Auba 6, Mustafi, Xhaka, Mkhi 5 | Rest Well Below Par: Arsenal Player Ratings


It’s getting more and more difficult not to use scathing language on the Arsenal team and its handlers. As a group they’ve become a let-down. As the 9th most expensively assembled team in Europe, according to CIES Football Observatory, this level of performance is unacceptable. Click the link below;

CECH …. Is he a sacred cow? He was responsible for the first goal and should have done better with the second. We hold our breath each time a back pass is made to him. You can imagine the damage it does to the confidence of our defence. Cech belongs to the past.
……………….RATING 3

CHAMBERS …. Mediocre. Why do we play full backs as wing back? It’s the biggest call for 3 central defenders. Has Chambers a future in any top team? Am still counting ourselves as one.
……………….RATING 4

MUSTAFI ….. If there is one player who cannot be accused of not playing for Wenger it’s Mustafi. He plays with his heart. But you wonder if there is much upstairs.
………………..RATING 5

KOSIELNY …. Another loyalist. He’s got an Achilles heel (pun intended). With age he is lost a yard or two and in my opinion he is not made to lead.
. ………………RATING 4

KOLASINAC ….. The mystery man. Or is he still one? I deciphered him a long time ago. Lucky not to get a straight red, not even a second yellow when he tanked somebody out.
……………….RATING 3.5

XHAKA …….. He does a lot of good work until you see him tracking (snailng) back. He should be anything but the deepest midfielder.
……………….RATING 5

WILSHERE …… Something missing here. Is he unable to articulate his style to tap into his unquestionable talent? Wilshere should never be average.
………………..RATING 4

IWOBI …….. No dancing around.
………………..RATING 3

MKHI ………. Yet another #10 in our midst. But I must say he is the most intelligent in the final third. He is able to take informed risks, not always the sideways and backwards passing.
………………..RATING 5

OZIL ….. It’s beginning to look like he is smart enough to know that he can coast home @ £350,000 per week. He’s pushed Mkhi out wide. Sent Wilshere back to the central areas. Kept Laca on the bench. Yet he is not proving to be the King.
…………………RATING 4

AUBA …… All the backwards and sideways and 3-meter passes by those around him aren’t helping his cause. A poacher’s goal. That’s him.
…………………RATING 6

WENGER …… Is he a naive little boy?
…………………RATING (a naive little boy).

FINAL SHOT … Elneny and Ramsey should be starters in our next match, and if it requires a pretty stiff dose of a pain killer injection so be it, but Nacho at left back please ……

By Pony Eye.

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27 Responses to Auba 6, Mustafi, Xhaka, Mkhi 5 | Rest Well Below Par: Arsenal Player Ratings

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thank You PE, that is a dark review with very little to hang on to. I did not watch the game as I had visitors from the Lowlands. Clearly, we are not doing well and it is not looking good for the next few months, but we should not forget what a lack of team confidence can do to individual performances. A good game on Thursday would do us a world of good.

    Keep the faith, somehow. 😀

  2. Pony Eye says:

    The disappointment of Brighton cannot extinguish my hope going forward. I can’t wait for Thursday to come, just like you. Gooner for life!

  3. Waldo says:

    While Chambers didn’t have a good game, the kid is clearly a centre half and not a fullback. So it’s hard to blame Chambers for underperforming in a position which he is clear ill suited to play. Why the hell Wenger didn’t play Maitland Niles at right full back beats me. Interesting to see Debuchy is performing exceptionally for St Etienne, now that he is actually being given a chance. Another master stroke decision by Wenger.

  4. Waldo says:

    5 for Mustafi?? The bloke made 3 interceptions, 6 clearances and had 7 successful aerial duels for the match. While he could have been more aggressive with his tackling, that should be at least enough to get him a 7.

  5. Pony Eye says:

    AMN has some family issues atm that could have a negative effect on his performance.

  6. Waldo says:

    Elneny shouldn’t be anywhere near Arsenal’s starting 11. The Egyptian is statistically Arsenal’s worst central midfield option in terms of his defensive contribution and transitional skills (long range passing and dribbling). On the field he hides defensively and all he contributes offensively is to make a plethora or short very low risks passes. He is a very limited ineffectual player who shouldn’t be at Arsenal.

  7. Waldo says:

    I would honestly give Maitland Niles, Willock, Da Silva and/or Sheaf a run in a deep lying central midfield trio or push Mustafi and Chambers into midfield either side of Xhaka, who statistically is Arsenal’s best long range distributor and defensive midfielder (out of Ramsey, Wilshere and Elneny).

  8. Waldo says:

    3.5 for Kolasinac?? While his defensive positioning wasn’t the best, he was solid in his tackling and with 2 successful forward dribble and 3 out of 4 accurate crosses, that was enough to easily earn him a 6 if not a 7 out of 10. Because of his offensive contribution, Kolasinac is a much more complete left fullback than Monreal.

  9. njk84sg says:

    Waldo, sometimes stats and the actual performance does not match. For example, Kola has a player in front of him that he does not want to pass to and instead passes back most of the time.

    Is he supposed to be good when he prefers to back pass or pass sideways rather than bomb forward?

  10. Waldo says:

    Great article by Josh Sippie regarding the recent contribution Xhaka is making to Arsenal’s central midfield. Well worth a read.

  11. Waldo says:

    Kolasinac’s stats and on field performance aligned nicely as far as I could see (both from a defensive and attacking perspective). The Serb is an overlapping full back who likes to make off the ball attacking runs down the left flank to stretch the field horizontally for Arsenal. That’s exactly what he did and one of those runs and his subsequent early cross led to Arsenal’s goal. As for his passing, he seems much more adverterous than Monreal who like Clichy and Sanga in the past constantly passes inside or backward. That’s not to slight Monreal who is a very good defensive fullback. Rather it just highlights Kolasinac’s greater potency offensively, which combined with his defensive effectiveness make the Serb a more complete left fullback than the Spaniard.

  12. Pony Eye says:

    It’s intriguing how we see things so differently. It must be the curse of the Tower of Babel that condemned mankind to speaking in different tongues. We can’t understand ourselves.

    Kola was not physically involved in the 2nd goal we conceded but in my peculiar tongue he had a hand in it. How? Prior to that 2nd goal Kola had messed up 2 or 3 passes made to him by Kos. I noticed that Kos became reluctant to pass to him and started to choose other options.

    In the events that led to the second goal, Kola was the best option for Kosh to pass to, but in trying to avoid him he chose instead to pass with his weaker left foot to Wilshere and got it wrong by a yard and the resulting attack against us led to the 2nd goal. The starts would never record these underlying facts.

    As for my opinion on Kola, I’ve recoded in BK, in my strange tongue, that there is no equal to him racing up the touch line with the ball with his magnificent crossings. I even made allusions to the fact that real tanks are essentially offensive weapons. Outside that orthodox winger role, I give very little marks to Kola. I know to your ears it’s all a strange tongue. The Tower of Babel!

  13. Pony Eye says:

    @ Waldo ……. “Elneny shouldn’t be anywhere near Arsenal’s starting 11. The Egyptian is statistically Arsenal’s worst central midfield option in terms of his defensive contribution and transitional skills (long range passing and dribbling). On the field he hides defensively and all he contributes offensively is to make a plethora or short very low risks passes. He is a very limited ineffectual player who shouldn’t be at Arsenal.”

    Waldo. ….. that sounds a bit harsh. You selected all you perceived as his weak points and failed to make a reference to his strong points like security in possession, huge lungs and greater positional disciple as a holding midfielder. Stats for example say nothing about positional discipline. Stats tell only part of the story.

    I accept that his transitioning of the ball can be a lot better. But football is about balance and our undoing so far is the high number of goals we concede. Elneny is above all our other regular midfielders when it comes to tilting the balance of the team more defensively.

  14. Pony Eye says:

    There is something in sports that is called stats padding. Ineffectual actions that improves one stats like passing backwards. Sanchez’ pass success rate was always low because he does mostly forward line-breaking passes. His is an example of how stats can give a misleading picture of a player’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness.

  15. Pony Eye says:

    … like passing backwards when not under pressure.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    You get a feeling that Waldo would fall in love with a woman but then refuses to go any further because her stats are not right…. and vice versa 😀

  17. Pony Eye says:

    34-24-34 that’s a knockout, except there are a million other things … the poise, skin, voice, dentition, smile, hair etcetra etcetra …

  18. Admir says:


    If you called Kolašinac a Serb face to face, he’d probably be more offended than with PE’s assessment. 😀

  19. Admir says:

    “You get a feeling that Waldo would fall in love with a woman but then refuses to go any further because her stats are not right…. and vice versa ”

    LOL. I just imagined Waldo analyzing a heat map of his date.

  20. njk84sg says:

    Admir, PE, it will be good for Waldo to choose a perfect wife, but after a while he realises the stats are so wrong.

    PE, why is it that only the 2 of us question the ridiculousness of our team passing back more than we should?

    I don’t think that it is the lack of confidence that we are lacking the will to bomb forward more than we should. We were instructed to just sit back?

  21. jw1 says:

    Trying to make sense of this blog (though PE, JK– I agree with you about back-passing)– and simplistically I’ll distill things down to: ‘our players are not in the right places at the right times’.

    Hardly ever.

    Whether in attack, not finding a lane to receive a continuation pass to advance or cross (causing a back/side pass). Or defenders losing shape– or leaving the far post uncovered on corners/crosses.

    There is fear in our style of play.
    Do we play Everton again? 😉


  22. njk84sg says:

    If we did not pick us up from the deepest dungeons we will lose to both The A side of Milan and Watford as they are tough teams.

    So more forays up front and less back passes please.

  23. Admir says:

    @jw1: It’s down to off-the-ball movement and automatism I’ve mentioned before. It’s like we don’t work on that thing at all. Apparently Lee Dixon was full of criticism for Bellerin’s movement last night blaming him for Lacazette’s struggle as well.
    Our biggest game of the season is against the team that can close down all lanes to their goal and their defence is led by one of the best central defenders in the world Leonardo Bonucci (who looked off the place like Mustafi before Gattuso took over from Montella). It’s almost unfair from us to release the force of the nature that is Danny Welbeck upon them.

    Our movement will set the outcome of the game.

  24. jw1 says:

    Admittedly, I don’t know Bonucci.
    But by that token? James Tarkowski (rated £5.4M) of Burnley must be even better than Bonucci (£31.2M).
    Both Milan and Burnley sit 7th in their respective leagues– where Burnley have allowed 4 less goals in 1 additional match.

    Would Mustafi (rated £25.2M) thrive under Sean Dyche? Undoubtedly. Tarkowski has.
    Would Mustafi thrive under Gennaro Gattuso? Likely. Bonucci has.
    Would Gattuso squeeze more from Tarkowski? Doubtful.

    Oddly, of the three CBs? Tarkowski may be of highest value to his club IMO.


  25. Admir says:

    jw1: Bonucci had been a part of bullet-proof defence for Italy and Juventus for years (Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini). He is a decent ball-player as well. He had been on his former manager Antonio Conte’s wish-list when the Italian took over at Chelsea but had to settle for David Luiz instead. Apparently he fell out with Max Allegri during the Champions League Final against Real Madrid last year and that’s why Juventus sold him. He didn’t want to leave Italy because of his son so he signed (and immediately became a captain) of Milan. At the start of the season, he was awful, especially when they tried to play him in a four-man defence. Some of his performances would put Seb Squillaci at shame (find Lazio – Milan 4 – 1 on YT). Everything changed once Gennaro Gattuso settled in. Bonucci looks like a rock of a defender again.
    I’ve had my doubts about Mustafi ever since I saw him being played like a fool by Pogba in EURO 2016 semifinals. He is still a puzzle to me and I like the idea of him playing in the middle of the pitch because I’d like to see his brainless diving into tackles further away from our goal.
    As for Tarkowski, I guess it’s the same thing like with Michael Keane (now struggling at Everton). He benefits from Sean Dyche’s yer da’s football of a deep block and hard tackling. Their games are usually set for 0-2 goals per game as their goal-difference proves. Put a player like him in a high-pressure defence like City or in a no-system defence like ours and he will struggle. My favourite Simeone might use him properly though.

  26. jw1 says:

    Dyche’s defensive scheme/drilling could win his back-7 Olympic gold in Synchronized Defending.

    BTW 17HT? A ‘Did you know?’
    That in 1988 Ultimate was eliminated from consideration as a trial Olympic competition in favor of keeping Synchronized Swimming (which had debuted in 1984)?


  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Some good and funny comments! 🙂

    New Post 🙂

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