I have just read Batmandela`s beautiful article ” Arsenal in Crisis – Yes”. I recommend that you read it dear reader.
I was going to write a review of last night`s match which was not going to be particularly harsh on our players, when I read the above article. By the time I had finished it I was in a more tranquil frame of mind. I am still going to be honest in my assessment but it is balanced against the background of the analysis delivered by Batmandela.
Like most critics, I was well and truly disappointed by the performance of the team last Sunday. It was impossible to pick anyone on that team who could walk off the pitch with his head held high.
I expected a better show this time but it was the same score. That is where the similarity ended. We played much better, and we should have scored from a penalty. We created 2 or three other good chances, but unfortunately, Man City improved as well. A slightly better team than us could have won by the odd goal but Man City are a vastly different team and they deserved the reward for the football they played. One of the reasons why it is so hard to accept our current position is that we used to play like that.
Anyway, in the light of some reviews I have read, I have tried to provide a realistic assessment of the individual performances which are not as bad as most reviews would indicate.
1, Cech: 6/10 Generally decent performance, made some good saves but nearly gifted a goal with a careless attempt to kick a ball to Bellerin over the head of a City player who was standing in front of him.
- Bellerin: 6/10 Much better than last game. Still went too far up field as usual, but did not get `Skinned” the way he did on Sunday and did provide a few crosses.
- Mustafi 5/10 Wouldn`t have been hard to improve on last catastrophe and he did but still plays on a knife edge. A disaster is always just round the corner.
- Koscelny 6/10 Steady as always and could be seen cajoling other players when things were tough. Not the force of old though.
- Kolasinac 6/10 I was glad to see him picked. He is a physical presence on the pitch which we need. He did cause problems by sheer attitude. Did not make many mistakes.
- Ramsey 7/10 Got at them from the start and nearly scored in first 10 minutes. Tackled back and supported our sparse attack throughout the game.
- Xhaka 6.5/10 He was officially singled out by Sky as having covered more ground than any other Arsenal player. Huge improvement. Should have taken the penalty.
- Mikhitaryan 6/10 A big improvement. Much livelier and better control than last match. Tried hard to pair with Aubamayang.
- Ozil 5/10 Generally crucified today by media. His languid style makes him look uncommitted at times. He appeared to give up when he got hemmed in.
- Welbeck 6.5/10 Huge improvement. kept trying from start to finish but he is not a top striker.
- Aubamayang. 5/10 Early days but doesn`t look anything like a £65m player. He needs to have the ball fed to him to run onto. Giroud would get goals from scraps. Can`t see him doing that. with only two full matches behind him and a missed goal in the last one, he should not have been taking the penalty. Xhaka or Ramsey should have.
Some people might find these marks somewhat generous but to put it into perspective, the lowest score I would have given for a City player would have been 7 for Walker and the highest 10 for Sane.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.