Anderlecht v Arsenal
Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Kick off: October 22, 2014 1945 PM BST
There have been games in which we were the second best team and yet managed to snatch a victory out of the jaws of a defeat but I would have to make a deep research into my own archive to find one in which the gap between the quality of our display and the final outcome was bigger. We had been beyond pathetic for 89 minutes with luck and Martinez keeping our head above the water. At the end, we got two goals and ran out from Brusells with three points that probably mean we will qualify for The Knockout Stage again. Here are the ratings from tonight’s victory.
Emiliano Martinez | 7.5: His save at 1:0 for Anderlecht probably spared us from defeat against one of the worst Champions’ League regular participants. We can debate whether he should have done better with Najer’s header or not but given that this was his first big, big game, he did well.
Calum Chambers | 6.0: Was regularly beaten in the first half by pacey Anderlecht youngsters and was beaten for the hosts’ opener but made some amends by creating a goal for Gibbs with a great cross.
Per Mertesacker | 5.0: It’s difficult to organize a defence when you don’t play in the same line-up week in and out but Mertesacker should have done better. His lack of pace reminds us that he is on the wrong side of the thirties.
Nacho Monreal | 5.0: He didn’t play well and an early booking in the opening ten minutes is never a good thing for a defender but he is a make-shift central defender.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.5: Gibbs scored a wonderful volley but his performance prior to the goal wasn’t exactly something to write home about. Perhaps it was due to the lack of a speedy left winger in our side but nevertheless, he didn’t impress.
Mathieu Flamini | 5.0: Made some tackles in the first half to save us from problems but made an incredibly stupid dummy in our own half that could have produced a deadly counter-attack.
Aaron Ramsey | 6.0: Didn’t look like Rambo from his best days but he is still looking for his form and fitness after injury. Missed a good chance at 0:0.
Alexis Sánchez | 7.5: MoTM. A real hero. Even when all other players look like they were forced to participate in the match, Alexis looks hungry for victory from the first minute of the game to the last one. He had a wonderful free-kick in the second half and his sharp cross preceded Podolski’s goal.
Santi Cazorla | 6.25: Poor deliveries from set-pieces but if there was anyone that remotely looked like a creative player in our midfield, it was Cazorla.
Jack Wilshere | 5.0: A night to forget for Jack.
Danny Welbeck | 5.25: Slightly better than the rest of the poor performers, mostly due to his first-half performance. He earned a free-kick in a dangerous zone in the first half but failed to produce a final pass in at least one occasion in the first half. Wasn’t helped by a terrible performance from our midfield.
Joel Campbell | 6.5: Added some spark to our attack after replacing Welbeck.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.5: It was a decent cameo following a poor display against Hull.
Lukas Podolski | 7.5: He was on the pitch for only six minutes but added aggression to our team and his finish was all Podolski. Scored a huge goal for us.