Date: 30th April 2007 at 8:41pm
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The match against Fulham was a rerun of the same game we saw almost every month by the Gunners, especially at Ashburton Grove. The only interesting ‘twist’ was that we actually took the lead EARLY in the game and went to the traditional make the opposition goalie better than Buffon.

1. Jens Lehmann – 4 – would have given him a lower one hadn’t he made a couple of saves in the dying moments of he game. As soon as I saw him chasing ghosts at the edge of the box I knew that Fulham would score.

2. Manu Eboue – 5. – another classic Eboue. At times excellent going forward, but a few minutes later makes me wonder if we have a right back. Very late tackles on Radzinski, booked for the 2nd one, and many misplaced passes.

3. Willie G. – 8 – steady as he goes. Didn’t put a foot wrong all night. He is a great defender and I hope he stays with Arsenal. Made a few ‘interesting’ excursions in attack.

4. King Kolo – 8.5 – Shaded Gallas wit his grit, desire and courage in every tackle he made. Won a lot of headers and fired another one from 30-odd yards. As soon as his teammates learn how to set him up properly, he will bang a few in.

5. Gael Clichy – 8 – hit a few brilliant crosses, ON TARGET! He seems to get better and better every time I see him. Anticipates passes brilliantly, covers a huge amount of ground and is very calm in tight situations. Only a matter of time before he establishes himself as France’s no. 1 left back.

6. Alex Hleb – 8.5 – In the middle of every move. Passing, opening up space, going by players and even tracking back, tackling and attempting to win headers as well. Blew by ex-Gunner Volz to win the penalty. Hopefully the Gooners will learn to appreciate his talents and efforts more. Played right and left and did an excellent job.

7. Gilberto – 7 – nothing fancy from our captain on the day, does the dirty work and gives Cesc more freedom to do his stuff. Slotted the pen cool as a spritzer. Harshly booked for a foul on Brown.

8. Cesc Fabregas – 7.5 – looked tired towards the end, but by then he had already provided Ade for the 2nd, and kept things under control. When he became tired Wenger introduced his twin brother from Brazil – Denilson. A brilliant piece of goalkeeping by Niemi stopped him from scoring another one from outside of the box.

9. A. Diaby – 6.5 – wasn’t as dominant as in other games and faded away in the 2nd half. Performed quite average but made very few mistakes.

10. Julio Baptista – 8 – well… seems that Arsene’s ‘talk’ to his agents changed his attitude a bit and he actually looked as if he was interested to play. His first goal reminded me of his days in Sevilla, and then continued to fire blanks at Niemi. Couldn’t pass to save his life at one time, but he managed to bring his 1st touch for this game at least. Usually he leaves it at home. Still it was nice to see him produce an effort. Replaced by Denilson in 71st.

11. Ade-bayor – 9 – man of the match for me. He is a handful for defenders and he knows it. He attacked players, fed the Beast, scored a typical Henry goal, chased lost causes and I could see some of the players rub off of his energy. He is Kanu with Ray Parlour attitude. He missed a few, but I was convinced he would be rewarded with a goal sooner or later. Could have had a few more. Immense player and stole the show from Alex Hleb.

Subs: Denilson – 6 – passed a few short ones and ended on his bum a few times. Not enough time to leave a mark.

Team performance – 7.5 – needed to concede in order to step up another gear and finish the job. Again strength of character but lapses of concentration which could have cost us 2 pts.

Cheers!

Player ratings by Vital Arsenal member G4L