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[PLAYER RATINGS] Arsenal vs Bolton: How The Gunners Got On

I’m not going to lie, I thought we would have won this game by the skin of our teeth. Even in one of my tweets I said we would either end up losing or winning 1-0. In my opinion, had Wheater not been sent off, this game would have ended in a draw. After RVP’s goal, Bolton looked set to provide a contest until the final whistle.

We stuck to our guns, with our defence finally seeming able to work together. It’s not perfect quite yet, and Vermaelen’s return will once again vastly improve the back line, but I think fans should be happy with who we’ve got now. The best part? No Squillaci for miles! Anyway, I guess we should begin ratings, but I’m going to rank individual players this time, as performances varied to greatly to lump them all together.

Szczesny: 6.5

He wasn’t as sharp as in past games, but overall an alright performance. The back line seems to be responding to his commands a lot better, and his communication is still very strong. He needs to take charge, and tell when the defence to push back though, as he is too often exposed.

Bacary Sagna: 7

An odd off day for our world-class right back. Really not too worrysome if you ask me, everybody has those days. He didn’t make any huge mistakes, but he just wasn’t up for the challenge on Saturday. He didn’t shine with consistency as he usually did.

Per Mertesacker: 8

I know this will provide a lot of knee jerk reactions, but hear me out. Many fans may not have noticed it, but he is one of the cleanest tacklers alive right now. I don’t think he’s commited a foul yet.(don’t quote me, because I won’t care.) The problem is our high line, which suits him like a tootoo. He needs to be more deep lying. He is a tactician, not as aggressive as Vermaelen, and should let Koscielny maraud forward, and pull back Sagna and Gibbs with him. I know it’s not the most practical situation, but it would be effective in absorbing constant counter attacks and pressure, something we’re not too good at. He contributed all over the park, and was always there when we needed him, save for a counter attack off a corner he could do nothing about. Great signing, one of the best if you ask me.

Laurent Koscielny: 7.5

Koscielny is very similar to Vermaelen in his style of play. He had a decent game, no huge mistakes. No complaints here. He seems to have more confidence than last year, and has controlled his rash tackling. Tick another one off for a great shrewd signing by Mr. Wenger.

Gibbs: 6.5

Uninspiring performance, but nothing too wrong with it. I must admit that I prefer Santos currently, despite Gibbs’ hard work. I know he saved us a goal, but I don’t think he does much else. He attempts to go forward, but often makes nothing of a play, or loses the ball. He relies on his pace, but that’s not enough to be a proper left-back. He has lots of potential, but he should be starting behind Santos the odd time, to ease the pressure on him.

Mikel Arteta : 8

While he didn’t score, Mikel Arteta has slotted in almost effortlessly. While he’s no El Capitan quite yet, he has what Fabregas sometimes lacked. Mikel Arteta is aggressive, gritty, and tenacious. He’s not afraid to get stuck in a challenge, he can go past players, and always gives his all. No one will ever replace Fabregas, my number two best midfielder (okay, number one), but Arteta is almost the perfect replacement, considering the price. Another great buy.

Alex Song: 9.5

Everybody kept raving about Theo Walcott, but we wouldn’t have won the game without Song, that’s a fact. He broke up countless plays, had tons o defence splitting passes, marauded forward, and even scored. Best player on the pitch by miles. I hope we see of this next week. He will be sorely missed in January, I gurantee it. Perhaps it will give Francis Coquelin an opportunity, and maybe Jack will be back. I don’t know, but for the first time since Vieira left, we have a solid holding midfielder.

Aaron Ramsey: 6

A bit of a disappointing from the Welshman. I expected so much out of him after a strong preseason, but he’s really fallen flat. I don’t know what the problem is, but maybe it’s just that he’s in need of some rest. Hopefully our wonder boy will return to form quickly. I’ve noticed he plays better with Rosicky on the pitch, but it seems he’s fallen down the pecking order with Arteta having come in, so Wenger has a bit of a dilemma on his hands here.

Gervinho: 7

Probably his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. Something didn’t click, and it was there to see, clear as day. He was wasteful on the ball, and lacked the usual spark in his play. It’s not too worrying though, he’ll be fresh for next game. We’ll need him.

RVP: 8.5

Had a great game, scoring his 99th and 100th goals on the day. He is back to his best, and hopefully will be running Tottenham ragged next weekend. One thing I noticed though, is that he wasn’t working as hard as he normally does. It’s a two sided coin, because he was able to score twice without the defensive duties, but sometimes we could’ve used him in the middle of the park to break up plays. I know it’s not his job, but I’m used to him doing it.

Theo Walcott: 8

A pest to the Bolton defence the whole second half, Theo was on fire. I am in favour of playing a 4-4-2 the odd time to accommodate Theo, because he really can be a great finisher. He reminds me of Ian Wright, in his ability to volley and half chip. He’s still a raw talent, if you ask me. If we persist with our current formation, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Myaichi should be played more often. Walcott is not a winger. Definitely a match that saw us improve as time went on, but I feel that shows what experience in the middle does for our team. We stuck to it, and made Bolton pay while mainting defensive discipline.

Overall a very unexpected, but much welcomed win. Hopefully the Gunners can continue this run of form as we have a derby and the Champions League to think about now.

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