By Karl M. Tinsley
MY 3 STARS
#1. SAMIR NASRI: Looked dangerous every time he touched the ball with his surging runs. Love how he was exploding on the ball with pace and offensive menace in his eyes. He was linking superbly with Clichy, Butta’-legs and Robin all match and in the process…dominated the left side of the pitch all match. His goal was an absolute clinical finish that the great Bergkamp and Bobby Pires would have been proud of. Never rushed himself, got his head up, picked his spot out, got his weight over the ball and just flat out buried it in the corner. PURE C-L-A-S-S!
#2. ROBIN VAN PERSIE: His prodigious offensive talents speak for themselves…but I am even more impressed with the high work-rate and physicality of his play the last 6-7 weeks. Robin is just blowing defenders up and not backing down from the rough stuff. Yesterday, he continued his torrid play, with his constant hard running both on and off the ball, his nice link-up play with Nasri, exquisite free kick (he was robbed) and perfect corner kick that was ever so sweetly dropped onto Butta’-legs melon for the easiest of finishes. The angled pass to pick out Nasri in stride and the gorgeous tightly squared ball to find Bendtner were both sublime. The new Dutch-Master is easily the best “in-form” striker in the EPL.
#3. NIKLAS BENDTNER: WOW, WOW, WOW…the Great Dane is really making a BIG PUSH to keep himself part of The Arsenal family for the rest of this season and beyond!. You gotta give him PROPS…back to back game winning goals!. He came onto the pitch with a real energy and purpose about his game and he looks great attacking from off the wing. He was most unlucky that his pile driver header crashed onto the post…he deserved a brace!. Bendtner is running hard, has his head up, is attacking the net with real malice and passing the ball quickly…all the things a SUPER SUB needs to do to change the complexion of the match and be effective. Amazing what a change in colour of your boots has done. Shine On You Crazy Diamond!
BUTTA’-LEGS (ADEBAYOR): Did a great job of “man-ing up”, using his size and strength and taking the ball strong into the 18 yard box. In doing so he was able to draw fouls, back off the defenders and give time and space for the wingers for when Butta’ dished the ball out to the flanks. Love to see Butta’-legs playing with a strong and physical flavour to his game, because when he rolls like that…the goals always come for him. His leap on his header goal showed good timing and height and his finish (while not super-difficult) showed great composure.
BACARY SAGNA: HO-HUM…just another rock-steady and solid defensive performance turned in by our GENERAL at the back. Bacary blended excellent defensive positioning and technique with alot of attacking nous as he worked well all match with Butta’-legs, Eboue and later on Bendtner. I really liked seeing him “jacking up” Diaby for not getting back in support of him late when the match was 1-1 and Manucho had Bacary under real pressure deep in our zone near the touchline. Way to get vocal Sagna…you are the man!.
EMMANUEL EBOUE: Even though he is “My Boy”…i have to be fair and call him out for turning in another lukewarm effort. His defensive work was as always excellent…but his passing was atrocious. I love the fact he wants to play the quick one-touch passing game that made The Arsenal a legend from 2000-2006. BUT when it isn’t clicking he needs to back it down a bit, hold the ball a little longer and make a more high percentage pass. In his defence, many of the Gunners aren’t switched on and anticipating his deliveries so they are often caught flat-footed or leaning the wrong way. He made some nice deep runs to the by-line that caused defensive problems…BUT he didn’t deliver quality crosses at the end of those runs…he has to do better with his final ball. However, he did take it strong to the 18 yard box and won the Free Kick that Robin crushed off the crossbar and he won the Corner Kick that Robin and Butta’ combined on to score. But his passing was too sloppy and the other players performances too strong for Eboue to escape the Lemon this week.
Another “cardiac kids” comeback by The Gunners. The lads seem determined to bring drama to every match!. Not sure if my nerves can stand us repeatedly going ahead in the matches, getting pegged back and then pulling out a late winner. It tells me we are still not playing a full 90+ minutes every match…which means the team still has some growing room towards becoming a real professional side. However, on a frustrating weekend (Man Utd, Chelsea, Aston Villa all winning very late) it was good medicine to see the Gunners claw back and defeat Hull City. Villa can’t keep getting the sweetheart calls and lucky breaks…the worm is going turn on them very soon. We just need to keep hanging tough and putting the pressure on them. Reinforcements in the form of Eduardo, Walcott and possibly Arshavin or another transfer target are on the way…so we just need to keep on a roll for a few more weeks and then we will be getting alot of help back and injected into the mix. Hoping Wenger fields another strong side for our FA Cup tilt against Cardiff City. Everton will be next in the EPL and they should be softened up nicely after their 2 away matches against Liverpool…perfect timing for us to meet them. It was a tough weekend in the fact that we were robbed from gaining on our rivals very late in their matches. But we are steaming along nicely now…(touch wood) and it feels like we are on the upswing.
GUNS IN GUNS OUT