This Is Why I Love Football! (w/ Player Ratings)

The Late, Late Show Presented By Thierry Henry…

With Liverpool beating the Russians yesterday most people – including myself – believed that this would give Manchester United a licence to go for all 3 points today because whatever happened they would be still 6 points clear anyway. But United decided to keep it tight and stiffle Arsenal and it worked – well, for 83 minutes anyway.

The first half was like a chess match and we had most of the possession with Manchester United having the best of the first 5 minutes and the best of the final 5 minutes – with Lehmann making some excellent saves to keep out the league leaders.

United we sitting pretty in the second half when they scored off the break like Arsenal have been in recent weeks with their only real attack of the half. Larsson squared the ball to Scholes who was on the halfway line who played it wide to Ronaldo on the left wing. He played the ball into the empty space behind Eboue and Fabregas was left to track back – but Evra crossed the ball into the area and Toure’s touch only directed it to Rooney who scored his customary goal against Arsenal to score his only 5th of this Premiership campaign.

United did to Arsenal what we did against Blackburn and Liverpool!

After the goal the game failed to really get into gear and the disappointing Hleb was replaced by Robin Van Persie who was on the bench because of his ankle problem and it was a scrappy peice of play that lead to Arsenal’s equaliser.

Fabregas made a surging run into the Manchester United half and was tackled by Scholes and Evra, which lead to Rosicky and Cesc fighting for the ball on the edge of the area. The ball bounced around but Cesc managed to feed Rosicky on the right hand side to curle a great cross into the box. Henry missed the ball but Van Persie made a great run and smashed the ball into the roof of the net!

A fantastically taken goal and a fantastic equaliser!

From then on there was only one team who was going to win it.

Throughout the second half Team Manchester were wasting time, sitting on their 1-0 lead and now it had bitten them in the ass!

Arsenal kept fighting and they showed great desire until the final whistle. Eboue who has seen his crossing improve greatly this season and once he played a smart one-two with Rosicky he drove an outstanding cross into the 6 yard box with only seconds remaining. His pin-point cross found captain Henry and he obliged by heading the ball into the United net!

Thierry Henry had done it again!

The Gunners had won yet another testing match in 2007 and have made January a golden month for Arsenal – the team have been brilliant over the last few weeks and can only get better!

And Arsenal had fulfilled my prediction of winning the game 2-1!

Arsenal may be 12 points away from Manchester United by they are on the heels of Liverpool and Chelsea and there’s still a lot of football left to play this season…


Jens Lehmann – 8/10
Made some great saves – particularly at the end of the first half from a rasping shot from Rooney and a header from Larsson. Was exposed for the goal and didn’t stand a chance. An extra point for pretending to be injured at the end of the game!

Emmanuel Eboue – 8/10
Kept Ronaldo quiet and pushed back the winger with his forward runs. He Reduced the antics on the pitch and more importantly produced a brilliant cross for Thierry Henry for the winning goal.

Gael Clichy – 7/10
Coped well against Rooney on the wing and couldn’t really do anything about the goal. Rooney was quiet for most of the game and that was thanks to Gael. Also made a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Larsson who was through on goal and looked certain to score.

Philippe Senderos – 6/10
Was mainly solid but made some really basic defending errors early on in the game. Kept Giggs and Larsson quiet for the most part.

Kolo Toure – 8/10
Organised the backline well and unlucky that his header directed the ball to Rooney for the goal. Pushed forward in the closing stages of the second half and forced Manchester United further and further back. Did well against Larsson and Giggs.

Alexander Hleb – 4/10
Very poor and substituted after 65 minutes. Couldn’t keep the ball at all which was disappointing from a player who’s game is excellent ball retention. Passes were inaccurate and he lost Evra for the Manchester United goal.

Tomas Rosicky – 7/10
Wasn’t afraid to shoot but his attempts at goal were well off the mark. Ineffective for most of the match except for the final 15 minutes when he finally found his stride but he did contribute to the goals. Did well to create the opening with Cesc for the cross for the first goal and played a smart one-two for the Eboue cross at the end of the game.

Mathieu Flamini – 8/10
Worked tirelessly in midfield for the suspended Gilberto and put in another solid performance.

Cesc Fabregas – 9/10
Did well against a tight 5 man United midfield and pushed the team forward whenever he could. Suffered from United’s deep formation but found space and moved the ball well, and was in the build up for both Arsenal goals.

Emmanuel Adebayor – 8/10
Ran his heart out for the cause and gave everything. Looked like the biggest threat from Arsenal and gave Vidic and Rio Ferdinand all kinds of problems.

Thierry Henry – 6/10
Found it hard against a solid Manchester United defence and was quiet for most of the match. But Henry is a special player and given time and space can kill teams in an instant and did just that right at the death. One extra point for goading Gary Neville after Van Persie scored the equaliser!


Robin Van Persie – 8/10
Only played 25 minutes but showed great movement for the goal and to score from that angle was excellent and the quality of the goal shouldn’t be underestimated.

Julio Baptista – 5/10
Came on after 80 minutes for Flamini but didn’t have much time to make a contribution.


34 thoughts on “This Is Why I Love Football! (w/ Player Ratings)

  1. 8 is abit generous for Flamini he was average today. Adebayor was the biggest “lion” out there, he helped everyone out even the ball boys. I think he’s the main reason United’s defence was so tired at the end. Our captain looked uninterested in challenging for high balls & I noticed Toure and Senderos started aiming all their long balls towards Ade!

    Rosicky played in Hlebs position perfectly. Combining well with Cesc and Eboue. Hleb needs to be as direct as Rosicky. Overall It was a great win. We missed Gilberto & we will be missing Van Persie.

  2. It’s alright Jim, United are just useless and have no bottle when it comes to the big games! Especially against the big 4 and in Europe!

    You guys struggled with Arsenal today and after you went 1-0 up that should have been it – Arsenal would have certainly won if they were 1-0 up! But you sad fuckers just capitualted in 10 minutes of madness and Arsenal domination!

    It’s alright though, you’ve still got the Carling Cup! Oh wait, you don’t even have that! Ha ha ha!

    I predict a collapse from the Shite in the next few months! 🙂

  3. so proud of the boys today, they never gave up and fought to the death. might have been 2 late goals but football is played for 90 minutes so the bitter mancs can piss off!

    also our form since titi’s return has been outstanding! we’ve won 5 from 5 against some of the toughest teams in the league!

  4. Hleb didn’t deserve a 4/10. Use some intelligence. Every time he got the ball he carried forward a vital ten yards dribbling in front of Evra. This helped push Man United back. Okay, he didn’t have his best game but your not that stupid are you?

  5. Great win, but for us to win the prem…. ManU has to lose 12 more points than us in the remaining 42points… I don’t see how that will happen…

  6. Thought Eboue was a disappointing again with his antics but he played well. Clutching his face everytime he was challenged and then having the cheek to tick off RONALDO ABOUT HIS DIVING!!! Everyone else did well. Particularly Cesc and Adebayor. Today we beat Man Utd because for the first time in years we out fought them. For me, because of this, this was a really big win. Previous wins have been a result of skill etc but this time we matched them for desire, fitness and application. However we are still al long way of the leaders.

  7. Mancs – shut up with your pathetic jibes. YOU LOST TO ARSENAL AT HOME AND WERE TOTALLY OUTCLASSED, TODAY YOU LOST TO ARSENAL AND WERE BEATEN BY OUR SUPERIOR DESIRE AND TALENT. I know you won’t get over it and we’ll be celebrating for the rest of the season. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!

    Love the look on old man ferguson’s face when Henry buried his header. Priceless!

  8. Eboue – 8/10 (6/10 due to assist) a bit generous, he did keep Ronaldo quiet and the cross for the winner but he was just as much at fault as Hleb for the Manchester United goal, as usual when caught out of position very lazy in getting back. What a drama queen when he makes an error he pretends he is injured. Must improve attitude of pretending to be injured and use his pace to get back into defensive duties more quickly and be more aggressive when challenging for headers.

  9. Bet these “Mancs” commenting here started supporting them around the time they built up a six point advantage over Chelscum.

    Agree with Ash and gooner24’s comments. Special mention to Clichy and Adebayor. Gael was our best defender today – I think Toure’s flick on Evra’s ball put him off – completely frustrating Ronaldo and Rooney. Who needs Cash (who was roasted yesterday, BTW)? And Adebayor did so much for the team, winning the ball, holding it up, playing one-touch football, making runs on and off the ball. He deserved a goal. It hasn’t been since 03-04 that I though this team could come back like they did. WE were the more phyical team today. Rosicky and Cesc outmuscling the opposition. When have we seen that? And it’s been two years since Henry planted such a beautiful header. Oh, it’s good to be a goona today.

  10. Thanks Gerry Gooner as least I know someone agrees with me regarding Eboue, I might be harsh sometime regarding him but if he is to improve and be with use for a very long time he better start soon especially the clutching his face every time he was challenged and his diving, as said he is not better than Ronaldo, Diouf & Others !!!!!!!!!!

  11. Eboue may not have entirely cut out all his antics but I would rather have him deliver the cross on an overlap than Hoyte. I am sure Wenger will sort out the boy’s head sooner than later.

  12. How, exactly, does Fabregas warrant a 9/10? He’s a 7/10. Flamini was 7/10. Rosicky was 8/10, Hleb was 6/10.

    I’d give Eboue 7/10 and Clichy 8/10. Clichy’s only error in the match was not heading away the cross that came to Rooney — which is harsh, given that the ball was deflected midflight.

  13. Jordan – I presume you didn’t see the game? Cesc was terrific he ran the show, didn’t give away possesion and shackled Scholes & Carrick in the midfield.

  14. 97-98 season – we were 13 points behind Man U in mid feb. and won the double. Theres a lot of football to be played, and the title is wide open. The chances arent good, and we’re 4th, not second – but – we’ve overhauled a gap this big before, therefore it is possible again.

    Chelsea are imploding, and will do well to hang on to 2nd.

    Ignore the mancs, too. Just bitter. Maybe they should support their home town team, eh boys? ( That’d be LA galaxy then?)

  15. Great win….sad only the sick united followers come on the site. Most genuine fans are happy to conceed that AFC have beaten home & away in style.

    United are another side that revels in winning things against the poor sides, but bottles it against quality.

    I only disagree with your ratings for Clichy, Senderos & Hleb. I cannot give the defenders less than 7/10, and hleb 6/10. I think you should watch just how much Senderos does in a game and not focus on the minor mishaps early on. He was immense as was Clichy.

  16. How poor was Henrik Larsson? Did Fergie fell for Wengers comments about Larsson giving him nightmares? I think Saha could have caused more danger to us. Wenger seems to have the edge over Fergie once again

  17. I agree with you sammy – there’s still a lot of football to be played and while United and Chelsea have had their strong period (in the first half of the league) Liverpool and Arsenal have got over their early season jitters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be a hell of a struggle but if Arsenal perform like they have done against Liverpool and Man United then anything can happen. Yesterday’s game showed the desire in the team which was special and this team don’t know when they’re beaten!

    And Jordan, what are you on about? Fabregas was the best player in the Arsenal team! Whereas a few of the others like Hleb were useless. I’m a fan of Hleb but yesterday just wasn’t his day! There’s nothing wrong with having a bad game now and then but don’t take it personally when he plays rubbish which he did!

    It will be interesting how United react in the next few league games!

  18. Sammy, in 1998 we had three games in hand plus a game against UTD. We can only play UTD twice in one season. If we had games in hand and another chance to take points off them it would still be very hard. The fact that we do not have any games in hand and wont be playing them again in the Prem this season makes it impossible. I still love to see it mind you!

  19. Fabragas was fantastic… He was my man of the match by far. Clichy was pretty good too… Henry was pretty disappointing, the only thing he did right was the goal.

  20. i think you guys are a bit too harsh to Eboue, he had an excellent game, except for a few minor mistakes. were it not for him and his superb pass, you wouldn’t be celebrating like u did yesterday…i love the gunners, but i am so ashamed of u right now, u’r being really ungrateful…would you rather have hoyte there yesterday? i didn’t think so…u r damaging Eboue’s confidence. plz stop and encourage him instead…

  21. I thought Eboue had a good game and deserved the 8/10 for his runs, which ultimately resulted in that great cross for Henry! Ronaldo was quiet for most of the match and so was Rooney when he was on the left.

    There does seem to be a lot of Arsenal fans slating Eboue. Much more than supporters of other teams and players, such as Blackburn and Savage, Man City and Thatcher (now at Charlton) and Man United and Ronaldo (after the ‘wink’).

    People should lay off the guy and the kid is still only young!

  22. I am as big a fan as anyone of Alexander Hleb when he is on top of his game, but before I even saw the ratings, I had decided my rating was 4/10 for him against Man U. I don’t care how many yards he makes with the ball if he meekly gives it away at the end of a run. If his team-mates have run with him expecting a move to be developing, how exposed does that leave us then?
    What a complex character he is; several times lately he has been our Man of the Match in my opinion. Yesterday he was just dire. With the competition for places in this rapidly improving squad, he must find the secret to consistency or I fear he will become only part of our Carling Cup team

  23. I think we have to accept that Henry is no longer 24 or 25. He can’t run 100 yards 100 miles an hour throughout the match. Adebayor is doing that work now taking up the slack. But in case you didn’t notice, Titi still played a huge part in both goals. And maybe that’s what he’s saving himself for. Certain moments where he can change the match.

    I thought Eboue was getting too much stick before this match. Don’t forget how vital he was during last season’s CL run, on both sides of the pitch. His defending has taken a step back, but he kept Ronaldo fairly quiet with help from Toure and Hleb, which is no small feat considering the form the prat’s been in.

    This was one bad match in about six or so for Hleb. That’s pretty consistent, considering that Reyes had about one GOOD match in six.

    I think Larsson was pretty good in the first half. But Rooney again, apart from the goal, was anonymous.

  24. if arsenal keep going 2nd place isn’t a million miles away, since chelscum are really struggling. and i thought all their problems were supposed to be over with the ‘£50million’ cech returning! hahahaha!

  25. come on! which do u prefer? be my guest.. home or away!

    it’s the same…

    Arsenal for life!

    Keep the young gun shooting!


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