Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal - Player Ratings

Last updated : 16 January 2005 By Mike Bohndiek
I can honestly say that our performance against Bolton was the worst I have seen us in a number of years. Not one of our players looked like they wanted it. They lacked the desire and hunger that they so desperately needed in a hard match like this. We have simply conceded the title with a shocker of a game that just isn't acceptable. Chelsea have one hand on the trophy, and with a performance such as this from us, it looks unlikely that even by fluke Chelsea do lose a game, that we will be able to capitalize on it.

For those of you who were at or watched the game, you will understand why there is little scope in the ratings for this match, as the players performances ranged from poor to average. Please remember that these ratings are relative to the overall performance, and not a general scale.

Key Incidents:

Goal (Bolton) (41) – Not good enough. This was poor defending from the back line and keeper from start to finish. Firstly, Sol allowed the hanging ball to elude to him to an extent which meant his headed clearance was weak. Then Diouf was able to get a ball in that he really shouldn't have been able to. Kolo lost his man and was out of the play. Almunia started to come and then tried to retreat and claim the ball, and as always happens in these situations, the keeper never gets the ball. Giannakopoulos was able to jump above Hoyte, who didn't put any pressure on him, and nod the ball down into the net.

Man Of The Match – To be frank, there was not one player on the field who deserved praise after that, so there will be no man of the match award.

Player Ratings

Manuel Almunia - 5 - What the hell happened to him? Never have I seen a guy go from looking so assured, to being a nervous wreck in such a short space of time. I have been one of his supporters in his recent matches, praising him for his coolness and his ability to communicate well with the back line. However, in this game, that totally went to pot! He made rash decisions, and I lost count of the number of times that he charged out of his box to clear the ball, even though Sol could have covered it. I have always maintained that the difference between him and Lehmann is that Almunia is far more conventional. We all know that Lehmann is the better shot stopper of the two, and the only reason I preferred Almunia was because he stuck to his task in a normal fashion. However, if he continues like this, I would much prefer Jens to return.

Ashley Cole - 5.5 - When others are playing poorly around him, you can normally count on Ash to lift them, or if not, he would play well himself. However, on this occasion he seemed to be dragged down by the rest, and had a very poor game by his standards.

Kolo Toure - 5.5 - Partially responsible for the goal, as he lost his man. He really didn't look himself in footballing terms.

Sol Campbell - 6 - He was the better of the backline, but to be honest that was the best of a bad bunch. He played within himself.

Justin Hoyte - 6 - He had a stronger game than in his previous appearances. He was tested on numerous occasions, and dealt fairly well with his man. He was also at fault for the goal, and did also have a few “wobbles”, but he played a decent game.

Robert Pires - 5.5 - He went missing for large spells, and was largely ineffective. Late in the second half he was moved to central midfield, and this did little to improve his performance.

Patrick Vieira - 5.5 - Not the captains performance that you need in games like that. He played fairly poorly on the most part, and allowed Ivan Campo to walk all over him, and control the middle of the park.

Cesc Fabregas - 6 - Again he coped with the midfield work load for the first half. However, as has become the norm of late, he was replaced in the second half due to tiredness.

Freddie Ljungberg - 6 - He is much the same as Ash. In some games recently, he has been nothing short of amazing. Against Bolton however, he rarely looked to trouble defenders and missed a number of challenges.

Thierry Henry - 5.5 - To put it simply, it was one of his quiet days. He found it hard to get into the game, and failed to see when the fancy flicks were a little too much. More awareness was needed at times.

Robin Van Persie - 5.5 - Worked hard, but someone really has to tell this guy about the corner of the net; It exists!! Whenever I have seen Van Persie play, his first instinct is always to shoot. For the most part this means getting a snap shot away which lacks direction. Today he had our two best chances, and put both straight at the keeper, including one from only a few yards out.


Jose Reyes - 5.5 - Hardly got hold of the ball in the time he was on the pitch. Delivered a few decent corners, but hardly featured apart from that.

Dennis Bergkamp - 5 - Added little to the side. He missed out on some headers, but hardly did anything before full time.

So, I can guess that some of you are feeling that I have harsh here. But I really felt this as I watched the match, and when I was coming back afterwards. This truly was one of the worst of the last two seasons.