Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Player Ratings: Arsenal - AC Milan

Arsenal and AC Milan were involved in a gripping 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium tonight in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. Carlo Garganese rates the players on show.

Lehmann – 6.0: Did not have too many saves to make, but did all that was required of him.

Sagna - 6.0: Defensively fine, and made a number of overlapping runs down the right.

Toure - NA: Limped off after just five minutes with injury. His replacement Senderos (8.0) was rock solid and made one crucial challenge on Kaka.

Gallas - 7.5: Back to his best after a nightmare display against Man Utd at the weekend. Commanding game.

Clichy – 6.0: Was not troubled too much defensively but made no impact whatsoever as an attacking force.

Eboue - 8.0: Very lively and tricky, he looked dangerous every time he picked up the ball. Perhaps should have done better with his chance at the beginning of the second-half.

Flamini – 6.5: Typical spirited performance from Flamini. Kept Kaka quiet in the first half, but the Brazilian caused him problems after the break.

Fabregas – 8.0: An absolute class act. Dictated much of the play in midfield, and won his battle of the playmakers with Pirlo hands down.

Hleb – 5.5: Not at his best. Oddo comfortably dealt with the skilful Belarusian, who had more joy when he drifted off to the right.

Eduardo – 4.0: Anonymous was the Croatian. Not at the races at all. Contributed nothing to the cause.

Adebayor - 7.5: A real handful Adebayor but was lacking the quality support alongside him in attack. Will not want to see his open-goal miss at the end.

Substitutes: Senderos – 8, Bendtner - 6, Walcott - 6

AC Milan

Kalac - 7: Did not have to pull off any real top-drawer saves but had plenty of efforts to deal with. The Aussie did not put a foot wrong and his handling and decision-making was superb.

Oddo – 7.5: Excellent. Nullified the dangerous Hleb and attacked well down the right-flank. Squandered Milan’s best chance of the match though.

Nesta - 8.0: Absolutely superb until he limped off with a groin injury. His battle with Adebayor was a joy to watch. Name me a better centre-back in world football.

Kaladze – 8.0: Rock solid as well. When the Georgian cuts out his usual one-mistake-a-game, like tonight, he is a class act.

Maldini – 9.0: He may be 39 but he played like he was 29. Looked uncomfortable at times on the left in the first half but when he switched to centre back after Nesta’s injury he was immaculate. Legend.

Ambrosini – 6.5: Battled well in the centre of midfield and did not stop running until the last minute.

Gattuso - 6.5: Fiery performance from the midfield terrier, who like Ambrosini, closed the space in between the defence and midfield.

Pirlo – 4.5: This was not the Pirlo that has delighted Calcio fans this season. Gave the ball away repeatedly, was out-muscled, and hindered rather than helped Milan. His time will surely come in the second leg.

Seedorf - 4.5: The Dutchman was also very quiet tonight. Him and Pirlo must have been sampling the London nightlife last night given their lethargic displays.

Kaka – 7.0: Quiet in the first half but was a real threat in the second, going on a number of explosive surges.

Pato - 6.0: His potential was there for everyone to see, but it is clear he still has a lot of maturing to do. Nevertheless his lightning pace meant that the Arsenal defence was scared to push up too high.

Subs: Jankulovski: 5.5, Gilardino: 6.0; Emerson N.A.