Arsenal v Liverpool Player Ratings: Nelson and Laca Bully Back | 3 MOTM

First 15 minutes of this game were awful. We showed the Champions far too much respect and let them simply bully us. But then we did a bit of that to them with pressing them high and forcing mistakes… and soon we were 2-1 up. I was so pleased with this mentality turnaround. After that Pool tried to get a goal back but the boys fought like lions and the old and experienced players showed  us why Arteta believes in them, whilst the youngsters played with guts and desire to succeed in Mikel’s revolution. In short, a very good preparation for our FA semi-final v Man City and three precious points in the League.

arsenal nelson

Player Ratings:

Martinez: 8.5MOTM a few nervous moments early on but after that as safe as a house. One word: Presence!

Tierney: 8 – nobody messes with this wee beastie. One word: tenacity.

Luiz: 8.5 –  MOTM beast in the air and led the defence throughout. One word: experience.

Holding: 8.5MOTM beast in the air and keen to fill the gaps left in defence. One word: omnipresent.

Saka: 6 – worked hard to help the defence but struggled to get into our attacking game. One word: adaptable.

Cedric Soares: 6: see Saka. One word: adapting.

Torreira: 6 – struggled a bit with the tempo of the game but worked hard to cover the defence. One word: progressing.

Xhaka: 8 – a few mistakes but there is a reason Arteta just cannot sub him and he was awesome on the last 30 minutes. One word: warrior.

Nelson: 7 – one extra point for the way he took his goal. Youngsters assisting and scoring against top teams should never be underestimated. One word: coolheaded.

Pepe: 5 – the man is so out of place in Arteta’s team(s). A wonderful left foot when he gets a chance to use it but he is mostly away with the fairies. One word: lost.

Laca: 8 – one extra point for taking that goal and his work rate was admirable. One word: busy.


Ceballos: 7

Willock: 6

Auba: 6

AMN: 7

Kola: –

By TotalArsenal.

30 thoughts on “Arsenal v Liverpool Player Ratings: Nelson and Laca Bully Back | 3 MOTM

  • Cool headed is about right for Nelson. For one so young, he does have a calm head on his shoulders when in key areas.

    I also like omnipresent for Holding. On reflection now, he was immense and just covering gaps. Special mention for David Luis too. He and Holding took everything in the air.

    A good rehearsal for the game against another team that will dominate possession.

  • Sorry to hear about your friend and step mother JW…

    Good news about Total Senior, he sounds a right character…

  • Yes TA, I feared the worst after Liverpool took the lead, but I think they became arrogant, they began strutting around as if they were untouchable and when we began to compete we realised that they are only human and as liable to make a mistake as Kolasinac. Two major blunders and two goal, with a bit of composure Willock could have made it three, now that would have been sweet.

    Alexander Arnold over the top, the same as Nketiah, how is it a yellow?
    Please explain Mr Riley you long streak of pee?

    I was so pleased for Rob Holding, he’s a proper defender as is Tierney, they’re defenders first and foremost and I like that because it’s a lost art. Vincent Kompany was a proper defender, I never heard anyone questioning his passing – what utter rot…

    Xhaka went quietly about his job I must say that I am quite warming to him and Lacazette, what a warrior, it was a little bit of last season from Laca…

    Luiz played well, maybe having a proper centre half next to him helped?

    I was pleased with all the players although the game seemed to pass Willock by a bit when he came on, I don’t think he made a tackle and Pepe, what are we gonna do about him, there is one hell of a footballer in there but I don’t know where he keeps on hiding it…

  • I like a lot about Mustafi and I think he is a fine person. The sort of guy who will get you out of a fight in a bar just at the right moment… but giving Holding a chance now seems the right thing to do. I think he will single-handedly, somehow, keep those Blue Mancs from scoring this weekend. I would start with the same team but put Auba in for Pepe and Ceballos for Torreira. May also be good to start AMN.

  • I am going to become the biggest pepe defender on here but he was awful today. There is no excuse but I just wish Mikel would keep him on the right flank, off course he didn’t really improve after switching flanks and Reiss did well with forcing VVD’s mistake and took his chance well. I was surprised Reiss came off thought Pepe would instead but hopefully it gives Reiss a shot at starting against city. Also shout out to Ainsley did well again and was much better against Mane than Cedric although dome of it might have been due to Mane tiring. Spot on with these ratings.

  • M, I think you are spot on re Nelson being subbed early so he is fit for the ManC game. I would love Pepe to succeed, but boy it is not looking good right now. 😦

  • TA, you missed out Cedric’s ratings. Or did you?

    Anyway, i did not watch the match, only the highlights, so am unable to comment. But the highlights showed how good we were at defending, so it is a good win at home.

  • Hard to disagree TA– all across the back were solid. 24 shots by Pool (to 3 for ARS). Not many clear ones. A couple were pinballed around– a bit edge-of-seat on one of those for sure! But to a man the defending was quite good. Our guys were stepping in front to block shots and playing team defense. Even those first 20 minutes– I didn’t think were all too bad versus the league winners. That goal from Robertson to Mane was classic Pool. Luiz couldn’t close out quick enough– and his mates were a step behind closing ranks.

    Sadio Mane is spooled tight like wound steel cable. That man is imposing in his skills, speed, quickness and surprising strength. Not surprisingly, Sadio Mane is my pick for PL Player of the Year. After Mane scored? Rob Holding was a bastid the rest of the game. Holding took it to Mane on a physical level. Credit to each of them for an entertaining battle.

    Still awed by the fact that Arsenal, us, our team– won a game because of our opponents defensive errors. Liverpool walked a mile in our boots.

    It was nail-biting, thinking that we would hold Pool at arms length for the entire second half.
    Proud that we did. A well-managed match tactically by Arteta as well.

    I’m going to watch it again. 😎


  • Thanks Kev.
    Though not so unexpected for either– just no fashion of bracing for the timing of both.


  • A great addition to the quickly put together post, jw1. And fully agreed re Mane but would KdB. Both have entertained and are always a joy to watch!

  • (late comment to the previous post):
    french “pundits” are all over us for playing that deep, with almost no possession
    when stoke, west brom, or bolton pulled that kind of trick against us and won the day thanks to some pgmol setup, they painted them as heroes, and our lads as weaklings
    there’s no such thing as a lockdown for anti-arsenal bias, obviously
    having said that, this is not my favourite kind of football, and there’s certainly not much future in that, but right now I’m very proud of the lads, and I’m particularly happy for reiss, he took his goal like a natural born cold-blooded killer; may this give him the confidence he needs, he’s an outstanding lad
    citeh now; if I were mikel, i’d sure tell the lads a few things about ali-foreman and the “rope-a-dope” …
    as for your ‘pa, ta, his own fighter’s genes will pull him out of this in no time …

  • Great point JW regarding the Holding vs Mane stand off. Mane is a very physical player, he’s very strong and will bully you if you allow him, but Rob matched him physically and even when Mane reacted and aimed some retaliation after a strong Holding challenge, Rob just looked at him as if to say ‘what’s your problem?’ and then exchanged some verbals with Mane all be it with a smile as if to say ‘I’m up for it if you are?’…. That just sends out a good vibe to your team mates, it’s also telling them that ‘we can upset these guys’ Tierney doesn’t need motivating and Soares is a hard nut if a bit lacking in match fitness, Xhaka isn’t afraid to put everything on the line either a kind of all for one and one for all. It’s a attitude issue, it can rub off on team mates and that’s why I like Holding, he’s from the north of England where they make them competitive and bloodyminded and his passing is just fine…

  • I loved that final LG, I was always a big fan of BFG and for him to come in at the 11th hour and play so well alongside Rob was an outstanding achievement.

    I know that some fans have their doubts over Holding, not least his durability after some nasty injuries, but I think we have a fine centre back in him, all he needs is games, once he gets into a rhythm he’s a top defender.

    Only 11 more days and the transfer window swings ajar, now that’s going to be a right eye opener not least in prices and the type of deals, swaps and loans etc.

  • leG, those French reporters seem a bit limited in their assessment of the situation. Pool strategy is to push a team into their own half and not let them out. It is not just a matter of attitude/style of play by Arsenal. But what I liked about Arsenal yesterday is that we gave it back to them when they had to play out from the back, and it served the self-celebrating Dippers right! 🙂

  • Mikel Arteta: Arsenal boss concerned about having finances to compete with rivals

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he is concerned that he will not have the finances to strengthen his side in the summer transfer window.
    The Gunners beat champions Liverpool 2-1 on Wednesday but still have work to do if they are secure a top-six finish. Arsenal are ninth, three points behind sixth-placed Wolves.

    Asked if he would have funds to strengthen Arsenal for next season, Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know. It’s a big concern.” He added: “You need it to build a squad. It’s not magic. You need to improve with quality, quality players in the squad and you need bigger squads to compete in this competition. There’s the challenge.”

    Arsenal spent more than £135m last summer, breaking their transfer record to sign Nicholas Pepe for £72m as well as bringing in full-back Kieran Tierney for £25m, defender David Luiz, forward Gabriel Martinelli and defender William Saliba – who rejoined Saint-Etienne on loan. But despite that outlay, Arsenal struggled to mount a top-four challenge and previous boss Unai Emery was sacked last November.

    Arsenal came from behind to beat Liverpool, scoring from their only two shots on target and, while Arteta was pleased with fight shown by his players, he said the difference between the two sides remains significant.

    “The gap between the two teams today is enormous,” he added.

    “We can not improve it in two months, but the accountability, the fight is now equal and I am very proud of that. The rest will take some time.”

  • Arteta’s thoughts and concerns emulate those of many Arsenal supporters. We will see in a few days how the Arsenal backroom “Brains Trust” plan to bring in the new recruits we need to start closing the gap between us and at least the top four.

  • Thank you for the post Total, it was the best “Double Decker” display I’ve seen from an Arsenal team since GG’s famed defense – led by Mr. Arsenal. I still can’t believe that we kept them out for the final 51 minute’s of the game. Luiz was enormous in defense – at times he looked like he was a pin ball machine – blocking so many shots.

    Holding is the perfect example that you don’t always have to spend millions to fine skilled players – he cost just 20 thousand quid from Bolton – unbelievable.

  • Same here Kev. BFG is among my fave Gunners. That game with Holding v. Chelsea was for hardware– when it counted. Gutsy.

    I’ve always held the belief that Rob could be our next BFG. Playing him alongside Luiz will help them both. Eventually, Holding alongside a youngish Koscielny-type CB would make a good pairing.

    Per GN5’s post addressing funds? Sell everybody who isn’t bolted down. That might approach half the squad. I mean it too. AMN wants first-team minutes? Sell him. Probably isn’t going to happen for him here. Papa. Guendouzi. Chambers could be surplus. Mustafi has never been anything but Fools Gold. See if Raul can find a fool to buy him.

    Mavrapanos just signed long-term and agreed to a season-long loan at Stuttgart

    And– for as long as I’ve been behind Mesut? Perhaps it’s best for him to move to a league where he’ll get an extra second on the ball. Hard to find that extra moment in the PL anymore. Is it time to cash in on Hector Bellerin– much as we did Alex Iwobi last term?

    With midfielders Smith, Balogun and Smith Rowe in the wings– selling wholesale might allow Mikel Arteta to generate the funds to bring aboard a pair of good signings– which might be all Arsenal need to compete for top-4 in a fast-approaching new season.


  • GN5, I can’t make up my mind if Arteta is being up front about his concerns about finance or if there’s a bit of a double bluff going on from within the club.
    Remember we asked the players and staff to take a pay cut and have fallen out with St Etienne over £2.5m. I suspect that we may not have a lot to spend but possibly a bit more than the club is putting out there. Then there will be income from player sales, that can be budgeted for and hopefully reinvested in upgraded players in a couple of positions.

  • JW it doesn’t look as if Partey is going to be coming our way, has it been a classic case of using Arsenal so he can get a better deal from Atletico or was he really interested in coming to the UK but Atletico turned his head? I suppose it isn’t done until it’s done so will Arsenal make him another offer of look elsewhere?

    I know we’re not unique and other clubs suffer them but we do get an unnatural amount of injuries, it cost us Diaby, Eduardo, too much of Rosicky, a lot of Arteta, RVP, Gnabry, a lot of Welbeck, far too much of Jack Wilshere, it pretty much finished Frimpong, Vermaelen, it finished Ryan Smith before he got started, it did the same to Ryan Garry, now it’s hit Chambers, Bellerin and of course Martinelli and Rob Holding, I could go on, we’re really very unlucky in that regard…

  • Kev, can’t blame Partey for using a ploy for more cash. Still, I have a different instinct about Mikel (and Raul) than Arsene (sometimes principles can be too rigid) in this kind of situation. If Partey is the target Arteta feels makes his first XI complete or more so? You go back with another try. Worst that can happen is cost Atletico more money.

    Usually? I’ve got ideas. With Arsenal’s injury skein over almost 2 decades? I got nuthin’. There’s no rhyme nor reason how so many non-game soft tissue injuries occur– and the really strange situations our in-match ones do. The Holding one for example. Wasn’t nefarious by Rashford. But WTHell was he doing way out of position, running at pace– out of bounds? Makes no sense.

    Anyway– I’m going to stay as positive as I can. With Mikel we (I, me!) finally got our man. 💪
    We’re back on the right track. With Arsenal DNA flowing through the club.


  • The greater amount of transfer rumours are exactly that – rumours.
    Looking back over the years the biggest and best surprise was when Arsene walked into a news conference followed by Sol Campbell – just writing these words reminds me of how shocked I was!

  • Kev, I have a feeling that this transfer window will be great for the opportunists. Its possible that due to the lack of revenue the selling clubs might be willing to accept far less that they ordinarily would – and that includes Arsenal.

    I would not be surprised to see the game played in crowd less stadiums throughout the 2020/21 season – I guess its possible they might play in stadiums with social distancing in place and all of the other necessary covid-19 precautions. But in either case revenue will be negatively affected and their players may become the best source of income.

    The Kronkes are very bottom line oriented and I can’t see them loosening their purse strings – so I expect some of our players will be let go at bargain basement prices.

  • Well guys, PB has written a fine post about the strength of the squad and where we could or should spend money…

    New Post New Post 🙂

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