Arsenal Player Ratings: Mari Impresses, Deadly Eddie, Super Sok, No Surprise MOTM

Portsmouth 0 – 2 Arsenal.

A poor first half was followed by a controlled second one and in the end Arsenal strolled into the quarter finals of the FA Cup. We don’t know what Arteta said at half time but in the second half the defence pushed up when we were attacking, and when we played out from the back/had the ball in our own half we used the space of the pitch very well and the opponents just could not get near us. Hence we were able to play out the game with ease and composure and could have won with a larger margin.

Player Ratings:

Martinez: 7 – Not much to do but had presence in the box and distributed the ball quite well. Just one or two iffy moments.

Saka: 7.5 – another class act against very physical opponents. Nothing seems to face him and he was solid both in defence and attack.

Luiz: 7.5 – showed his experience tonight and seemed very comfortable with Mari next to him.

Mari: 7.5 – solid, no nonsense defender. Strong in the air and comfortable passer of the ball.

Big Sok: 8 – we missed him last Thursday against the Greeks and I reckon that was a mistake by Arteta. Started off a bit rusty at the RB position but he fought like a lion and helped us to have the right balance in midfield. An extra point for that fabulously taken goal.

Ceballos: 7.5 – lively and got stuck in. Solid second half and seems to listen well to Arteta’s instructions.

Guendouzi: 7.5 – too many touches at times but he played a very mature second half in which he was constantly available and passed the ball round efficiently. Arteta is improving young Guendo.

Martinelli: 7 – worked his socks off and was not to be intimidated by the opponents’ physical challenges. Always keen to make things happen and his movement and runs are just fab to watch. Final balls need improving but I was really pleased by Marti’s performance today.

Willock: 6 – no lack of trying by Joe but his inexperience showed today. Still re-finding his groove under Mikel but the ‘nr10’ role is the hardest on the pitch and we need to remain patient.

Eddie: 7.5 – showed a lot of maturity and was not to be bullied by the Portsmouth defenders. Took his goal very, very well but it was his run and anticipation of Reiss’ cross that really impressed me. Eddie has that nose for goal that is so hard to find in an attacker.

Nelson: 8.5 and MOTM – a very mature performance by Reiss. Really took the game to the opponents and produced two fine assists… and could have had more tonight. I like his decision making and use of energy; he paces himself. But what is really impressive is his close control of the ball, speed and delivery. A joy to watch.

By TotalArsenal.



44 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Mari Impresses, Deadly Eddie, Super Sok, No Surprise MOTM

  • There were times where I didn’t feel like Nelson was available on the right flank for Sok, and then I was a little disappointed during the first half when he received the ball he wasn’t looking to push forward and take on his opponents. From his performance during the first 40 minutes I was surprised that he ended up with 2 assists. He’s a player that always leaves me wanting more.

  • I know 7.5 is a good score but I thought Guendouzi deserved a bit more (say, another 0.75🤓) just for the way he helped keep much needed control in the second half. The introduction of Ceballos midway first half may have helped but Guendouzi just managed to find pocket of spaces in front of the back 4 and was always made himself available for the pass. I can’t recall him ever getting dispossessed and that is a first, for his style of play which comes with too many touches, in dangerous areas. Young Joe Willock didn’t do too much worse than Martinelli too, if you ask me. He worked hard throughout. Otherwise, I can’t disagree with the scoring.

    The game itself started as if an upset was on the cards as the home side created some good chances. I attribute this situation to the “strange bed fellows” on parade in certain sections, mainly Martinez and Mari, with Sok at right back and Nelson ahead of him. Some adjustment time was all it took. The four minutes it took to manage the Torreira injury and all the stretcher activity also helped to clear heads and take on new instructions; it was plain sailing afterwards.

    Let’s hope for a favourable Draw.

  • VA Gunner welcome. I thought Nelson was one of the few decent performers in the first half. No doub there is room for improvement, though.

  • Eris, we all see it differently and if you want to give Guendo a whopping 8.25 then you are my guest. 🙂

    Martinelli had a better and more involved game than Joe imo.

  • Hey, TA! That still leaves Guendouzi below the (your) MoTM, so you wouldn’t begrudge him that now, would you?
    I stand corrected on Martinelli, though. I didn’t realize he had such stats. Still, Joe didn’t do too badly.

  • VA gunner, I think it was as much Sok’s fault as it was Nelson’s, that he appeared unavailable in the early parts of the game. Sok just didn’t trust himself to make an accurate pass at the time and perhaps, wasn’t confident Nelson won’t lose the ball and put him on the back foot. This is what I referred to about strange bedfellows and it was evident on the right flank, even as their left full back was always touch tight to Nelson.

    As the game wore on, and fatigue set in, coupled with our lads getting their act together, things started to develop and Nelson had his moments. I won’t be too critical of the man. He is returning to first team action after a long lay-off.

  • Thanks for the post Total…

    I listened to the game on the radio, Tony Pulis was doing the analysis, why a radio commentary needs a second voice I really don’t know because most of these guys add zero to the experience for me, whether listening or watching on TV – less is more in my book.

    Anyway Pulis was predictably pro-Portsmouth being an ex-manager of theirs and predictably anti-Arsenal because that’s in his DNA, he made the listening experience tedious and irritating, to such a point that I turned the radio off.

    When I occasionally watch a live match at my friends home or at my sons I then ‘enjoy’ or should I say ‘suffer’ the full package of pre match chat, half time chat and full time analysis, it’s excruciating, some of the ‘experts’ are clearly not up to the job, some show clearly why they never got a coaching role anywhere and some just talk utter rot.

    MotD is always recorded by me, so I fast forward all the crap, watch the highlights of the Arsenal match and unless there’s a game where United or Liverpool or, you know the usual suspects, are getting well beaten, I tend to bin the rest of the show, I don’t care and I don’t want to listen to the vacuous verbal diarrhoea of the pundits except Ian Wright who is mad but entertaining and he loves Arsenal.

    I often go on You Tube and watch very brief highlights of games, I find that that is enough, it shows you who was the more efficient team and deserved the result, in most cases, mainly because I’ve often thought that editing is biased. You know, you go to a game and watch Arsenal dominate then watch highlights afterwards that make it look as though Arsenal were dominated and lucky to win, is that done to satisfy a narrative of Lucky Arsenal or Boring Arsenal or Arsenal in crisis?

    Anyway, I hope we get a home draw in the next round against a non EPL team and that Arteta fields a similar XI for that match…

  • I’m delighted for Eddie ‘quick feet’ as he added another goal to his growing total for the season, I know that many have their doubts about him long term but as long as he put the ball in the onion bag he’ll do for me.

    Reiss Nelson certainly seems to be a favourite of Arteta, whether on the right flank, left flank or possibly from the centre, as our well groomed coach uses him more often than not, when he’s fit of course. Is it the Rahim Sterling effect?

    Positive start for Pablo Mari, our BFS, another man with a marvellously coiffed barnet, I do love these types of well scouted and sourced players, like Martinelli of course. Early days but the signs are good, at 26 he is entering his prime years as a defender, I also love that he organised those around him because we have probably lacked in that dept for many years or since BFG retired.

  • Do you think Nelson will be a success at AFC? Yes, he had a decent game against Pompey but how do you think he will performing kicked at Burnley?

    Enjoyed the game especially the first half when Pompey were competing, the second half was a thrashing and we could have scored many more. Mari looked a decent player which bodes ill for some of our many CB’s

  • Hi all.
    Thanks for the ratings TA as I was unable to watch the game, which is a very rare event but I was able to grab a few minutes on audio but that did not give me a “feel” for the game.

    I would like to thank folks for all the good wishes on my cancer treatment. I’ve finished the most important stage but it will now be another five months before I have more tests that will determine how effective the treatment s has been. But I feel fine and I’m in good hands with my specialists.

    TA I have a few appointments this week but i will put something together for our next game.

  • I seriously think Nelson will be a major hit at Arsenal.
    We already have a world class winger (Pepe) and 3 world class wingers in the making (Martinelli, Nelson, Saka). Currently Aubameyang takes a wing spot, but even if he leaves at the end of the season, or transitions to the striker position we will have the minutes to improve our 3+1 more than capable, possibly – probably – Salah-Sterling-Mane quality wingers at our disposal. (The +1 refers to the scenario when the future of Bukayo Saka lies in the position of LB/LWB).

    While Nelson couldn’t enjoy the spotlight as much as Martinelli or Saka did, he is not merely older than the others but more experienced as well. He was on loan at Hoffenheim last year, when he became a supersub and fan favorite by scoring 7 and assisting 1 in 628 minutes (which covered 23 games). He earned ‘Bundesliga young player of the month award’ twice during this stint, which kind of used to be Jadon Sancho’s private award.

    He has 35 youth international call-ups under his belt, where he scored 21 and assisted 7.
    While he might be inferior to both Martinelli and Saka when it comes to pressing and defensive tackles, attacking-wise he is the real deal. You don’t have to believe me, he will demonstrate it in the next year and a half.

  • Kev, all agreed on the commentary and punditry. Very few have anything to add and there is horrible bias. Clearly, they picked the Portsmouth v Arsenal game because they were hoping for an upset and would have loved for Arsenal to be bullied out of the game. So when we scored they were annoyed and the boot went into Arsenal through silly comments and analysis. And then Eddie came and made an end to all the nonsense. Game over.

  • Erik, yes Nelson has it all but he will need to focus and remain professional throughout the game. Under Arteta he is likely to thrive.

  • GN5, that all sounds quite promising. Keep your chin and pecker up! 😀

    Thanks in advance for the post (but only if you are up for it!).

  • Giroud had a great game tonight. Really gave the defence something to think about and he won a lot of headers and connected well with his fellow attackers. Pool lose again and looked lost.

  • It is really good to see Giroud flourish when Fat Frank clearly didn’t rate him. I understand why we sold him but it was a shame as the man has panache and brio.

    PB. I hope you are right about Nelson. As you say, he is young but my concern is that he will not get opportunities at AFC and will want to leave

  • I watched the videos on how Mari did against Pompey, and it seemed an upgrade to Xhaka. Strong and comfortable on the ball, even in 2v1 conditions where space is scarce.

    Been busy lately so will comment less for the time being.

  • Yes TA. My mum is feeling ok. Just some known side effects but not too impacted by them.

    South-K is thousands of miles from here, but the impact is that people coming back from that area have to be slowly let in and undergo a 14 day stay home notice.. meaning not even stepping out of your house one single step.

    Singapore being small is doing all it can to reduce the impact on our daily lives at work by heavily utilising video conference to reduce productivity loss. And after the night of panic buying a month ago we were back to normal mode. There is absolutely no need to have too much provisions at home.. we stay home as much as possible, but we still move around for chores and marketing.

  • I share your concerns, Erik.
    It could indeed be an issue. If we keep the squad intact in the summer then it is plausible that Arteta would cement the OPAL formation in the front, while Nketiah would be Lacazette’s unbderstudy, Willock or ESR could substitute Ozil, and Martinelli would become our #1 backup winger (on either side). That would mean Nelson would be restricted to a handful of cup games (mostly League Cup and FA Cup, as – I would have never imagined saying this – we are not yet in an EL position), and some substitute appearances when any of the wingers ahead of him is injured.

    However in a not too unlikely scenario when the club has to sell one of the marquee attackers (I think it would and should be Aubameyang, but the whole topic deserves an entire post), than the remaining striker will surely lead the line in the PL (giving Eddie practically all cup games), but on the winger front Martinelli, Pepe and Nelson would fight for the starting positions – with the possible inclusion of Saka at LW – in which case Nelson would have plenty of opportunities.
    Indeed we would probably lose 10 goals a season scored by Auba or Laca, but we could gain 15 scored by MNOP.

  • Thanks for the update and apologies…. I meant of course Singapore but you did give that update anyway. Sounds under control.

  • Sheffield is, indeed, a tough draw away but we are the kings of the FA cup so, hopeful.

    My view is that Arteta will play Nelson over Pepe, for now (just as it was before Nelson got injured). He keeps possession better and engages in less high risk ball turnovers. Pepe is all action dribbles but slows down the game, cuts in to his left foot and loses the momentum; Nelson gets to the bye line and can whip in a cross for the strikers to thrive. It’s a no brainer. Once fully fit, Nelson starts until Pepe gets the hang of it.

  • Though, I might add Eris– with how difficult it’s been to get behind Sheffield’s back-4 this season? Pepe’s set-piece expertise– may be more necessary than Reiss’s skillset.


  • No worries TA. Being a small country can cause harm if we do not control the people coming in to singapore as in a block we have about 40 to 50 units. Luckily the weather is hot currently the coronavirus will be killed in a matter of hours.

    Anyway, back to footy.

    Both Sheffield teams are strong and gutsy, like Pompey. Thus we need to be playing better than how we did on Monday so that we can score more and move to the semis.

  • Lucas Torrieira, it’s been reported, has a fractured foot, so I think it’s fair to say that his season is pretty much over… ☹️

  • Will the injury to Torrieira open the door to Maitland Niles in midfield?

  • Nketiah or Lacazette or maybe even Aubameyang to lead the attack this weekend?

  • Mari to keep his place vs West Ham or Mustafi returning, maybe for Luiz?

  • I would prefer AMN to Guendouzi who still does a lot of running around but does not seem to achieve much.

    We need someone who sits back and guards the back 4 and, certainly, does not give the ball away in midfield.

  • Hi fellas… Long time… Anybody miss me?… I thought not… 😀

    Down here in Mexico I’ve been “following” the team, but, since I don’t see any of the action, it’s all what I would call “received opinion” and I don’t want to just parrot what others are saying (even when it reinforces my prejudices)…figuring that would (merely) be contributing to the “echo chamber” which feels (to me) like it’s at the heart of our troubles, you know, the ones that are threatening our “civilization,” you know, the world where being “civil” with one another is how we avoid (first hating and then) killing each other (as in more tribal times)…

    But, I’m scheduled to travel back north, actually to meet with old friends to do some spectating at a sports event. Tennis in the Southern California desert doesn’t seem the worst thing in the world, but California has now declared a “State of Emergency” over this Coronavirus thing so I wonder if perhaps I ought to just continue my (self) quarantine…

    Parenthetically… I feel like I’m doing my part already, having switched to Pacifico (in terms of beer labels instead of Corona…) and really I prefer drinking cocktails as it is, my favorite being something I call the Rosalinda. It contains veneno (or venom/poison/a high proof alcohol–usually vodka, but I’ve made it with tequila too) plus (fresh) lime juice and Campari. It’s named after a local “realtor”–of the same name (Rosalinda, right?…)–whom we worked around when my guy (Felipe) put me directly in communication with the viejito (old guy…) who sold us our property. If I share one with him (Felipe…) I add either fizzy or coconut water to create the RosaPhillips… Felipe understands more English than he lets on…

    But, I digress…

    Of the matches I’ve only been able to follow (not watch)…it seems like we start slow, still have no real midfield creativity and/or dominance BUT our fighting spirit and/or fitness improvement (under Arteta?–plus tiny bits of quality?…) has gotten us through (vs Newcastle and Everton and at Olympiakos and Pompey–during our tour of the ancient Mediterrenean?…) BUT we lost out with a bit of bad luck (or, by the smallest of margins…) in that return leg vs the Greek team and are now (happily? not so happily?…) out of the Europa League, which might actually enable us to have an advantage playing against these English teams and getting up for a European place through the (domestic) competitions in which we remain. Maybe?…

    It means fewer games, which likely means (even) less rotation and might give us clues about how Arteta intends to build his squad for the future. That’s maybe a topic for its own blog post (you know, when we’ve got a looooonnnng week–or more–isn’t there an Int’l break still to come?–between matches.

    And, (addressing this post, finally…) the kids (plus some veterans, plus the tall guy from Spain by way of Brazil) have kept Arsenal’s own “State of Emergency” at least somewhat held off by advancing in the FA Cup. (Cafe Pepe, my avatar–like my would-be chambita, or tiny little empresa or money making venture down here in Mexico, I’m afraid, hasn’t really gotten off the ground…Much like that player we bought, what’s his name?… Nicolas…

    Win (or draw, for a replay in North London?…) vs Sheffield United in the next round (a club I’m afraid I must mention we still must look up at in the PL table…) and all the remaining matches (in that comp) will be down our way. In the PL, with only them (Sheff United) and Burnley (of the teams above us) NOT playing in Europe and this UEFA thing vs ManCity, who knows, we might actually be able to use the time between matches to improve, develop a playing style that seems both effective AND aesthetically pleasing (and, maybe we could tighten up at set pieces too…) and inch our way up so that we are actually in the European places for next season. Lifting a cup (at Wembley, the FA one, right?…) seems a step too far, but Arteta’s done it before…and at least…

    …Liverpool lost a match (actually three out of their last 4, in all comps, I’m pretty sure)…so there’s that, right?…

    Thanks for reading… 😀

  • 17. Good to read your comments again. Did you buy a property in Mexico? Is that possible as a foreigner (this is an assumption).

    I think we will do well in the FAC this season; although the big sides are all still in it we have the pedigree and are out of the other competitions so no need for rotation.

    It was no surprise that Dean didn’t even give the miscreant who damaged Torreira a yellow card for a vicious scissor tackle. Had it been the other way around Dean would have sent Torreira off

  • Hi ETR… Mexico has “protections” against foreigners buying up too much land (particularly within 50 km of the borders and the oceanfront)…but there are ways around them (much like all the other laws, in general, I fear). We have a “bank trust” which is essentially a created entity (“Corporation” is what we call them in the US) which costs about $500 (US) to renew/extend each year. People also use Mexican Nationals as “Prestanombres” (literally, borrowed names) but those deals are considered less secure…

    Torriera wasn’t getting the playing time under Arteta and now he will get even less…but maybe it also means that he doesn’t move on in the summer (for better or worse, if you’re one of the accountant/fan sort of bloggers, playing with the numbers and ideas for how we might improve the team). It’s a shame any way you slice (or scissor…) it…

    Everything I hear (and have seen in the few Arteta coached matches I’ve watched) is that the team is playing much more like a team BUT there hasn’t been a true revolution in playing styles. The Xhaka as 3rd CB/Saka as additional wide attacker seems good–except when PEA (I’m not sure why but I can’t bring myself to use Auba…) is played wide right.

    Anyhow, I gotta run, here in REAL Mexico (not Baja California…) the only things they don’t mix are Corona (not the virus) with lime (or Lyme, but not the disease)… It’s a joke but a poor one if folks are actually suffering and dying (which, it seems, depends on where you get your news)…

    Party on. Thursday is the new Friday, I’ve been told…

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