Tottenham Hotspur lost in the FA Cup last night - as North London rivals Arsenal ran out comfortable winners in the North London Derby at The Emirates Stadium.
Goals from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky proved to be enough for victory - and in truth it was a deserved and competent performance from the Premier League leaders, despite being down to ten men.
It was Tim Sherwood’s first defeat since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas as manager and for all his enthusiastic attacking ideas - he was outsmarted and outgunned by his more experience rival Arsene Wenger.
Sherwood decided to hand promising teenager Nabil Bentaleb his first start for the club in this massive tie. Bentaleb has been promoted from the reserves under which he was managed by Sherwood.
Bentaleb is a very talented boy - but at 19-years-old this was certainly a thrown in the deep end and see if you can swim type of lesson.
Bentaleb certainly looked impressive again. It is clear he is technically gifted and very composed on the ball. He also has a very tidy passing range throughout the game and certainly has the potential to become a first-team regular.
But surely there were some reservations as well. It is hard to find any statistically. He had 93 touches of the ball, more than anyone else on the pitch and also had an impressive 93% possession.
However while his performance was tidy he did struggle in some areas. He often found himself lost in traffic when Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla came running at him - and his defensive duties did at times pass him by.
Then there was the act of petulance later in the game - when the aggressive side of him came out with a petulant stamp inches away from the fingers of Nacho Monreal.
Overall, for a kid of just 19, his performance was promising. There are certainly areas of his game that need improvement - as would any player at this age.
But despite the result, and the minor blemishes on his performance, the future looks bright for Bentaleb.
So how did Spurs fans think their teenage prodigy got on?
Here is some reaction from Twitter…
Bentaleb seems to love giving the ball to a player under loads of pressure.— James Maw (@JamesMawFFT) January 4, 2014
@SpursDreamer Bentaleb for capoue = madness no protection for back 4— Ricardo Rodriguez (@Ric_Aardo) January 5, 2014
I thought spurs lost the game yesterday the moment Tim Sheerwood made the decision to play Bentaleb ahead of Capoue.— hu. (@JohnLenonn_) January 5, 2014
Only saw this Bentaleb guy when I watched the recording of the game back. Who the heck is he?— Patrick (@PatchJS) January 5, 2014
And who on earth was that Bentaleb dude ?? looked totally out of his depth #hahaha— Khalid™ (@Khalid_AFC93) January 5, 2014
Watching the game back, Bentaleb was utter toilet, much as I thought during the game. delighted my in-game analytics are still spot on— Ricky C (@rickycasey99) January 5, 2014
Bentaleb was decent today for Spurs but all likings I had for him went when he tried to stamp on Monreal, what an absolute scumbag.— Halo Gooner (@db10Halo) January 4, 2014
Bentaleb from Spurs will be one of the best midfielders in the Premier League mark my words!!— colm schwer (@schwecks) January 4, 2014
impressed with arsenal going forward spesh Rosicky, Gnarby & Walcott's movement &Bentaleb for spurs looks a player for the future! #AFCvTHFC— Steve Grinham (@steviegrinham) January 4, 2014
I hope that Bentaleb lad remembers his first NLD when he's plodding along with Ajaccio at the bottom of Ligue Un in three years time.— Ronan Morrissey (@RonanXonkM) January 4, 2014
image: © sachab