Goal (Arsenal) (35) – Paddy burst into the box and squared the ball inside to the waiting Freddie. He turned his man and slammed the ball in, for only our second shot on target. A slight deflection can not detract from the pure skill involved in the build up.
Goal (Charlton) (45) – A dodgey free kick was given 30 yards from goal. El Karkouri stepped up and unleashed a ferocious shot which found the corner of the net. I felt that Fabregas could have done more to stop it, as he clearly ducked out of the way of the ball, but when its travelling at that speed who can blame him?!
Goal (Arsenal) (48) – Straight back on top. No sooner had we started the second half than we were ahead. A Cesc backheel allowed Freddie to charge into the box, and he let fly with a brilliant shot which left Dean Kiely with no chance.
Goal (Arsenal) (71) - The goal that settled the nerves and sealed the game. This is what you get when you chase and hussle for the full 90 minutes. Van Persie chased a seemingly lost ball. The defence let it bounce, and Van Perise seized the chance to break in on goal, and sent a great volley into the bottom corner.
Man Of The Match – Freddie Ljungberg
Manuel Almunia - 7.5 - Was only called into action on a few occasions. He dealt with what was thrown at him, and could do nothing on the goal. You have to recognize that it was a classy free kick which any keeper would have struggled to save. Again his organizing of the box and his ability to claim the ball stood out. Everyone will pick up on his one handling error, but it is unfair to judge him on that one mistake.
Ashley Cole - 7 - Again, he coped well with whatever came his way, and limited the chances handed to the Charlton right.
Kolo Toure - 7.5 - Another outstanding performance. He and Sol were as solid as a rock today, and really got us through what turned out to be some challenging spells of relentless pressure.
Sol Campbell - 7.5 - He simply mirrors Kolo`s rating. The preliminary reports on his injury suggest that it is a twisted ankle, and it looks like he could be ruled out for at least the next two games. A big miss for us and I'm sure I speak for all Gooners in wishing him a speedy recovery.
Justin Hoyte - 6 - In the side due to the injury Lauren sustained in Newcastle. He made some basic errors at times, but this comes with his inexperience. You can see that he has all the credentials to make the first team in the future and it will only take a little more experience before he exonerates them. His passing was solid, and he is strong in the tackle.
Gael Clichy - 7.5 - Brought into the side to add some fresh legs. Worked as hard as ever, tracking back whenever necessary and providing an outlet on the left throughout the game. Nice to see him get the 90 minutes that he has deserved.
Patrick Vieira - 7 - Dominated the midfield. Pure and simple Paddy, helping out the defence, bombing forward and getting his tackles in. Job done and what more can you ask for?
Cesc Fabregas - 7 - Was a little quieter today than in previous matches. He didn't quite have the same influence on the game that he has done in recent matches. Despite this he still kept his passing accurate and stayed sharp to the midfield mine field.
Freddie Ljungberg - 9 - Without a shadow of a doubt he was the Man Of The Match. Far and away the best player on the field. Non stop commitment. Did whatever was required of him and did things with no complaints. He just got on with things, and made sure that Hoyte had the cover that he needed. Attacked with flare was always available to receive the ball. He was having a “Roy of the Rovers” type of game, as he seemed to be everywhere. A truly deserved brace and a standing ovation when he was replaced said it all.
Thierry Henry - 6.5 - Full of running, as we have come to expect. Played neat balls in, and shielded the ball well when waiting for people to get into the middle. Was penalised outrageously at times, but he still got on with the game.
Robin Van Persie - 7 - Got the break today that he has been missing in previous games. He chases down every lost cause. Some people take offence to this, and say he is wasting energy (as one person in front of me at Pompey shouted throughout the match!) and looks like a headless chicken. However, his critics are forced to eat their own words tonight, after he chased down a ball, and managed to turn it into the crucial third goal that sealed the game. Well played to him for keeping belief, and that goal, could do his confidence the world of good. Had a hand in the first two goals as well.
Robert Pires - 7 - Helped to keep the passing game going late on, as the legs of those who started began to look tired.
Philippe Senderos - N/A Made one good header, one strong clearance and one great pass before the full time whistle went. You cant ask for much more than that in the 7 minutes he was on. Too little time to rate him.
Jermaine Pennant – N/A Still not signed a contract, and its easy to see why when he is only getting the last five minutes. Too little time to rate him.