Magic Martinez, Wise Willock, Saka MOTM: Arsenal Player Ratings

Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal – Player Ratings

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Martinez – 8: really enjoyed himself and made a big strong and confident saves that kept us in the game.

Chambers – 7: a bit rusty at first but he grew into the game on right back. Tried hard to add to our attacking play.

Luiz – 7: Remained calm and got more support from Torreira than Kola on the left flank. No mistakes this time and then he is as good as anyone.

Mustafi – 7: Really wanted to shine and worked hard. He will always be a bit of a chancer and this time it worked out for him.

Kola – 5: not much support for the defence and his crosses lacked often precision and or venom.. too easy to defend for EF.

Torreira – 8: superb all round performance. The man reads the game so well. Needs to play every game of course.

Emile Smith-Rowe – 6: struggled a bit with both the tempo and physicality of the game and did not look too comfortable on the wing.

Xhaka – 7.5: a lot went through our captain and he made some good interceptions. I would like him to play closer to the back four but maybe the back four should dare to push up a bit more too. But that is for another post.

Willock – 8: Are You Watching Aaron Ramsey?! Great performance all over the pitch and some fine runs into the box. Was lucky with the goal, but his attitude of no fear and his friendship with the ball will lead to this sort of fortune. I would not have substituted him.

Saka – 9: MOTM. I love his calm and easiness with the ball. Had of course a lot of space to operate in but did very well to produce fine opportunities for his fellow players. Loved his goal and even more so his assist for our third.

Auba – 7.5: worked hard and was a bit wasteful with his chances but given his fine start to the season he will be forgiven. He made a lot of space for others with his runs and he seems more at ease as our CF instead of LW. Got his goal at the end.


Pepe – 7: doesn’t look sharp or confident at the moment. So much space for him to work in but…he produced the assist (and extra space) for Saka’s all important second goal.

Ceballos – 6: did not see much of him.

AMN – 6: came on for Kola as he was not doing much of the defending.


40 thoughts on “Magic Martinez, Wise Willock, Saka MOTM: Arsenal Player Ratings

  • spot on, ta
    bukayo: a star is born, always nice to witness such moments
    like your “7s” for calum and … shkodran: very solid game in his homeland, deserved that after all the abuse
    looking forward to sunday, at last; see you around, lads

  • Thanks TA. Will trust your good judgment on the ratings– as I could only catch bits and pieces. Though never nervous about the outcome from what I did see.

    So? Start ’em all again on Sunday. Why not?
    Yeah, even he-who-should-not-be-mentioned.
    That way Emery won’t feel the need to overthink it. 😉


  • I said my piece(s) on the previous post…but I have a question… Is there no VAR in the Europa League? Saka “won” the sending off (which really sealed the match) but it looked awfully soft to me… Wouldn’t that be reviewed if there was VAR? Help please…

    PE wrote a post–after we won vs Burnley–about the difficulty of watching (but the theoretical soundness of) our playing it “out” of the back. (IMO, we play it around the back–then over midfield, if, dennis forbid, we still have it.) It’s just one element of Emery’s luring the opponent out of shape by tempting them to press–or better yet, get them the ball and let them ATTACK. As long as we keep their shots wide and/or long–and out of our net–it’s all good, right?…

    Finally, are ratings ALL about how we feel about the result?… Would everyone have gotten 4s and 5s if one of their many (many, many…) shots had gone in and ours hadn’t gotten (the pair) of lucky bounce(s)? I have to agree with GN5 (last thread…) that our football is all about the system and its manager…and today it worked. Does this mean that EMERY gets a 10 (and a contract extension)? It all seems a bit ridiculous to me…but “fans” (if not “supporters…”) are free to live in the moment, I guess…

    Sorry for the bad attitude, but there you go… Villains on Sunday…

  • I could only see the second half, but the ratings seem fair and justified.

    I just want to point 2 things that seldom happened before:
    1. Until the sending-off (and the succeeding 2 late goals) I had the impression that we have a mature, almost impenetrable defense and a clumsy attack – which is quite the opposite to the past 5 PL games.
    2. I watched the BT2 stream tonight, and the commentators were decent, unbiased, I might even say nice people. I used to watch Sky Sports, and they were heavily anti-Arsenal blokes, even in EL fixtures (against foreign opponents) that pissed me off on a regular basis.

  • Too late for another espresso, TA… The weather is suggesting (hot) tea, however…

    And staying in to watch ManU trying to penetrate (the great wall of) Astana, an hour in and still nil-nil. OGS seems happy that they are playing in the Astana half of the pitch… Shows what he knows… You just gotta lure ’em forward…Think of it like in thumb-wrestling match…

  • The kid (Greenwood) scores by nutmegging the Astana keeper in the 73rd… OGS knows?…

  • I like the look of Saka, TA, but I also thought that Kola (and Chambers too, on the other side) seemed under instruction to not sacrifice positioning by getting forward too aggressively. As such, Saka (like ESR on the other side) had a lot of space in which to do his thing. Where ESR looked leggy (from the outset, even on the gorgeous pitch) Saka has a quick and compact style that is quite appealing. And, he didn’t tire as the match went on, either. Getting the goal helped of course, but it was his quickness that gave him the position that allowed his fall to warrant the sending off. Indeed, his assist for PEA’s goal was really nice…

    My observation–and, admittedly due to travels and a general feeling that Arsenal are pretty much unwatchable under Emery, at least in contrast to the Wenger years, I haven’t watched every match (though I’m six for six this season)–is that Emery will allow his FBs to get forward a bit more if he’s chasing a result. Nil-nil tonight would’ve been fine, so Kola stayed back a bit more.
    (And then came off at 10 v 11 so we can go with 3 CBs to close out the game). I think he’s a pretty good asset, in attack at least, and I’m surprised he’s been thrown on the slag-heap so quickly. (But like I say, I missed some games during our collapse, er, run-in, last season…) Why Emery doesn’t just start with 3 at the back in a match like tonight’s I’m not sure…As always, I don’t really see a mid-field in his set-ups, just a first line of defenders…

    To me, it seems like the (would-be) MFs are under task to do everything (with the ball) as quickly as possible while maintaining their spacing and fore-aft positioning. It’s so strange to me, because this means either longer (more risky) passes or running forward with the ball. The first means the other team (often enough) gets the ball and can spring on the counter while the latter sacrifices positioning completely (in case of a turnover). It seems to me that technically superior teams should be able to allow their MFs to get closer to one another (to create 3v2 overloads, the famous tight triangles…) while still being ready to defend if they lose the ball.

    Emery, I think, has other ideas and only wants this sort of overload at the back, meaning (to my eye) that at best, we waste a bit of time before lumping it forward. Thankfully, we’ve got some real talent up there (I thought PEA had an excellent game, his superior talent, will hopefully, continue to keep him a split second ahead of getting himself hurt. That he had to play the full 90 seems a bit much. Martinelli must not be suggesting much in training…

    We play like a mid-table team–but it worked (tonight–at a German mid-table team). But maybe we’ll see something different (Ozil, maybe) vs the winners of the Championship (last season)… Every match an adventure…to my mind, makes for a (VERY) long season…

    ManU wins 1-nil…but (maybe) in less stressful fashion than our (bigger) win…

  • Good job HT and team. I truly wonder HT how you do it. Am simply incapable of handling two things at the same time. Trace 4 with my finger on the wall and 8 with my toe on the floor. No way.

  • TA, I didn’t see the game and so, will have to go with your ratings. Also, great job with the “live reports”, 17ht. Bukayo Saka looks to be one for the big occasion; I thought he stood a chance to make it in the big time the first time I saw him in a game for one of the cadet sides. Wish him a bright future.

    I am all for playing the same team again in the EPL, but we know that won’t be the case as Emery will probably change the frontline to the more traditional choice of Pepe, Auba and either of Ozil or Ceballos (in the absence of Laca). Happy we’ve put that out of the way.

  • Also, JW, cheers for the VAR answer (easier than looking it up myself)… How do cards work in the usual systems? Surely reds (and second yellows) would be reviewed, right?…

    Are you under water in Houston (Hurricane Imelda)?…

    Also, that bit from the pay site about Emery just being a temp sounds good to me…except for the idea that Wenger and his values should be thrown out completely(!!)

    My worry is that it’s all about the salary costs… and, moving towards a more athletic, less technical style of football. If that’s the direction we’re headed, I still believe, esp. with VAR (and a more commanding keeper), that there could be a role for the best athlete among the too expensive Wenger signings–Ozil and Xhaka being the other two–the one to which I refer has a name that starts with M and ends with ustafi…

    I know that–for you and many other fans–that ship has sailed. He’s in the squad however, so maybe this is a chance to be a “supporter.” (Or find something to love–anything?–about our Skhrot…)

    I’m just Joshing, eh, and how am I a “supporter” given that I’m long since done with Emery… In fact, my biggest takeaway from that Watford match was wondering what I’d give just to look at a man(ager) as handsome as Sanchez-Flores…or even Arteta. (Hair is important to me, but bald and beautiful, i.e., Freddy, could work…in a pinch… 😀 )

  • Thanks PE… for me, it’s easier than “just” watching, though I can always use some help…and sometimes I get players (completely) mixed up (which is a reason I try not to go overboard on the blame-game).

    Pepe does look a bit nervous…nothing that a goal (vs Aston Villa) couldn’t cure. With Laca hurt, I wonder if he could spell PEA at (lone) CF. He seems like he’s got some skills on the turn, and switching from a right-footer to a lefty sometimes takes a (critical) moment for defenders to adjust to… Again, with VAR, I think our better (and quicker) forwards, might “adjust” to English defenders just a hair more easily…

  • Somehow i believe currently that Saka is better than Pepe. Start Saka instead of Pepe?
    Good game last night and the youngsters brought fresh brains and feet for Emery.

  • TA, I’m not supporting any clubs in Hungary.
    I did when I was a kid, but now the politics reshaped the power-balance (major clubs belong to a certain politician or oligarch) and if a smaller team would manage to buy or nurture a gem of a player, the big clubs sign them for free – that’s exactly how Juventus, PSG and Bayern ruins the Italian, French and German leagues. They certainly benefit from that, but the rest of the clubs – as well s the national team – suffers. (With the exception of the French XI, as they don’t have many footballers playing in France.)

  • TA, you were fast on the draw. What a mighty relief the result of the match. I have only seem highlights of it so can’t comment. Your assessment has given me a picture.👍

  • O/T. An interesting bit to chew on.

    Somewhat skinny on the details and sourcing a bit suspect (Mirror, Star). The gist of what I’d read were that Stan Kroenke personally contributed or guaranteed approx £100M+ of his own cash to sign Pepe, Tierney, and Luiz (and Martinelli, Saliba) this Summer.

    The buying out of Alisher Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake could be seen as the catalyst.


  • After a few busy weeks it is now a choice between watching both the f1 race and the match at home or go to the f1 race and miss the match altogether. Here we commoners watch f1 as a fan, but as a commuter you have to fret about the road closures if one is driving. I am lucky that i do not drive to work, but as most have to due to work needs, it is not a good way to get stuck in traffic.

    Coming back to last night’s match and the upcoming game. I am glad we won against a spirited Frankfurt side, and our defense is still creaky. Against the Villians we have to go back to playing the Arsenal way, and please bring the midfield back Emery.

  • Emery seems a very determined man. I feel his line up last night was not just to rest legs but to also test out certain things. He is obviously very convinced in what he is trying to build. Each time I stagger, his faith in his project buys him a new lease from me.

  • Frankfurt Away Team Arsenal Home Team



    Shots on Target



  • PE I enjoyed yesterday’s game (a win can never be a bad result) but I was, once again, shocked by our weak defending Frankfurt had 24 shots on goal and they had 3/4 glorious opportunities to score while it was 0-0 – only their poor finishing saved our bacon,

  • Total there appears to be a rush on posts – I’ve also sent you a pre-game effort. Mine could also go up on game day.

  • hi TA,
    one of my many problems is that i talk too much
    so you can imagine i have no second thoughts about chatting with you about issues i have a personal interest in
    the only thing is … there are many nice people commenting on your site, who might find i am unduly occupying “arsenal” space
    what do you think? just tell me what to do
    about arsenal, and even though i have – i do have, in that case – second thoughts about ue, there is a very nice feeling of elation about the coming of age of our hale end scholars – this is the first time i have been feeling like this, ever since The Great Man was shown out
    actually, nothing would make me happier than something like the following XI:
    … gengiskhaning europe
    after all, what’s wrong about wishful thinking?

  • Ah Le Gall, we appreciate talk about Arsenal and life itself on BK, so the more background stuff or individual interest stuff the better. That is an interesting line up and maybe you should write a post titled: ‘August 2021: Arsenal’s First 11’ or something like that??

  • well, my friend
    about that level … it can vary a lot
    first, and as i suspect you know well, the fruit teaching may or may not bear, depend heavily on the social/cultural background the kids have grown up in
    as far as this is concerned, i’m a very lucky highschool teacher; my students (aged between 15 and 20) mostly come from united families, with both parents having to work very hard to be able to pay for the mortgage of their “house in the country” (i teach 30 miles away from my place in the rouen suburbs). they had to buy there, because buying inside the french big cities walls, can now only be considered by the wealthy – as it is the case in the uk too, i believe – anyway, their kids are alright, well-behaved, happy-go-lucky most of the time, the examples their parents have set for them, has turned them into mature children, at an early age
    now, about their level in english the main reason why it is hard to come up with a general truth, is that it depends, as always, on the number of hours they are entitled too, and the number of students in their classes
    those of them preparing to sit the “science” baccalauréat, or the “social sciences – economy” baccalauréat get two hours a week of english, in more-than-thirty-student classes, so that only the ones netflixing the nights away, end up with a “better than mediocre” level
    on the other hand, the ones who will sit the “human sciences-philosophy-literature” baccalauréat at the end of the year, can get as many as 8 hours of english per week, in 10-to-15-student groups, and the mark they get at the exam is actually a decider: in order to be sure to pass the exam, they have to do well in english
    so much so that these kids end up with a good, sometimes very good, occasionnally excellent level in english
    with three of my colleagues, we took last year’s about-to-be-literature-graduates to london in may, and we were very happy to see how comfortable they felt: they listened up to the the whole tour of the new ‘globe” without needing any of our help, and … didn’t miss a beat (we checked)
    actually we arrived in london the night arsenal played valencia, it was too late to get to the emirates – i don’t think i could have got a ticket, anyway, but i watched the game (missed the spaniards’ goal) in a very nice pub in croydon.
    my arsenal fad is well-documented (my springsteen one too, whn they get me, they know they’ll have to study the lyrics from “nebraska” and “the ghiost of tom joad”); i use adrian clarke’s “breakdowns” in my classes, advertise adrian as the perfect role model for standard english …
    have a nice, victorious-arsenal sunday, ta, i like your lineup , but i’d definitely pick calum ahead of shkodran

  • Wow, great insightful comment, Le Gall. Love it and you should share it on today’s post as I am sure other BKers will find this interesting. I asked the question as we spent our holidays in and around St Jean-de-Montes and Nantes this summer and I was very impressed with the levels of English in that area. This is both in terms of level of English and willingness to speak it.

    By the way, we passed through Rouen on the way down – there was a diversion – and I would have suggested to have a coffee or a beer with you had I known you by then!! 🙂

  • hi, ta
    i have nothing against a coffee or a beer, of course, but should you have turned up in summer, we’d have bbq’d, right out here
    next time around …

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