Date: 22nd October 2008 at 1:24pm
Written by:

1.Manuel ALMUNIA(c)- An inspired display. I am not sure if the captaincy was intended to lend him a greater sense of responsibility, but it certainly worked. Stepped up to the plate and amde several outstanding saves, particualrly decisive ones rushing to the feet of onrushing strikers. An average performance from Manuel would have seen Arsenal ship five. 9

2.Abou DIABY– Who was this person and what has he done with Abou Diaby? Took a lot of the opposition’s focus away from Cesc by playing an advanced role, excellent feet, bought players in at the right times, regained possession high up the pitch on several occasions. A surprise selection and a surprise virtuoso display. I have had a lot of criticism for the guy in the past, if he keeps performing like this I’ll meerily chow down on my words. Gives us yet another attacking option, if only we had a defensive concundrum that was even half as enticing. 8.5

4.Francesc FABREGAS– With Denilson and Diaby in defined roles in front and behind him, Cesc was able to wield more influence on the game. Still some way short of his best, but got forward impugnly and provided two magical assists in the first eleven minutes. Formulated attacks of a skin tight construction. 8

8.Samir NASRI– A quiet, but solid display. Seemed at his happiest bringing the ball forwards and running into the space afforded him by the clearly unfit Gokhan. Got back to help Clichy when he could, but not quite as illuminating as we have seen him. 7

14.Theo WALCOTT– Embodied everything about Arsenal’s performance. Frightening going forward, leaving the most over rated player in the history of the world in Roberto Carlos (a full back who has never been able to defend? How is that world class?) absolutely bewildered. Stayed on the shoulder of the defence and ran forward with purpose. Made absolutely zero attempt to defend, which put added pressure on Eboue and Denilson to cover him. I think the time is coming for Theo to move upfront. 7

15.DENILSON Pereira de Neves– Once again, played the defensive role much better in a five man midfield when his job was actually defined. Got through a great many tackles and was basically a more effective left back than Clichy. Was given plenty to do by certain members of the team and did as much as he could manfully. 7.5

17.Alexandre SONG Billong– Looked completely unsure at the back, the lack of synergy between him and Silvestre was as obvious as it was understandable, but Silvestre’s lack of composure translated into Song’s erratic display. 5

18.Mikael SILVESTRE– Laughably, horrendously bad. Looked like he was playing for the wrong North London club. A drunk at the bus stop could have defended better. They tell me he’s 31 but he looked all of about 13 years old out there. Can you remember a successful tackle or aerial challenge?3

22.Gael CLICHY– Totally uncharacteristic. Looked diffident, disinterested and downright lazy, comfortably his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt. I hope the lack of competition for his place doesn’t mean this sort of thing becomes commonplace. I’ll chalk this down to a one off. For now. 4

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR– Decent early goal, but it still didn’t seem to shake him from his entrapy. He looked to get more involved than he had on Saturday, but I would still start with Bendtner against West Ham. Looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. 6

27.Emmanuel EBOUE– The only defender who came out with any credit, Walcott left him very exposed but he set about his job dilligently. Brilliant goal line block in the second half. 6.5

SUBSTITUTES

16.Aaron Ramsey– Came on in a good situation with the game already wrapped up, obviously playing with effusiveness following his rave reviews for the Welsh U-21s. His goal was a lovely finishing touch on the night. 7.5

20.Johan Djourou– Retained possession effectively in the last six minutes and even brought the ball forward with purpose. 7

12.Carlos Vela– No time to make an impact. N/A

A couple of questions to close, neither of which I know the answer to without any serious thought. When was the last time Arsenal had a captain uncapped at international level? And when was the last time we had two British players score in one game?LD.