A much needed improvement in our team’s performance. We were in control again, bossed the midfield and created many half-changes. Our defence must do better and our attackers all need to become sharper but there was progress. We played much more compact and passed the ball round so much better than under Emery, and we played as a team that was instructed by a manager with a plan that works for all.
Leno: 8 – very effective game with a positive desire to come for the ball and close down the space behind the defenders. Solid.
Saka: 7 – basically played on the whole left flank. Yes his crosses needed to be better, but he was there time and again to make the pass or cross and that impressed me. For an eighteen year old that is very good.
Luiz: 6.5 – could be tighter defensively and more alert in the box, but I liked how he pushed forward with the ball and quietly led the team.
Big Sok: 6.5 – same as Luiz.
AMN: 7 – pretty solid and stayed back more than usually. Partnership with Nelson is definitely a work in progress.
Torreira: 8 – read the game well and harried the opponents effectively. Sometimes his first touch lets him down and he takes too much time for his shots, but he had a very effective game in midfield.
Xhaka: 8 – solid in general and did a great job in keeping the ball in the opponent’s half. Has a natural understanding with Mesut and Torreira. And here is one to remember for the Xhaka-doubters: if Granit goes wide or back with the ball it is because there is no option for him going forward (it really is as simple as that! 😀 ).
Mesut Ozil: 9 – MOTM – could have had a number of assists if our attackers would have had their shooting boots on. Played as his old self because Arteta set the team up to accomodate this, and what a difference he brought to our attacking game compared to the recent encounter with the Toffees.
Laca: 6 – worked hard and was very involved in our attacking play, but his first touches were not great and his efforts on goal lacked conviction. One or two decisions were also the wrong ones. I hope Arteta perseveres with him: the rust will fall off sooner or later.
Auba: 7 – same as Laca, but Auba took one of the chances that came to him so he gets an extra point. Yet too many half chances were wasted. Yet he worked hard and the very wet weather did not help.
Nelson: 6 – lacked a bit of confidence and his final balls were below par but he gave us an outlet on the right and stuck to his role well. And that is why Arteta selected him – he will get better.
Mustafi (7), Willock (6) and Pepe (7) all did okay but were not able to get us a win.