Norwich City vs Arsenal, 1-2: Full time analysis and player ratings
Written by Chris on November 19, 2011 21:15
Arsenal wasted a number of chances as they again needed Robin van Persie to get all three points, against Norwich City.
I think many will agree with me that after the International break, what was important this afternoon was to get all three points so as to keep the unbeaten run intact and even though we indeed missed a lot of chances in the final third and made a terrible mistake in defence allowing them to take the lead, we leave Carrow Road with a win and the sixth place in the table, not bad considering the way we started the season.
The game started with Arsene Wenger opting to move Laurent Koscielny on the right with Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker in central defence and of course Andre Santos on the left and, I must say, considering it was his first game on the right wing for the Gunners, Laurent did exceptionally well as he confirmed that defensively he could be our best option during the absence of Bacary Sagna.
I say defensively because he was less adventurous than Carl Jenkinson when we pushed forward but in a game like today’s I feel he was indeed the best option. For home games, against weaker opposition, Carl would probably be a better option but the youngster is unfortunately out for a month so I’m afraid that alternative is not valid anymore, for the time being.
I was also, of course, impressed with Theo Walcott. I am one of those who believe that Theo needs to be more consistent out there so it’s great to see him produce back-to-back convincing performances, like Gervinho after all, who did miss chances in front of goal but was a constant threat down the left in the first half.
To conclude, it will be interesting to see what changes Arsene will do for the mid-week game against Borussia Dortmund. Mikel Arteta was far from convincing today so we might as well see Tomas Rosicky against his old club but as always, let’s for now enjoy this win and start thinking about the next game from tomorrow!
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Szczesny: 6 – Good game for our goalkeeper who was of course blameless when we conceded and was ready to block from Anthony Pilkington on minute 51 as he once more rolled back the years and showed us why he was nicknamed the “young Zinedine” as a child.
Vermaelen: 7,5 – Solid and not shy to push forward when having the opportunity to do so. Impressive in the 49th minute as he raced in the Norwich City half and delivered a very good cross for Gervinho’s head with the midfielder’s effort too weak to trouble the goalkeeper.
Mertesacker: 5 – A mistake is a mistake and even though Steve Morison might have fouled the tall German, it is clear that the way Per tried to block the Norwich man when we conceded was amateurish, to say the least. Hopefully, Per will bounce back from this immediately and the positive result will surely help.
Koscielny: 6,5 – As I said in the introduction, Laurent had a very solid debut as right back as he was dominant in the air and very good with his positioning.
Santos: 6 – I feel Andre was easily beaten in more than one occasion on the left wing as he again gives us some reasons for concern, defensively. Offensively, he was better as he also forced a save from goalkeeper John Ruddy in the 20th minute after some nice footwork.
Song: 5 – Very, very disappointing. Alex gave away possession way too many times to consider his performance a good one as he also looked slow and sluggish in more than occassion throughout the game. But, he did provide the pass for Robin’s second goal, so credit for that.
Ramsey and Arteta: 6 / 5,5 – It’s funny that Mikel was one of the few players who didn’t go away for Internationals yet he looked out of shape. Produced a great pass in the first minute of the game but then made way too mistakes when on the ball and was poor from set-pieces. Aaron was better, involved in many of our moves and was not shy to make a number of interesting runs in the Norwich penalty box.
Gervinho: 6,5 – Some will be very disappointed with his finishing but let’s not forget that he’s first of all a winger and as a winger he’s doing an exceptional job. In the first half he was one of our best players as he fought to win the ball, assisted for his team-mates and also went close on minute 23. Granted, the second half was poor but I wouldn’t worry that much on his finishing.
Walcott: 8 – Started the game with a brilliant run down the right finished with a very good pass for Robin who failed to make a clean contact. Went close, on minute 11, as he was unlucky to see his effort cleared off the line then turned provider for Robin when we equalised in the 26th minute. More of the same in the second half as he was again a threat down the flank and went close on minute 87 with an interesting effort.
van Persie: 8,5 – Scored two, dropped deep when needed(fantastic the pass for Gervinho in the 54th minute) and keeps the lead in the top scorers chart. Rating Robin more than 8 is becoming boring but oh well, we all love what we’re seeing from the Dutchman.
Benayoun/Djourou: 6 / No Vote – Yossi came on and did just what Arsene wanted as he kept the ball and helped us secure all three points. Johan came on just to celebrate the win with the rest of the lads.