Madrid aren’t after Vela yet, but be prepared for it! Carlos Vela has landed and the talent that he has brought with him must have exceeded his baggage allowance at the airport!
Tonight was once again a superb event and I am jealous of everyone who attended because it really was an exhibition match. Yes… I was even jealous of yesterdays prize winner Ronald (Many thanks to Alan for donating the tickets)!
I get more excited about watching the kids in the Carling Cup than I ever do over a game versus one of the lower league teams in the Premeirship. It seems even the older players do as well! Cesc, Eboue, Adebayor were all in the stands… and interestingly… so was Keown? What was he doing there, eh? If he was just there to watch the game… surely he’d be sitting in Bergkamps box? Not with the players!
I’m not one to start a rumour… but I’d definitely say he is coming back to Arsenal… without ever really committing to the statement of course.
The kids were on fire tonight… and what is frightening about them is that they seem to play the game even quicker than their slightly older counterparts. Everyone is comfortable on the ball, everyone knows there job and everyone of them believes they will be good enough for the first team one day.
So… this is how the team lined up.
Hoyte Song Djourou Gibbs
Wilshere Randall Ramsey Merida
I’m just going to get straight into the player ratings… for a game like last nights, I think those who didn’t catch it will be more interested in the unknown players and how they performed.
Fabianski: To start with he was trying too hard to show his worth. He made a hash of a few balls into the box, but you have to put that down inexperience. He did make a super save at the near post from Koumas to settle the his nerves. and later on he came out well to deny Zaki a shooting opportunity. My opinion on Fabianski is that he is not ready to takeover from Almunia yet… but what he will offer when he is ready, is the ability to make the impossible save possible. Right at the end De ridder fired a shot in, he parried it… Zaki fired the ball back at him and he miraculously tipped it onto the bar. It was an amazing save and one I doubt Almunia would have made. He is a work in progress, but once complete… he’ll be something else. 7
Hoyte: I don’t really have too much to tell you on this young full back. He is quick and solid, but he rarely stood out. Which must mean he did a good job, becuase I don’t remember him doing anything badly? He is similar to his brother… more of a defender than a show boater… which is a good thing! 7
Song: Played well considering he was out of position again. He made a particularly good interception just inside the half way line to prevent a 3v2 attack by Wigan. A clean sheet is impressive in a young team and he must be given credit for that. He isn’t ever going to be a great centre back… but he is an option. 7.5
JD: I thought he had a great game. He was good in the air, composed on the ball and even good with his hands at one point. Hey… if it’s good enough for Maradona, it’s good enough for our JD! Wenger, you have to give him a chance next time Silvestre gets injured! 8
Gibbs: He lacks experience in defence, but going forward the boy is a dream… he looked superb with the ball at his feet and he reminded me of a young, uncorrupted Cashley. One for the future I feel… maybe at the expense of Traore? 7.5
Wilshere: Plays the game like Hleb on Speed. He dances around players like a seasoned pro… he’ll recieve the ball on an angle, jink left, jink right, poke a pass out wide, play a long ball… you just have no idea what he is going to do! He also uses his limited body weight to great effect. Last night he picked up MoM… His assist was a beautiful through ball to Jay simpson who poked it past an in form, slightly injured Kirkland. What made the ball special was that he threaded it through about 7 Wigan players! The question on the lips of every gooner will be, how long can Wenger keep him on a leash for? 9
Randall: I am a big fan of this boys talent. He always manages to give himself time on the ball, which is the sign of a good player… my only reservations about him are whether he has the attitude to match the talent. I wish he’d play the sensible ball as his first option instead of mucking about with the tricks and flicks. He could be good if he wakes up and reads a few stories about why David Bentley plays for Spurs. 7
Ramsey: Smashed a fantastic freekick in the first half that was well saved by Kirkland and he worked his socks off. He also started the move for the Vela -> Simpson goal. I wrote him off at the start of the year, but the more I watch him the more I think he is only a season away from being a contender. He is as big as Flamini already and just as tenacious… he is also a lot more creative and I hate to say it… but if anyone is going to become the super player (Paddy, Pires, Henry mould) we so desire… it is this boy. 8
Merida: He is clearly a very tidy little player, but he is as quiet as a door mouse most games! He did hit a rasping shot in the second half that forced a great save from Kirkland… I just wish he’d do a little more and show us that he merits the Cesc comparisons. 7
Simpson: His first contribution was hitting the bar early on. He looked pretty good on the ball, if not a bit awkward but the important thing is that he kept the Wigan defence busy with his hard work and perseverance… Then his break came… he latched onto a Wilshere through ball and poked it into the bottom right corner. His second came after Carlos did all the hard work and played him in… Simpson still had to finish it, which he did with cool composure. He isn’t Carlos Vela or Thierry Henry, but too many people were writing him off last night which I thought was unfair. Isn’t it great to have an English forward in the team who can hit the net when called upon? He might not be ready for the first team… but give it a year and you never know what you might have on your hands! 8
Vela: He was involved in everything attack wise tonight, he was shooting, creating and defending from the front. The lad is special… and he showed that when he was played through on goal in the second half… he waited and waited… then he played the right pass to an open Simpson. Superb play. Then JD played Vela in, he knocked the ball in front of himself, then arrogantly chipped Kirkland! What a nerve, what a talent… what a goal! Carlos is knocking on the first team door and the noise he is making is getting harder and harder to ignore. We have a superstar in waiting… so forget your David Villa’s and your Sammy Eto’o’s … we might not need them! 9
In conclusion, another great performance by the kids… another quarter final… another reason to be pleased this week!
So… who did you rate? Let us know in the comments!
P.S. I have Man City away tickets, Villa at home tickets and Kiev at home… e-mail if you are interested!