Arsenal Player Ratings: Not 1 nor 2 but 3 MOTM, Right Wing Weakest

Arteta’s Arsenal 3 – 2 Ancelotti’s Everton

A very hard fought for win and three very precious points at the end of a week of three games in which we were victorious – two at the home of football and one at the home of ancient sports – is leaving us feeling upbeat and proud to be a Gooner. This was anything but straightforward, and we rode our luck at times, but a combination of excellent finishing, stout defending and team spirit got us to the end.

More game-analyses will follow but here are my player ratings:

Leno: 8.5 MOTM  – At fault for the second goal but a very powerful performance in the second half with top-notch saves. Mistakes are human and the best make them, but to get over it so quicky and then put in that performance show us all what a great goalie we have.

Kola/Saka: 6/6 – Kola did not have a great start of the game and then he got injured. Saka needed a rest, so much was clear when he had to come on for the injured Kola, but he put in a shift. Defensively the 18 year old made a few poor decisions, but he was very important once again by producing an absolute peach of a cross for his mate Eddie.

Luiz: 7 – at fault for the first Toffees’ goal but recovered well after that. The whole defence struggled with having a grip on the game and both in the air and on the groud we were vulnerable. Luiz did not get the best full back support today and the midfield was less solid as well, but he did well to guide us to victory.

Mustafi: 8.5 MOTM – massive presence in defence with a large number of clearances and interceptions, also good involvement in our forward passing, out from defence. Not sure about the hair, though. 🙂

Bellerin: 5 – Hector is still finding his feet and offered little in attack today. I also found him wanting in defence. Big fan but he needs to up his game, especially after being rested on Thursday.

Xhaka: 8 – How many passes did he make today? It makes you wonder why some still doubt him – three games in a row; the first on the team sheet for every manager. He did not get the much needed support in midfield today, but he compensated for this all by himself. Always tried to aid the attack from deep, and support the defence as much as possible.

Ceballos: 5.5 – Like his fellow Emery-chosen-one Guendouzi, Ceballos likes to aid the attack and offer tonnes of positive energy, but positionally he is limited and he does not form a shield enough with his fellow deeper midfielder (Xhaka). As a result, our defence was exposed, especially on our right side and it could have cost us dearly.

Ozil: 6.5 – quite isolated in a strong Everton midfield, but came for the ball a lot and moved our game forward whenever he could do so.

Pepe: 6 – good assist for the goal but often isolated in attack and not did not offer enough support in defence, hence leaving Bellerin exposed. We need to see more ‘presence’ from him on the pitch: more physicality, more energy, more thrust, more balls.

Eddie: 6.5 – took his goal well: made the right run and did not fluff his opportunity. His back-to-the-goal footie remains a work in progress, and his involvement in the game was often inconsequential. But he scored and that goes a long way for a young CF.

Auba: 8.5 MOTM – a powerful and passionate performance. Scored two fine goals and worked his socks off to support the below-par Saka right till the end. Pepe needs to learn from Auba.. and fast. PEA is not just a cheque collector: he has intrinsic motivation to do well for the fans, the manager and his team mates and I love him.

By TotalArsenal


26 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Not 1 nor 2 but 3 MOTM, Right Wing Weakest

  • That’s the thing about Eddie, the game seems to pass him by but he got a great first goal, showing excellent anticipation and almost a 2nd in the 2nd half when Everton we’re pushing for an equaliser, just a few inches lower and he’s the hero, but it will come with him.

  • Fair enough assessments, TA. Can’t disagree with much here; I feel Ceballos did closer to a 6.5 though. He kept the ball well and showed up for the passes out of defence a lot of times. Because of the hard working wingers in the Everton side and Bellerin’s poor positioning for long balls to the wing, it looked on occasion like he was out of position himself. I like his assurance on the ball and thought he held his own today, against an experienced midfield in the opposition.

    Nketiah is still learning his trade and needs to be given the confidence to grow/improve. He has good movement in the area and anticipates where the ball is likely to fall, like every good striker should. And that’s, for me, why Arteta would prefer to play him in some of these games. If we have wing play that favours whipped in crosses, he will thrive. The way we play, for now, perhaps suits Laca better. Time will tell.

  • Fair enough, Eris. Maybe a 5.5 is a bit harsh. Just thought we were not strong enough in midfield and gave away too much possession, space and therefore opportunities in this game, and Ceballos did not look good in that respect. But maybe I change my mind when I see the game again. 🙂

  • Sometimes, it helps to dye your hair some stand-out colour, TA. 😜

    OT – Excerpt of “4 things we noticed” article from the club website:

    It’s not often you see a goal scored in the first minute of a game, and even more rare to witness goals in the first minute of both halves. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang obliged to deliver just the third instance of that double in Premier League history. We were involved in one of the other two – at Newcastle in January 1996. Calvert-Lewin’s strike was the first time we’ve conceded in the first 60 seconds of a top-flight game since David Healy scored for Fulham on the opening day of the 2007/08 season. We went on to win that game too, thanks to a late, late winner from Alex Hleb.

    Interesting facts there,….

  • It looked like an open game and the team from the north west looked like a team coming with intent to steal some points. 37 points and lets win game by game.

  • TA, fair ratings. Maybe 0.5 extras for Saka, Bels, Ceba, Pepe and Nketiah for me.

    During the match I was feeling that Bels is really not quite up to it for us. But I must say that his performance should be viewed in the context of his role. With our left full back pushed up field, our double pivot shift left and Bels tucks inwards to help the midfield. Further, he is instructed to go forward very conservatively. It’s a role that doesn’t seem to suit him very much.

  • Correct ratings as always, TA.
    I would also add 0,5 to Ceballos az Ozil, and probably reduce 0,5 from Mustafi for the hair. 😀

    I’m getting optimistic, because we scored 3, and probably could have scored more if defending wouldn’t have been prioritized in the 2nd half (which is not a bad thing, as the lads need to get used to that too, as we will be hosting Liverpool and Man City in the remaining 11 games). And the goals we have conceded were closer to being bad luck or lack of concentration than being inferior.

  • PE, you know I am a big fan of Bellerin but indeed he is not firing from all cylinders at the moment. I wonder whether Arteta has different plans for him/his usual position moving forward… and Bels is struggling with this at the moment..

  • The hair was bad, Pb. Like he had melted a camembert on his skull. So yes 0.5 deduction is justified! 🙂

    To do the best ratings one has to watch the game again, so I am always wary of under or over-scoring players. As I played in midfield myself I tend to be more critical of those positions. I like to see discipline, positional awareness, good passing, excellent and clean interceptions, not hugging the ball but moving it quickly, etc. That is why I am critical of the likes of Guendouzi and Ceballos as I can see only parts of what the role requires and I am less impressed with their (good) abilities to move forward with the ball and pick a good pass now and again, however important that skill is for the team.

  • I think Bellerin is not playing poor at all, but we all know that he is capable of a much higher quality.
    He is far from being a liability, but he is not yet an undisputed clear improvement over Chambers, Mustafi or even AMN. The 5 rating seems about fair.

  • i had a positive remark about hector at HT, but i think (haven’t re-run the game) (almost) all of everton 2nd half opportunities came from their left-flank, so i get your point about him, ta. and we have to keep in mind that he didn’t have to face lucas digne, whose left foot could have been lethal yesterday. if he’s 100% rehabilitated, hector has to play now, he should play thursday, he should play against portsmouth; when your have difficulty trusting your body again, playing’s the cure, not training imo. as for midfielders, i miss lucas, that’s for sure, however hard ceballos might be trying – and he was trying remarkably hard yesterday.

  • Mostly good with your ratings week over week TA. Though I’m seeing much of the demerit-ing not from unforced errors (many, many wayward longer passes)– but through aggression– being demanded by Arteta. Some were beyond a player’s abilities (Ceballos), others not in the run of play (Saka), and some just ill-fated (Xhaka, who did have some other eye-popping ones).

    Only that level of aggression– would position Arsenal for all 3pts. “No effing draws!” — should be the rallying cry for the rest of this season. Draws are as good for us as losses now.

    As for #20 (I’m not there– yet)– at the least– his hair-brained error 🧓 this week didn’t involve dropping points. 🙄 (BTW– last match’s MoTM you bestowed to Shkr… er, #20 actually belonged to Leno for stone-handedly saving both Must… um, #20, … from himself– and Olympiacos from leveling on that FK after the YC.)

    All is well with the W this week. Ratings aren’t just a salve anymore. MoTM is an assignation.
    This group are playing like a team. Long time coming.


  • Thoroughly agree legall on your perspective with Hector and playing more being ‘the cure’.
    (Did like Bell’s attitude after Richarlison took out Ceballos on his turf. All-for-one!)


  • LE GALL … I suppose it’s Torreira’s better defensive ability versus Ceballos better forward play. Tough choice. Looks like Arteta has started leaning on the side of better forward play.

  • JW, I wish somebody does a video of Mustafi’s many decisive interventions in recent games. He was a magnet to the ball on so many occasions. Totally deserves his inclusion of MOTM imo.

    Our focus on forward passing will indeed lead to some mistakes and that is fine as you also say. Xhaka was immense and involved in nr1 and nr3 goals. His ball for Saka – a pre-assist – looked straightforward enough, but there was little space and needed the right pace. Granit’s fine left foot delivered to perfection and Saka just needed one more touch to put in THAT cross.

  • In full agreement with PE regarding the Torreira-Ceballos comparison I would love to see them play together ALONG with Xhaka and Ozil, maybe for the sake of experiment. That could be a hell of a midfield – with the expense of a a forward slot. So that would mean a 4-4-2 formation with the attackers sharing the responsibility of chance creation – practically ruling out Lacazette and Nketiah. But any 2 from Auba, Martinelli and Pepe should do the trick.

    How about this as a starting line-up?

    It can be seen as a team without wingers as well as a team with 2 deadly & pacey wingers, but without a finishing striker. That flexibility is the one that excites be – besides the COXT midfield.

  • TA– This game I’ll agree. Last match vs Olympiacos– no sir.

    Described why elsewhere:
    “71st minute– #20 came close to costing Arsenal– with a typical time-bomb error. An unnecessary flying tackle when positional defending was required. Another defender on the scene– with just another moment needed to help thwart the attack. Instead, a booking, a free kick (Oly’s best weapon on the day)– and only a stone-handed Leno save at point-blank range gets #20 off-the-hook.”

    You might have missed that. No worries. You’ll note– I’ve not been critical of late. I trust Arteta implicitly. Even in selecting a defender I can never trust. Very much want it to work out. Do love an underdog.

    He’s nearly back in my good graces.
    But MoTM vs Olympiacos? Bridge too far.


  • Looks like it, PE. For the lesser sides, we may be seeing more of Ceballos; while it will be Torreira for the teams that are likely to contest possession with us.

    Yesterday, I thought Auba was undisputedly the MoTM. He scored two, made a couple of key passes and a few last ditch tackles in our defence. All round, captain’s performance, methinks.

  • AS Roma won 4-0 yesterday, Mkhitarayan made the first Roma goal then scored the 2nd, the Romans apparently want to sign him permanently so hopefully he keeps performing because that should mean a nice windfall for us next summer…

  • That is good news Kev! Here’s hoping results now create heightened value in all of our players this Summer. Been some time since Arsenal has dealt from a position of strength.


    Wanted to share this by Amy Lawrence at The Athletic:
    “Mikel Arteta’s way has made a telling impression on them all. Expectations are collective, instructions are collective, and everyone is required to take decisions for the collective. “He is very clear,” says Granit Xhaka. “He speaks about every player in front of the whole team. He knows exactly what he has to say. We know as well how we have to train. If you don’t train how he wants you are out.”

    Eddie Nketiah, who justified his inclusion against Everton at the expense of the more experienced Alexandre Lacazette with an agile finish, underlines how competition for places brings added hunger. “It’s a healthy competition. You are always going to miss out sometimes and Mikel has really instilled that sense that you have to really fight for your place,” he explained after Sunday’s 3-2 victory. “Nothing is going to be given to you. It has got everyone firing at training and chomping at the bit. At the moment, anyone who gets the chance is desperate to take it.”

    One of the things Arteta has done very well in a short space of time is ensure every player in the squad feels included and part of the bigger picture even when they don’t get picked. It’s not an easy trick to pull off but there was strong evidence of it as fatigued Arsenal slugged out three points to finish an excellent week against Everton.

    At half-time, Sokratis Papastathopoulous — an unused substitute on the day — waited by the mouth of the tunnel to greet and grasp the hand of every team-mate as they came off the pitch, offering words of encouragement and very obvious back-up.

    Gabriel Martinelli, who didn’t even make the 18, so had no chance of any direct impact on the match at all, was the first person from the dugout area to burst excitably onto the pitch at full-time to engulf Bukayo Saka with congratulations.”

    This– is the key, the core– to instilling a positive team culture. One that feeds off the success of your teammates– as a shared experience. It’s how a team preps to take the next step in becoming better; more successful. When a positive team culture is central– respect for the club drives the team forward. Arteta has made an intangible– solid. And very quickly too.


  • Sounds like a case of finding fault in a haystack of goodness, JW. The way Mustafi plays he will make mistakes but he clearly is being instructed by Arteta to be energetic and present and now and again a mistake will be made as per the nature of the CB-hoover role he has been given. But he made you and me suffer in the past so I understand your reluctance to give him the all clear hahaha 🙂

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