Arsenal v Middlesbrough - Player Ratings

Last updated : 14 January 2006 By Mike Bohndiek

My weekend started well, when late on Friday night when I received a text saying that I could take a tour of Emirates early on Saturday morning if I wanted to. There was only ever going to be one answer to that!! I arrived at Holloway Road tube station by 9 and by 10 I was standing on the new North Bank!

Two hours, 40 odd photos and 2 video clips later and I left the stadium with a huge smile on my face. For those of you who are sceptical about the move, I suggest you rattle contacts to get yourself in their now as it will quell all of your fears instantly! Pictures will hopefully be posted up early next week

The rest of the pre match consisted of laughing at Man U for the most part, as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Citeh. Onto our match, and just what do you say about that, except that it was like watching the free flowing Arsenal of 03/04 as we tore strips off of Boro with considerable ease. We were at our best, and they were at their worst, and 9-0 wouldn't have been harsh on them.

It was a great team effort, and we even managed some shots from outside the box! Confidence gained from new signings? Players feeling insecure in their positions? Whatever it was that was in the water for this match should remain there for the rest of the campaign.

All this was rounded off nicely by the news that Spurs had lost away at Liverpool, and a few (too many) post match beers. A perfect end to a great day!

Jens Lehmann (7) Rarely called upon, but when he was he was up to the task, tipping away a goal bound effort superbly around the post.

Pascal Cygan (6) Solid up until an injury ended his game early.

Philippe Senderos (8) He commanded the defence and stuck his foot in. The new Adams? Given a few years he might just be.

Johan Djourou (7) Looked comfortable and confident throughout.

Lauren (7) Put in some dangerous crosses.

Jose Reyes (8) He showed good commitment and a good energy level throughout, and took three assists away from the game.

Freddie Ljungberg (7) He just can't buy a goal at the minute! Two relatively simple chances were squandered, but his overall play was much improved.

Gilberto (7) A few misplaced passes couldn't take away from the fact that he had a very good game.,

Cesc Fabregas (7) His link up play in midfield kept us heading forward.

Robert Pires (7) A superb goal was no more than he deserved for a fine display.

Thierry Henry (9) Wasn't there a noticeable difference between his effort and attitude in this game compared to most this season? Could it have something to do with him deciding to stay? He was magnificent today, with a fine hat trick taking him level on goals for the all time league goal scoring record. On that sort of form it won't be long before he beats it.


Ashley Cole (7) Fantastic to see him back, and this was reflected in the standing ovation he got upon his arrival on the pitch.

Mathieu Flamini (6) Like for like with Gilberto.

Alexander Hleb (7) Bagged his first goal for the club and could have had a second.