Not bad eh? About time we scored a late goal or two in our favour. What an excellent turnaround which in a sense seemed inevitable once Arsenal were down to 10 men. And what a fabulous finish from Bobby to complete it.
Stockdale – 7, most of what he had to deal with actually wasn’t too testing. a few shots aimed at him with no real conviction and the crosses he contested for were won easily. However, he was probably at the centre of the outstanding individual moment of the game when he made an incredible double save just after we conceded. Had we gone two down the odds on getting a result would have taken a sharp diminuendo but he kept us in the game and the rest as they say is history. There’s some debate about his role in the Arsenal goal, he came out then stopped, but the ball took such a loopy deflection on it I don’t think he can be blamed really.
Hangeland – 7, usual assured performance with blocks and headers galore. van Persie barely got a sniff. It was also Hangeland’s stroll forward and wonderfully measured ball which sent Riise off behind the Arsenal defence.
Senderos – 7.5, I think in every game Senderos has played with Hangeland his player rating has been matched or bettered by his Norwegian team mate and after 20 or 25 minutes of the Arsenal game it looked like it’d be the same again as Gervinho gave him a roasting but we shored up as a team and as a result he was less exposed against the tricky Ivorian. From then on Senderos started bossing their attack with probably his best performance for us, with a wonderful mix of aggression and composure. He would fairly often come out very far up in order to mark Arsenal attackers and it was his header which set up Sidwell; that’s a vital role he’s played in our last two equalisers.
Kelly – 7.5, left Senderos fairly exposed to the tricky Gervinho in the first half and was beaten quite easily at times but with the tactical change made half way through the first 45 the whole team defended better and individual performances improved. His selfless running forward down the right was important in creating space for others and he got a few balls into the box too, most notably for the winner. On the whole his crossing isn’t great, and the one for the second goal wasn’t spectacular, but at least he puts pressure on the opposition defence. Got some important far post headers away from crosses.
Riise – 8, by far and away his best performance for us since he joined. He was utterly flying down the wing the whole game, Walcott not tracking him at all giving him the freedom to make series of untracked runs, a number of which resulted in wicked crosses. At the other end Walcott got no change out of him at all and eventually he was subbed, although he lost Koscielny for his goal. But overall, a very impressive performance.
Murphy – 6.5, gave the ball away dangerously a few times and didn’t play too many longer and incisive balls, but also tied the defence and midfield together well, playing as the deepest midfielder, and covered well defensively. Looked to me like he was injured when he came off so hopefully it’s not too bad.
Sidwell – 7.5, a bit of a suprise for me to see Sidwell come in to the team instead of Etuhu but by the end of the match it seemed like the correct one. He made a number of aggressive off the ball runs forward into the Arsenal box and and similarly pressured the Arsenal midfield quite far up, notably winning possession from Arteta a couple of times. And then of course he got the equaliser as he hung about in space anticipating a ball in the six yard box. Neat in possession although I couldn’t help but feel he didn’t exploit the space offered to him when Arsenal went down to 10 like Murphy would perhaps have done.
Dempsey – 7, busy busy peformance, staying strong in tight situations, keeping possession well although didn’t have too much end product to show for it this time. Should have scored from a Ruiz cross really, but what a leap to get the chance.
Ruiz – 7.5, he has such a fluid, arrogant style to his play. He seems to be able to dig out exquisite passes from nothing (like that cross for Dempsey) and can manipulate the ball for accurate floated balls better than anyone else on our team. His close control and balance are also wonderful. Should have scored, but he’s looking more and more like a player worth an 8 figure transfer fee.
Dembele – 7, again like Dempsey he had a neat, accomplished game without too much end product. However he’s putting together a run of consistently above average performances.
Zamora – 8, at last, the Bobby we all know shows his face. This was a game where his touch, strength, pace, aggressiveness were all there, and provided a great focal point for our attacking play, constantly offering an option and gave us the ability to play the ball forward quicker too. And then, what a finish. If he continues to play like this we cannot afford to lose him, and maybe those days off for recovery for his injury have done wonders.
Frei – 7, came on and forced Arsenal to think a bit about playing further up the pitch. Would like to see Frei go on the outside more, he offers us a form of width because he will often collect the ball on the touchline but then he will drift inside onto his right foot. He no doubt possesses fantastic ability though and the way he plays forces defenders to commit to him, and it was a little burst from him which set the ball in motion for our winner.