Arsenal

Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool – Report and Player Ratings

“1-0 to the Arsenal” used to ring around Highbury in the days of George Graham and his practical pragmatism.

So after a week in which every man and his dog, and Michael  Ballack, had chipped in on the Wenger debate, lamenting the Arsenal managers inability to adapt to his opponent, not play a ground strokes game, not try to pass it into the net and not have a plan B, it was fitting that this old ditty should be heard around the Emirates as Arsene Wenger finally grafted out an ugly win.

The game itself, was, unfortunately, dire.

Both Arsenal and Liverpool, two great English institutions, had seemingly conspired to see who could play the least like a professional football team in the first half. A couple of chances for Nicklas Bendtner went begging as he first lacked the pace to break clear, and then sliced woefully over. In the second things improved, although David N’Gog and Tomas Rosicky somehow managed to both fail to get a shot in when clean through on goal in quick succession, the latter involving a comically amateur case of miscontrol but the first requiring a brilliant last man challenge from William Gallas.

In the end it was a goal George Graham would’ve been immensely proud of that separated the teams as Rosicky put in a luscious ball for Adou Diaby to charge in like an early Tony Adams and thunder a header into the net before stumbling and falling to the ground, like a slightly later version of Tony Adams.

Ryan Babel almost got Liverpool level instantly but Almunia saved the Gunners with a finger tip save from the Dutchman’s 25 yard effort. In the last minute one of Steven Gerrard or Dirk Kuyt won a free kick for falling over on the edge of the Arsenal box only for Cesc Fabregas to deflect the goal bound shot away with his elbow whilst seemingly scratching his head.

The ref didn’t notice and the whistle blew, much to the ire of Gerrard and co, and Fabregas slinked off like John Terry in a newsagents on a Sunday.

Ratings – Arsenal:

Manuel  Almunia: 7

Emmanuel Eboue: 6

William Gallas: 8

Thomas Vermaelen: 7

Gael Clichy: 6.5

Cesc Fabregas: 7

Alex Song: 7

Abou Diaby: 7.5

Samir Nasri: 5

Nicklas Bendtner: 6.5

Andrey Arshavin: 6

Subs

Tomaz Rosicky: 6

Theo Walcott: 5

Bacary Sagna: 6

Liverpool Ratings:

Pepe Reina: 6

Jamie Carragher: 5

Martin Skrtel: 7

Daniel Agger: 6

Emiliano Insua: 5

Lucas: 6

Javier Mascherano: 6

Dirk Kuyt: 5

Steven Gerrard: 6

Maxi Rodriguez: 5

David Ngog: 5

Subs:

Philippe Degen: 5

Ryan Babel: 6

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