Arsenal v Charlton Athletic - Player Ratings

Not surprisingly the team played with far more fluency and confidence than they had managed in the last two fixtures. In the early stages Arsenal produced some lovely interplay, but Charlton read the final ball well and the pass in behind the full back was repeatedly cut out.

Gilberto was back to his very best, full of energy, making himself available for his team mates and coming close with a cracker from 25 yards. Set pieces looked likely to be Charlton's main outlet and Arsenal were nervous again. As the game went on Arsenal were getting more control and looked more and more likely to score.

The contest itself was ended by Sankofa's moment of madness. It was always a question of how many after that.

Arsenal played some beautiful football from this point, football that no other European team can play. A typical Arsenal move of a dozen triangles echoed to the sound of shoooot. In spite of this they were still disappointingly profligate in front of goal, against 11 men they might have paid for this. Cesc, Hleb, Henry and Rosicky could and probably should have added to the tally. With a weakened team Liverpool will be a far tougher challenge.

Riley got the key decisions right, but failed to use the advantage rule well.

Man of the Match, was arguably Charlton's keeper Carson, not bad when you concede 4 goals.

Lehmann - 8 – Had almost nothing to do, but held Charlton's single tricky effort well.

Hoyte - 5 – Looked more comfortable going forward than defending. Caught out positionally a couple of times early on. Great pass and movement for his goal and he took it with style. It was good to see him enjoy the moment.

Toure - 7 – A better game tonight, looked generally solid and in control.

Senderos – 6 – At his best was typically commanding, but still had a couple of awkward moments that seemed to come from lapses in concentration.

Clichy – 6 – A mixed performance. At times he was superb, covering for others and going forward well. A few poor decisions, both positionally and in distribution took the edge of his performance. Top strikers might have punished us.

Fabregas – 8 – Back at the heart of the Arsenal midfield and the whole team benefited. He rarely wastes possession and is the dream combination of efficiency and insight. Had two good chances, one brilliantly saved and one that he should really have scored. (Denilson 82)

Gilberto - 9 – Another top class performance from our vice captain. Full of energy, shielding the defence as ever, but linking the play more effectively. You couldn't ask for more from him. (Flamini 70)

Rosicky - 7 – Started where he left off at Bramall Lane, but grew in confidence and competence as he game went on. Some fantastic combinations with Hleb and Henry in the second half. (Aliadiere 77)

Hleb – 8 – Arguably should have scored when squaring the ball for an offside Henry, but he always looked dangerous. The nature of his game will always lead to some lost possession, but was at the heart of some great moves tonight.

Van Persie - 8 – A good all round performance from Robin. Two sublime moments created great scoring opportunities for Henry and Cesc and took both goals well. Combined very effectively with the other attacking players.

Henry – 8 – Pushed Gilberto to be our best player and grew in confidence after the goal. Delightful cushioned pass for Hoyte's goal and at times close to his electric best. A few missed chances might have been costly against better opponents though.

Subs

Flamini – 6 – Near like for like replacement for Silva in style, worked hard and got forward to some effect.

Aliadiere – unrated – Didn't have too much time to get into the game and got little support when in possession.

Denilson - unrated – Looked confident in possession and used the ball well. We can look forward to seeing more of him.

Subs not used : Almunia, Djourou.