Arsenal Player Ratings: Two MOTM, Big Sok is a True Gunner, Auba Impresses

Solid, predictable, tidy and yes a bit boring, but an attack of sheer beauty gave us the away goal at the Greek cauldron and Leno and co kept a well-earned clean sheet. So what do we sing? Yes one-nil to the Arsenal – one-nil to the Arsenal! The Arteta train is gaining momentum but we are still far from what this team is capable of, and that is not bad but flipping good. We are on the road to somewhere and Arteta is building something solid, mature and enduring, and this takes time of course.

Alexandre Lacazette

Player Ratings

Leno: 8 – energetic and fully focussed. A tat lucky with the rebounds of his saves but the the pitch was wet and the ball slippery and he was always in control. Better distributions during this game, partly due to Big Sok being a good outlet for his long balls.

Big Sok: 7.5 – It was a surprise to see him play at RB but it worked a treat. Yes he was less effective going forward than say Bellerin, but he helped strengthening our midfield and was a good outlet for Leno’s long balls. Sokkie fought like a lion – a true Gunner – and this made a real difference tonight.

Mustafi: 8.5 – MOTM (joined) –  energetic and very, very present. Arteta has made Mustafi purring again and his confidence is back. But what I really like is that he is no longer ‘chancing it’; he is doing his job and he is doing it intelligently and that way Arteta will pick him time and again. He also started the move that led to the goal with a courageous diagonal cross to Auba. And in the air he was simply formidable.

Luiz: 8 – calm and experienced, he is now bringing the leadership the team needs, and he was worth his weight in gold today. A Brazo-Greek god on the pitch.

Saka: 8.5 – MOTM – yes joined MOTM with Mustafi. A full extra point for the only real moment of attacking quality: the cross for Laca’s tap-in goal. I have said it on a number of occasions, Saka delivers superb final balls into the box that win us matches, and this one was  once again priceless. Bukayo is quality. I also loved the way he used his body to push attackers out of the way. He is so calm and composed and loves his football.

Xhaka: 7.5 – kept it simple and was always present in midfield, and good protection of our defence all game long. Another unnecessary yellow card, but I think Granit just loves to see the colour yellow. 🙂

Guendouzi: 7 – similar to Xhaka, kept it simple and was always present in midfield. A little less effective in supporting the attackers in making things happen.

Willock: 7 – took a while to get into the game and seemed to tire midway through the second half, but some good midfield football and attacking passes. A work in progress but I can see a really good footballer in Joe that I like to watch.

Martinelli: 6 – worked hard but struggled to get a hold on the game, probably due to rustiness. A few bad first touches and disconnections with his fellow players. Needs to play again on Sunday imo.

Auba: 7.5 – worked hard for the team and had the pre-assist for the goal. His in-field game is okay but not great and we really wanted Auba to be receiving the balls he put into the box for his fellow attackers. Arteta is still looking for the ideal balance in attack.

Laca: 6.5 – an extra point for his excellent movement and finishing for our only goal. There were a lot of bad first touches and passes and he had a golden opportunity to score the second goal but squandered it. Love the work rate though, and in the end he scored the all important away goal.

Subs worth mentioning:

Ceballos: 7 – he brings something different to the other midfielders and that is where his value is. Defensively and in attack a work in progress but his enthusiasm to get stuck in and passing ability do make a slight difference and the team warm to him quickly on the pitch (unlike with Guendouzi).

By TotalArsenal




14 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Two MOTM, Big Sok is a True Gunner, Auba Impresses

  • Good ratings TA. I haven’t watched the match live as it kicked off at 4am local time and it is impossible to wake up without feeling extremely tired at work.

    The highlights showed that we were wasteful in front of goal, and the culprit is Laca. But the issue is that in front of the Olympiakos fans you need nerves of steel to score. Thus, i do not blame Laca. It is difficult I know.

  • Excellent TA (not signed but the language is yours).

    Saka is the real deal. What marks him out as special is his reflex decisions when spaces are tight and dynamic. His got a heart that never misses a beat. On top of these he’s got an old head on his shoulders.

    Brilliant how he sees his role as a full back as a chance to improve his game as a winger.

    Arteta is tweaking his formation for him. Between Xhaka and Sokr Arteta fashioned something in the family of a back 3 just to liberate this 18 yr old kid. Am excited.

  • Great ratings, TA.
    The defenders dominated the game – as we kept a clean sheets in Athens – and it clearly shows in the ratings.
    I would probably reduce half points from both Guendouzi and Willock, but otherwise I agree with the last digit; which is rare. 🙂

  • that is a bad kick off time for you, 84! I get your point re the away fans but Laca is not kid anymore. I really thought he was mostly poor last night. But he scored the goal and that is what the sport is all about.

  • PE, that is a good point re Saka’s reflex decisions. He has such a good first touch and he passes the ball with billiard precision. He looks up to see what is needed, yet his feet are in control of the ball…. very special.

  • Cheers PB,

    I thought Guendouzi readjusted himself well in the second half, and Willock helped us win the midfield battle, so I think a seven was right, but I could also live with 0.5 reductions! They both have to up their game to nestle themselves into the first team, but time is still kind to them and I reckon they will both come good.

  • Ive read a few ratings, and most were lest pleased with the youngsters (apart from Saka).
    Mirror and Squawka gave Matteo and Martinelli 5s, Willock 6.
    Justarsenal rated Guendouzi 6, Willock, Martinelli (as well as Auba an Laca) 5.

    Anyway, an away clean sheet is always valuable, especially 3 points from Athens.
    But this didn’t seem like a line-up for the future. Sokratis (who really must have been given a start, but not necessary at the expense of breaking up the Luiz-Mustafi CB-pairing) is not a real RB, Willock is more like a box-to-box midfielder to me than a #10 (he prefers duels than defense-splitting passes), and I wasn’t blown away from the Martinelli-Aubameyang-Lacazette (MAL) trident either.
    The team provided only 8 key passes combined, 2 from defense (Mustafi, Saka), 4 from midfield (Xhaka 3, Ceballos), and 2 from the front (Auba, Martinelli). That is less than we created against Newcastle (13), even against Burnley (11 in the 0:0 game).

  • PB, we controlled the majority of the game against a team that had not lost for, I believe, 18 games in the cauldron of their stadium. Those youngsters, on whom I am less critical than the average Arsenal fan because they are hmmmm yeah still young, played a key role in it. They did not get eights or nines so I think I have reflected their performances quite correctly. 🙂

    I think Willock is the complete midfielder who can play anywhere and add value. A work in progress but a real prospect. Love is what he needs. He is no Ozil of course, but he added steel to our midfield and had a great game (in terms of key passes) v Bournemouth in the cup recently.

    I encourage you to do player ratings for BK and then you can bring the season averages of the players down a bit! 😀

  • Good work TA,

    Ratings are always based on personal perceptions, so no one person is either right or wrong.

    I hope that we keep Ceballos I think he is a fire cracker and light up the game, Pepe also adds something special.

    The Karaiskakis Stadium is indeed a cauldron of fired up supporters (which is great to observe) and for most of our team is was a very new experience and they handled it brilliantly.

    The more I watch Artetaball and the manner in which he manages his squad the more hopeful I get about our possibilities in 2020/21.

  • Thanks for the post Total, I listened to the radio whilst at work and it didn’t make for great radio.
    I much prefer watching european games as you can appreciate the tactical side more.

    Just a thought on our training, when I previously saw pictures of our players at London Colney the players were usually larking about, with Mustafi in the middle of it acting the goat.
    Now whilst I’m not against having a joke at work and making it enjoyable, work is work and you need to be serious about it and for footballers good habits picked up in training are easily transferable to match day.

    Now I can’t be sure but I just see a more businesslike attitude from our players, they seem more focused, the sloppy mistakes have mostly disappeared, Mustafi and Luiz who had previously been viewed as our worst nightmare as a pair at the back are looking solid, disciplined, switched on and resilient, 5 clean sheets in 8 games can’t be wrong.

    The Arteta revolution is in full swing it seems and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

  • Kev …. with you all the way. Training should be for inculcating habits, right habits so should always be a serious affair. To rise to the point of loving that “seriousness” becomes a breakthrough ….. serious but at the same time loving and enjoying it.

    I do relate with Arteta’s management style.

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