Date: 27th October 2008 at 4:59pm
Written by:

1.Manuel ALMUNIA– Growing in stature, wasn’t given a great deal to do by the home side, but commanded his area and made an excellent save from Bellamy in the first half. He is very close to convincing me, November’s games against United and Chelsea could do it. 8

4.Francesc FABREGAS– Somewhere close to his best form, played some of those telescopic passes we know he is capable of and got through his fair share of tackles too. 8

8.Samir NASRI– A quiet and largely ineffective game. I suppose its understandable given that he is still acclimbatising to the league, the fact that I was so surprised by his anonimity speaks volumes of just how well he has fitted in so far. I would suggest he learned a lot about a typical Premiership away game. 6

10.William GALLAS(c)- I was speaking to friends before the game and I suggested that we needed to see what Gallas was made of. By and large he responded to midweek criticism with a solid display, marshalling his defence well. That said, I don’t think West Ham tested him unduly, would have been interesting to see how he would have dealt with Ashton. 7

11.Robin van PERSIE– Drifted in and out of the game, but when he was in it he was our biggest threat. van Persie was at the centre of all of our most dangerous moments until he went off, but looked much more effective on the right flank with Adebayor ahead of him. 7.5

14.Theo WALCOTT– When he has the ball he is such a huge threat, which he showed several times. However, his positional play still leaves something to be desired, I think the time is coming to move him further forwards. 7

17.Alexandre SONG Billong– I have expressed several times that I feel he should be playing in the anchor role. I thought he had a thoroughly decent game, quietly and effectively going about his job. He still picks up needless bookings though. That said, I won’t use Song as a stick to beat Denilson with, Fabregas looked a lot better, maybe that had something to do with Song, but Cesc put a fair few tackles in too. Mind you, that probably shows they have the potential to be a mutually beneficial partnership. 7

18.Mikael SILVESTRE– Started shakily yet again,maybe that’s to do with rustiness. Lost his first few aerial challenges, but grew into the game. But there again, West Ham did not overly stretch him. 7

22.Gael CLICHY– A much better performance after his shoddy showing on Tuesday. Solid, confident and offered Bendtner a good overlap in the dying stages. 7

26.Nicklas BENDTNER– I thought Bendtner had a terrific game, the more I see him the less I think of him as a simple target man, comfortable with the ball and always looking for openings. Two late assists for Adebayor said as much. That said, he’s not quite ready to carry the burden Adebayor does just yet, but the two seem capable of playing together. Especially now they don’t seem hellbent on killing each other. 7.5

27.Emmanuel EBOUE– Generally sound at right full back and offers penetration going forwards. For a player so comfortable with the ball though, I don’t rate his temperament. I’m not just talking about the histrionics of which we saw none yesterday, but he sometimes loses his head and gets involved in areas of the pitch he’s not needed, leaving his own position unstationed. 6.5

SUBSTITUTES

2.Vassiriki Abou Diaby– Offered us more penetration in attack which was precisely what we needed at that time. 7

25.Emmanuel Adebayor– You cannot argue with the difference he made. Perhaps some serendipity with the first goal, but he made it happen and really went to town on West Ham’s tired defence. Linked up with van Persie and Bendtner very well. 8

3.Bacary Sagna– No time to make an impact, other than the fact that his appearance meant Alex Song no longer had the shittest haircut on the pitch. N/A