Arsenal v Manchester City - Player Ratings

Last updated : 05 January 2005 By Mike Bohndiek
A lacklustre first half display from our young side cost us dear, as we dropped crucial points and fell further behind Chelsea at the top.

Key Incidents:

Goal (Man City) (31) – This is how NOT to defend in and around you own box. Things started well with a good interception from Paddy, but it all went wrong after that. We were playing intricate passes on the edge of our own box, and from past experience we all know that it will always cost you. This proved to be the case, as Paddy was caught in possession. The ball landed at the feet of Shaun Wright-Phillips and he unleashed an unstoppable shot. Suicidal defending which eventually cost us.

Goal (Arsenal) (75) – A goal of desperation. We had been loading their box for what seemed like an age without success, but as a Van Persie ball came in the City defence failed to clear. Henry hooked the ball back in with a spectacular overhead kick, and found Freddie, who yet again was in the right place a the right time. His header just about beat David James to restore parity.

Man Of The Match – Freddie Ljungberg

Player Ratings

Manuel Almunia - 7.5 - Not at fault for the goal. Dealt with whatever else came his way. No trouble dealing with crosses, punching the ball away with strength.

Ashley Cole - 7 - Beaten by SWP on a number of occasions, and it looked like the fixture congestion was catching up with him. He still worked hard at it, and kept us ticking, but didn't make as many overlapping runs as he has been in previous matches.

Kolo Toure - 7.5 - Steady at the back. He lead us on, and did whatever he could to contain any possible City attack.

Philippe Senderos - 7 - Acquitted himself well. He hardly put a foot wrong, and made a few vital interceptions and tackles late on. I would most certainly like to see him become our reserve defender, replacing Pascal Cygan.

Justin Hoyte - 6 - Simply not ready for the pressures that come with the first team. His passing was wayward, and for spells of the first half his positioning was poor. He rarely made a telling run forward and nearly cost us at the back. The boy has talent, but he needs more time before making his break through.

Robert Pires - 7 - Nice to see him getting tough. He has over recent games started putting himself about a bit more and continued that in this game. Unlucky not to score after a cracking hit.

Patrick Vieira - 7 - A Jekyll and Hyde performance. One minute he was leaving defenders for dead, the next he was playing inaccurate passes and being caught in possession. He needs to eradicate the poorer side to his current game if he is to regain his form to the best of his ability.

Cesc Fabregas - 6 - Was the better passer of the two central midfielders. He linked the play up well, but was brushed off the ball far to easily in midfield, with the experienced Bosvelt exploiting the youngsters lack of physical presence.

Freddie Ljungberg - 8 - Yet again he worked hard at it for 90 minutes, and never stopped working for the team. Scored the crucial goal, and made a few great runs, which were unlucky not to produce more. It has been like turning the clock back 2/3 years with him lately, as he has recaptured the form that he showed on the way to the title in 2002.

Thierry Henry - 7.5 - Full of running and really looked like he wanted this tonight. More than that, his body language on the pitch was far better, and he was not seen to be moaning when he didn't receive the ball. I also awarded him an extra half mark for becoming a ball boy for the second half, never allowing for there to be a break in the play.

Robin Van Persie - 7 - Ever improving as he gains more experience. Hussled as he did at Charlton and helped out the midfield. My only gripe is that he telegraphs his play on occasions. As he is totally left footed and playing on the right side, defenders know that he will cut back, and so when he does he is easily dispossessed. My point seemed proved when he out did his marker and hit a right footed ball in which lead to our goal. But this is something easy to work on, and other than that he was unlucky not to have scored.


Jermaine Pennant – 7.5 - A highly impressive display after coming on with 25 minutes to go. He caused problems down their left side and troubled his marker right up to full time. His distribution was good and his crossing of the ball even better.