1. Aaron Ramsey is ready for the first team
Teaming up with rookie Craig Eastmond and a fit-again Samir Nasri, Aaron Ramsey absolutely dominated the midfield today. Strong in the tackle, confident on the ball and as usual, always willing to look for a shot, Ramsey sent out the biggest statement yet that he is ready to make the step up to the first team. Abou Diaby has been warned.
2. Fran Merida is not ‘The New Cesc Fabregas’
He’s quicker. Much quicker. And he moves and plays in a completely different way, his quick feet and general sharpness more akin to Eduardo than anyone else in the current squad. Regardless of who he plays like, the Spaniard was superb on the left today weighing in with an outstanding strike for the opener and an equally as brilliant assist for the second. Like Ramsey, judging from this display, he deserves a shot at more first-team action.
3. Craig Eastmond plays for Arsenal
Raise your hand if you had heard of Craig Eastmond before the game. Oh, put your hand down Jamie! Eastmond did well in his debut in the Alex Song role despite a couple of hairy moments and as with many of his teammates, looks a decent prospect for the future.
4. Nicklas Bendtner is one-of-a-kind
There aren’t many 6’4 strikers going around the traps at the moment that are as difficult to defend against as Nicklas Bendtner. Sure, he struggled a bit more than usual on the wing, spraying some passes and making some very odd decisions, but the Dane was also able to decide the match with a piece of brilliant opportunism. Pouncing on the confusion caused by Merida’s pass to Eduardo, Bendtner powered into the area, showing outstanding strength to hold off one of the Premier League’s in Martin Skrtel before firing a Fernando Torres-like finish into the net. With his unique combination of pace, power, work-rate and sheer unpredictability Bendtner really is a one-of-a-kind player.
5. The goalkeeper mystery remains unsolved
While Lukasz Fabianski did not play poorly today, he showed nothing to suggest things have changed much from last season. Liverpool’s goal was unstoppable (it may have gone over rather than around him – but how much further back could have realistically stood?) and he never looked troubled when the away side fired shots at him, holding onto most efforts like his gloves had glue on them. But just like last season he looked shaky coming out of his area, kicked unconvincingly all game and had a real ‘Jens Lehmann moment’ when handling the ball on the edge of his area. All in all it’s hard to say he did enough to merit a start against Spurs on Saturday and I think it will be out of Vito Mannone and Manuel Almunia, with the Spaniard my tip to get the nod.
6. We’ve missed Samir Nasri
Nothing more to add to that really. He was one of our very best players last season and put in an exceptionally neat and tidy performance last night. I’ve often said that he plays like Tomas Rosicky and his general control and ball usage is of a quality that exudes trust and calm among his fellow teammates. Fabregas will be licking his lips.
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