Arsenal v Sheffield United - Player Ratings

Last updated : 20 February 2005 By Mike Bohndiek
As Alex Ferguscum said after their 0-0 draw with Exeter – “We're still in the cup” So it will go to a replay, after a scrappy game came out all square. We through it away with just 33 seconds left on the clock having battled hard for 55 minutes with ten men, and that was really disappointing. In our defence, had the referee given the stonewall penalty to us earlier when Jose was clearly taken down, things could have been different but you can't rely on the ref's anymore.

Key Incidents:

Red Card (Bergkamp) – It was a harsh one, but when you put your arms up nowdays you know what to expect. I was more disappointed that the ref only booked Dennis out of the whole lot. The clear stamp on the head of Fabregas went unpunnished, and arms were flying everywhere. Yet it was only Bergkamp who saw red. A real shame, as he has been in a rich vein of form lately and will now miss premiership games.

Goal (Arsenal) (78) – The goal that I thought would win the game. A lucky break saw Flamini all alone in the area. Kenny pulled off a stunning save to deny him, but Pires followed up and just about managed to bundle the ball home.

Goal (Sheffield United) (90) – We can have no complaints with this. You simply can't put your hands up like that, even when you are jumping. Criminal to give away such a silly penalty just thirty odd seconds from time. Now we face a tough replay away at Brammal Lane.

Man Of The Match – Mathieu Flamini

Player Ratings

Manuel Almunia - 6 - Had surprisingly little to do considering we played with ten men for so long. Sheffield United were clearly playing for a replay until they went behind. His catching was far better than in previous matches, but his distribution wasn't always the greatest. He took to pumping the ball long, when we could really have done with having it into feet, just to keep possession.

Gael Clichy - 7 - Did really well for us today. Provided an extra attacking option and caused them problems with his pace.

Philippe Senderos - 6 - It has really come to something when we REST Pascal Cygan! With Munich in mind, Senderos made another start for the first team. He looked nervous early on, allowing players to beat him to the ball when really he should have won them. But credit to him, he stuck with it and eventually got his game going.

Kolo Toure - 7 - Another solid performance. Made three of four world class tackles and some brilliant interceptions when Sheffield United went looking for an equaliser.

Emmanuel Eboue - 7 - Another game, another good display. His positioning still gives me cause for concern, as he gets sucked in quite easily, but other than that he looks ready for more first team action.

Jose Reyes - 6.5 - Not his most effective game. He should have had a penalty without a doubt, when he had his legs taken from under him inside the area. He was also unlucky to see his driven free kick saved. However, he raised his hand in the sending off incident, and was caught slapping (yes slapping!) a Sheffield United player by the cameras. No doubt video evidence will lead to a ban of some sort.

Cesc Fabregas - 6.5 - Allowed himself to be out muscled. In this game I saw something in him which I have never seen before – a lack of awareness. Late on when we were under pressure, he still played very attacking football and still be looking for that killer through ball despite us having no strikers on and this was not the right option. We needed the ball in the corner, to run the clock down. He was also very fortunate to stay on the field after a real crunching challenge. In my view, the ref was trying to even things up for the Bergkamp sending off, and so let him get away with a booking. Again, this will more than likely be referred to video evidence and lead to a ban, like the incident involving Jamie Redknapp and Tim Cahill.

Mathieu Flamini - 8 - Ran the midfield. He really was a rock for us today. He barked out the orders to the rest of the lads, and really got them organised. He covered the space Fabregas left when he bombed forward, and still managed to get forward himself. He was unlucky not to get the equaliser himself, and but for a fine save from Paddy Kenny he would have done.

Freddie Ljungberg - 6.5 - An average game for him. He played a few good balls but also ran into blind alleys.

Dennis Bergkamp - 5.5 - While he was on the field he was continuing where he left off against Palace. However, he really should have known better with than to put his arms up with all his experience. Yes it was a harsh red card, and it should have been one red for each side or nothing at all, but he was still the one who took two swipes.

Robin Van Persie - 6.5 - Led the line well when he was the only man up front. Took the ball down well and was holding it up, which was exactly what we needed. I was amazed to see him replaced, as from then on we lacked any sort of height in out attack.


Robert Pires - 6.5 - Worked some magic on the wing and got our goal. Although I must say that the standard of his diving has decreased; two absolute shockers today!

Pascal Cygan – 6 - Why do we do this? It doesn't work! We take off all our attacking options and then when the opposition scores what chance of a reply do we have. Each time we do this it takes me back to the 2001 FA Cup final. Michael Owen equalizes and we have just taken our strikers off! It's shooting yourself in the foot. From that moment we played Cygan at left back and pushed Clichy on. I thought Clichy was doing well and left back and was coping better with the pressure, but in went Cygan, out went our attacking options and now we have a replay. Oh yes, Cygan didn't do too badly after coming on.