Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fulham 0 - Arsenal 3 (Adebayor 20', 39', Rosicky 82')

The game of zero saves

On an afternoon when neither goalkeeper recorded any saves, we won comfortably, as a result of two Adebayor headers and a superbly constructed counter-attack which showcased Eduardo's speed and crossing ability, and Rosicky's smart in-the-box placement.

The fluency of our passing game was definitely there, even though a 4-5-1 Fulham tried to make it difficult for us to find space in the midfield. We linked very well and we were able to find ample space on the wings - with Fulham posing virtually no threat on the counterattack, both Clichy and Sagna made countless overlapping runs. This allowed Hleb and Rosicky to penetrate inside (where they seem to be most comfortable anyway) and cause all kinds of coverage problems to a very shaky Fulham defense.

Now, on to the ratings...

Almunia - 7. "Zero saves" says it all; he was largely untroubled - and therefore unnoticed - throughout the entire game
Sagna - 8. His vastly improved crossing skills have been fully on display. Without a doubt, he had one of his top games in an Arsenal uniform, tirelessly running the right channel in support of Hleb and Rosicky
Gallas - 7. Solid at the back, he led the defense to 9th clean sheet of the season
Senderos - 7. His partnership with Gallas looks more solid with every outing
Clichy - 9. Tirelessly working the left wing, he put in quite possibly his best game of the season. His cross for Adebayor's first goal was inch-perfect.
Hleb - 6. Another mediocre showing. The lack of creativity he has shown lately continues to be rather troubling.
Fabregas - 6. See Hleb
Flamini - 7. Continued the trend of becoming not only the midfield "enforcer", but also the main link between defense and midfield
Rosicky - 7. On the left in the first half, on the right in the second - and drifting towards the middle the entire game.
Eduardo - 7. In the second half, with the game in absolute control, Arsene Wenger moved Eduardo on the left wing and brought Hleb behind Adebayor in a striker-supporting role. Here is what I am wondering: provided he is disciplined enought to assume the defensive responsibilities that this role would entail, can Eduardo become our "new Pires"? I think he possesses the prerequisite abilities (good speed and ball control, complemented by an unquestionable knack for being in the right spot at the right time) We'll wait and see.
Adebayor - 9. Very refreshing to see how potent of an aerial threat our target man has become. When coming outside the box, his first touch has been absolutely impeccable.

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