Eleven conclusions from the game:
- Rosicky’s first half performance was a joy to behold. As was so often the case last season, when TR7 plays our whole team has shape and focus, and plays with real determination. The difference between the first and second half could not have been bigger. It was as if our team had no spine anymore without Rosicky. The only good thing to take from this is that if – and that is a big IF – he can stay fit, our first team is bound to become stronger in the next few weeks.
- Vermaelen is good at leading by example but he is best when he is being led by a level-headed co-defender with great organisational skills. Tonight he missed Mertesacker’s defensive leadership. Squillaci; what can I say? Ineffective and rusty, and he should really be moved on. But that will not happen until his contract runs out.
- Jernade Meade had a very good debut and well done to the young lad. He was fast and spiky, had generally a good awareness of the game being played around him, and I loved his drive and enthusiasm.
- Coquelin had a decent game and was one of the better players. I thought his attacking contributions were a lot better than the execution of his defensive duties. I really don’t see him as an option for DM at the moment, but his through balls and balls over the top in the first half were very good.
- The Ox is playing without his horns at the moment. I don’t know what his best position is, but he looked lost and lacking confidence and purpose. What has happened the The Ox who can take on players for fun, makes mazy runs and penetrates the box so easily?
- Chamakh worked hard and positioned himself well, especially in the first half. But he was rustier than the Titanic and his touch let him down so many times, I lost count of it. I reckon he will play one more game against Bradford and that will be it.
- Arshavin; was he in Athens? To me it looked like he was longing to be left alone on the Tundra of his beloved Mother Russia. Another one who is very likely to simply sit out his contract – as it is almost impossible to move him on.
- This was also a big test for Aaron Ramsey, in my view. AR16 is not making the required progress in his career, and tonight he had another game that was full of hard work and determination, but so very little end-product. A real shame, but I reckon Aaron will not become a regular in our first squad any time soon – and he will have to work very hard to stay in the wider squad this season.
- Szczesny did not have a bad game, but his distribution put us under unnecessary pressure more than once during the game. Both his decision making and execution with regards to his distribution need to improve significantly, if he wants to make it at Arsenal as our nr1 GK.
- Jenkinson had a poor second half: his concentration and positioning were well below par and he did not stay tight enough to his man on more than one occasion. Another one who was missing the organisational leadership skills of Mertesacker tonight.
- Gervinho did not have a good second half either; and his decision making, touch and shooting ability let him down far too many times tonight (except for the well spotted, and coolly executed, assist for TR7’s goal). Is it a lack of form, or have I been wrong all along regarding his abilities / value to the team?
We can take from the game the big positives of Rosicky being back with a bang and Meade having a fine debut at LB, but other than that we are left with far too many negatives.
The result, and the fact that we finished second in the group hardly matter, but what does matter is that so many players did not use this opportunity to show us why they should be playing in Arsenal’s first team.