressing after being denied so many times earlier on. Today his technique was sound…it was just his first touch let him down at very inopportune times, he should have potted at least one of his 6-7 chances.
EDUARDO: Demonstrated a great awareness of his teammates location on the pitch with his clever touch passing. He picked out Clichy early on that led to a dangerous cross into the Wigan box, later he offered a nice squared ball to pick out the hard charging Robin that led to a quality strike on net. Showed his calm and clinical finishing when he gathered Clichy’s cross in the second half, got his head up and crushed his strike off the post leaving Kirkland dead in the water. Later he showed his endurance by chasing down that long ball and after juking the defender served up a sweet dish to Ramsey who failed to get his shot over on the net.
THE EMIRATES SUPPORTERS: Great vocal support from the home fans today. Were behind the squad from the opening kick-off and didn’t start panicking and stressing out when we spurned several good early chances. Nice to see the crowd lift the team up, stay positive and cheer them on heartily to the very death of the match.
CESC FABREGAS: I can’t ever remember giving a lemon to one of our players who actually scored a goal…but I guess there is a first time for everything. I am officially very concerned now with Cesc’s play this season. He has been invisible in numerous matches as he was today. His passing was feeble by his lofty standards and i’ve noticed a new penchant for dallying on the ball when we are in attack. Today he had Robin wide open with an easy 10 foot through ball to send him clear on goal and he spurned it in favour of turning away from the net and ragging the ball which not only threw away a golden scoring chance but he effectively choked off our forward momentum in attack.
I expect a whole helluva lot more from Cesc and our Captain. These indifferent performances and bland attitude on the pitch is starting to piss me off. He needs to start leading by example and find his passing boots. His goal meant shjiit and was the easiest of deflections…at least he didn’t try to celebrate it…knowing full well his performance was trash today. Wenger needs to sit him down and show him some highlights of his passing from seasons gone by…something just ain’t right with Cesc.
ALEXANDRE SONG: “Dread” turned in a sketchy performance at best!!. He’s reacting and moving too slow on the ball, which means that after winning these loose balls he is now coughing the ball up cheaply and repeatedly. I saw him get stripped several times (granted it wasn’t in and around our 18 yard box) and commit a lot of “professional” fouls because he was caught ball watching and flat footed. “Dread” needs to put the blunts down and get his head in the game for the full 90 minutes. I keep saying…he should be watching game tapes of Flamini from 2007-2008…that is the kind of hustle and quick passing we need out of him.
It was nice to get off the snide in the EPL and big medicine for us to bag 4 goals and keep a clean sheet. We can take alot of positives away from the match with our offence as we created numerous chances in attack. Finally it was welcome to see the home supporters get fired up and vocal with the squad in a positive manner. With some tough derby’s tomorrow in Manchester and London…we may be able to claw back some points on the leaders this weekend. We are off to Fulham next Saturday with a late start so we will know exactly where we stand prior to kick-off. Time to build on the comeback in Belgium and today’s solid offensive display and get ourselves on a nice roll.
GUNS IN, GUNS OUT