Having just got back from a freezing night at Wembley, it’s time to reflect on what was a very strange night of football. Now whether you’re an Arsenal fan or an England or neither, then one thing that was evident, is that the players and tactics from the England first half display was completely abject. With my England hat on, I really have to question the set up – Barry and Henderson were completely useless in the middle and when you play a decent side and you have no middle, you’ll never get hold of the game – and that’s exactly what happened. We played a 4-4-2 with Gerrard up front and it didn’t work. The midfield was found out and that was one of the sole reasons why we lost the game.
Looking at the Arsenal players…. let’s take a look at each one, one by one…
For me, young Gibbsy had a decent game. He was quiet throughout the game and played quite a disciplined left back role. He didn’t have much protection from Milner as the young Man City midfielder moved inside in search of the ball. Gibbs hasn’t played too much in recent times, and the lack of match practice showed a little. In the first half, he didn’t go forward much at all, but did so much more in the second half and showed glimpses of his attacking abilities with a few good crosses and good movement before he was substituted.
Result: Good overall performance, did well in difficult circumstances.
Theo would be the first to admit that this wasn’t his best performance in an England shirt. In fact, for him, it was pretty much a non-event – I was quite disappointed with his overall performance. But in one way, it felt like he didn’t know what position he was playing in. He wasn’t playing in a 4-4-2 and he wasn’t playing in a 4-3-3. In a way, for me, it looked like he was playing like the old Theo Walcott, not the 2010 version. He didn’t protect Jagielka in the first half and really didn’t make an impression going forward. I hate to say it, but not a great performance at all.
Result: A night to forget
The French right back was in magnificent form and was solid throughout the game. He got the assist on the second French goal and it was a great run and cross – generally, his crossing was very good. I feel that he is coming back to some of his best form and he kept Milner, Young, and anyone else who dared enter his area on the pitch very much at bay.
Result: Solid performance
Samir has shown this season for Arsenal that he has the bit between his teeth and he is very much in control of his own destiny. He was scored seven goals for us this season and his general build up play has been excellent. For France, he showed a similar form – his combination with Gourcuff was sensational, both players interchanging with such fluency. Nasri continually ran against the England defence and had them on the back foot all night.
Result: Bossed the game and showed a good level of maturity
A few of the other Arsenal players were playing last night, with Arshavin playing the full game as his side lost 2-0 at home to Belgium, Cesc and RvP both getting 45 minutes and Maroune Chamakh playing around 70 minutes and scoring a goal too. Djourou, Fabianski and Rosicky also in action – and at the time of writing, I am hearing that there are no new injuries!
Finally, on a non-Arsenal note – well done to Andy Carroll. I know he’s not the role model player, but he was the best England player on the pitch. With Heskey retired and the likes of Kevin Davies not the type of player I’d like to see play for England, suddenly Andy Carroll has put himself in the frame.