Monday, November 21, 2011

Norwich 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal made the game more difficult and made themselves more vulnerable by being unable to find their third goal. They should have been at least two goals up at the half time and when RVP had scored what turned out to be the winner with more than half an hour remaining, his side looked likely to finish the game with an emphatic win, but it wasn't to be.

It is hardly new that Arsenal wasted numerous chances to score and it was frustrating. However, while they continued attacking, they kept the possession very well to hold on to their narrow lead in the last 10 minutes. That's the difference this season. We hail the new resilient Arsenal.

Our Man of the Match is RVP for not just scoring two goals, but creating chances for his team-mates as well.

Player ratings:

Szczeny: 8
Made some good saves. He came out to claim the ball from Norwich's free-kick from the dangerous position in the final minutes, which potentially saved two points.

Koscielny: 7
He did OK, considering the fact that this was his first game at right-back in an Arsenal shirt (According to Wenger, he was trained as the right-back). I had never thought I would say this, but I prefer Jenkinson for this position after his impressive performance against West Brom. But I suppose this was a totally different game from the one against West Brom, who did not really turn up. Koscielny did an impeccable job defensively. Hopefully, as he gains confidence in his new role, he will make more forward runs and his link-up with Walcott will grow.

Mertesacker: 5
Terrible mistake to let Morison score from that situation. It may have been a foul on the German international, but Per should have dealt with the ball before letting Morison get anywhere near him. Arsene Wenger said in his post-match interview "I told Per that when you are in England facing goal, maybe in many countries you are safe but not here. That's what he has learned today".

Apart from this occasion, he was outmuscled a few times. He shouldn't allow himself to be bullied if he wants to survive in English football. Hopefully he has learned lessons from this game.

Vermaelen: 8
Solid at the back.

Santos: 6
He was caught out of position several times, mainly as a result of his unsuccessful tackles, exposing Arsenal's left-flank too often in the first half. His defensive performance was poor, but he was good offensively by creating goal-scoring chances, including the great through-ball to RVP.

Ramsey: 8
Linked up well with other attacking players and took every opportunity to get involved in attacking. He now seems to be back to his best before the horrific injury.

Arteta: 7
He seemed to have been quiet throughout the game. His name was mentioned only three times when he made a defensive mistake and when he had shots.

Song: 7
He battled for the ball in the middle of the park and set up RVP's second goal through his precise pass (which does not happen very often unfortunately).

Walcott: 8
He posed a genuine threat to Norwich defence. His shot hit the woodwork, which could have provided Arsenal with a much-needed third goal otherwise and he provided an assist for RVP's first goal. He is arguably the most improved Arsenal player this season. His recent performances, including those for England national team, have shown improvements in his defensive work and his movements without the ball. All he needs is consistency now.

Gervinho: 7
He was handful and did everything right except for final balls. He had at least two clear-cut chances among other goal-scoring opportunities, but could not convert them. He was sometimes slow to make decisions when he got the ball. In the post-match interview, Wenger commented on RVP: "He always makes the right decisions in a fraction of a second when there is little time available. That makes him exceptional." That's what Gervinho has to learn to become a world-class player like RVP.

Van Persie: 9
He created chances, as well as scoring goals. The second goal was superb, displaying his class. Also, while celebrating his goals with his team-mate, he urged them to keep focused and get on with the job. He is a great leader and has learned a lot from last season.


Benayoun: 6
He came off the bench at 77th minute. It was a short appearance, but he got involved in some attacking moves.

Djourou: N/A
He was an injury-time substitution to prop up the defence.

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