What a night.
Just phenomenal. These kids are amazing. When Wenger says, “I believe I could put that team out against Tottenham“, he is not lying. Everton are 3rd in the league, and we destroyed them with our reserve side.
There were so many stars that I ought to give them all a mention.
Seemed fairly comfortable all night. Made a couple of good saves, and kicked very well. A decent back-up for Mad Jens.
He put in a very good defensive display, but didn’t do as well as he can going forward. Many are convinced we need to buy a reserve right-back, but I’m confident enough in Hoyte to give him the chance.
Nervous early on, and made some mistakes with his judgement and footwork. His strength, however, enables him to get out of any mess he gets himself into. His sheer size makes him an exciting prospect. Led the back line well in the absence of any real experience.
We hadn’t heard much about this kid. But you felt that was deliberate – That something special was being kept under-wraps. Tonight showed that that may well be the case. He was excellent. Powerful in the air and the tackle, he also showed good passing ability, and I’d very much like to see him play in central-midfield. His combination of craft and crunch make him one to look out for.
For a player who until last season was known as a striker, he’s developing into a very decent full-back. The fact that he is 20, and thus older than Gael Clichy, does not bode well for him, but he should be able to make a decent career for himself at another club.
I thought he played well. Some didn’t, but then this isn’t their website. When he sticks out on the right and crosses the ball in to non-existent target men, he looks bad. On days like today, when he drifts inside and across to the other wing, he looks like a brilliant little player. Pace, panache, and some impressively improving upper-body strength made me salivate. However, he only seems to produce these sorts of performances when he is the senior member in the side, such as last night, or during his spell at Watford. Needs to make the step up – he hasn’t got much time left. Finished the game as captain.
Solid, and most certainly unspectacular. A bit like Gilles Grimandi without the characterful charm. A decent midfield blocker who needs to work on his passing.
Came off after an hour’s excellent display. Perhaps it was the fact that he was made captain, or perhaps it was a response to recent criticism, but he played like a man possessed last night. In fact, so much so that David Moyes was furious he wasn’t dismissed for an over-the-top challenge on James McFadden. Moyes has a point – Edu was a little over-zealous. But when the team could’ve given up having gone down so early on, Edu’s fire helped lift them. His inury is infuriating, because he looked more than ready for Tottenham on Saturday.
Replaced Edu, and did his job as tidily as ever.
Got injured, yet again. Only on for 21 fairly ineffectual minutes, but produced one exciting run.
Unbelievable. A footballing demi-god, capable of the sublime, the ridiculous, and so much more. From the moment he replaced Smith he didn’t make one error. His first contribution was an electrifying run that, had Richard Wright not plunged low to his right, would’ve resulted in the goal of the season. His goal included a neat turn and explosive finish, and his shimmying run created the second. He also showed magnificent awareness to pick out Arturo Lupoli for the third. As against Manchester City, he seems to have matured as a player, and channelled his talent in the best possible way. Wenger commented, “He had a major impact when he came on. It’s a very difficult job to predict a young player. Many people had questions about him but, when a boy has talent, you have to be patient with him. He has matured and grown up, and was very direct. He’s not miles away from the first team at all.” Our Cristiano Ronaldo, and the subject of the masterful chant that features in today’s headline.
Robin van Persie
Showed some brilliant touches, and almost scored with a swerving, dipping free-kick. If anyone else suggests that he is an “aerial threat” I shall be very very angry. He isn’t. He’s Bergkamp, but left-footed, and more direct. Should get some more first team game-time soon.
In last night’s programme he stated, “I knew I was the first Italian player to play for Arsenal, but now I want to be the first Italian to score for Arsenal, and the first Italian to win trophies with Arsenal.” With the first part of that now complete, the second can’t be far away. Arturo Lupoli is an assassin of a striker who finished two moves off with neat, effective finishes. Celebrates like he plays – with real passion. His Latin blood lusts for goals, and lets hope he scores them for many years to come. Brilliant movement combined with lethal finishing. The archetypal goalscorer. Went off late on to a standing ovation.
Didn’t do much in the couple of minutes he was on.
It ought to be mentioned that the atmosphere last night was absolutely superb, and that has a lot to do with the REDaction Singing Section in the North Lower. They were every bit as outstanding as our kids.
Last night was a great night for this football club.
Let’s hope we and the young stars who did so very well share many more magical moments in the future.