Arsenal Player Ratings: Elneny MOTM, Mesut The Leader, Nacho We Love You!

We will do a match report tomorrow, but for now here are my player ratings:

Ospina: 6.5 – did what he had  to do for Chelsea’s only goal but had little chance to stop the Belgian’s cool finish. A bit dodgy on crosses at times.

Nacho: 8.5 – great engine and presence all over the pitch. Lucky with the pinball goal, but he plays with such passion, aggression and great anticipation and interceptions at the moment. Nacho we love you!

Koz: 8 – gave his all with fantastic interceptions and healthy aggression.

Mustafi: 7.5 – gave his all with fantastic interceptions and healthy aggression. One or two headers back to midfield were badly placed.

Bellerin: 7.5 – gave his all too and did very well against the threat that is Alonso (what talents both these Spaniards are). More focus on defending is doing him good – four at the back suits him better than three, I reckon.

Eleney: 9 – Superb, MOTM, performance by the Egyptian hoover. The Chavs pushed us back hard into our own half and we struggled with this, but Elneny stayed calm and created space and time for his teammates. A few fine balls over the top and some very slick passing. Used his head v well.

Geplaagd Arsenal in finale League Cup na winst op Chelsea

Xhaka: 7.5 – an extra 0.5 point for his goal. Both Granit and Jack struggled  to impose themselves in midfield, especially in first half. With Elneny behind them, they should push up and keep the opponent’s midfield in their own half. They did this much better in the second half, which made a big difference.

Jack: 7 – as per above. Jack had some very good moments but also gave the ball needlessly away by over-dribbling at times which could have cost us. Much better in the second half.

Iwobi: 7 – Great pre-assist for the winning goal by cleverly moving the ball to the right side of the pitch. Good defensive support for Nacho and some fine attacking contributions. Still a bit naïve at times when passing the ball and by getting crowded out, but that is to be expected from our 21 year old talent.

Lacazette: 7.5 – Worked his socks off but is often sooo isolated. Was rewarded with the key assist even though it needed a dollop of luck. Just love this player and the goals will come once we get the balance right in attack (which is not playing both Ozil and Iwobi around the Frenchman).

Ozil: 9 – deputy MOTM. What a leading performance by Mesut. Supported his team mates all over the pitch and took the team by the hand. Fabulous ball for Iwobi to score our third but the Nigerian sadly missed the opportunity. I think we should pay him £400k per week, more than Sanchez at the Mancs. He is worth it. Build the team around him.

By TotalArsenal.


23 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Elneny MOTM, Mesut The Leader, Nacho We Love You!

  • Yeah spot on Elneny was quality. We had what we need all along. Iwobi can play, I’m convinced we have a player there. Lacca worked his bollocks off and seems to radiate controlled aggression, the goals will come. Ozils and Jack WE know already. Quality. Onwards and upwards.

  • I always say you can’t know the true worth of a player until he’s had time to play. Elneny is impressing with the playing time he’s given. But I still think we need a proper DM in that midfield

  • What i can see is that our team is still good even though some fans have already given up but it is still strong. i like the way Laca plays, the way he is not selfish like Sanchez was.

  • Well done T A . I am a little wary of getting to carried away when we get a good result, but I did sense a team spirit last night . Personally I thought the two outstanding players last night were Nacho and. Ozil. Elneny did a very good job, but I think it was more about somebody playing a decent role as a defensive midfielder, which we haven’t had since Coquelin. If Elneny can carry on in this role, great, but once the new boys join the team, I suspect he will be left out and we will be back to square one. Having Elneny there also allowed Jack who had a pretty decent game and Zhaka to push foward more. A month ago Zhaka would have had to have been given oxygen for being that far up the pitch.

    I am probably the only person in the world who thinks this, but would I build a team around Ozil? No. Pay him the money, he has been really good for the past few months, but
    I don’t think he is mentally strong enough to carry that tag. If he can carry this form for the rest of the season it will be fantastic and the crowd will love him to death. But put him in the spotlight, I am not sure he even likes it. Just my opinion.

  • Hey Retsub, agreed we cannot get carried away and we had the rub of the green with the deflections. But also agreed re team spirit. Not agreed re Elneny, though. He was much more than a classical DM last night. He stayed cool under pressure and bought us time and space constantly when others were struggling. He also was where the action was, gave protection to the back four AND initiated our attacking play regularly. Some balls over the top were very well placed.

  • Re Ozil…. With Sanchez gone the spotlight IS on him and he is showing such hunger and leadership. If I was Wenger I would build the team around his ability and technical leadership. The likes of Jack, Xhaka and Rambo can support him with the physical side of leadership.

  • For me, Nacho is the MoTM, Elneny and Mesut is a close second.
    A good review TA. What would be do without such a good leadership and writer here……

    Had only watched the highlights, so will watch the full game later to be able to comment further.

  • Hey T A I think you are just trying to flush 17ht out with your Elneny man of the match award (kidding). To clarify he did an excellent job last night and worked his socks off. I just question if he is right for the role long term

  • Cheers 84

    Retsub, I saw Elneny live at Everton for the first time with AB and was very impressed with him then. But praising this fine Egyptian should get 17HT all excited indeed… It’s the fans he has an issue with, you know! 😉

  • I’m loving all of the banter here on MoTM.
    But none of it happens without ‘Jurassic Arsene’ making exactly the right adjustment in-game.

    Now? We’ve seen back-to-back wins with Elneny and Xhaka paired. Destroying a Palace team that had been playing well for a spell– and coming from behind to beat the current PL champs. There is a physicality in this group that could still yet become tougher.

    And hide the women and children! I saw Alex Iwobi dispossess Victor Moses twice last night (Had he scored on that break I might be just coming-to on the fainting-couch about now).

    In that outfield 10? The only players I’d be wary of overusing are Lacazette, Koscielny and Wilshere. With Monreal, Ramsey, and Mkhi (and possibly an ‘Auba’ in the works)– the team is about to have strength in numbers.

    But let’s not tinker with Elneny and Xhaka quite yet.
    Recall how Santi and Le Coq were also discovered out of necessity.


  • As this month inches closer to the next– and the clickbait sirens begin to wail?
    As long as reports do not include sightings of Arsenal’s delegation returning from Dortmund?
    Then ‘the thing is still on’. Nothing else posted is of consequence.


  • JW, what about other attackers house-hunting in London?… 😉

    Sure, retsub, making Elneny MOTM will bring me out of my cocoon… As might giving Wenger a bit of credit… You are too generous, TA… :rolly eyes

    He’s right, however: if anything can keep me away it will be the “support.” Since Total doesn’t wish Wenger dead, he’s doing better than some Arsenal fans. AND, he’s not upset that we won the match (losing suits the agenda of certain Gooners, I fear…) nor going on and on about how it’s just the league cup, he’s probably at least as Wenger-positive as most…

    Putting that to one side, I’m certainly looking forward to the match report as I didn’t get to see the whole match–this working stuff is over-rated IMO–and I had no way to record it, either. I saw the first few minutes of the match (not very promising), missed both first half goals but saw the end of the half and replays of the goals. (Carved open through the middle for theirs; pinball indeed, for ours) I then caught up around the hour mark to see it out. And, except for that opening bit, I was pretty impressed and positive that we could hold them off, but I’m not sure what I would’ve told my (job) partner, if we’d have conceded and gone to extra time… Luckily, it didn’t come to that…

    Let’s be clear about a couple of things: 1) the bounces went OUR way and we’d be analyzing things quite differently if we’d labored for 120 minutes and lost on a score draw and 2) we deserved the result even if they (the bounces) did help us get to Wembley, at least based on what I saw…

    The parts I watched, however, suggested but one MOTM…and his initials are MO, rather than his first name… Whatever, they (Ozil and Elneny) are both favorites of mine. That said, with Alexis gone, I’m finding an excess of fondness for a whole bunch of our players and I’m starting to get sucked into that worst of all conditions: a sense of hope… The results from last weekend don’t hurt either, as might a full 6 days until our next match. It will be strange to miss the 4th round of the FA cup, but, sorry, IMO we’re still just a bit light to be trying for the quadruple…

    So, in the end, I agree with Retsub about the fight (or togetherness) I sensed in the team, though I’d be sure to try and build around Ozil. The thing is, what does it mean to build around him? (Leadership is different than paying out for great players, as I’m not the first to suggest…) He’s giving extra on the break these days AND creating with the ball but his greatest gift is making space for others in the team. (If he keeps it up, I might have to pick Germany to defend their World Cup trophy…) People often noted that Ozil was the only guy Alexis would pass to, but I think there’s an opportunity for so much more interchanging of positions (and opportunities for runs towards goal) now that the former is being rightly seen as a (red) devil. Finally, the chance to be greater than the sum of our parts is upon us… Here’s a fact: In the season before Alexis left his previous club (Barcelona) they won zero trophies; the following year they won the treble. I think they call it addition by subtraction (or maybe they call it Luis Suarez)…

    Do I think that will happen at Arsenal? No, no I don’t… And do I think Alexis will improve things in the pastures of the moo-man? Sadly, yes I do…

    Still, if you can find love (or enjoyment or pleasure) in your OWN team, hope (damned hope…) could be on the horizon…

    I think…

  • Wow , it would take me all day to respond to that note.
    A couple of thoughts though. I don’t think I know of any true fans who want the side to lose.
    We can argue Wenger forever. He has been brilliant before, but how come the team were so awful at Forest? … because he picked the wrong team of course. As I said before I will never show him anything but total respect for what he has done, but it is time for someone a little younger to try. IMHO

  • So HT–

    Sorry you missed the majority of the match live.
    The key to yesterday’s result IMHO was Arsene’s in-game adjustment to a back-3 early-on.
    Sure, Eden Hazard’s goal was a catalyst for the decision. But may not have turned Wenger’s head so far as to make the change– had it not been preceded by a goal disallowed. Offside by a couple of feet Pedro, in-stride, headed a nicely weighted pass over-the-top beautifully into goal from about 12yds. The Hazard goal– was the fire alarm being pulled. Without Elneny on the field? We can’t make the back-3 switch fluidly. Probably not until halftime. The scoreline could well have been worse in that scenario.

    A show of hands please? How many of you flogged the Manager for playing Elneny at CB vs Doncaster earlier in the season?

    And HT?
    I’m not a big fan of ‘all things equal out in the end’ philosophy.
    I feel that yes, sometimes, teams are fortunate– or they get a bounce their way.

    But– The Good Guys seemed earlier this season to have many bounces go against them (some ending up as fluke goals). So yesterday’s Nacho-ping-ping-BING! is just another of those occasions, that happened to go our way– not a karmic conspiracy.

    Though BETStars would like you to believe they have an algorithm to determine which club IS the least/most lucky:

    According to BETStars? Conte should simply zip it. If we’d converted EVERY close deflection (and Iwobi had chosen a different 6-inch window to shoot at on his breaking run)? Arsenal might have finished the match as 5-1 winners. ‘Unlucky’? Conte was quite ‘lucky’ yesterday! His club could have been embarrassed.

    Have some hope HT. It beats the alternative– and the alternative’s side-effects.

    That you point out Barca’s successes post-Alexis is just fine.
    Arsenal are not Barca. But this team’s successes can be relative to what this team is.
    Which right now appears to be a team– on it’s ‘first bounce’ post-Alexis.

    This Arsenal team just achieved its’ 4th cup final in 5 years.
    The three previous resulting in silverware.
    Here’s to hoping!


  • MOTM? Very little to choose between Ozil, Elneny, Nacho, Mustafi. Some others were not that far behind.

    One thing am beginning to appreciate more and more is that Elneny’s contribution is a lot more subtle but vital to the team’s good play. His ball circulation at the back is of the highest quality. Excellent timing, awareness, technique, and above all a calmness that gets transmitted not only to the players around him but also to the team as a whole and to us the fans.Calmness brings intelligence and confidence. A player that affects his team with confidence on the ball, has already contributed something that is unquantifiable.

    We were playing out the ball from the back like City.. What it does is it sucks the high pressers into our defensive quarter giving us the opportunity to put a pass into a deconjested midfield. That then allows us to dominate the mid field. These positives are so shuttle that they are not easily traceable to Elneny.

    Most people view the deepest midfielder in terms of a destroyer (Makalele), the great tackler who need not be a great passer. That definition is outdated. In these days of high press, passing has become even more important than tackling. Such a good passer becomes right for that deepest role if he is both defensively aware and responsible, as he is able to intelligently block the passing lanes, a very important technique in defending these days of football as almost a no contact sport. Elneny has that too. If Arteta had more pace in his legs he would have been the classical definition of the modern deepest midfielder (notice I don’t call it DM)

    However a player who has the qualities of Eln and Coq rolled into one is obviously to be most desired but they are very hard to find.

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