Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town, 2-1: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on January 30, 2011 20:00
Analysing today’s game is not easy but knowing where to start is not difficult: Just like Leeds at the Emirates, Huddersfield did not deserve to lose the game and most importantly, they did not deserve to go down because of a dive.
BBC described Nicklas’ won penalty as “Harsh on Huddersfield. Very harsh. Nicklas Bendtner goes down very cheaply in the area following the faintest of touches from Jamie McCombe”. Yes, he dived, just like Theo dived in the previous round and I wonder why we need such tricks to beat Championship and League One teams.
Incidentally, today’s game answered a lot of questions. To start with, Sebastien Squillaci is not as quality as Arsene Wenger wants us to believe and if he honestly believes we can cope back there because we have the 30-year old, then let’s hope to have Johan and Laurent fit and healthy for the remainder of the season.
The situation on the left is also critical. When Gael Clichy was going through a bad patch at the start of the season I wanted Kieran Gibbs to be given a run in the side to understand whether he can be an alternative to the Frenchman. I’m afraid he’s not, not yet at least. The ease with which the Huddersfield players were crossing from the left was embarrassing and the yellow card was foolish to concede, to say the least.
We desperately need – or shall I say needed – a versatile defender who can play centrally and on the left because suspensions, injuries or fatigue could easily take away our best players from the team and if that happens, well, I’ll let you guess the scenario.
In midfield and offensive department there were some shocking performances as well including Marouane Chamakh who looks like a shadow of himself. He did assist Nicklas for the first goal but the rest was horrible and if his reluctance to shoot is now a known fact, today’s game showed how slow he is to react and understand his team mates like when he failed to understand Andrey’s intentions in the 29th minute, with Nicklas the one sprinting to meet the Russian’s pass.
We survive and to end with positives, it’s important to mention Andrey Arshavin’s performance who keeps on showing signs of improvement including a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Joey Gudjonsson in the 54th minute. With Samir out for at least three weeks we desperately need the Russian to deliver and fortunately, signs in the last week or so have been positive from him.
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Almunia: 6 – Produced a phenomenal save minutes before we conceded although I was disappointed with some of his decision making.
Koscielny: 6.5 – Caught ball watching in the 38th minute allowing Anthony Pilkington to raise and head goalwards but contrary to his colleague at the heart of the defence he had a solid performance.
Squillaci: 3 – A terrible mistake in the 15th minute was the start of a set of comical errors from the Frenchman who lost his man like an amateur minutes later and was sent off before the break. Not sure why he was sent off for a challenge outside the area but Jamie McCombe was only shown a yellow.
Eboue: 5 – Some nice runs in the first half but defensively he left his wing exposed in a number of occasions.
Gibbs: 3 – Shocking game from the youngster. Poor deliveries from the left, foolish yellow to concede and way too weak to challenge the Huddersfield players on the left.
Denilson: 2 – One of the most outrageous performances I can remember from an Arsenal player in these last couple of seasons. Gifted the ball to Alan Lee in the 27th minute of the game, useless when Jack Hunt sprinted forward in the move which led to Squillaci’s red and too easily dispossessed off the ball.
Nasri: 5 – Quiet start to the game and suffered the injury just when he was starting to make an impact such as a delicious pass for Nicklas in the 19th minute.
Diaby: 5 – He is a frustrating player, Abou. Just coming from back injury, I believe he had an acceptable performance as he determined and spot on with his defensive duties. Unfortunately, he was very careless in the final third and – yet again – horrible when defending set-pieces.
Chamakh: 4 – The one who picked Nicklas for the first goal but nothing more from the Moroccan, as I said in the introduction.
Arshavin: 6,5 – Missed an easy chance in the first minute of the game but improved as the game progressed as he was a constant threat on the left and delivered some interesting crosses for his team mates. Needs to improve his finishing, that’s for sure, but at least things are working for him in the assist department.
Bendtner: 6,5 – Our best player in the first part of the game, full of energy, full of runs and of course the one who gave us the lead. Missed important chances and faded a little in the second half.
Rosicky: 5,5 – Fantastic pass for Andrey in the first minute of the second half but is it enough? I’m afraid not.
Song: 5 – Struggled at the back Alex especially in the air. Lost almost all aerial duals as he looked clearly uncomfortable to play at the back.
Fabregas: 7 – Came on, produced a number of fantastic passes for the offensive department and scored the penalty. We’ve seen it before. Having said that, I feel he should set an example and stop harassing and challenging the referee the way he does; asking for a red or kicking the ball as if to challenge the referee to show him a second yellow.