Arsenal Player Ratings: Four Players Wanted It; The Rest Went Through The Motions

Arsenal 4 – 1 Molde

It was a typical UEFA Cup encounter in which Arsenal initially struggled to dominate the game in the attacking third but then gradually our quality started to shine through, and in the end it was an easy win for the good guys.

Arsenal equalise against Molde in the Europa League Group B game through Kristoffer Haugen's own goal

Player Ratings:

The ones that went through the motions…

Leno: 5 – uninspired performance in which Bernd had not much to do. He lacked calm and simply was not at the horses. Threw in his own windows for the only goal we conceded. Not impressed.

Kola: 5 – plenty of effort and energy but offered very little quality in the attacking third.

Luiz: 6.5 – relatively easy game for Luiz with a few fine long balls over the top.

Mustafi: 6 – went through the motions and tried to aid the attack.

Maitland-Niles: 5.5 – went through the motions and did not do anything wrong. But there was also little to be excited about.

Xhaka: 6 – see Mustafi.

Ceballos: 6.5 – a few nice passes and forward moves but nothing to write home about.

Willian 6.5 – put in a shift and there were some nice movements with the ball and passes.

Soares 5 – did not see much of him in the 30 minutes he played.

The ones that took the game by the scruff of the neck…

Pepe 7 – started off poorly with some ugly crosses and passes but got better in the second half (and last part of the first half). A good assist and classy goal. There is much more in Pepe but will we get to see it this season? Mikel might be losing his patience with him…

Eddie 7 – unlucky not to score but he gave it his all (offsite goal should have stood) and had his work cut out in the centre of attack. Loved his movement and eagerness to get in the right positions.

Joe 8 – was the creative force in attack, forced two own goals and scored a beauty once a gain. The boy is becoming a man.

Saka 7 – sublime assist for Pepe’s goal and made the difference in the last half hour (together with Pepe and Joe).

(Tierney and Elneny did not play long enough to score them).

By TotalArsenal.

25 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Four Players Wanted It; The Rest Went Through The Motions

  • I agree some of the players were just going through the motions Kalasniac,Maitland Niles,Mustafi were very average,i hope they go we need Danny cabellos,Willock,Luis types who try and give 100% every game.

  • I could not agree less about Ceballos. For me he was the engine of the midfield machine. Not only did he complete a large number of passes but a number of them managed to open up the bus that had been parked in the Molde half.
    As for Pepe his goal was excellent but his approach to beating an opponent is so predictable. Stop the forward movement jiggle sideways and often lose the ball. He is a much better player than we are seeing at the moment but Arteta’s patience can’t last for ever.

  • Agreeing with John, I think Ceballos was one of the better and reliable players, with a balanced performance between defense and attack (2 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 key passes & 2 dribbles). Furthermore he also balanced our attacks preventing Arsenal to try everything on the flanks. He had a beautiful vision pass to Pepe at the end of the first half (which Nico couldn’t connect) from the middle that could have been a perfect assist.
    Pepe does have his issues with consistency but including the ups and downs he was really good last night.
    Willock was full of energy and will – the 2 own goals unfairly stripped him from a goal and an assist, – he was instrumental in pressing and defending, but the role of being the ‘creative force’ might be a bit early for him.

  • Having seen Elneny last Sunday, I now know what the standard is for that position and I think a 6.5 score covered Ceballos’ performance. He was given a lot of freedom so the stats don’t surprise me too much, but he did not have much impact on the attacking part of the game imo.

  • TA, thanks for the ratings. I don’t necessarily agree with them but that’s what makes football fun!

    I thought Willock, Ceballos, Xhaka and Saka were our best players on the night. All were influential in moving the ball, driving us forwards and some with their goal contributions.

    Pepe continues to be the absolute worst player on the pitch for long stretches of games that gets a pass because he scores. I’ll always take the goal contributions but he is absolutely awful to watch at RW – either Arteta has to change the entire system for him or try him elsewhere (maybe ST?) because it’s clear he isn’t a winger but more of an inside forward.

    Perhaps the birth of his first child in July of this year is affecting his on field performances. I saw improvements being made at the end of last season, but he looks nothing like that now (I almost prefer the version of Pepe that wasn’t scoring but playing a more complete game than the current version).

  • I get your point re Pepe, HH. He frustrates me no end. His first half was so poor but his second half was much better, and the assist and goal were classy. The score reflects that second half performance.

  • TA, I think in the right team Pepe can thrive and be made to look much better than what Arteta needs from his wingers right now. And to be fair to Pepe, Auba isn’t a winger either and hasn’t been performing, but at least we know his preferred position is at ST.

    Unfortunately, I think for what Arteta wants to do, I see a Pepe sale being the most beneficial (unless he can be converted to ST or the system completely changes for him). I think Pepe could still fetch a nice sum (at least 40-50m or more with add ons) and would be valuable in a true counter attacking set up.

    Arteta could do a lot with those funds, but the problem is he inherited a very expensive front three that don’t exactly fit what he’s looking to do long-term. Trying to fit them all in would likely be a detriment to the long-term plan and the fundamentals and muscle memory he’s trying to establish.

  • HH, you may be right re Pepe in another team, style of play. I would have to see it to believe it, as he seems limited technically and motivational imo.

  • Agreed TA, Mikel’s post-match comments were very telling and it’s the same argument I make about Pepe not deserving more minutes. He basically said that Pepe needs to show consistency for an entire 90 mins and have a positive effect on a game every time he is on the ball in the final third; it’s great that he is getting goal contributions, but he’s capable of doing much more.

    Pepe seems to be able to do the difficult things (albeit inconsistently) but really struggles to do the fundamental things that every footballer should be good at. I’m not convinced he has the biggest footballing IQ either, which unfortunately also holds him back.

  • Pepe must be allowed to come central more often, I’m now convinced he can’t play wide in this league. It will be Arteta’s job to do something about this. It’s not just about effort and general consistency, it’s about helping a player succeed by putting him in the right positions. Instead of just avoiding a huge financial loss, we should be hoping to get more than our money’s worth for what we paid.

  • I have no qualms with the ratings, TA, except to note how uncharacteristically casual the comment for Xhaka’s was. I do hope it isn’t as a result of (you) finding a new love in Partey or Elneny. 😜. Xhaka did deserve a bit more, say a 6.5, but still, all good. He was steady, tackled well, had a couple of good blocks and was tidy with his passing.

    I am happy to note we just may have started to get a bit more fluidity in our forward play and, but for the inter-lull, a few more games would have shown this to be the case. Arteta has succeeded in making us a bit harder to score against; now, he looks to have started to work to improve the offensive play. I admit there is a missing piece for that to all come together: and that’s a good creative midfielder. Maybe, we return for Aouar in the winter window?

    Now, to look forward to the game on Sunday. Always nice to win before a break.

  • Pepe worries me too and, I can imagine, the manager too. But, he will improve with time; just needs to be taught to do the simple things like playing the first time pass, not always going for the dribble and to cross more often, or shoot when the opportunity comes. He just needs to seek to retain the ball first, for the team, and then love (understand the value) to do so. He is a player who can cause chaos in the opponents’ box, if he can improve and be in control of his motor coordination.

    Let’s be patient to see how he comes along.

  • Thanks TA. Mum-84 is doing well, sprightly to be honest.

    I hope the lads had enjoyed this game and will play their game tomorrow against the Villians better than what they did in pre-season

  • Hi J, the problem is where should Pepe play in Artetaball. He needs freedom and space to excell… Only position I can think of is Laca’s, but that requires an enormous workrate and involvement…

  • Haha Eris, I love them all and XhakA has not been dumped yet 😅

    I cannot wait to see XhakA paired with Partey in a proper two in midfield, and then the show can properly begin.

    In one of my follow up comments in this blog I have mentioned that XhakA deserved a bit more in hindsight (for his two preassists).😊

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