I didn't mean to imply Donovan is soft. I know the crap MLS & CONCACAF players kick the h#!! out of him. My point was more about Arsenal & citeh. They give opponents time and space on the ball plus their opponents have options in the final 3rd because Arsenal & citeh don't have 10 men behind the ball. They are probably the 2 most open teams in the EPL.
When Donovan plays some of the other teams (I haven't looked at his 3 month loan schedule) like Blackburn, Bolton, Stoke, Birmingham, etc they will press/hassle/kick him and they will actually be good defenders/football players relative to the losers Donovan plays in MLS & CONCACAF. Those type of EPL teams defend tooth and nail. They challenge every ball (even 35/65) with zeal. They tackle with purpose. They close down time & space. They put most of their men behind the ball to take away passing options. Plus they have decent football skill relative to MLS.
Donovan also has benefited from playing with a fit Saha. Saha still has sublime skills. He wouldn't be at Everton if he could have stayed healthy at United.
Rafa set out to draw IMO. I can see putting 3 central defenders (Carra at RB) across the back since Stoke will pump balls into the box all game long, but then he put 2 fullbacks at wing along side 2 defensive central mids with a defensive wing (Kuyt) as one of his strikers. Ngog was essentially the only attacking player IMO. I thought Stoke would eventually win. I guess Fuller isn't fit to play 90 because their attack was much more lively after his introduction. They missed Delap's long throws. It seems like their attack is designed to get a ton of throw ins in the final 3rd, but the guy that took them after Delap departed wasn't very proficient, at least by Delap standards. Sorensen (
PFIM) was very timid on the Pool goal. It was a very entertaining match.