Date: 26th November 2008 at 1:59pm
Written by:

1.Manuel ALMUNIA– Was only really called into action once, but its credit to his concentration levels that hew as alert to make a match turning save from Milevskiy. Had Kyiv scored, there would have been no way back. 8

4.Francesc FABREGAS(c)- Looked slightly more energetic than in recent weeks, whether it was the armband or the weekend’s rest or both is anyone’s guess. Provided an assist that only he could have provided from inside his own half, albeit it came about in dubious fashion. 7

10.William GALLAS– All eyes were on the deposed skipper and one slip apart, he did his job soldily and organised the defence well. One interception in the area shortly before our goal proved his value. A good night’s work when many doubted his professionalism. 7

11.Robin van PERSIE– Bar his set piece deliveries, pretty anonymous, which was disappointing from such a senior player. Might easily have seen red from an overly officious referee for a stupid tackle in the first half. Kyiv forced him to drop very deep to collect the ball, but Vela looked the more effective of the strikers. 5.5

12.Carlos VELA– Was a bystander for much of the game, but offered a potent threat when running at the Kyiv defence. Sought to play on the shoulder of the defender in the second half but did fade. 6

15.DENILSON Pereira de Neves– Too many unnecessary touches which slows the team down inordinately. The Arsenal teams of old would take one touch and then pass, Denilson over elaborated last night on too many occasions, which slowed our attacks. Much more effective when he doesn’t overly embellish his play. 6

16.Aaron RAMSEY– Looked lively and hungry as ever, looked to come in off the right and make things happen and had nearly all of Arsenal’s chances in the first half. Like Vela, he faded a bit but I am tremendously enthused by what I have seen so far. Let’s keep bringing him on slowly and not overhyping him. 6

17.Alexandre SONG Billong– Sound from a defensive standpoint, but like Denilson, takes far too much time on the ball when he should release it. 5.5

18.Mikael SILVESTRE– Looked calm and assured throughout, covers his full back well and his positioning is excellent. Though it has to be because there is zero recovery pace to speak of. 7

20.Johan DJOUROU– A few lapses in concentration, but defended o.k. in an unfamiliar slot. We clearly missed the presence of an overlapping full back and given that Clichy was the only player on the pitch with any experience of playing wide, I’m surprised Wilshere or Vela were not played on one of the flanks. 6

22.Gael CLICHY– A solid, if unspectacular display. Tried to bomb forward but with no natural wide player in front of him, he was often corwded out until Vela moved out there. 6

SUBSTITUTES

26.Nicklas Bendtner– Cut a determined figure when he came on, despite ironic cheering from the crowd that greeted his first touch. Shut the morons up with a brilliantly taken goal, one could have forgiven him for celebrating with an erect middle finger. 7

19.Jack Wilshere– Looked instantly at home and willing to take the ball and be incisive with it, absolutely fearless. More minutes from the bench will surely come his way in the coming weeks. 7