Arsenal vs Chelsea: 1-2, full-time report and player ratings – What was that line-up all about?
Written by Chris on April 18, 2009 23:00
A quick round-up of what the reaction of Arsenal supporters is on other Arsenal-based websites shows bitter disappointment after today’s defeat and to be honest, it comes to no surprise. With Song – one of our best players in the last couple of matches – and Arshavin – cup-tied for the Champions League – both on the bench, Arsene Wenger started with Diaby and Denilson in midfield, the same duo who were completely torn to pieces away at Villa and City earlier in the season, and that meant it would have been mighty tough to actually reach the final.
Yet we took the lead, with Walcott, just like in the Carling Cup final and unfortunately, the script was the same as it was in that match as Drogba sent Chelsea through. The second half, just like the first, started with the Gunners pushing forward and in the 47th minute, the ball breaks to Adebayor who pushed back before shooting and this saw his effort go high, wide and handsome.
In the 52nd minute, Denilson cheaply gave the ball away but just like in the first half, the Chelsea strikers fail to take advantage, also thanks to a vital interception by Toure. Minutes later, Diaby finds Walcott on the right who does well to cross it in the path of Van Persie but the Dutchman failed to make contact with the ball.
In the 67th minute, Chelsea went close again. Didier Drogba combined well with Frank Lampard but the Englishman’s volley went just wide. With both sides creating chances but failing to take advantage, the match looked going into extra time but Chelsea had other ideas: in the 83rd minute Lampard launches high a ball which Drogba does well to control, shrug off Silvestre, round Fabianski and slot the ball in. The keeper was lucky to escape in the first half, but not so lucky in the last minutes of the game.
To be honest, I’m not THAT disappointed, at least, I’m not as upset as I was at full time against Villa and City away from home. I mean, as it is, we all know how poor our midfield is when Diaby and Denilson play together so their performance comes to no surprise, but when you consider that with a little bit of luck we would have at least taken the game to extra time, seriously, it’s something we should be proud of.
What is beyond me are two things. The first one is why Arshavin or Nasri and Song were not in the starting eleven and the second is why Van Persie played on the wing. The Villareal game told a lot of things but two of the most important were Song’s maturity in midfield and Robin’s position just behind Adebayor. Wenger completely shuffled things around today and I can’t understand why.
Fabianski: 2 – Bad against Wigan, perfect against Villareal, awful today. Consistency is the key I’m afraid.
Gibbs: 7 – One of the few positive notes of today’s game.
Eboue: 6 – Very poor at the back but at least he did something worth mentioning when pushing forward.
Toure: 7 – Kept on fighting until the end, but it’s not easy when your partner is Silvestre.
Silvestre: 6 – The way he let Drogba go in the goal clearly shows his best days are over.
Diaby: 2 – I don’t think I’m wrong in saying he failed in all the things he tried.
Denilson: 3 – Way too many balls cheaply gave away and what was he thinking when pushing the referee?
Fabregas: 6 – His passes were very accurate but in more than one occassion he kept the ball and lost it rather than passing it. Unfortunately, he was suffocated by the presence of Diaby and Denilson.
Walcott: 7,5 – Glad to see Theo enjoying back-to-back performances, he’s getting closer to perfection.
Van Persie: 5 – Completely out of position. Why?
Adebayor: 5 – For the last two games he was saved by the goal, but today he failed to find the net.
Arshavin/Nasri/Bendtner: No Vote – Too little to judge but, I liked Nick’s strength and Samir’s distribution.