Arsenal Player Ratings: Two MOTM, Tierney Powers On, Xhaka Indispensable

Arsenal 4 – 0 Norwich: Arteta’s plan is starting to bear fruit and Ceballos is starting to blossom.

Krul doet Aubameyang record cadeau, Leicester moet vrezen voor CL-ticket

Norwich had impressed against the Red Mancs at the weekend, but other than 15 minutes in the second half, after a tactical adjustment by the manager at half time, they offered little opposition to Arteta’s well-drilled and motivated boys.

Mikel seems to have moved to a 3-4-3 formation with Xhaka and Ceballos/Willock in the centre of midfield and two wing-backs in quite forward-orientated positions. The latter positions were taken by the tenacious Tierney and the willing but somehow not very confident/effective Bellerin, and they were able to really stretch the Norwich defence by staying wide and making constant runs behind them.

But the big star, at least in the first half, was Ceballos. The Zidane (seasonal?) cast-off played with energy and panache and he sliced the Canaries’ defence open at will. That goal in Sheffield clearly has given him wings and today he played with them for the best part of an hour. It was a Fabregas-esque performance, a joy to watch.

The defence did not have too much to do other than between the 45-60th minutes; our attack was lively rather than efficient it forced the Canaries into a number of mistakes for which they paid the ultimate price.

Player Ratings:

Martinez: 8 – made a very important low to the ground save at the start of the second half and just oozed confidence and presence for 90 minutes. This is his moment.

Mustafi: 6 – the game was too easy for him in the first half and as a result he lost his concentration towards the end. Probably subbed because of injury (Arteta is a Y-Manager and does not substitute players at half time to ‘teach them a lesson’).

Holding (Mustafi’s replacement): 6.5 – took over well from Mustafi.

Luiz: 7 – similar to Mustafi dropped in concentration levels towards the end of the first half. Still, Davide is a leader on the pitch with presence and positivity.

Kolasinac: 6 – looks out of place in the left-CB position but he put in a shift.

Tierney: 7.5 – great wing-back play throughout the game and quickly becoming one of Arteta’s automatic picks. Combines tenacity and fight with calm and high-quality crosses. Fecking love him.

Xhaka: 8 – take him out of the team and we are missing our foundation/ our conductor. There are still people who want Xhaka gone/ don’t believe he is ‘Arsenal’ quality… Ah well… Took his goal very well.

Ceballos: 8.5 MOTM – see also above for my praise for him. Dani danced us to victory today.

Bellerin: 6 – tried hard but the final ball is too slow and lacks conviction. Something is missing and I wonder whether Bellerin’s time may be up….

Soares: 7 – impressed straightaway and scored the sort of goal Hector currently isn’t able to score.

Nelson: 6.5 – tried to add attacking intent where and when possible. A skillful and intelligent player who needs a number of games to play himself into the team.

Willock: 7 – Norwich overpowered the midfield at the start of the second half and Arteta had to bring Joe on to readdress the balance; and the boy of only 20 Springs did very well. Willock added presence and helped us push Norwich back towards their goal with his smart runs and passes.

Laca: 7 – a seven for effort and impact on our overall attacking play. He gets himself in good scoring positions too but really has to focus harder on converting the more than decent chances that come his way in every game.

Auba: 8.5 – MOTM – two goals – ‘one of them and Eddie’ – and an assist, but there is much more to his game: hard work, making other player more effective and help out in defence, to name a few.

Eddie/ Pepe: – not seen enough of them to give a score.

By TotalArsenal.


21 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Two MOTM, Tierney Powers On, Xhaka Indispensable

  • Thanks,Auba may have feel bad for scoring without trophy but we need to complmnt his effort;Lacazete,Guenduzi and Ozil not for sale. why not loaning Nelson,Willock,Nketia and Get Partey.Sell mustafi or sokratis.Saka deserve utility play and get Saliba back

  • Yes I agree Total, the next two games are against teams that the really big clubs beat, not easily but they usually put them away while we’ve had all kinds of problems with them, Wolves in particular and Leicester. Now positive results in the next two games and people will start to sit up and take notice of this Arteta Arsenal.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Other than the iffy moments the defense and midfield were well manned and we have seen that Soares can make Bellerin sweat with a good display.

  • Cheers guys. I am looking fwd to the Wolves game which will be a true test. I have really enjoyed watching them this season; Nuno has them playing very mature and cultured football and Arteta will face a challenge of equals on this one. I dont expect us to win this one but just look forward to how we, Arteta/the team, fare against them.

  • Agreeing with the ratings, here are some interesting stats from WhoScored:
    – Reiss Nelson lead the team(s) in key passes, albeit spending only 45 minutes on the pitch
    – We had such a dominance in the first half, that Mustafi didn’t (have to) make a single tackle/interception/clearance/block and still seemed assured and competent
    – The clearance king was Luiz (as expected), but our 2 best tackler were Lacazette and Soares (!)
    – The most interceptions were carried out by Ceballos and Kolasinac – the latter is indeed a surprise
    – Xhaka’s passing accuracy was 96,1%, Nelson’s 94,1% which are remarkable as they both attempted mostly forward passes including 3 long balls. Ceballos’ 92,3% is also impressive as he had the most touch on the pitch (65) and made 4 long balls too.

  • Yes, the Wolves game will heavily influence our chances to go to Europe (assuming we cannot beat Man City at Wembley).
    Since Leicester and Chelsea have lost yesterday the difference between #3 (55) and #6 (52) has diminished. We are indeed far from there (46), but if we can make 4+ points against Wolves & Leicester then we’ll get closer, and there are 4 of them with plenty of opportunities to slip.

    Meanwhile Huddersfield Town won at Birmingham (0-3) with Emile Smith-Rowe playing 70 minutes.

  • I am sad to lose Ceballos after the season ends. He is like Rambo, who gets involved and makes passes out from the back. The board should do a rethink and maybe extend his loan or something, if they do not want to spend too much cash.

    For Soares, we have seen that he is a good threat to the RB spot, but to see him playing only 15 mins on the pitch but getting the best tackler alongside Laca, that says something really great that we have not seen him do before.

  • thanks for being kind to laca, and not too harsh on hector, ta.
    nuno’s wolves have been a formidable pack for the last two seasons, it’ll be a true test for mikel and his boys. like you, i think it comes a little bit too soon. yes, it feels good to score four and win three on the bounce, but we should hold our horses, shouldn’t we? the canaries gave two goals away to auba, actually only one in four goals was the outcome of a decent move.
    i was very happy to read about reiss’s stats, i think he’s an amazing kid, but i find him too nice, too … demure at the moment; i sure hope the club’ll give him the time he needs to grow into the great attacker he can be.

  • That’s a good point 84 regarding another loan for Ceballos and it’s one I’ve seen repeated elsewhere so it’s getting more traction among the fans. It would give us another year of Dani whilst our youngsters develop, it means we don’t have to spend a big fee or commit to a long expensive contract on him and if our circumstances improve in 12 months time and we can find agreement with all parties he could eventually move to us permanently. It allows us financial flexibility whilst we still enjoy having his attributes in our squad.

    As for Soares, I’d be tempted to start him at Wolves because it’s a game we cannot afford to lose and he’s fresh, strong and eager to show his quality. It doesn’t mean that we dump Hector, it’s just horses for courses and Hector does look a bit off form and maybe it means we could save him for Leicester at home?

  • I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but I kinda recall Reiss Nelson putting in his most effective performances on the left side of midfield and in particular in tandem with Tierney, so maybe that’s an area that Arteta could maybe experiment with?

    I really like Reiss, he’s got a lot to offer but I don’t think that’s he’s been able to find his niche in the team yet.

    Interesting comments from Arteta regarding Guendouzi – there’s only gonna be one winner in this scenario…

  • Let’s see how Ceballos fares against Wolves and Foxes; these will be tests for him and give Arteta a better chance to judge his ability to play next to Xhaka…

  • Nelson has to compete with the big signing and guess who has got the hardest job to get playing time? He is one for the future and can also play in the nr10 position if you ask me.

  • Good morning all – and thanks for yet another excellent post Total. Nice to see a good discussion, With me being five hours behind I cannot really join in but I will say that the next four games Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool are both the toughest consecutive games of the season and the most critical. They may have come to early in the Arteta revival but I’m sure that he will learn a lot regardless of the outcome.

    Here’s an article about Arteta’s opinion on the Auba situation.

  • 3-1
    never want to read about your stoke-united-banter-thing again, ta
    i love these guys
    (by the way, three great cutback-six-yard-tap-in goals, very arsènesque if you ask me)

  • For those of us with a long held antipathy to all things Liverpool I have to say that that was an extremely enjoyable 45 minutes, seeing them humbled.

    I hope that Man City can keep it up for another 45 minutes although it scares the living daylights out of me with the FACup in mind….

  • Spurs were well beaten by a good playing SU, Legallos. They were physical but in general not unfair and deserved their win. It is really nice to be above the Spuddies again.

    And yes Kev it was good to see Liverpool get beaten. KdB was in magnificent form and we will have to give our all to somehow beat the blue, oily Mancs in a couple of weeks.

    First up is Wolves though.

  • “It was a Fabregas-esque performance, a joy to watch.”
    No truer words, TA.


  • Great comment, Kev… I have turned it into a quick post for this morning… before we publish GN5’s match preview later today.

    New Post New Post 🙂

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