Arsenal vs. Sheffield United Player Ratings

Hat Trick Hero Vela Shows Why He Was Worth The Wait

Carlos Vela: Definitely worth the wait.

Arsenal fully demolished a sub-par Sheffield United side this evening as Arsene Wenger fielded the club’s youngest side ever. It was quickly apparent that age mattered little in this affair as the teenage Gunners effortlessly put six past the Blades on the evening.

Fabianski: 7 Honestly, Fabianski had little to nothing to do all night except be happy and watch his teammates play some glorious football. When he was called into action however he came out and dominated his area with authority and his distribution for the most part was good.

Hoyte: 7 Good getting forward and seemingly more solid then his brother in defense. The younger Hoyte looked much better at right-back then he did at center-back in preseason. He is still young and has plenty of time and room to improve (unlike his brother) but all in all a solid start for the youngster.

Djourou: 8 Looked a bit shaky in the first few minutes but he settled into the game quite well and dealt with everything that came his way. He put in a number of great challenges to break up what little attacking United had.

Song: 8 Solid as usual. Great in defense, going forward, and distribution. He seemed to have landed awkwardly on one leg that may have strained his hip. Hopefully it is nothing serious and he will be fit and ready for action when Arsenal host Hull this weekend.

Gibbs: 8.5 Fantastic display from Gibbs. He was there when called upon in defense and was fantastic getting forward, whipping in some solid crosses and even putting in a shot or two on target. He has shown he has the ability to get forward. The next question will be does he have the ability to defend consistently when called upon.

Wilshere: 9 Little Jack made his first team debut as a 16 year old who came through the Hale End academy and looked as if he had been playing football ever since the day he was born. He was comfortable with the ball at his feed, fantastic in his passing and capped it off with a cool finish from outside the box. Even more encouraging was his ability to get back and help in defense as well as the strength he showed on the ball. He never backed down from a challenge and was willing to stand up to much bigger and strong players than himself. These are all very encouraging signs from the young Englishman and as the season progresses I can only see Wilshere getting better and better.

Ramsey: 9 Great strength on the ball and fantastic passing and distribution. Showed he can split the defense as well as win the ball back. Aaron showed some fantastic bits of skill, including that sublime back heel to Bendtner. Two assists on the night for the young Welshman to go along with an over all fantastic performance. Suffice it to say, the future looks bright for Aaron at Arsenal.

Randall: 6.5 Looked good in the first half in passing and possession and even put in a few nice challenges but his final ball and set pieces left much to be desired. Furthermore, Mark seemed to fade in the second half. This appears to be a make or break season at Arsenal for Randall with other more talented players pushing up in his position. If he doesn’t put in some more inspiring performances he will most likely have to seek employment elsewhere.

Merida: 8 Fran was incredibly impressive on the night. He showed fine bits of skill all evening long. He played some totally deft balls through the defense and put in some good crosses from set pieces. Add to that the assist on Wilshere’s goal and the young Spaniard is starting to show why he is so highly rated.

Bendtner: 9 Two goals and an assist coming off of a great weekend performance at Bolton. Nick was trouble for the United defense all night long. He held the ball up well and combined great with Vela. Not much can be said against Nick tonight other than that he really ought to have scored the goal for his hat trick which he pushed just wide.

Vela: 10 I cannot honestly think of a single thing the Mexican did wrong all evening wrong. He scored three goals and set up another. He ran all over the pitch, held the ball up extremely well, showed his coolness and calmness in finishing and also his strength on the ball. Already a regular in the senior Mexico squad, performances like this will certainly go a long way in Vela’s pursuit of consistent first team football in the Premiership this season.

SUBS:

Coquelin: 8 Francis looked fantastic slotting in at right back. He was able to exhibit both his defensive tenacity as well as the creative side of his game and he made a few nice moves into the box. The kid clearly has skill and drive and I believe it is only a matter of time before this youngster makes his way into the first team.

Lansbury: 7.5 Henri looked good on the night. He put in a few night shots and combined well down the right side. Obviously, he is still getting back into the swing of things after his illness last year but this performance is definitely a solid step on the road back.

Simpson: 6 Nothing in particular stood out about Jay’s game. He hustled, and he seemed to pass and link up decently but his final ball was lacking. With the depth Arsenal have in the striker position and the performances of players like Bendtner and Vela it is going to be very hard for Jay to force his way into even the Carling Cup squad. That is why he must take full advantage of any chance he gets.

Man of the Match: Without a doubt, Carlos Vela showed why so many fans were anxious for the young Cancun-born striker to earn his work permit and return from his loan spells in Spain. His link-up play, his holding, his vision, his strength and his finish are all there. Tonight, Carlos Vela arrived.

Bolton vs Arsenal Player Ratings

Flami-WHO?

Denilson says: "Flamoney-WHO?"

Arsenal traveled up north again this weekend and came home to London with another three points.  A physical match meant that Arsenal would have to show resolve and resilience if they hoped to climb tp the top of the league table this weekend and the Gunners did just that as they managed to put three in the back of the net.

Almunia: 7.5 Almunia had a fine game.  He made some important saves and he seems have increasing control of his area as exhibited by his willingness to come off his line and claim crosses.  His one mistake though did lead to the corner that led to the goal.  Other than that another solid display from the Spaniard.

Sagna: 7 As solid as ever.  He was even switched over to left back as Clichy came off at halftime after being the victim of a typical Bolton kick.  Sagna was great in defense and solid going forward.  Week after week he proves why he is Mr. Reliable.

Toure: 6 Kolo should have done much, much better on the goal.  Replays show that he barely made an effort to stop the header that led to the goal.  He did come close to an equalizer and got more solid defensively as the match went on.  Was solid as Bolton pushed for an equalizer in the second half.

Gallas: 7 A fairly solid defensive display from Gallas, finally.  He was good at marking and staying with his man and he made some great one on one challenges.  Though it is disconcerting that Davies got a free header in the box despite having Toure in front of him and Gallas behind him.  I sincerely hope Gallas will build off of this performance and try to play more like the world-class defender that some claim he is.

Clichy: 7.5 Up until his injury scare, Clichy was awesome.  He recovered well in defense down the left and was superb getting forward.  He showed his usual willingness to fight and continues to make a strong claim on Evra’s spot in the French National Team.

Eboue: 7.5 So, Eboue finally had something of his own to dance about other than an Adebayor goal.  After more than three years, the Ivorian ended his goal drought (if it can be called that considering he hadn’t scored before) and notched a fine, albeit offside, goal for the equalizer.  This was yet another fine performance from the team goofball after a season that had many doubting his place in the team.  Lets hope Eboue can continue this fine run of form.

Fabregas: 7 Much better than in Kiev.  Cesc played some fine, defense splitting balls and was hustling in defense to get back and help protect the lead.  He was fantastic on the ball and generally looked much more comfortable in the team then he did a few nights ago.  Hopefully the week’s rest will see him fresh and re-energized when Arsenal takes on Hull next week.

Song: 7 Song had one of his better games on Saturday.  He connected successfully on 91% of his passes and even had a 2 quality attempts on goal; the first a header that hit the post and the second from just outside the box which forced Jaaskelainen to make an outstretched save.  He was a solid as ever at protecting the back line and I think we are a much better team defensively with Song in the line up but if there is one place he can improve his game to become a better all round midfielder it would be his distribution in the attack.

Denilson: 9 What a game from the young Brazilian.  His final ball was superb and his distribution was fantastic.  His tackling and interceptions were much better then at the start of the season and he has shown that he has the engine it takes to be a key member of this Arsenal squad.  Add to that a fantastic cross to Bendtner to make it 2-1 Arsenal, as well as the calm finish on his own goal and this has to be without question Denilson’s finest performance in an Arsenal kit to date.  Still wish it didn’t take him 10-15 minutes to get into the game though.

Bendtner: 8 Nick had a very good game.  His incisive run to the near post proved to be the match-winning goal.  He also recorded an assist on a beautifully weighted ball which led to Eboue’s equalizer.  Nick showed that he is the legitimate third option at striker as he provided the linkup play that van Persie usually does and yet still provided an aerial threat.

Adebayor: 7 Really ought to have hit that shot but was unlucky to hit the woodwork.  Other than that, Ade had a fine game.  He ran at defenders all day long, stayed for the most part onside and put in the quality cross for Denilson to kill the game.

SUBS:

Djourou: 6.5 Filled in well enough on the right side but doesn’t offer the attacking dimension that Sagna or Clichy do.  He obviously is better in the middle but did about as well as could have been asked of him in filling in for the injured Clichy.

Walcott: 8 Instant impact.  The kid is playing out of his mind right now.  His darting run through midfield is quick becoming a trademark move.  From now on, when someone else does it people will say “he did a Theo”. That run inspired one of the finest goals I can remember seeing in a while.  He caused all sorts of trouble for the Bolton defense and nearly notched a goal himself all while only playing for the last few minutes.  Theo is proving with every minute on the pitch why he deserves to be Arsenal’s starting right winger.

Ramsey: 7 Didn’t play much but in the minutes he got Aaron looked very comfortable on the ball.  He showed some nice skill on the ball as well as a fine touch in his passing.  Ramsey is certainly an exciting young prospect and I look forward to see more of him on Tuesday in the Carling Cup.

Man Of The Match: Out of the ashes of Flamini has risen the young Brazilian, Denilson.  Many questioned whether he would be able to fill the void, and, after a few sub-par games earlier in the season, the young man has really turned it on.  He has been given his chance and, so far, has taken it it well.  He has looked much better defensively and has added an offensive element that Flamini only ever showed brief glimpses of.  His game this week was absolutely fantastic.  Suffice it to say it is going to be very hard for Diaby to work his way back into the starting XI.