Player Ratings and Analysis: Arsenal 1-0 Bolton
By Randy Osae
- Manuel Almunia = 7
The number of times Bolton were in Arsenal’s territory were very countable, but on all those occasions, it took Almunia’s vital intervention with his catches. Indeed, Kevin Nolan’s chance right after Arsenal’s breakthrough goal could have really made this a different aftermath and Almunia was the solitary savior there….otherwise we would have been ruing another embarrassing late equalizer.
- Bacary Sagna = 6.5
Sagna rightfully appears to be the most or only consistent player among any Arsenal XI for the past year and half. It was another reliable display today and the guy just does not let nerves slip. Maybe it’s on the right wing that he needs a breather because Eboue is leaving the crossing-job up to him too much.
- Kolo Toure = 6.5
Kolo did not necessarily change the gawky impressions he has made since last year’s toil of mothering Arsenal’s defense and then attending duties at the African Cup of Nations. These days he looks a bit overweight…just a bit…but his long-range hit reminded us of one player in the squad who doesn’t care about the yards. And his mercurial burst into box which created a chance for Bedntner showed Toure has still got the goods in him. A satisfactory performance, maybe a run of games in the side is what’s required for Kolo to return to best.
- Johan Djourou = 6.5
It was a calm Djourou we saw today. He worked well with Toure and apart from a few expected slumps when under alert, it was a safe display. This is only the second time he has been with Toure at the heart of defense this season. The last time was against Wigan which was another clean sheet…so far so good for that partnership.
- Gael Clichy = 7
Clichy was very solid. And always was a pivot of Arsenal’s attack form the left. Defensive wise, he was much weary by Bolton’s advances on the left which resulted in a few tricky crosses and bursts into the box. But his through ball that found Van Persie in the event of Bendtner’s winner, was very decisive indeed.
- Emmanuel Eboue = 6
Eboue did not show as much pace as he did against Plymouth but he had a fair game before coming off. He held the ball well and was active around the flanks. A few crosses from him will do though. Eboue just doesn’t send in crosses as much as he used.
- Denilson = 6
There was nothing new about Denilson today. The usual inconsistent pattern of passes continued. Sometimes he gave the ball away at ease and other occasions, held it well for the wingers to move.
- Abou Diaby = 5.5
Diaby might be in progress of answering his critics these days, but today was just one off. There is just something about him. It seems like every time Diaby has the ball, he likes to create a 50/50 situation. He attempts to dribble too much, and it eventually becomes a liability.
- Samir Nasri = 7
Nasri was yet again Arsenal’s catalyst….maybe not as much as last Saturday but the Frenchman was sublime with his releases and is vastly becoming one indispensable guy in Arsenal’s plans.
- Robin Van Persie = 7.5
From the start, this man was always determined to prove that difference in quality every team beating about the bush needs. He made use of difficult chances and came very close with them too. Van Persie is finally having that year when he single-handedly inspires every Arsenal gain.
- Emmanuel Adebayor = 5
These are tough times for Adebayor. He is not the most lethal of strikers, but he just does not look anywhere near edgy in front of goal at all. His first touches are better this season, so he fairly contributes these days even when rusty. Hopefully competition from Bendtner again will spur him back to at least hitting the post or causing a dive from the keeper with sitters. Wenger used to never substitute Adebayor but he does routinely these days. That says something.
- Carlos Vela = 6.5
Vela is now a straight-away option when the going gets tough. As usual, he gave that comfort needed on the left wing with him being a natural left-footer and combined strength with pace to stretch Bolton’s resistance.
- Aaron Ramsey = 4
The length of time he spent on the pitch can’t get any evaluation but his yellow card was very silly…needless tackle it was after giving the ball away softly.
- Nicklas Bendtner = 7
He did the same last season. Bendtner, since his promotion into the first team, has always been the final utensil of the kitchen sink Wenger throws when anxious. He had been a bit naive after coming off the warm bench. He took time to adjust to the breezy game and made his mark – a crucial one too. It’s needless to re-emphasize why this boy does have an essence at the club.