Everton 0-1 Arsenal
With a ladle of luck dished out by the ever-dislikeable Graham Poll (the only ref to have his own song, and it’s not a nice one), Arsenal’s youngsters pulled off one of their finest Milk cup wins under Wenger.
As in the last round, Aliadiere was our eldest outfield player aged 23, and the team had two 17-year-olds on the left-hand side of the pitch -Traore and Walcott. The mix of relative experience and youthful vim seemed to work though, with Ade Cool plundering a late goal to send us through.
As for the performance, well it’s a tricky one. I’m not a subscriber to Arsenal.com, and the tip-off to listen to Merseyside’s Magic 1548 online came to naught when they cut the feed off before it began, so I was forced into an evening of Sky Sports News – never the best way to judge how we played.
But from the few online newspapers I have devoured, the most satisfying thing seems to be that, on a physical level, we took everything thrown at us and stood up strong. A little bit of steel is something we have occasionally lacked in recent seasons on our travels, so if that’s true then it’s pleasing. Comments from anyone who attended more than welcome. See Mr G Playa for a lowdown from someone who was.
By several accounts, the main man was forgotten man Jerry Aliadiere, and his improving form gives us another option up front. The question is, will he get the chance to show it? He’s being used, in the league, as an impact sub, but without being given too much time to make that impact. It’s just too hard to judge him on ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there.
The interesting questions with him are: 1) Can he displace van Persie or Adebayor in the starting eleven and 2) is he too similar to Henry to play with Henry?