Sunday, 14 June 2009

Arsereview 2008-09 Player Ratings: Midfielders (Part one)

I had a theory. The theory was that since there was such a dearth of Arsenal news, I would leave a reasonable gap between each post - that way I would still have something to write throughout the summer.

Well actually I didn't blog for three main reasons:

1) I had exams and had to pretend that I was revising.

2) I bought a new cookbook and thought I would try out some of the recipes - I made some moderately good fresh pasta.

3) I wanted to provide some interesting insights within my player ratings.

But nonetheless, my theory may ring true.

Anyway, lets press on:

Abou Diaby: The common consensus that Abou Diaby is inconsistent is unfair; can you name one good Abou Diaby performance all season? - He is consistent - just consistently bad.

Arguably, he played well for half an hour against Stoke. But that was an utterly meaningless game. And against Stoke.

His lack of footballing intelligence is astounding. People can criticise Denilson until the cows come home, but the fact is, his short passing doesn't give the ball away; Diaby's standard play is to dribble in circles until he gives the ball away to the opposition.

The comparison with Vieira is ridiculous. PV4 used to run strongly through the middle and give us a territorial advantage. I just don't see that from Diaby.

If he plays off the striker, I can accept that - when we're suffering from injuries he plays quite well there. The United home League game is evidence of this.

But he simply isn't good enough to play wide (too one-footed) or in central midfield (not enough talent) for Arsenal. Period. 5.

Alex Song: The critics of Song claimed he didn't create enough to play central midfield for Arsenal.

But he wasn't deployed as a playmaker. He played in the Gilberto/Makelele role. And to be fair to Alex, can anyone remember great assists from those two?

I accept Gilberto had his great season where he scored 12 goals. But that was truly exceptional. Plus half of them were from the penalty spot.

That said, Song's season was far from perfect. Particularly, in the first half of the season when we lost a succession of League games he produced a series of below-par performances.

And whilst he improved greatly as the year went on, he is still a tad slow. Anelka's goal in the recent match against Chelsea was testament to this - whilst he may read the game well, he doesn't move fast enough.

Moreover, the abiding image of Alex Song from this season - at least for me - is his behaviour on the touchline before he came on in the North London derby: it showed a startling lack of professionalism the way he was joking on the touchline. It would have been acceptable if he had then slotted in well - there's no harm in enjoying your football.

But instead, he played with a lacadaisical attitude and as if he didn't care about the result. I'm not saying he cost us that match. But that was a safe match until he came on. Make of that what you will.

Ultimately, it very much was a season of two halves for Song. Pre-Christmas, he was poor. But in the new year, his mistake against Chelsea was really an exception - generally he was excellent.

Whether we need a new holding midfielder is still an unanswered question. But Song playing there is no disaster. 7.(Mainly for year-on-year improvement).

Emmanuel Eboué: Has there been a more divisive figure in history?

Arguably, Martin Luther was more divisive - for every Protestant there were many who despised Luther and thought he should be killed.

But amongst Gooners, Eboue is the player who has most divided fans as far as I can remember.

The support he received in the tail end of the season shows what a fine line it is between cult hero and figure of hate. But that support was mainly because of some good performances where he chipped in with a few goals and passed the ball nicely.

And the turn-around is remarkable: because, for all many (including I) criticised the booing of Eboue against Wigan, that wasn't a defence of Eboue, but rather us highlighting the fact that the booing was counter-productive.

Yes, there were extenuating circumstances on this occasion - but the booing was the culmination of much pent-up fury, not one bad performance.

It's true to say that he has a desire to prove himself to the Arsenal fans. He has a true will to make the Arsenal win and the fans appreciate that.

But the crux of the matter is this: Eboue is a back-up right-back is okay. Him playing in midfield won't lead to a title triumph. And if he has a real desire for first-team football he should be let go. 6.

I don't want to go on too long and I'm also hungry, so I'll leave it there for the time being.

But there will should be another few players getting reviewed tomorrow. Maybe there'll even be some positives.

Keep the faith,


Dov said...

Can't wait to read what you think of the signing of last summer, Bischoff, as well as Czech superstar Rosiscky.

Dov said...

Also is it just me or are you advertising Manchester United on your page???

CPW said...

first of all; it is disgusting that u r advertising united! u r selling out for 37p (or whatever it is u get paid for it).
also, whilst i agree with your rating for alex i find ur comments overly negative! he is very adept at simply using his strength to get his body inbetween attacking player and ball, and for that he has been key in what success we have had this season, limited as it may be.

a slight improvement though bernie!

Adam said...

The ads are random - google picks up on what is written on the page and produce ads in response to that.

I mentioned matches against United/Chelsea so I'm not overly surprised.

But Dov, I think it would be in incredibly bad taste to rate Rosicky - I was horrified when a prominent national newspaper gave Eduardo a 4 for his performance against Birmingham...

Anonymous said...

You needed a cookbook to make pasta!! Are you retarded??

Adam said...

Fresh pasta u mug.

And it was for the filling actually...

Dov said...

- I was horrified when a prominent national newspaper gave Eduardo a 4 for his performance against Birmingham...

Anonymous said...
You needed a cookbook to make pasta!! Are you retarded??

Eduardo was given a 4!! That's hilarious! He played 3 minutes before his bone fucked off out of his body.
Also Bernie a cookbook for pasta.......really???