Morning all, we have two match reports today, the first from GoonerB and the second from RockyLives . Both include their own player ratings. Enjoy.
We ideally wanted a win and to qualify before the last game of the group and we got it. We may not win the group but this is maybe not so important. There are other very good teams looking like they will end up second in their group anyway so the potential for a difficult draw is likely either way. It is a cup competition so anything can happen, and a lot of the play that I saw tonight from our team would give me cause to be very optimistic.
We started rather cautiously as has often seemed to be the case recently. We looked to be a bit too slow and casual with our passing and kept it deep within our defence without any urgency to go forward. Montpelier pressed us quickly and higher up and forced us into mistakes in these areas which seemed to give them an early threat in the game. After about 15 minutes, however, it all changed. We suddenly regained our ethos as an attacking side and, in my opinion, mostly bossed the game from then. I think we are a side that needs to keep a high tempo in a game, and are not so good when we try and slow it down, but that I would throw out to debate amongst yourselves.
I would say that we look so much better when we leave players in advanced positions so we can pass forwards rather than sideways or backwards, and I think this could be the key to this current team reaching the heights we all wish for. The confidence in passing and movement seemed to develop and increase as the game progressed and I really think we have a team on our hands if we can get the best out of them. It obviously requires a fine balance between the defence and the attack, something that has been talked about in recent posts, and I feel that if this can be fine tuned then we may have cause for optimism in the near future.
On to the ratings :-
Didn’t have too much to do but came out bravely and snuffed out the threat when their player was through on goal.
Typical Sagna performance of solidity with regular help in attack. Did get exposed when caught forwards, at one time in particular, but is that an acceptable risk across a whole game with an attacking full-back?
He seems to be the general in defence now. He lacks the pace of TV and LK but seems to read the game better than most, and another solid game from him
Was potentially lining up as MOTM till later in the game when he got caught on the ball instead of clearing the danger. It almost cost us. Up until then he was imperious, using his pace to snuff out problems before they even started and bringing the ball out from defence. If he can iron out the errors he is a seriously good defender.
Played out of his best position but did a job for us. It is a nice problem to have in choosing him, LK and the BFG in a starting line up. He is our captain and I expect he will show us why as the season progresses.
Normal no nonsense highly effective performance from Mr Reliable. Is he the glue that binds it all together?
Hard to believe he is still so early in his recovery from a long term injury. He oozes class and, although by his standards this was a good rather than great performance, I think we will be salivating in greater measures in the near future.
What to say. Arsene has come up trumps with this fellow. Another great performance pulling the strings. As I have mentioned before, if we can mostly keep him higher up the pitch even when defending, then we will always look a greater attacking threat.
Had a good game if not his greatest and made them worried about him. I love the way he is prepared to run at defenders and commit them.
It was likely a 7 until the volley. BSR, eat your heart out. He is a natural goal-scorer and for me works hard for the team. I am glad we have him and think we will appreciate him more and more over the next couple of seasons.
Giroud 8 My MOTM
Getting better and better. Didn’t even score tonight but the question is would we have scored without him. Two assists and a constant headache to their defenders. He drops off, works hard, and has very good intelligence and link up play. If we can get the other attacking players working off him more effectively then we may have an attacking force to be reckoned with.
Coquelin 84 for Cazorla. Solid tonight but needs to bide his time to be a regular starter. Maybe a long term replacement for Arteta providing he remains patient.
Ramsey 60 for Chamberlain. Has many detractors but I feel he needs more time for AW and the fans to fully assess him, He has some good strengths and was solid when he came on.
Gervinho 84 for Giroud. Not enough time for me to see what he could do.
Written by GoonerB
As a bonus we have a second match report from Rocky
We beat Montpellier 2-0.
We’re through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League AGAIN (London and Manchester Oil Corporations please take note).
Here are five big positives I took from last night’s game, most of which I was able to watch despite some dodgy stream issues in the first half:
We secured our first clean sheet since the 1-0 win over QPR six games ago. It’s all very well taking the view that it doesn’t matter if the opposition score provided we score more. The reality is that clean sheets breed confidence – not just for the defence, but throughout the whole team. I thought Koscielny was outstanding in defence and showed his speed on numerous occasions to snuff out Montpellier breaks down our left flank, where Vermaelen did OK but did not provide the cover an orthodox left back would have.
Lucas had as busy a game as we have seen for a long time and capped it off with a fine goal. If he can be as involved on a regular basis he will be a force to be reckoned with. He may want to play down the middle, but Giroud is making that position all his own. However, there is no reason why the Pod can’t come infield at times and act as a second striker – which is exactly what he did for his goal last night.
Santi’s On Song
When we had that short run of games where we considered it rude to create a chance on the opposition goal before the 90th minute, it was instructive that our toothlessness coincided with Santi Cazorla’s early season form tailing off. The good news is that it was just a blip, and after his Man of the Match performance against the Spuds he followed up last night with another display of creativity, tenacity and determination. A quality player.
Jack in the Box
Arsene Wenger reckons it will be Christmas before Jack Wilshere is back to his best. Well, what a present that will be. Last night he showed even more great touches and bursts than he did against the N17 Saddo Society and, best of all, he popped up in the Montpellier penalty area to grab a great goal. People were saying he could be the complete midfielder if he added goals to his game. You always felt it was just a matter of time. Let’s hope last night has set the ball rolling.
Don’t Stop The Momentum
Football is a game where confidence and momentum have a disproportionate effect on a team’s fortunes. After a stop-start season this win – securing our place in the CL knock-out rounds – following on from a resounding derby victory will start to rebuild the optimism we were all feeling after the Liverpool and Manchester City away games. I have always felt the quality of players in our squad was good enough to challenge for big prizes. If they can get on a roll I hope they can prove me right.
What are your positives and negatives from last night’s game?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Not much troubled, but looked secure and confident. He raced out of his goalmouth to tip the ball away from a Montpellier forward’s boot in the first half when it was still 0-0. It was an important moment (about which the unremittingly negative Alan Smith could only say: “That would have been risky if he’d got it wrong”).
Reliable as ever from Mr Reliable.
Typically sound outing from the BFG. He defended with composure, distributed beautifully and almost dribbled his way through for what would have been our most remarkable goal of the season.
He has had a few wobbles recently, but last night Kozzer was back to his best against some very skilful and speedy opponents. Was unlucky not to open the scoring with a powerful header against the crossbar.
Got caught out of position a few times but he did a job for the team in a role that does not fully suit his skills.
The metronome kept things ticking all game long. If Santi and Jack had good games, it was because Mikel was behind them doing the donkey work.
Some fine touches and bursts and a very well taken goal. His understanding with his midfield partners and the forwards is growing visibly.
What a player! Creative, imaginative, daring, surprising. A joy to watch. He orchestrated most of our best moments.
Podolski 8.5 (MoTM)
For my money his best outing yet in the famous red and white. He was heavily involved throughout and scored a peach of a volley. He was able to combine some good wing play with cutting inside to form a front two with Giroud. I feel this role suits him as he is not a natural “holder up” of the ball like Giroud so, I feel, would struggle if played as our out and out centre forward. He had a couple of decent goal attempts before he scored. For one of them he perhaps should have passed, but I don’t have a problem with a striker being greedy in front of goal. It makes a change from endless tippy tappy.
Not his best game. He seemed a bit rusty, his passing was off and he drifted inside too much. A learning curve game for a talented young man.
Close call for MoTM. He led the line superbly, made two excellent assists and was a thorn in the Montpellier side all game. He’s a different flavour to the strikers we have become used to under Wenger, but it’s a flavour that I’m developing a taste for and I suspect many other Gooners are too.
Gervinho 7 (one touch, but he didn’t mess it up!)