Date: 18th August 2008 at 9:55pm
Written by:

Errrm, new feature I suppose. Where workloads etc. permit I will try and produce one of these after every game. However, I think it would be nice for this to be a kind of democracy, so if you fancy a stab at rating and slating the glorious Gooner boys, post on the forum and we’ll see about publishing the good ones. Am I the civil libetarian of the digisphere, or mining new depths of idleness? I can’t even be bothered to decide.

1.Manuel ALMUNIA– A quiet day at the office overall, but made a smart save from Kim Do Heon’s deflected shot. However, still woefully lackadaisical off his line, as evidenced when Miller was amazingly allowed to reach a through ball that was 80-20 in Manuel’s favour. His wander against United in 2005 seems to have left endemic scarring. Overall, my doubts surrounding him as a number one were neither vindicated nor impugned…………………………7

3.Bacary SAGNA– Not called upon too often in a defensive function, but was his usual, industrious and faultless self. Provided a constant outlet for Walcott on the right which caused the Baggies problems until Toure came on. Expect to see this number against his name pretty much every week….7

8.Samir NASRI– One cannot ask for too much more than a winning goal on a player’s debut. Nasri showed embryonic signs of a partnership with Clichy which, at this stage, is based more on the quality of the respective individuals than any chemistry. Nasri drifted from the touchline with impunity and consequently he became nigh on impossible for West Brom to pick up. A gorgeous through ball for Adebayor was another of his pleasing cameos………….8

10.William GALLAS– Once again marshalled the backline well and got a bit angry the one time it was found wanting. The back four were rarely troubled in any serious way, but an aerially dominant defender is imperative to compliment Gallas’ nous……7

14.Theo WALCOTT– Awkward, easily moved from the ball and with some immature decision making. Yet, oddly enough, quite effective. Once Toure replaced him on the right, our threat eroded, Theo’s pace terrifies defenders, pushing them further back and allowing other players a chance to weave their magic. Walcott still needs to learn how to harness his natural strengths, but he still offers something offensively. (A peak at his assists record over the last two seasons suggests this is no new phenomenon). A beautiful spin away from Cech in the first half suggests he’s getting there…………………………6

15.DENILSON– Adept defensively, read the game intelligently and made play with some excellent and intelligent use of the ball. Stepped in to make important interceptions breaking up West Brom’s counter attacks and forced the issue. Nasri may have taken the glory, but Denilson’s altruism means he takes my man of the match award…………8

20.Johan DJOUROU– Largely a very assured and impressive game, though Ishamel Miller was allowed to send some Gooner hearts a flutter more than he should have, it points to the fact that Gallas and Djourou need a destroyer alongside them. The one foot Johan did put wrong in playing Miller onside, saw him make amends with a goal line block……………………………7

22.Gael CLICHY– Much the same as his full back partner he was exactly as you would expect. Solid, determined, defensively sound and always carrying an attacking threat with his boundless energy. Stayed close to the touchline whilst Nasro cut in, stretching the West Brom full backs to breaking point. His improved delivery means standing off him is no longer an option for the opposition, as evidenced by his involvement in the goal……………….7

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR– Probably tried too hard in an attempt to win the supporters back, the less than sonorous booing he received in the second half showed there is still work to do. Poor finish from Nasri’s slide rule pass, particularly when Bendtner was positioned for a tap in. That said, created two chances for van Persie and one for Walcott with his running and crossing..6

26.Nicklas BENDNTER– Never afraid to become involved with the build up play as elucidated by his role in the goal. Sometimes showed a lack of sharpness with a slightly heavy final ball, but the idea was always right and you feel that with a few more games the execution will come. Divides opinion amongst Arsenal fans, but I have high hopes……………………………7

27.Emmanuel EBOUE– Well, he was better in central midfield than on the right flank and had an average game. But I am not polyannaistic enough to believe he can fulfill that role long term, his anticipation is poor (I am not sure whether that is due to idleness or lack of intelligence) and his strikes at goal are increasingly the stuff of the famed John Smith ‘ave it! adverts. The fact that WBAs best player was Kim playing in the hole, the very area of the pitch Eboue was operating, speaks volumes………………5

SUBS
5.Kolo TOURE– Had absolutely no idea how to play right wing and why should he? The substitution may have been an attempt to tighten defensively, but ended up being an exercise in futility. A harsh mark which is really more down to the manager’s judgement than Toure himself. I felt for him………4

11.Robin van PERSIE– Added variety and had two half chances in his short time on the pitch. Though more trust in his right foot might have bought a goal after some quality pivoting in the area…………………..7