Best FB Debut Ever, Nelson Steps Up, Mustafi Clearance Master, Martinelli Magic: Full Player Ratings

Youth players are maintaining momentum

Supertalent betovert Arsenal na afwijzing door Manchester United

Emi Martinez – 6,5

He made a single misjudgement in the form of an air-punch after a corner but was not punished as Bellerin bailed him out. Otherwise he saved everything he was expected to. And with the ball at his feet he was calmness personified. While the Standard Liege pressing was below standard, he always picked the right choice to pass the pall. He hasn’t conceded a single goal this season so far.

Hector Bellerin – 6,5

Captain on his first start, he was solid in defence and provided attacking threat as well. It was a joy seeing his pace returned. And he had a great opportunity to crown his performance with a nice goal. The moderate rating is due to his unnecessarily booking. I honestly think that he is a way too nice guy to be an effective team captain (PEA as well), and maybe he was overcompensating it in the hustle following the fault on Martinelli.

Shkodran Mustafi – 7,5

Another competent performance from the German. He not only neutralized every attempt coming his way (6 clearances out of the 11 from Arsenal outfield players), but he managed to support the attacks as well, including a beautiful long pass in the build-up to the first goal. Arsenal hasn’t conceded a single goal this season so far, when Mustafi was playing in defence. What would have been the odds for that?

Rob Holding – 7,0

He was so good and so calm, that I don’t remember hearing his name more than a handful of occasions. While this is a critique for midfielders and attackers, quite a praise for defenders. It was not his fault that he couldn’t demonstrate his argument (alright, my claim) that he is the best defender for Arsenal. Maybe against a tougher opponent…

Kieran Tierney – 9,0 (MotM)

I have to keep reminding myself that it happened against a weak Belgian side, but I don’t remember if I have ever seen a better (debut) full back performance. He tackled like Koscielny, intercepted like Mertesacker and scattered key passes as they were cookies. He should have had five assists, but Willock, Ceballos and Martinelli – while they had a great game – couldn’t apply the final touch at times. And the best thing that Tierney made his crosses look so easy, that reminds me of Bergkamp’s hattrick against Leicester and assist-hattrick against Everton.

Lucas Torreira – 7,0

He resumed his box-to-box role from the game against Nottingham. He ran a lot and blocked a few shots. While his contribution didn’t look too crucial or tangible, he provided the midfield pressing almost on his own. Thanks to Torreira our 3-man midfield looked superior to Standard Liege’s 5-man midfield, and that has to be something. Didn’t seem tired after 90 minutes, even though he was the only player kept from the starting XI against Manchester United.

Dani Ceballos – 8,0

He was sharp from the beginning. He provided more in attack than in defence, but he played against a surprisingly poor opponent. He played a deeper (#8, not in Ozil’s #10) role, but similarly had his eye and skills for the occasional killer pass. He well deserved to play 90 minutes and to score his first Arsenal goal. I’m looking forward to seeing him playing along with Xhaka and Torreira in the PL.

Joe Willock – 7,0

His stats don’t give him justice, as he is not a natural blocker/clearer, nor will he become the next assist king (0 key passes), but he has great positioning skills, both defensively and offensively. Joe has the instinct to pop up at the right place and time, especially in and around the box. He missed a few sitters as well as a great chance to pre-assist Bellerin, but he was athletic, dynamic, determined and took his  goal very well.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6,0

He didn’t have a bad game either, but the only loser of the night (besides Kolasinac), as he couldn’t support his claim that his future lies at right wing. He didn’t impact the game, and his partnership with Bellerin (his RB competitor) was discoloured by the amazing Tierney-Nelson tandem on the left flank. He is a great and versatile squad player though, but not (yet) first team material.

Reiss Nelson – 7,5

He had a lot to prove, as – especially in the absence of Lacazette – he should make his claim to start alongside Pepe and Auba. And while he had some weak appearances in September, he delivered his message with aplomb. The 4 shots, 3 key passes, 2 successful dribbles were his answers to the Saka-threat. He bullied Vojvoda all night long, that I almost felt sorry for the bloke. Nelson finally found the golden mean between his signature fast runs/dribbles and creating chances.

Gabriel Martinelly – 9

It’s good to be a Gooner when we have a 5th choice midfielder like Willock and a stand-in striker like Martinelli. His 4 goals (and an assist) in 180 minutes is nothing short of stunning. And he is not the clinical poacher type as Nketiah. His 2 headers would make even Giroud proud. He was both a confident finisher and an intelligent creator. The only reason he didn’t end up as my MotM, because he could have scored a couple more easily.


Nicolas Pepe – 6,0

Just like AMN, Nicolas wasn’t objectively bad either, but not yet on the same level as the expectations. I feel his constant dilemma is: should he try to show how good his really is, or should he be cooperative and let others shine. Still he tries to dribble and shoot too often to my taste, but his skills are undeniable. Maybe if he started ahead of Ainsley, he would have made a bigger impact…

Matteo Guendouzi – 6,0

I don’t fully understand his inclusion, as transition was not a key issue against this hopeless Belgian midfield. In his 20 minutes he didn’t have any attacking contribution, thus received the lowest WhoScored rating of the team.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – N/A

He had too little time on the pitch to record a proper rating. But it’s nevertheless an important gesture from Emery, that Martinelli could test himself in his natural left winger role. for a quarter of an hour.

Unai Emery – 8

Let’s put the Ozil decision aside, as the Europa League group stage games are indeed for the youngsters. He fielded a potent XI on the pitch, gave Bellerin and Tierney 90-90 minutes, gave a chance to Mustafi to prove himself.

I don’t agree with Torreira’s role and inclusion, but it worked like magic. Again, let’s not get carried away and demand the youngsters to start against Manchester City, but they are not far behind the first team – at least not as far as the EL opponents are behind the average Premier League teams.

By PBarany

44 thoughts on “Best FB Debut Ever, Nelson Steps Up, Mustafi Clearance Master, Martinelli Magic: Full Player Ratings

  • Superb ratings and supporting text, Pb. I cannot argue with you on any of it and I am glad that you are one of the few who do not only judge players on what they do with the ball. I have seen some low scores for the likes of Torreira and Mustafi and yet, as you describe so well, they did a very important job the team, and as much with and without the ball… I would have given Torreira a bit more though, as he kept it together and had a tremendous game.

    Martinelli had a fabulous game in all aspects of attacking play, and yes, Kieran also was excellent all-round. But key was that the balance was right in midfield, and with that in the team, and I am hopeful that Emery will continue with playing proper, all-round midfielders from now on.

  • TA, no I did not watch the match as it is on at 3 in the morning local time.
    However i watched the extended highlights which the players worked their socks off so i am glad that we kept a clean sheet against a team keen to reduce the goal difference.

    To Pb, i am sticking to my MoTM with Martinelli. Tierney is a close second, and the midfielders did their magic. Did they go against Emery’s tactics? I certainly hope so.

    I understand that Emery chooses his best 11, but to drop Ozil completely leaves room for some Ozil fans to go against Emery this time. Ozil is someone that creates, not work hard to hold on to the ball and defend. Emery must know that we are flat when he is not in playing.

  • I don’t want to be a bore but we have to recognize that Liege are not an EPL standard and have NEVER scored against Arsenal either home or away, They were a soft touch and our judgement of our side should bear that in mind.

    From memory Mustafi gave the ball away in goals scoring positions on at least three occasions, against an EPL team that would have been a problem likely resulting in goals against.

    Nevertheless it was good to see our younger players show their skills.

    The biggest disappointment of the evening (other than no Ozil) was that Pepe still failed to impress.

  • @JW1

    It’s also down to the fact we are officially the only club in Europe that fields better XI in EL than in Premier League. We played with two top full-backs, our arguably best central defender (and Mustafi next to him), Torreira as ball-winning midfielder, Maitland-Niles in a position that suits him much better than the one he had to play at earlier this season, Willock, Nelson, Ceballos and Martinelli all adding movement, energy and creativity.

    Now, there is a huge caveat and it is a thing that I haven’t seen too many people talking about: intensity. Standard – even more than Eintracht or Napoli and Valencia last season – come from a league where intensity is nowhere near the level of Premier League. That’s why our players feel less comfortable playing, say, Wolves or Leicester than playing teams like, say, Championship side Nottingham Forest. Playing from the back is easier because they don’t put pressure on our back-line like PL sides do.

    When I watched a rerun of our victory against NF, I noticed a detail from the first half when Holding gave a heavy pass to Mustafi who had to run all the way to the place where a RB would normally sit to pick the ball. If that Holding’s pass had been played in PL, we’d probably conceded a goal as the opponents’ player would pick the ball and run onto our goal freely.

    Just two more things, I promise:

    1) Martinelli – wuf. Top, top talent. There is something Vela-sque about him, a Latin lover making love with the ball before making Gooners ecstatic.

    2) Özil – it’s getting sick now. Emery should enjoy working with Mesut because he will never be given another chance to manage a player of his talent unless Albacete, Almeria or some other Eibar he gets to manage next suddenly become the richest club in the world (in which case they will fire Emery and appoint a top-shelf manager).

    Couldn’t help myself thinking Emery’s Özil looking more and more like Arsene’s Arshavin.

  • PB,
    I can understand your ratings as the team can only play what is in front of them and they did that in spades – except their passing got very sloppy as they started to take it easy.

    I just fact checked myself and found that Liege have scored against us the overall record is:-
    W5, D0, L0, GF19, GA2.

  • I get it now!! Emery wants truck drivers and Ozil is a Formula 1 driver.

    To say something like this in an interview proves to me how awful Emery’s man management skills are – how can he possibly think that demeaning Ozil will get him to fit into his desired mold? – I guess he doesn’t give a fig…………………
    Emery on Ozil: “When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.”

  • @Admir–

    Occurred to me as well. Especially after that 3rd goal. Liege were in damage control mode with no pressure being applied on the ball. But even then? The passing of the ball was crisp. And this in wet weather. Those young guys are familiar in a playable style.


  • Thanks for the review Pb!
    Much to be taken, in context of the opponent. Then the quick strikes to end the competitive aspect early.

    Still have a hard time crediting Emery with a ‘plus’ this match– on the heels of a poorly executed strategy on Monday. Are ManU so much better than Liege? More expensive, yes. Though I’ll contend the XI fielded last night– may have had a better chance of winning on Monday. Conditions were the same. Not sure there’s any residual mystique about Old Trafford (though we fans do like to make historical results relevant.)

    Cheeses me right off– that we can show quality in these EL and Cup matches, and not in the PL. There is no logic in getting one so right, the other so wrong– so consistently.


  • What makes me proud – this stemmed from the Wenger-era, but Emery is following suit – that while City, Chelski, Tottenham and Liverpool are open to include only a couple of young players, we can replace the entire weekend squad and still have a potent strike-force. I appreciate that Champions League is tougher than the EL, but even in the Carabao Cup Tottenham started Alli, Moura, Sanchez, City fielded 2 Silvas, Sterling and Jesus, Chelsea played with Zouma, Barkley, Pulisic, Pedro, and MU kept Wan-Bissaka, Rojo, Fred, Pogba, Lingard… Only Klopp should be credited with giving youth a sizable chance.

  • Per Ozil, Admir?
    Don’t necessarily think it’s all Emery. That’s £18M being set fire to– if it is.
    If I had to bet? Mesut is off to DC United on the 1st of January.
    I don’t think for a moment, that this isn’t a major topic– all the way up to Josh K.

    Ozil is a pro. A private person, and unflappable. Apparently an eternal optimist as well.
    Have much admiration for how he’s handled himself everything he’s faced– since the World Cup over a year ago.

    That he’s being handed a princely sum for his troubles? Doesn’t bug me one bit.


  • PB, couldn’t watch the match but I have watched the extended highlights and read and listened to stuffs about the match. Your ratings are backed up with good commentaries. Thanks for the insights.

    I agree we should not rush the young ones fully into the 1st team. There are plenty of cup games to keep them busy which at the same time would help in not overloading our 1st teamers. When one really thinks of it, we are talking of Martinelli, Nelson, ESR and maybe Saka. Willock is already an integral part of the 1st team and feel he might be a starter on Sunday.

    Two names stood out for most. Tierney and Martinelli. Tierney is like living up to his reputation, still an exciting news. Martinelli is more of the pleasant suprise .. so good, so soon. The part of his play that I had already bought into is his intensity. Emery would be licking his lips.

  • Right then, here we go fine fellow BK-Gooners – Predictions Time (home win, away win, draw):

    Liverpool v Leicester
    West Ham v Crystal Palace
    Real Madrid v Granada
    Southampton v Chelsea
    Newcastle v Boy United
    Inter Milan v Juventus

  • Liverpool v Leicester – Draw
    West Ham v Crystal Palace – Home
    Real Madrid v Granada – Home
    Southampton v Chelsea – Away
    Newcastle v Boy United – Away
    Inter Milan v Juventus – Away

  • I think it’s about time we had a laugh at Man U.

    Here is the record of their last 16 league games:-

    GP16, W4, D5, L7, GF16, GA23, Pts17, Pts% 35.4.

    That is a shocking demise for a proud club, it must give Fergie nightmares.

  • It just shows you, GN5, how important a good, solid BoD is. They made mistake after mistake when appointing managers and bought many players who just did not really want to play in Manchester.

  • Liverpool v Leicester: draw
    West Ham v Crystal Palace: draw
    Real Madrid v Granada: away
    Southampton v Chelsea: draw
    Newcastle v Boy United: away
    Inter Milan v Juventus: draw

  • Fair ratings, PB. Can’t argue with much, except that I think Martinelli should get Man of the match. I saw the game from about the 51st minute and thought Martinelli harried and worked hard all game long. That’s not to take anything away from the performance of Tierney. He was magnificent. Will prove to be a very good buy.

    I expected a bit more from Standard Liège, being 2nd on the log in the Belgian league; but, it looked too easy and it won’t be because we made them look bad…. at least, not Emery’s Arsenal. The players were playing under no pressure and simply went out to enjoy the night. We do have a fine crop of youngsters and can be hopeful for the future.

  • Since we are on the subject of United, as GN5 suggested. Looks like the link will require a google account access to see the video in question. Well, sorry; I will need lessons on how to post videos on here.

    The reports say United did not manage even a shot on target in the game against AZ Alkmaar. Poor! Which makes me even more annoyed we have not pulled down their pants at Old Trafford. Our other rivals are likely to do so…..

  • Liverpool v Leicester: Home
    West Ham v Crystal Palace: Draw
    Real Madrid v Granada: Draw
    Southampton v Chelsea: draw
    Newcastle v Boy United: Home
    Inter Milan v Juventus: Home

  • Thanks for the post, Pb… No time for my (usual) cynicism, so onto the picks…

    Liverpool v Leicester = home
    West Ham v Crystal Palace = home
    Real Madrid v Granada = home
    Southampton v Chelsea = away
    Newcastle v Boy United = away
    Inter Milan v Juventus = draw

  • I’m an awful predictor of results but here is my take:

    Liverpool v Leicester – a draw
    West Ham v Palace – a draw
    Real M v Granada – home
    Soton v Chelsea – a draw
    Newcastle v Man U – away
    Inter v Juventus – away

  • @jw

    Özil v Emery has started, I think, after the Palace game. Our winning streak ended with a draw but more importantly, Mesut threw his gloves after being substituted.

    Emery, insecure after his PSG spell where he was too small to deal with Neymar, probably took it too personally.

  • My own picks:

    Liverpool v Leicester = home
    West Ham v Crystal Palace = home
    Real Madrid v Granada = draw
    Southampton v Chelsea = away
    Newcastle v Boy United = draw
    Inter Milan v Juventus = away

  • Liverpool v Leicester = D
    West Ham v Crystal Palace = H
    Real Madrid v Granada = H
    Southampton v Chelsea = D
    Newcastle v Boy United = A
    Inter Milan v Juventus = D

  • Its all of a sudden a tough competition for positions in the team.

    GK : Leno and the impressive Martinez (1 of 2)
    RB : Bels, Chambers, Niles (1of 3).
    LB : Tieney, Kola (1 of 2).
    CD : Sokr, Luiz, Holdn, Chamb, Musti, Mavro (2 of 6).
    PIVOT : Xhaka, Guendz, Torreira, Willock, Ceballos (2 of 5).
    #10 : Ozil, Ceballos, Torreira, Willock ESR (1 of 5)
    RW : Pepe, Nelson, Niles, Laca, ESR (1 of 5)
    LW : Auba, Saka, Kola, Martinelli, Nelson, Pepe (1 of 6).
    CF : Auba, Laca, Pepe, Martinelli (1 of 4).

    Close your eyes, pick from each position and a decent enough team jumps out! COYG.

  • Yep PE it is a good squad, even a great squad. Unfortunately, Emery has not got the imaginations and hands to turn it into a fabulously playing football team. And the biggest gem he keeps pushing further into the dirt and humiliating publicly. See what tomorrow’s game will bring!

  • Monica Lewinski comment.

    I’m willing to take one for the team and give Trump a blow job in the Oval (oral) office.
    It’s appears that is the only way that the Republicans will impeach a President.

  • Spurs down 1-0 after 2 mins Lloris stretchered off with what could be either a broken left arm or a dislocated elbow. – Who feels sorry for Spurs?

  • Liverpool v Leicester = home
    West Ham v Crystal Palace = away
    Real Madrid v Granada = home
    Southampton v Chelsea = away
    Newcastle v Boy United = draw
    Inter Milan v Juventus = away

    Brighton v Tottenham = home

  • Hi TA.. Why there’s Madrid and Juventus in the list? Hehehe..

    I want to predict the big 6 only
    Liverpool Draw
    Chelsea Lost
    Spurs Lost
    MU Lost
    City Draw
    And We Win.. hehehe..

  • Hey fellas, I’m up early watching a bit of the Brighton match… Spurs are the opponent, I believe… but I need them to (actually) show up (at some point, an hour’s been played already) to be sure… 😉

    Tim at 7am has a very strong write-up on the Ropy League match…it even includes a bit about the Ozil thing… Y’all should read it, I think…

    Anyways, this comment is gonna get “New Post-ed,” I can just feel it…

    I’m hopeful about doing a live-blog tomorrow morning, but, as always, I’m prisoner to the mood in which I wake up…

    This morning my mood is good, esp. as Brighton score their 3rd… As always, football is a game where it’s easier to support the enemy of your enemy than your own team…

    Enjoy what you can, I say… 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s