Date: 2nd November 2008 at 7:38pm
Written by:

1.Manuel ALMUNIA– His puppy eyed apology pre match reaked of a lack of confidence. Though he made a good save from Diao, he lacked any kind of authority from set pieces and looked a shadow of the sturdy keeper of early season. 5

2.Abou DIABY– Produced and offered absolutely nothing, after a couple of promising performances, he looked like the lazy, half arsed player we saw marooned on the left last season. 4

3.Bacary SAGNA– A fairly sound match before going off injured, however, the defence collectively failed to deal with Stoke’s sole threat. Aerially adept enough to have offered a bit more authority than he did, but cannot be essentially blamed. 6

4.Francesc FABREGAS– Tried in vain to create chances, but found a well drilled wall of red and white in front of him. Got his foot in very impressivelybut was unable to create much, had he had Nasri, you felt more outlets available. 7

5.Kolo TOURE(c)- Offered little in the way of leadership and looked a shell of the enthused ball of molecular vibration of seasons past. His shoulders were slumped much of the game and he simply could not deal with Delap’s throws, not could he organise those around him. 5

15.DENILSON Pereira de Neves– Got through his fair share of tackles in a competitive midfield and came out on top over Diao and Olofinjana in that area. Retained the ball fairly well and largely did his job. It’s not his fault the manager selected a side devoid of attacking inegnuity. 6.5

17.Alexandre SONG Billong– One of his less impressive games, though Stoke did not threaten much coming forward, he was sloppy in possession and did not commandeer aerially in the way we know he can. In a game where our big men needed to stand firm, he could not really cope. A promising boy who was asked to performthe job of a seasoned pro. 5

18.Mikael SILVESTRE– Could not augment Stoke’s aerial play and seemed the most panic stricken and indecisive member of our side. He is looking a very poor purchase to me. 5

22.Gael CLICHY– After his aberration on Wednesday night Gael responded with a display of heart and determination. Not the most gifted in the air but put himself in the firing line, was still plugging away when the game was lost and deserved his goal. Demonstrating any sort of passion was always going to make him stand out in this match. 7.5

25.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR– Looked like he would really rather have been anywhere else. The abuse he received for having the temerity to get injured was close to sickening. But it was a listless display when we needed someone to lead the line with conviction. 5

26.Nicklas BENDTNER– Spirit was willing but touch and passing were poor. Tried in vain but often found himself crowded out by a disciplined Stoke side and a lack of support from midfield meant he was ploughing a lone furrow. 5.5

SUBSTITUTES

11.Robin van Persie– His act of petulance ended the game, probably not a red card, but he needn’t have given a referee as poor as Styles an invitation. N/A

12.Carlos Vela– Could do little on the left hand side as the game was up by the time he came on. Griffin and Diao doubled upon him to offset any threat he might have offered. 5

14.Theo Walcott– Did not get involved in the game enough when he came on, that said, every time he did he was hacked to the floor. The third such intentional blow saw him stretchered off. 5