Arsenal Player Ratings: 1-1 Draw at Liverpool
For many, Arsenal's performance against Liverpool drew only memories of the same old Arsenal from one season ago. Arsenal showed a lot of talent and flair in the attack, but lacked both the strength and finishing to penetrate Liverpool's stubborn defense. Defensively Arsenal was competent, although sluggish attempts to clear the ball away from the defensive zone is what allowed Liverpool to take the 1-0 lead, even with one man down.
While it is true that Arsenal dictated the pace for most of the game, fans should still feel lucky to have come away with one point. This is unfortunate, considering that many expected gaining the full three points following Joe Cole's unlikely red card departure. Liverpool fans can be proud of their team and should expect to compete for a top four spot. The same goes for Arsenal, although as the ensuing player ratings indicate, Arsenal may be one position short of winning trophies this season.
Manuel Almunia: 5
Almunia did what he had to do, allowing only one powerfully blasted shot from Liverpool's Ngog slip by. However, he appeared shaky during set pieces. During Liverpool's corners, Almunia was often seen flapping around like a fish out of water.
Almunia does not exude the confidence desirable in a starting goalkeeper for a top flight club. Can Arsenal really expect to count on him once push comes to shove?
Laurent Koscielny: 7
In only one game, Koscielny went through it all. A seemingly, if only for a moment, devastating injury, a one-on-one against the world class striker Fernando Torres, and a red card.
It is unfortunate that he did get sent off, but welcome to the rigors of the English Premier League, Kosc.
Fans can be pleased with the Frenchman's debut, particularly in the first half. Wenger may have found Arsenal another gem.
Thomas Vermaelen: 7
Once again, another solid performance. He has emerged as a leader, even during the attack - and this after only one season at Arsenal.
He was responsible for letting Ngog power by him, although in this instance I would give credit to where its due to Ngog's strike.
Bacary Sagna: 6
A relatively solid game from Sagna. Did not seem to bring any flow to the game going forward and he once again could have chosen his crosses more wisely.
Apart from a few instances - most notably when he allowed Jovanovic to fly by him - Sagna was sturdy in preventing the Liverpool attack.
Gael Clichy: 5.5
Clichy was mostly reliable, even providing an attacking spark with a long-range floater giving Reina a quick scare.
He gets a lower rating compared to Sagna due to some questionable passes on the defensive-side, and for allowing opponents to move the ball past him.
Emmanuel Eboue: 6
Eboue showed he has got some offensive flair. Although perhaps he over-performed such flair when a nice piece of footwork led the ball out-of-bounds.
Although he did nothing ground-breaking, I wondered why Eboue shook his head for a good ten seconds as he left the field, for he had a hard-working performance.
Abou Diaby: 5.5
For most of the game, Diaby proved to be just fine.
However, he showed nothing Vieira-like and tried as he did, he was unable to change the pace of the game and was consequently substituted.
More consistency and relevant decision making is necessary out of Diaby if he hopes to be a first team regular.
Jack Wilshere: 5
Here is an example of lack of experience hampering an otherwise OK outing. Perhaps Anfield is too large a stage for Wilshere. He should not be discouraged as he will surely play better against the EPL's weaker teams.
Still, a lapse in concentration led to Liverpool's lone goal and he made little impact in his attempts to orchestrate the midfield.
Samir Nasri: 6
One aspect of Nasri's game that most stuck out to me was his disappointing free kicks. Every single one was a wasted opportunity at netting a goal.
I will praise him for his footwork as he was able to weave in and out of opponents rather quickly. Although, the one glaring difference between his footwork and Cesc's, is that the Arsenal captain seems to be going somewhere with the ball. Nasri does not.
Did not take control of the midfield, and failed to bring flow towards the attack.
Andrei Arshavin: 4.5
Arshavin, who usually impresses against Liverpool, was a non-force this time around.
Perhaps he was tired from his recent international campaign, because he appeared out of shape for much of the match.
Liverpool ran a defensive clinic against the Little Russian, swiping the ball from him with great ease at all times of the match.
Marouane Chamakh: 5
I give credit to Chamakh for putting pressure on Reina, indirectly leading to an own goal for Arsenal.
I would like to see more outings from the Moroccan before jumping to any conclusions, but he needs to be sharper and more physical in the future.
Substitutes: Walcott, Rosicky, RvP
Theo Walcott: 5.5
He added a new dimension to the attack with his speed, but failed to make any connection with his teammates.
Tomas Rosicky: 7
Rosicky showed why he is more valuable, at least for now, than fellow midfielders Wilshere and Nasri. He took control of the game and with excellent maneuvering, had one of the game's best goal opportunities.
Robin van Persie: 6
Perhaps he is still fatigued from the World Cup because he seemed to fall short whenever he possessed the ball. Nothing to worry about of course in the long-term - as long as he stays injury free.
What Do You Think?
Do you agree with the ratings? Was I completely off the mark for some of them?
Also, be sure to check out Callum D'Souza's player ratings. I was unaware he made one when I wrote my ratings article. Although with over 400 articles written, I'm sure most of you Arsenal BR fans know his name by now.