Individual players assessment in a team sport

By Walter Broeckx

Lets have a look at our own players in our match against Chelsea. Not by giving them any points or so as this is not Untold to do but I think some things should be said about the players.

Ospina : hardly had anything to do really. But he had each shot covered in a calm way. The coming together with Oscar was the only time he was beaten but Bellerin came to the rescue. Mind you I do think that Oscar was just offside when the ball was played to him.  If it was a penalty or not was down to the ref ruling that Oscar had his shot before Ospina bumped in to him. If it would have gone in, nobody would ask to cancel the goal and give a penalty. Bellerin preventing the goal was the next incident one could say. In fact you rarely see such incidents being penalised with a penalty apart from when the striker tries to goes round the keeper to have a shot.

Bellerin. Well what more can you say about this young man. Did anyone see Hazard shine during this match? I must admit that even I as a huge Bellerin fan doubted before this match. I thought maybe the experience of Debuchy and as one who knows Hazard from their days in Lille might have been a better option. But blimey the way that Bellerin played was once again excellent. What a wonderful player we have in our hands. And he is maturing in an amazing way the last months.

Mertesacker: The miracle man. Referring to his ankle injury of course that looked bad at first but the medical team could prepare him for the match. The organiser, the cool head, strong in the air and even the man that could have scored a goal. But then again as I said in my match report defenders do tend to rush themselves when they get a chance to score and that is what he did.

Koscielny: Another solid display from him. Was also responsible for the fact that Chelsea didn’t create much. William tried to kick his head of his shoulders in the second half and that could have resulted in a nasty injury. Lucky he escaped. So did William who should have seen a red card as he was facing Koscielny and so had no right to put up his boot that high in the direction of the face of another player.

Monreal: Our left back once again showed that he is a very reliable defender and not the bad purchase some painted him at first. Understands the PL now completely, plays with confidence bot in defending and attacking. He should have been the person to be remembered as the one who gave the assist to an Arsenal goal but Özil couldn’t finish of his low cross in the extra time.

Coquelin: another fine and complete display. Once he got booked he had to be extra careful of course and this might have held him back at times. Got another clash of heads when he connected with the back of the head of Drogba and needed medical attention.  One thing is for sure he certainly is not holding back when it comes to putting his body at risk in a match. Amazing how he keeps on performing at the level he has done since starting to play regularly in the first team.

Cazorla: The little Spaniard was a bit more subdued this time I think. Dropping deeper to stay closer to Coquelin and then go forward when the chance would arise will have been the tactic I think. But as Chelsea refused to commit themselves really and they gave no space for him he looked a bit wasted at times. But then again him moving forward would surely have opened gaps for Chelsea to counter. So very disciplined performance working for the team.

Whathisname? Or Aaron Ramsey worked his socks off during the whole 90 minutes. Energy, attacking, defending, he did it all. Alas he got no real goal chances in this match with the Chelsea defenders always outnumbering the Arsenal attackers. Starting on the right win moving all over the field he later dropped a bit deeper when Theo and Welbeck came on and Coquelin was taken off. Great 90 minutes and great after match performance also. Keep it up Aaron.

Özil: Man of the missed chance in extra time. I saw already some people slagging him off. But then again I have seen statistics saying that he created 4 chances for Arsenal in this match. And missed one himself. Some said what a waste of money…. oh well that will be those who judge a player on his last touch he had in the match probably….

Giroud: not the best day of his career. But worked hard as ever and came back to defend with corners and free kicks. But with the numbers Chelsea defended he wasn’t really available and his flicks also couldn’t really find a teammate in open space. Open space is very rare to find in a packed bus of course.

Alexis: worked hard but was unlucky with his shots and some of his passing. But as usual the Chilean attacker gave it all and for me looked the most likely Arsenal player to score a goal. But once again with all the bodies around him just couldn’t find that bit of space to have a decent shot at goal. Now it was all too hasty. I wonder how much the nasty kick on his ankle from Ivanovic hampered him in this match.

Welbeck came on for Giroud and couldn’t properly get to the ball in extra time from Monreal that Özil had just touched a bit. Faced the same problems as Giroud did with being always outnumbered by the Chelsea defenders and midfielders around him.

Walcott: only some 10 minutes of playing time. I think Wenger was speculating on his movement in and around the box and hoping that the ball would fall kindly for him for once. But it wasn’t to be our day as most lose balls fell rather kind for Chelsea as they had players in numbers there.

A difficult match against the team that probably can defend the best in the PL. Chelsea have the best defence and it showed in this match. The last pass just wasn’t good enough in this match. Of didn’t came quick enough. But that is how it goes sometimes and certainly when teams are closing the shop as they can. Then you need that little bit of luck to break them down and that didn’t happen this time around.

PS: Because of Tony being out of office no anniversary files in the next days on Untold. Sorry for that but lets give him a break. Tony I mean.

35 Replies to “Individual players assessment in a team sport”

  1. Usama, i thought an offside player has to have his whole body offside, his leg is clearly not offside? Maybe i’m wrong, but the offside rule does not just confuse us, it also does confuse refs too.

    Great performance from our team. I did think they played a little cautious, which we expected anyway, but were solid.

    The only thing i think Alexis needs to learn, is to release the ball a split second earlier, he has a tendency to keep it that second too long, once which may well have cost us when he lost it.

  2. Para, look closely follow the green line from the front and track it back to bellerin’s foot you will see Oscar has his legs offside.

  3. I’m no big specialist, but this is easy to see that Mesut didn’t want to shoot at the end! He touched Welbeck before running in front of him, he attracted 3 defendors and passed the ball to Welbeck while looking at him (how could he shoot with three defenders around him + the goalkeeper + a tight angle?). But as for many Arsenal fans, you don’t seem to realise Özil has talent, you don’t even grant him with talent! And then this is a miss! Would it be Sanchez or Cazorla or Ramsey or even Wilshere and it would have been the most beautiful assist ever! Özil costed a lot, he earns a lot, but so do all the players! Sanchez shot thrice and how many times on target? Not once. But oh, he tried… Ok, he tried and he tried what? Cazorla couldn’t find the target neither. Aren’t these players paid for what they do? Aren’t they also compelled to deliver in big games too?? Yes, you “read” it correctly and i “saw” it: Özil created 4 chances! But this is so common: Arsenal drew and all the fault is against Özil… Yes, so pathetically common.

  4. Alex, I think you misread my take on Özil a bit. No way was this written with the intention to blame him. In fact I never blame our players for missing a chance.

  5. Para, no a player is offside when he has a part of his body with which he can score closer to the goal line than the second defender.
    Oscar can sore with his head and so he can be judged offside. I do think he was also offside with his feet looking at the picture. Strange no line was drawn after the incident

  6. A very good write up Walter.

    The team was very impressive the way they went about attacking the masters of anti football, and putting them under sufficient pressure to have them require a lot of last minute blocks/saves – not something we are used to seeing.

    The confidence and discipline our guys showed was very gratifying.

    Re Chelski – Some points in addition to those mentioned above – a well practiced dive by Hazard to get Coquelin booked. After the first foul by Ivanovic we were treated to a (milder) form of ref pressurization by thug Terry et al – it worked, no card given. A dive by Oscar to create the first claim for a penalty, but no yellow from the ref. Almost continuous fouling on Giroud by Terry and Cahill. Some not given fouls by Drogba on Mert towards the end of the match.

    Walter, I look forward to the ref review.

    Well done the team – only two faced twits like Jayramantifootball could find something to complain about with our performance.

  7. Btj

    Bizarrely it was the official who called over the distant Gazprom captain to discuss the yellow he should’ve given to Ivanovic, would’ve been easier quicker and a more accurate enforcement of the rules to just give the card, the offical knows all to well. These aren’t kids having a kick about in a five a side in the local park, it’s a top of the table clash where all players know the rules, as do the officals who will also be well aware of the defender’s reputation, bites an’ all.

    Anyone attempting to defend this chicanery is simply acting the fool.

    It is, what it is. Bells and whistles an’ all. 😉

  8. To clarify, the Gazprom captain had no need to sprint to the offical and “get in his fac!”, the offical was all too willing to delay the game further and walk over towards the Gazprom captain. Strange behaviour when only one player was in the wrong…you don’t often see that! *nudge nudge, wink wink*

  9. Of course the official could also have sent off Ospina in that first half but fortunately unlike his colleague A.Taylor he appears to know the advangtage rule 😉 (so does Taylor!) and the rule on diving, which helps. He’s definitely not the worst out there. 🙂

  10. Whats with these traveling fans. Some come here and damage the property. Some throw smoke bombs. Now those jerks from Chelsea paste stickers on Chapmans statue!!……..

    Classless @#$%&

  11. @Walter

    Ozil was class yesterday. I love watching him play. He works hard too.

    Some Arsenal fans just dont accept anything other than a win these days regardless of the opposition.

  12. The negativity being displayed by some of our fans I’d shocking. It was painfully obvious Chelsea came to park the bus so they could get a point: we had almost 60% possession and nearly double the shots. But because of the bus parking we couldn’t get any clean shots. If one throws in generous refereeing it’s easy to see why this was a draw. After all it was only a draw that didn’t change anything much by way of how this season will finish, so what’s this fuss all about? Chelsea knew they’d been in a game and had just nicked a ppint by the way they celebrated at the end. Let’s see if they celebrate the same if they win their match against Leicester on Wednesday. I doubt it.

  13. Finsbury

    I was just about to make a post about this myself after reading 7am’s blog today.
    Where did he get that info?

  14. Bootoomee

    Tim’s hardly neutral. He’s Arsenal mad and comes over every season for a couple of games.
    I’d like to see the source of that story though.

  15. I have to admit that, unlike Arsene Wenger who was obviously understandably disappointed, I am satisfied with the draw. It would have been a bit demoralizing for the Arsenal players to lose and I think that probably affected the way they played. Chelsea’s recent string of one – nils were possibly preying on their minds.

    Of course I would have liked us to win though!

    No one can now peddle that old line about us being bottlers with the top teams. Of course, they will find something else, but the team are narrowing down the options for negativity. Good on them!

    I am really looking forward to next season!

  16. TailGunner,

    I am not familiar with the site/blogger and from his tone, he sounded like a neutral. It was a good read nonetheless with some insightful comments too..

  17. Superb link Finsbury, nothing the pgmol do surprises me any more. As the article says, they are in a fight for their existance, I hope it ends in a clear out of the likes of Riley and proper accountability but that’s not likely to happen when Webb takes over.
    As for our players, some very impressive performances. Coq matched aaa and media darling Matic. Apparently we need a keeper….and a new centre back and holding MF……so one of our ex players stated after a clean sheet against the champions elect. I do hope henry is not suffering from Merson wright Robson smith syndrome.
    We are told wenger is a long way behind Jose as a manager. Yes, the frugal years against a team that buys trophies has its effect. Chelsea started the season well, we did not, but from 2015 I see no reason to view wenger as in anyway inferior to The eye gouging one. As has been stated, Jose is not a tactical genius, he just buys the best he can get and if in doubt, plays them in an ultra defensive formation.
    Is that the Barca football your DNA craves Cesc?

  18. I think Arsenal played really well. At times in the first half, it was like a dream to watch the combination passings between the players. Totally bamboozled the Chelsea midfield again and again. (Still have no idea how Matic was in the TOTY) Collectively, defending is easy. I think Chelsea back four never left their half at any given time. And still got away with a lot of kicking and fouls (Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic in TOTY?! Does these guys even know how to play football?!) Not to mention, the remaining Chelsea attackers all tried to cheat by diving and constant fouling without sanctions. I swear I did snore a couple of times while watching the second half and it never happened before. That’s how boring shit Chelsea made that match. If the viewers are frustrated, can you imagine how the players felt? Yet, there are still morons like Pier Morgan and Jayramfootball (not related to me in any capacity) taking this result as an opportunity to hit the five minutes of fame button by doing something more moronic than they already are.

  19. Hello from Prague and thanks for the review Walter.

    I’d agree throughout, but absolutely re Bellerin. It is no wonder that Barcelona fans recently took a vote on who they wanted in the team next season at full back and Bellerin was top of the list.

    So we can expect another “In his DNA” campaign now as they try to get him back.

    But here is an interesting bit from the Guardian on line today

    “It has been suggested that Arsène Wenger blundered by not bringing Fàbregas back, but the Chelsea midfielder is simply not versatile or mobile enough”

    Hopefully Bellerin will always remember the extra he gets out of training under Wenger

    He was when he was with us.

  20. Spot on write-up AGAIN!


    April 27, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Absolutely true so much so that their plan (OF A BIG DRAW) was a ‘success’, that ALL the GAZPROM workers in blue overalls on the field at the end were celebrating as if they had won the CL final – Captain Gazprom worker leading the chimp celebrations – ODD THINGS!!!

  21. Gooner Murphy,

    Thanks for the link.

    Dunphy got Mourhino absolutely spot on. The guy’s hatred of Arsene Wenger can be attributed to insecurity and knowledge of the fact that the great man will ALWAYS be judged by posterity as a great contributor to the game while he will never be.

  22. You’re up early Tony 🙂
    I had to hold myself back or I had written a complete article on Bellerin again mentioning how I told you all that he would be a great right back. I would be devastated if he would leave Arsenal…

  23. Interesting review of Henry’s comments on Giroud on this mornings Arseblog. I do not necessecarily agree with the whole article, but as often, this blog makes interesting reading.
    Seems to me henry is making some bizarre statements since becoming a pundit. The hamstring injuries we get…..he was just completely wrong on them.
    Of course I defend to the death THs right to say all this if that’s what he genuinely believes and is not just towing some pundits agenda, but it would also defend to the death any decision in the club to firstly have a word, and if it carries on, make him a bit more scarce around the club than he has been. You cannot have a guy doing his badges at the club picking out individuals at that club, and ultimately the manager for his unsubtle digs.
    Those who want henry as part of a dream coaching team may end up disappointed if he is not careful

  24. Mandy Dodd,

    As you might have noticed from previous threads, I not one tiny bit surprised by Henry. He is doing what pundits do: overpraise when things are going good and overcriticise when they aren’t.

    I chuckle now when I recall how some here were elated that Henry was joining Sky. Why they were happy that someone would be telling them what they can see for themselves I will never understand. Henry is our greatest ever striker And arguably, our greatest player but that doesn’t give his opinion on this Arsenal team or anything for that matter anymore validity than those of his colleagues in the yammering class.

    Henry is only doing what pundits do and congratulations to him on cashing millions to do it.

  25. Halftime for the U21 team. No more scoring in first half, score still 0-1 to West Brom.

  26. Arsenal generating chances, but not scoring. Wst Brom has scored at 61 and 66 minutes, now 0-3.

  27. The Arsenal Ladies player that got assaulted (earning a penalty) has a picture up of the injury incurred. I have no idea what the picture looks like because it is either a movie, or involves cross site scripting.

    Roman apparently is happy with Boring Chelsea. That he fell asleep in answering the question might have had something to do with this.

    One website, which supposedly supports Arsenal (?), is talking about 14 players leaving Arsenal this summer. Gee, with support like that, who needs enemies?

  28. I think the coach of Rotherham has finally got a fire lit under his team. To get outshot by a team 1 man down for most of the game is embarassing.

    Martinez still has the clean sheet, and I don’t see any evidence that he has been assisting goals or taking shots himself. 🙂 Go Martinez!

    Still 30 minutes left or so.

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