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Match Ratings: Sheffield United

21.Lukasz FABIANSKI(c) - Didn't have a great deal to do, in fact he had absolutely zilch to do. But the green goalie shirt looked nice on him. Nice haircut too. 7

12.Carlos VELA- A delightfully taken hat trick which puts his finishing into the Eduardo category, a variety of different approaches to goal, the curler, the lift and the rocket launcher. Quick, powerful, direct, makes a beeline for goal with eery confidence. His all round play was immaculate, as evidenced by his assist for the first goal, interchanged with Merida impugnly. 9

16.Aaron RAMSEY- Metronomic performance in midfield, busy, creative, got forward at every opportunity with Randall anchored in behind and came out with a couple of assists. Vela grabbed the glory, but Rambo really made the side tick, so he gets the man of the match. 9

17.Alexandre SONG Billong- Having successfully negotiated puberty, he was one of the senior members of the side and wore it well, marshalling the defence and negating the 'threat' of Fat Beattie with ease. 8

19.Jack WILSHERE- His slight of foot on the ball is better than any 16 year old I have ever seen, uses his body marvellously to decieve opponents. I cannot remember him losing the ball and he was always willing in the tackle too. Fantastic goal to round off a display that belied his years. Looks so easy and comfortable. 8.5

20.Johan DJOUROU- After a few panicky moments early on, Djourou really stepped into his role as a senior player and put in a solid display. Not that the Blades offered much of a threat. 7

26.Nicklas BENDTNER- Really allayed those early wobbles with his maturity, actually looked as though he was leading the side in the first half until the exuberancy kicked in. Two excellently taken goals, but was eventually overshadowed by Vela. 8

40.Kieran GIBBS- Almost as if Traore hadn't left us, ridiculously confident with the ball at his feet and robbed the United right winger of possession more times than I care to remember. Especially impressive as he has only recently made the transition to left back. 8

41.Gavin HOYTE- Pacier than his brother, United didn't really give him a great deal of defending to do, but came forward and linked well with Wilshere and Merida, who swapped flanks frequently. 7

43.Fran MERIDA Perez- Very impressive in the role of playmaker, a shame he could not get in on the goals because he was instrumental to our attacking moves, feeding off Ramsey's excellent service and providing the ammunition for Bendtner and Vela. More effective on the left than the right but a solid first start for the club. 7.5

47.Mark RANDALL- The unsung hero of the night, quietly mopped up in front of the defence with some resolute challenges, but also demonstrated the ability to switch play with his passing range. Looks to have everything in his locker. 8


35.Francis Coquelin- Came on in the unfamiliar role of right back and excelled, getting forwards with great effect and showing a midfielders aptitude for the tackle. 7

42.Henri Lansbury- Fitted in seemlessly to the play, comfortable on the ball and nearly helped himself to a goal. 7

50.Jay Simpson- I saw Jay play a fair few times for Millwall last season and while he's strong, quick and the spirit is willing, his touch is not really on par with his peers. Made bad decisions in the box. 6

Anyone else beginning to think we should play this sort of side in the F.A. Cup? Not out of any ambivalence towards the competition you understand, but because I think these guys deserve even more games together.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday September 24 2008

Time: 1:10PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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21.Lukasz FABIANSKI(c) - He should of got an 8, apparently he has a rather nice singing voice to!
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 13:13:00

what was the teams average age ??
Tiny T
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 13:20:00

The squad's average age was approx 18.5 years, but the actual starting 11 was approx 19.
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 13:21:00

4 and a half!
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 13:44:00

:) Nice one.
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 13:59:00

I say if Wenger wants to use these lads in the FA cup as well, I'd be happy - not only for the development of the lads but also because (based on this performance) I seriously believe they could do a job in that competition as well!
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 14:16:00

he cld use them in d fa cup, but he would have to consider the opposition
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 14:39:00

I was thinking the exact same thing, that Wenger should play these kids in the FA cup as well. Take this successful experiment to the next level, coz these kids are justifying all the faith. For me, would love to see more of this bunch, so the more games, the merrier.
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 17:54:00

I like Fabi's haircut too! :) Yep I'm all for having these kids in the FA Cup. I honestly don't care if we got drawn against Chelsea's 30-year-olds, same group in FAC please.
Report Abuse
24/09/2008 20:52:00

I think they should approach the FA cup with a view to including a few more of the senior squad. Begin to mesh some of the young lads with the more experienced. Use the standouts from the League Cup, mix in a few first team regulars and have a run at it.
Report Abuse
25/09/2008 15:01:00


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