Category Archives: Player Ratings

Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal: Match Report and Player Ratings

Crystal Palace summer signing Cabaye attempts to close down Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil during the first half of the league contest

Ozil was exquisite yesterday! MoTM!

Crystal Palace 1 (Ward 28′) – Arsenal 2 (Giroud 16′, Delaney o.g. 55′)

Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

Following the shocking season opener against West Ham, I expected the Gunners to prove their worth against a Crystal Palace outfit that has been hugely impressive under Alan Pardew. With Alexis Sanchez back to full fitness, it was simply a case of who was going to leave the team to accommodate the Chilean sensation and your guess was as right as mine, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal began the game with more urgency and Alexis almost got off the mark when he received a superb Ozil pass, dallied on the ball before firing a shot through the keepers legs but a defender was on the line to block the effort. Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha were a handful for the Arsenal defenders, using their pace and trickery to good effect but the full backs, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin, were up to the task. Arsenal opened the scoring when Ozil drifted in a great pass behind Olivier Giroud but the forward showed off some improvisation to fire a shot that showed off his technical quality.

Giroud's acrobatic shot landed in the back of the net after Delaney failed to block his goalbound effort from flying past McCarthy  

Giroud’s acrobatic finish

After scoring that goal, the Gunners took their foot off the pedal and were punished for it through a combination of juvenile defending and some questionable goalkeeping from Petr Cech. Laurent Koscielny will take some part of the blame for failing to close Joel Ward down but while I shouldn’t take anything away from a perfectly executed low drive to the Arsenal net, I’d expected Pete Cech to at least put a limb to stop the ball. It just breezed past him like…

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech looks dejected after conceding his third Premier League goal since completing his move to north London

Double agent?

That was the third goal he was conceding in his first two Arsenal games. He had conceded two in his last nine for Chelsea. Speaking of Chelsea, lol, never mind! 😥

Arsenal sprang back to life after conceding the equalizer and the onslaught continued. Alexis and Ozil combined superbly to feed Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the area but his flicked effort was saved by Alex McCarthy. At the start of the second half, Crystal Palace almost took the lead when Conor Wickham reacted quickly to Zaha’s cross but his effort clipped the post when Cech rooted to the spot.

Arsenal got their breakthrough when Bellerin swung in a cross that was headed goalwards by Alexis but Delaney’s anticipation turned disastrous as he put the ball past his own goalie.

Delaney conceded the own goal that decided the contest

Crystal Palace tried to bring themselves back to the game when Jason Puncheon showed good control before firing a shot straight at Cech. Francis Coquelin can thank his lucky stars he remained on the pitch after a series of rash challenges and Wenger took him out for the Ox, deploying Ramsey in the holding position. With Crystal Palace fighting for an equalizer, they left gaping holes at the back but the Gunners didn’t exploit it. Ozil’s dinked a neat ball for Ramsey but he blasted it over. Santi Cazorla and the Ox also had some point-blank efforts that were saved by McCarthy and Wenger did his bit to bring on Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta that added some steel to the team.

In the end, it was good to finally get three points in the log table and I hope this would be a start of a good run of results in the team’s bid to challenge for honors this season.

Player Ratings

Defense

Petr Cech had a relatively routine day in goal but in all honesty, he hasn’t been convincing. 6/10

Hector Bellerin was very efficient in his defensive duties and battled hard with Crystal Palace’s wingers. 7/10

Nacho Monreal put up another solid display at the back. 7/10

Laurent Koscielny could have done better in preventing the goal from the hosts. 6/10

Per Mertesacker didn’t have much to do in the game. 6/10

Midfield

Francis Coquelin had a frustrating game and almost earned himself an early bath. 6/10

Aaron Ramsey was industrious as ever but he could have done a bit better with his finishing. 7/10

Santi Cazorla always made himself available for a pass and was better when he was restored to the middle. 7/10

Mesut Ozil had 98% passing accuracy, made 10 crosses, created five chances and had an assist. Man of the Match performance. 10/10

Forwards

Olivier Giroud showed his team work skill set and must be delighted to score such a wonderfully-crafted acrobatic finish. 8/10

Substitutes

Mikel Arteta was at his combative best with his most telling contribution coming when he stopped Lee from having a goal attempt. 7/10

Kieran Gibbs offered some protection to Monreal on the left. 7/10

The Ox was all-action as usual but his end product was found wanting. He should have finished that late effort though. 6/10

Sayonara

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Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea: Match Report and Player Ratings

Third preseason trophy

Arsenal 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 23′) – Chelsea

Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

That’s the crazy thing about working offshore. One minute you’ve landed on the facility. The next, you’re working your arse off with your only breaks coming when you wanna eat but hey, it’s all about the mulla’.

Arsenal hosted Chelsea in probably the last English game I might watch live this season :'(. With me currently offshore and starting my Masters in September, watching live Premier League matches may not be in my lexicon but I’d definitely watch me some Champions League footie. 🙂

Arsenal’s team selection for the clash with Chelsea was a sign of some things to come in the campaign as Hector Bellerin got the nod ahead of Mathieu Debuchy and Theo Walcott starting ahead of Giroud. The Gunners got off to a rather swift start with the Ox combining with Walcott but Thibaut Courtois was on hand to make a save. Mesut Ozil was trying to make things thick in midfield but he was on the end of some rather nasty challenges from the opposition and there was even an instance when Ramires had his knee in Ozil’s mid-rift.

Arsenal finally got their breakthrough when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain latched onto a good pass from Walcott, cut inside Cesar Azpilicueta and blasted the ball past Courtois.

Courtois dives desperately to his right in an attempt to prevent Oxlade-Chamberlain's rasping drive finding the top corner of his net

Ox’s effort breezed past Courtois

Strangely, that was the Ox’s first goal for the club outside the Emirates Stadium. The lad was just too fond of scoring at home. The Ox has stated that he wants to score more goals this season and I’m hoping that he gets his wishes.

Chelsea some chances to get an equalizer but they fluffed their chances with Ramires missing a header from point blank range. He also fashioned another chance for himself when Hector Bellerin gave out the ball cheaply but his effort went wide.

In the second half, Chelsea brought on Radamel Falcao for the offside Lord, Loic Remy, but the Colombian didn’t fare any better. Chelsea mounted some intense pressure in the second half and it took some spirited defending from the Gunners to keep the Blues at bay. Oscar flighted in a free kick that was destined for the net but Petr Cech stepped up to make a great save. His aerial dominance was on show yet again and I’m sure he most have been very delighted to beat his old side.

Player Ratings

Defense

Petr Cech had a relatively untroubled game by his standards as his defense offered him great protection. 7/10

Hector Bellerin struggled in the game and almost gifted the opposition a goal with his sloppy play. A game he’d rather forget quickly. 5/10

Nacho Monreal put up another efficient performance in defense, doing his duties with minimal fuss. 7/10

Laurent Koscielny was a colossus at the back, breaking up opposition play and making vital interceptions. 8/10

Per Mertesacker had a good game at the back and he read the opposition play superbly. 7/10

Midfield

Francis Coquelin worked hard in midfield and did his bit to break up the opposition attack. 7/10

Santi Cazorla was at his cunning best with his silky touches. 7/10

Mesut Ozil did okay in midfield and was on the end of some rash challenges. 7/10

Aaron Ramsey was ubiquitous in midfield and his all-action play was a pleasurable site. 8/10

Attack

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put up another great shift and scored the goal that ended Wenger’s drought against Mourinho. 8/10

Theo Walcott provided a neat assist to the Ox but he didn’t offer much in attack. 6/10

Substitutes

Olivier Giroud was a thorn in the flesh of the defenders but his finishing let him down. 6/10

Mikel Arteta brought some stability to the midfield. 7/10

Kieran Gibbs didn’t play enough to get a rating.

Food for thought.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 1-0 Wolfsburg: Match Report and Player Ratings

Another day, another trophy

Arsenal 1 (Walcott 50′) – Wolfsburg 0

Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

If you might have noticed, I’m having some technical difficulties with the appearance of the site but I’ve contracted Mr. Fix It in the Wreck it Ralph movie to sort things out. Bear with me.

To be frank, I missed the entire first half of the match against Wolfsburg because I was in Yaba but from the highlights I saw afterwards, I didn’t really miss much. Theo Walcott started as a center forward and he had a couple of chances to make his mark. Firing a shot at the goalie with his first attempt and losing the composure I believe he’s renowned for. Mesut Ozil also hit the deck after a miscued effort that just missed by a lick of paint.

It was the second half I witnessed and I saw that young Gun, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, strutting his stuff with such confidence. After making mince meat of some marker, he had the option of passing to Chuba Akpom and Theo Walcott but the young lad chose the right option of feeding Walcott that toe poked the ball past Diego Benaglio to score what proved to be the match winner.

Walcott celebrates with Jeff Reine-Adelaide after the youngster set up his goal in the second half

Walcott celebrating with Reine-Adelaide

Arsenal almost shot themselves on the foot when Mikel Arteta uncharacteristically gifted the ball to Kevin de Bruyne of all people but the Belgian blasted his shot into orbit. Reine-Adelaide continued to run the show and he made an audacious attempt with the outside of his boot to Walcott’s path. The Englishman put on the afterburners but Benaglio showed some good anticipation to avert the danger. Walcott was getting into the groove and he even attempted a Thierry Henry-esque one time finish that missed its intended target.

Petr Cech was enjoying his home debut and he was determined to mark it with a clean sheet. There were a couple of goal attempts from Ricardo Rodriguez and Josuha Guilavogui but it was bread and butter stuff for the Czech legend. Wenger wanted to add some oil to Arsenal’s engine by bringing on Aaron Ramsey and Ox. Both players almost contributed to scoring a second goal when Ox made one of his trademark slalom runs before feeding Ramsey but the Welsh Jesus’ chip went wide off the mark.

From that point onwards, it was a relatively dull affair that was sparked to life by Isaac Hayden’s beautiful curled effort that brought out the best in the goalie. The solitary goal was enough for the Gunners to win the Emirates Cup for the first time in five years.

Player Ratings

Defense

Petr Cech was assured in goal and made routine saves when he needed to. 7/10

Calum Chambers has adapted well to his center back role and he did okay at the heart of the Arsenal defense. 7/10

Gabriel didn’t have much to do then make some Denilson-esque side passes all game long. 6/10

Hector Bellerin struggled a bit defensively and didn’t offer much of a threat from an attacking standpoint. 6/10

Nacho Monreal put up another solid display as you’d expect from the Spaniard. 7/10

Midfield

Mikel Arteta looked tidy in possession but he almost committed an error that would have led to a goal. 6/10

Santi Cazorla didn’t influence the game as much as he would have liked. 6/10

Jack Wilshere had a very good game, spraying passes with such finesse. 7/10

Mesut Ozil didn’t replicate his awesome form of the previous game but he did good too. 7/10

Attack

Jeff Reine-Adelaide didn’t play like a 17-year-old and he showed why the club was ready to invest in him. Such a top lad. 9/10

Theo Walcott got another run-out as a center forward and popped up with the all-important goal. His numbers surely speak for him. 8/10

Substitutes

Chuba Akpom has been a different player since his hat-trick against Singapore. Terribly selfish and he struggled yesterday as well. 4/10

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injected his directness and pace into the game which changed the outlook of things. I’m tipping the lad for greatness this season. 7/10

Aaron Ramsey added some steel to the midfield when he replaced Arteta. 7/10

Olivier Giroud and Isaac Hayden didn’t play long enough to get a Gooner Daily rating.

All roads lead to Wembley.

Food for thought.

Sayonara.

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