Xhaka-Tor Solid, Leno Great but Another German is MOTM: Arsenal Player Ratings

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.

Player Ratings:

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.

By TotalArsenal.

12 thoughts on “Xhaka-Tor Solid, Leno Great but Another German is MOTM: Arsenal Player Ratings

  • Liked the ratings TA. But as I’d mentioned on the game thread, only saw about half of it all told.
    Think that Saka may have been caught between systems mentally on Bournemouth’s goal. He had passed forward up the line and received a quick backpass with a lane to burst forward. After a short run– Saka was dispossessed immediately, and the Cherries’ attack came through the space he’d vacated.

    Other than that one sequence– most all of what I saw that might have been better– resulted in some frustrating moments. The solidity we showed vs Everton was replicated. We took 17 shots (2 on goal)– which to me means we’ll usually score more than one.

    Grain of salt today. But none too concerned.


  • Agree with the ratings but can’t recall too many saves or goal actions by Leno to get him an 8. We didn’t give away as many opportunities as we have done, in recent times. However, agree he did well today and came off his line well when he had to.

    There were improvements, for sure. We were a bit more committed in the challenges and threw bodies on the line to block off shots (just like we carried forward from the Everton game). Xhaka was very key to the way Saka was instructed to play; always covered his area when Saka was forward, while Auba tucked inside to make a front two on occasion. While Laca muscled his way around their defenders, he’s got to improve his first touch and awareness of what’s going on around him. He also deserved a goal today but was denied by poor marksmanship or brilliant goal keeping by their keeper. Otherwise, I had no problems with him being the focal point of the attack with Auba stealing inside to surprise them, the way he got his goal.

    Glad someone else could see that the team set up allowed Ozil to play as well as he does today. Clearly, Arteta is taking his cue from the old play book where Xhaka is able to hold the ball just long enough for Ozil to find space to run into and create opportunities. It was like Ozil was able to breath again today.

    The team will get better with time and more games. If we get a win in the next game, I bet we go on a long unbeaten run.

  • Apparently Sky Sports agrees with local BK experts– as per ‘small steps’:
    “However, it is still very small steps for Arteta’s Arsenal, who will have much sterner tests to come in the shape of Chelsea, live on Sky Sports on Super Sunday, next and Manchester United on New Year’s Day. We will surely get a much clearer view of the job facing Arteta and the changes he is trying to bring in, in the next week or so, but it’s a positive first small step for the new head coach at the Emirates.”

    Expectations are manageable IMO.


  • Eris–
    Granit was a good distance away from the crosser when it came. And left on an island with more than one attacker. Xhaka went to the attacker with the ball (as expected). Leaving Luiz with no good choice.

    Saka was far upfield when he was dispossessed, even for his pace to cover. Leaving the defense exposed. Seemed caught between Emery’s and Arteta’s philosophies.


  • Apparently I liked what I see yesterday.. Wengerball is back!
    Ozil definitely likes the pressing game so much that the first 30 minutes is his best on the pitch ever. 2 good assist chances were not converted by Laca. We sat so high up the pitch that Bournemouth were pegged back.

    However, we showed our weakness mentally after we conceded the Bournemouth goal. We played well in patches after that but the goal definitely deflated us a bit. We need to be better prepared in the final third with better crosses and chances from the centre certainly looks promising.

    Baby steps, but it is a good start.

  • TA …I like your ratings. The take homes: more energy, more compactness and more domination of territory. If we can keep just these going, not only will they solidify but spin offs from them would begin to come with time,

    Yes Eris, Laca’s poor first touch and lack of awareness of the positioning of his team mates is now concerning. He once talked about how Wenger wanted him staying closer to the box while Emery preferred him dropping deep. Because of his playing style, I think Wenger’s makes more sense. To me he doesn’t quite fit with Arteta’s possession based system dropping deep.

  • Thank you guys. 🙂

    Eris, I thought Leno made a number of vital saves, especially in the fist half. He was also pro-active and energetic behind the higher-than-usual defence.

  • Oh, well. I guess we saw it a bit differently then, TA. Mind you, it may be just me taking his saves for granted, having had my expectations of ‘the normal’ dulled by many weeks of watching our area under bombardment with Leno at the receiving end, when Emery was in charge…….

  • I couldn’t respond to your previous question about the player ratings, as I was already at my mother-in-law and didn’t remember my login details. 🙂 By the time I finished with the ratings, yours were already published. But the team is better off with your evaluation, as I was a lot harder on the guys (except for David Luiz, whom I rated a full point higher), and gave them all lower scores (apart from Nelson and Pepe), with the sum of the team total 10,5 point lower than yours.

    Even though I was generally satisfied with the team selection as well as the substitutions. But while the midfield was really efficient (and I’m looking forward to see TOX playing together again), I wasn’t impressed by our full backs at all, and had the constant feeling that we are playing it too safe and – apart from Ozil and a single Luiz key pass – rather mechanical and unimaginative.

  • Fair enough, Pb. It remains a work in progress, of course. But the weather was atrocious and the combo of not scoring in the first half when we were creating opportunities and then getting one against us (against the run of play), made it a lot harder than we think. I saw tons of progress in our play though.

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