19 September 2005

Arsenal 2-0 Everton

A much-needed win for the Gunners.

I was able to avoid the score all afternoon, so when I got home I made some dinner, parked in front of the TV, and watched the game as if it were live. The two early goals were well-earned, and with a 2-0 lead (and Everton not much of a threat) I was able to relax just a bit. Everton had a few chances in the first half, but never really threatened in the second. The main entertainment was to watch Arsenal try to find another goal, which they went after fruitlessly but with vigor.

Sol Campbell's two goals were quite well taken, and owed much to two sweet free-kicks by Jose Antonio Reyes. As much as I've enjoyed seeing Phillipe Senderos play, it's heartening to see Sol back in the lineup. His presence was missed. His two goals were an appropriate welcome back to the pitch. I'm sure he will be only more motivated, having a taste of the bench, and with an England spot to nail down.

I'm not entirely happy with the match. I worry that Arsenal weren't able to get a goal from open play. They did look more dangerous than their last few games, but still it just wasn't as incisive as we're used to. Robin van Persie might have done better on the fine ball from Reyes, and Freddie Ljungberg was rather unlucky to find the crossbar after Nigel Martyn spilled a free kick. So it wasn't all bad. But still, this was the kind of match that Arsenal should have won, oh I dunno, maybe 7-0.

What the heck. Player ratings:
Jens Lehmann: 7. He is looking calm and solid. Didn't have too much to do, but dealt with everything easily. If he keeps this up, he'll be seeing action next August.
Ashley Cole: 6. Played well enough. Got into the attack more often as the game wore on.
Kolo Toure: 6. Came close to a goal of his own. Generally solid, with one poor pass to Sol that nearly gave up a goal.
Sol Campbell: 9. Welcome back, big guy.
Bisan Lauren: 6. Also played well enough. He seems more active this year.
Robert Pires: 5. Worked hard, but had to depart early due to Phil Neville being a dick.
Gilberto Silva: 6. Did his usual thing: quiet but involved.
Francesc Fabregas: 5. Seemed not to have his touch today, gave the ball up more than usual. Still a fiend though.
Freddie Ljungberg: 7. Worked like crazy, as always, but didn't seem to have his best touch. Unlucky to miss the goal.
Robin van Persie: 6. He's learning on the job, but doing a pretty good job of it. Still disappears too long during games however. Seems to have a knack for having a quiet game, then suddenly exploding.
Jose Antonio Reyes: 8. Well-earned assists for the two goals, and nearly a third on van Persie's miss. Involved and active throughout. And did well to take the yellow card for fouling Phil, the prick. Cheers, Jose.

Aleksander Hleb: 7 (29' for Pires). Very useful in the midfield, I think he's naturally more of a central player in the English game.
Dennis Bergkamp: 6 (67' for van Persie). Didn't quite get into the flow of the game, though he was on the verge quite a few times.
Alexandre Song: 5 (86' for Reyes). Didn't have much time to shine. Nearly gifted Everton a goal, but otherwise fine.

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