Watching Arsenal crash out of the FA Cup at the hands of Stoke is not my favourite way I to spend a Sunday afternoon. I understand and agree with the team selection: I realise the need to give valuable experience to many of what is hoped will be the stars of the not too distant future but even after grabbing that crumb of comfort it is still not enough to console me and alleviate the pain of watching the club that I love lose.
Fabianski: wow, if like me you were thinking that the Pole, who has clearly developed a penchant for pies while he has been injured, was the answer to our goalkeeping woes then you, like me, are feeling very worried indeed. In his defence dealing with Delap’s throw-ins would cause Casillas, and any group of defenders you care to name, problems. 4.5
Coquelin: the television commentators blamed the young Frenchman for the first goal; I’m not so sure, it seemed to me that Fabianski was much at fault. That said, he got better as the game went on and made some fine tackles. I can’t quite work out what is his natural position, is he a DM? Does he have the range of passing to play that role? Only time will tell but the more games he plays the quicker we will know. 5
Campbell: the only Arsenal player who looked as though winning the game was important. He tired towards the end but that is hardly surprising, all in all it was great to see him out there playing for Arsenal again and I am greatly relieved to think that he will be the first choice back up should Gallas or Vermaelen get injured. 8
Silvestre: I think I am correct in saying that he joined Arsenal on a two year deal, if right then that takes him to the end of the season at which point I expect him to leave to be replaced by Bartley in the pecking order. At thirty five he was always going to struggle for pace and unsurprisingly he was left wanting on more occasions than we should expect from an Arsenal player. 4.5
Traore: for me this young Frenchman was the bright light of the afternoon; he has clearly had time to reflect and improve upon his last outing in which he was given a torrid time by Gallas as much as Everton. Today the jitters were gone, in their place was a composed performance and some excellent crossing. 7
Denilson: some times it is hard to fight the young Brazilian’s corner and today is certainly one of them. The goal was welcome, he has his fitness back but I will save judgement for the Villa game in which he will be surrounded by the best players that Arsenal have to offer. 5.5
Eastmond: coming on leaps and bounds; his progress is clear since only two games ago he was completely out of his depth against Bolton. 5.5
Fabrégas: apparently he was only playing because Wilshire was unwell. Even the best midfielder in the country struggled with so little help. 7
Walcott: he’s a shoe in to go to South Africa……..for the same reason as last time………mascot………Walcott the mascot, it has a ring to it; he was pathetic. 2
JET: no easy task coming into the first team and having tweedle dee and tweedle dum on either side of you in attack, did what he could, helped out aerially in defence. 5
Vela: or on today’s performance tweedle dee, OK perhaps a bit harsh as he was certainly playing as though it meant some thing to him in the first half but we need a bit more than that Carlos. 5
Arshavin, Eduardo, Ramsey: it all made sense to me, I expected that we would go on and win it. 5 a piece.
If the plan was to win then clearly it failed but if the plan was to get rid of this insignificant distraction, then it went exactly to Wenger’s plan.