Arsenal Player Ratings: Three MOTM, Xhaka-Partey in Total Control, Rob Majestic!

That was one of our best games, and not just because of a good second half or that we played against a poor Newcastle United. It was such a good game because we had control over all proceedings from the start. We lacked quality in our final balls and finishing in the first half, but Arsenal were dominant in all areas and it was only a matter of time before they would start scoring. The Magpies were poor in midfield and attack but they know how to defend and Arsenal just had to keep going at them and cracks would eventually appear. When they did the boys finished well and they could even have scored a few more.

Aubameyang vindt ondanks enorme misser het goede gevoel terug

Player Ratings:

Leno: 7 – kept his gloves clean and had nothing noteworthy to do.

Tierney: 7.5 – good game in all areas of the pitch. Couple of fab crosses and tenacious in defence and the one to ones.

Luiz: 7 – not much to do in defence but he formed a calm and organised partnership with Holdingho all game long. Really ambitions at our corners but just lacked a bit of composure after making the good runs.

Holding: 7.5– a very tidy shift from Robbo. Solid in the air and on the ground and did not allow any attackers any time on the ball.

Soares: 7.5 – started off a bit rusty but once he got into the game Cedric was very effective, both in defence and attack. Great determination and control for his assist and he also put some very sharp crosses in.

Xhaka: 7.5 – absolute ball magnet through his great positioning and anticipation skills. So much went through him in this game. First signs of a good partnership with Partey in the making.

Partey: 7.5 – less involved in the first half but even then he was positionally strong with great protection of the defence. More involved in the second half in which he had a great assist and a pre-assist (for which he gets an extra half point).

Auba: 8 – MOTM at times painful to watch on the ball and a lack of form and confidence can clearly drag down even the best, but a superb first goal with his left made an end to it; and his second goal followed soon. Is Auba back? Well without those goals he would not have received more than a six…

ESR: 8 – MOTM a great battling performance and an extra whole point for his assist for the Saka goal. That was the best moment of the game. His link up play energises the team and makes others better footballers.

Saka: 8 – MOTM good run and fine finish for his goal for which he gets an extra point. So many good attacking contributions during the game and always a joy to watch.

Laca: 7 – worked his socks off and created passing opportunities and space for others all game long. But no goals or assists which will frustrate him a bit.


Elneny: 6 – tidy job.

Willian: 6 – tried to keep it going but without much impact.

Martinelli: – not long enough on the pitch.

42 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Three MOTM, Xhaka-Partey in Total Control, Rob Majestic!

  • Stand up and take a bow Cedric Soares for your best performance in an Arsenal shirt, we now have some proper competition for the right back berth.

    Frustrated at half time and particularly with Luiz who lost his marker at a late corner, had a good clear run at the cross and then headed the ball wide as if he had a triangle for a forehead, not impressed at all. Then he did it again in the second half, we need Gabriel on those crosses.

    I thought we played some excellent football and dominated for the 90 minutes, not something we can often say and probably left a couple more goals out on the pitch but then I’m just being picky.

    Delighted to see Aubameyang back among the goals, delighted to see Partey play a solid 66 minutes, delighted to see Tierney get off of the pitch in one piece and super delighted to see Martinelli back on the playing field again.

    Saka was top top class and he is already a major part of our starting XI and an Arsenal legend in the making as long as the club (KSE) show the right ambition to make him want to stay, a big if given our ownership?

    Smith Rowe is like the oil in the Arsenal engine, he lubricates everything making it run smoothly, if he is on the ball we know that something good is going to happen, the club needs to build around these lads and not expect them to do it on their own, we are blessed to have such exciting young talents and it’ll be unforgivable if KSE don’t grasp this opportunity to create something memorable.

    By the time the summer comes around we’ll finally see the back of Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz also a decision on Lacazette will need to be made, does he stay or does he go? The squad will have an exciting youthful look about it, maybe a couple more Hale Enders will be pushing for a squad spot? Its certainly going to be a very changeable and eventful period from the close of the January window up until we kick of next August. Roll on next summer – and the vaccine…

  • Generous marks for Willian and Elneney they did nothing in the time they were on the pitch.

  • Hello, people! 🙂

    Nice run of clean sheets and an impressive second half performance.

    I’d just give Partey a joint MOTM award and raise his mark to 8.0. He controlled midfield and allowed Xhaka to maximize his qualities.

    One rare thing we could see last night was inclusion of both flanks in our attacking game. Usually it was the case either right or left but last night we were positively unpredictable. Soares’ best performance for Arsenal certainly helped.

    Auba’s goal-drought should be over now.

    We have a lot to do in the next month or two. Possible double encounters against both Southampton and Wolves on the road, big game against the league leaders at Emirates, trip to Villa Park, home game v exhausted Leeds and finally a big game v City. If we somehow get 14-16 points from those fixtures, we might get back in the Top 4 race…or even more. That’s that type of a season.

    It’s worth noting that in the equivalent six fixtures last season we collected 12 points (W v Soton and Wolves away, Man U and one of the relegated teams at home) with defeats at Villa Park and at Emirates v City. Right now we are five points better than we were last season. If we can keep that progress, we would finish at around 60-point mark which should be enough for Top 6, maybe even Top 4.

  • there was something cruijffesque in emil’s stop/start right before he assisted bukayo
    the lad’s even better than i hoped he would be; there’s something of a “marathon man” in him too, which i didn’t suspect either, and the apparent simplicity of his moves/choices/touches is of course the most difficult thing to achieve in football.
    as for rob, he starts looking like the best bargain in 21st century top-level football (how much have City spent on CBs since Pep took over??)
    anyway, you saw all this and more before HT, which old grumpy me didn’t, very well done to you, TA

  • I usually list the disagreements with the ratings, but I have none today. 🙂
    It was refreshing to see a game which was quiet for the defenders and more intense for the attacking players, but TA is right that Luiz and Holding executed flawlessly whatever little jobs they had. The 3 MotMs are also justified as well as their 8 ratings (could be 8.5).

    The clear winners of the game were Soares (as Kevinski had already mentioned above) and Smith-Rowe who has started to convince fans – and maybe Arteta – that he doesn’t have to be the back-up AM/#10 while the club signs one permanently or loan for the spring, but could provide the quality there with the occasional involvement of Willian, Lacazette or Nelson.
    Apparently the clear loser of yesterday night was Ainsley, who apparently lost his place in on the bench (for the time being), and has to fight for the backup-RB role as well. We are thin at CM too, so I wouldn’t worry for the young England international just yet…

  • Agreed with Kev and Admir re Soares’ performance. It is not often that he is allowed to play in our strongest team, working with Holding, Partey, and Saka, and he did not lower the level. But it is only one game.

  • High praise for ESR, LeG. Some are calling him the Croyden De Bruine, but why indeed not go for the obvious alliteration… The Croyden Cruijff?

    I agree with you that Newcastle were poor and we were underperforming in attack, but I saw the balance and dominance and felt that Arteta, with a few tweaks, would stear us to victory in the second half.

  • Admir wrote:
    One rare thing we could see last night was inclusion of both flanks in our attacking game. Usually it was the case either right or left but last night we were positively unpredictable. Soares’ best performance for Arsenal certainly helped.

    Spot on! I think that Xhaka on left and Partey on right may give us the perfect vertical balance. They allow each other to support the wing whilst not losing the shape of the team. I bet their stats will look pretty similar.

  • “I would also like to see Ceballos playing ahead of XhakA and ParteY as cover for ESR”

    That would indeed be an exciting formation, TA. I’m looking forward to see it myself.
    However I don’t know (yet) whether that would mean Partey and Xhaka playing CM and Ceballos AM (as for Betis and Spain), thus belonging to the 4-2-3-1 family of (attacking) formations, or both Thomas and Granit playing DMs, with Ceballos as CM making it a rather defensive 4-3-3 formation with good counterattacking potential.

  • Xhaka and Partey stat comparison (according to WhoScored):
    Offensively: Partey 1 assist, 1 shot (off target), 2 key passes, 0 dribbles, 0 fouls (!), Xhaka with 0 assist, 1 shot (off target), 0 key passes, 3 dribbles (highest on the pitch!), 1 foul.
    Defensively: Partey 0 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 clearance, Xhaka with 2 tackles, 0 interceptions, 0 clearances.
    Distribution: Partey 59 passes with 94,9% success rate + 6/7 long balls, Xhaka with 102 (pitch high) passes with 93,1% + 7/8 long balls
    Thomas was given a rating of 7,13 (but played only 67 minutes thus wasn’t on the pitch when we scored the 3rd goal) while Xhaka 7,45 from WhoScored for his entire 90+3 minutes. FootballCritic rated Partey at 7,6 and Xhaka at 8,1.

  • These are the competition results:-
    For the week:-
    1st GN5, Total & JWL with 3/6 and 1.33 bonus points.
    4th. Kev, Gooneris & NJK84 with 2/6
    7th. PB & Le Gall with 1/6
    Season to date:-
    !st Kev 70.00
    2nd Gooneris 65.33
    3rd PB 57.66
    4th JWL 55.66
    5th GN5 54.33
    6th Total 50.66
    7th Le Gall 23.33
    8th NJK84 5.00

  • Appreciate your efforts GN5!

    Pleased to agree with your review marks TA– as well as the gist of the post (and many commenters) expressing what I had observed post-match yesterday:
    “All of the obvious things aside– a hand to the Partey-Xhaka pairing and– Cedric gave us his best today. It was very good. ESR and Saka are developing a telepathy– and Cedric kept enabling their class.”

    One stat of true relevance: Emile Smith Rowe with assists in 4 of 5 matches. That’s an eyepopping rate. May it continue!

  • Here are my choices for the next week. We have a mixture of FA Cup games, Premier League and Serie A spread over several days.
    Fulham v Burnley
    Manchester United v Liverpool
    Crystal Palace v West Ham
    Southampton v Arsenal
    Everton v Leicester
    AC Milan v Atalanta

  • Fulham v Burnley D
    Manchester United v Liverpool D
    Crystal Palace v West Ham D
    Southampton v Arsenal A
    Everton v Leicester D
    AC Milan v Atalanta D

  • Thank you Total,

    Like yourself I was very impressed with the team performance yesterday.
    It was really good to see Auba get the goal monkey off of his back, he looked low in the first half after two half chances came his way and he didn’t convert them – but there was a real spring in his step after he scored his first.

    Cedric was outstanding and worked really hard to keep the ball in play before delivering it to Auba’s feet for the third goal – I must say the his lack of size is always on my mind.

    ESR is the real thing and will only get better with more games, he’s like the Eveready battery and is non stop action.

    I’m feeling very positive about our team going forward but I fear that we are not at the top level – but a good top six team that is in need of a few meaningful additions to break into the top four.

  • Here are my predictions:-

    Fulham v Burnley – H
    Manchester United v Liverpool – A
    Crystal Palace v West Ham – D
    Southampton v Arsenal – A
    Everton v Leicester – A
    AC Milan v Atalanta _ H

  • Fulham v Burnley =Home
    Manchester United v Liverpool = Home
    Crystal Palace v West Ham = Away
    Southampton v Arsenal = Away
    Everton v Leicester = Away
    AC Milan v Atalanta = Home

  • Fulham v Burnley – H
    Manchester United v Liverpool – A
    Crystal Palace v West Ham – D
    Southampton v Arsenal – A
    Everton v Leicester – A
    AC Milan v Atalanta – D

  • 3 – Emile Smith Rowe has assisted three of Bukayo Saka’s Premier League goals – they are the first English duo to combine for as many as three Premier League goals before either player has turned the age of 21. Future.

    Thought this was the sort of thing that would be much appreciated on this fine blog.

  • Well said, Matt. Appreciated indeed.
    And I’m sure there is still a few to come as Smith-Rowe will turn 21 only in July (and Saka is not even 20 yet).

  • southampton 1 shrewsbury 0 at st mary’s (nlundulu)
    game over I think – shrewsbury have looked very, very weak to me so far
    of the team that played at the emirates in december, only bedfnarek and ward-prowse were picked tonight
    so, on the road to number 15, the saints it’ll be, i guess – but with their “A” team, this time …

  • Fulham vs Burnley….. H
    ManUtd vs Liverpool.. A
    Palace vs West Ham.. H
    Sthampton vs Arsenal.. D
    Everton vs Leicester… A
    Milan vs Atalanta…. H

  • Thanks for the stats, PB. They are showing a balanced picture at the moment.

    GN5, Thanks for the update and nice pick of games.

    Erismus, thanks for the breakdown.

    Nice one, Matt. You can come again ⚽

    Thanks also to other commenters. 👍🏿

  • Fulham v Burnley = draw
    Manchester United v Liverpool = draw

    Crystal Palace v West Ham = draw
    Southampton v Arsenal = draw
    Everton v Leicester = home
    AC Milan v Atalanta = draw

  • Great points all around. Total, I felt bad that Ceballos didn’t even make the bench after having a great game previously. I know he has played more advanced in the past and for his national team, but Arteta has turned him into a more “all around” midfielder.

    But if he shares time to rest ESR, fine with me, but he will need to try and get into the opponents box more, and even try to score. As it is, as a box to box this season, he spends a lot more time in our own box, defending. Still an admirable trait.

    ESR, seeing more, am noticing his awareness, anticipation and quick decision making on lots of one touch passes. Keeps things moving unlike the ponderous getting wide for hopeless crosses we were throwing up. It’s no coincidence Saka and the strikers look better now, even Tierney is getting better opportunities.

  • Fulham v Burnley – A
    Manchester United v Liverpool – D
    Crystal Palace v West Ham – A
    Southampton v Arsenal – A
    Everton v Leicester – H
    AC Milan v Atalanta _ H

  • Thanks, GN5. My predictions would:

    Fulham vs Burnley…. . H
    Manchester Utd vs Liverpool.. H
    Palace vs West Ham.. A
    Southampton vs Arsenal.. A
    Everton vs Leicester… D
    Milan vs Atalanta…. H

  • J, we will have to see how Ceballos would perform in the ‘ESR’ role. I think it is the only position left to impress for him, and not having to defend deeply a lot is likely to suit him.

  • There have been 7 signings of £70m+ made by Premier League clubs: (Via transfermarkt)

    1. Pogba – £94.50m
    2. Maguire – £78.30m
    3. Lukaku – £76.23m
    4. Van Djik – £76.19m
    5. Havertz – £72.00m
    6. Pepe – £72.00m
    7. Kepa – £72.00m

    Bar Van Djik, none have justified the price tag.

  • I can’t – or so it seems – access the article without subscribing, kev; what about copying/pasting it in the comments??

  • Moments of magic, a divided dressing room and burnt bridges: How Mesut Ozil left Arsenal wanting more

    The German midfielder is set to join Turkish side Fenerbahce leaving a complicated seven-year legacy at the Emirates

    Miguel Delaney1 day ago
    If there’s one thing Mesut Ozil still adores about football, it’s expressing himself, but there were times when colleagues found even that excessive. A frequent complaint was when the German would have an easy pass on, either in training or in games. Rather than just play it, Ozil would unnecessarily screw the ball so as to put a bit of spin on it, for no reason other than that he enjoyed it.

    Many of his younger teammates greatly enjoyed it, too, and were always left marvelling at such exhibitionism. Some senior players gradually grew irritated.

    It was one of many differences regarding Ozil that came to define his latter years at the club, and the anecdote almost sums up his Arsenal career: always dazzling and successful in its own way, but sometimes too decorative, with not enough.

    Ozil won’t, after so much debate, go down as a figure anywhere close to Dennis Bergkamp. The German instead came to symbolise the third stage of the Arsene Wenger era, an apparent expansion after the post-stadium austerity, but one that only left a lingering sense of wasteful drift. That feeling most of all applies to the sad fact a player with so much talent spent so much time not even playing.

    This wasn’t what they spent so much money on, especially with that notorious last contract.

    That last day in the 2013 summer window was supposed to be the start of something. It fired the imagination, that naturally involved images of Arsenal competing for the greatest trophies, while playing the greatest football.

    It was certainly supposed to be about much more than three FA Cups and many moments of impossible skill. It is telling, and someway fitting, that one of Ozil’s primary legacies is a culture war among the fan base. The reality never quite lived up to the discussion, or the idea.

    The actual reality of why it went so wrong remains a subject of significant debate. The road to this departure does still reflect the path Arsenal have been on, and why Arteta is still enduring so many problems to fix.

  • Some in Ozil’s camp would still put it all down to the initial tweet denouncing China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims on 13 December 2019. A series of sources at Arsenal insist that is not the case, even though it did cause tensions, and the club did consider fining him. They instead distanced themselves from the remarks, a reaction that Ozil said was “disappointing”.

    It still wasn’t the cause of this disappointing end.

    The truth is that Ozil played a lot of games after that, and that his problems long preceded it. Exactly a year beforehand, Unai Emery was questioned about again dropping Ozil, using evasive language about tactics that became all too familiar. Even before that, Arsene Wenger was said to “immediately regret” the huge contract afforded the German in January 2018. It went against his instincts, and his inclinations.

    There’s an even more relevant truth right now. If Arteta wanted Ozil in the team, he would be. He doesn’t, and that is the manager’s decision alone. The final call stemmed from lockdown, and how the coaching staff perceived Ozil’s conduct.

    They just didn’t feel he was buying in. Arteta would later refer to only wanting players who were “on the boat” – and prepared to constantly display a set of values he saw as crucial to the team and the club. The manager’s rationale is to develop a complete cohesion, and the argument is that any gaps in that commitment would undermine the approach.

    That’s also why he refused to use Ozil at all. That may feel ill-judged and needlessly hardline, but Arteta believes commitment is one thing that can’t be compromised on. It has led to maybe more flat games than has been warranted.

    Ozil later refused to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut when Arteta made a personal plea to the players, but it should be noted that he wasn’t the only one, and others backed him. The German has probably been vindicated on that decision, given that the club went and made 55 redundancies anyway.

    Arteta still considered bringing Ozil back into the fold in autumn, only to ultimately decide against it. The Independent has been told that one factor was Ozil taking an attitude of “I told you so” to other players regarding the pay cuts.

    The player’s general attitude has long confounded those around him. His greatest admirer, Wenger, would lament how Ozil “doesn’t dominate games given his talent” and wonder about the playmaker’s desire. On the other side, such as after the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in 2016-17, Wenger would see Ozil kick the dressing room wall in anger. So much for not caring.

    This similarly split teammates. It is true that more senior players gradually became aggravated by Ozil’s approach, particularly in training. They didn’t think he had much aptitude for hard work, or defensive work.

    On the other hand, the younger players have always seen him as a “hero” and were often in awe of what he could do with a ball. Ozil was in turn very good with them, and always had time and advice. They greatly praise him as being hugely helpful, and going out of his way to help them.

    That undercuts certain perceptions.

    As tends to be the way with many cases like this, some point to the influence of the player’s entourage. Such complaints go beyond Arsenal to the German national team, where political factors also led to a premature departure.

    Ozil argued that he faced unfair discrimination after the first-round 2018 World Cup exit, and his much-criticised meeting with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Their relationship, given Erdogan’s own reputation as an authoritarian, undermines some of Ozil’s political sentiments.

    German sources say that there had been attempts to solve the issues – especially since Ozil previously had a strong relationship with Jogi Low – but that the player’s camp completely shut them down. One figure who has worked with the playmaker complained “so many bridges burned, just to make a point!”

    Ozil’s entourage has in the past broadly consisted of his agent Erkut Sogut, who is seen as especially influential and regularly sets a “super aggressive” tone in business, as well as being the protege of Loew’s agent Harun Aslan; Ozil’s brother Mutlu; Ilkay Gundogan’s brother Ilhan and Shkodran Mustafi’s father Kujtim. Some of those have moved on, and the circle around the 32-year-old now only consists of Sogut, Mutlu and his cousin Serdar. Ozil is said to become quite different when Sogut comes into a room, more reserved. The agent certainly prizes the player as his “baby”, especially after having seen Mustafi, Gundogan and Lucas Perez move on in the last few years.

    “His camp are always trying to make a stand,” the source adds. “Especially Erkut. At the same time, there aren’t too many major clubs who could mess up the situation so long like Arsenal did. Dysfunctional – and too proud to not come up with a solution that could have ended Ozil’s time at the club earlier.”

    Arsenal were said to be furious when Ozil publicly volunteered to pay the salary of Jerry Quy, the employee made redundant who had for so many years worn the Gunnersaurus costume. That followed a heightening level of farce to the fall-out, as Ozil began to basically live-blog games he should have been playing in.

    “It’s incredible a club of Arsenal’s pedigree didn’t shut that down,” one source said. “That kind of stuff shouldn’t have been on Arteta’s agenda. That should have been on an executive to be brave enough. A manager shouldn’t have to be dealing with that.”

    Others see it as an inevitable consequence of how indulged Ozil had been. The whole situation, in terms of the contractual constraints, says a lot about both the club and the player.

    Arsenal committed to that contract in January 2018 partly because of the way so many senior players had left them right up to Robin van Persie’s departure in 2012, and because Alexis Sanchez was about to leave. They made an emotional decision connected to their perceived status, when the intelligent call would have been to call Ozil’s bluff and let him go unless he accepted lesser terms. It was a classic pyrrhic victory.

    The greater curiosity is that there had been murmurings about Ozil’s performance level even then. Some felt that leaving Real Madrid – where Jose Mourinho had regularly tasked him with defensive discipline, at the cost of his self-expression – and winning the World Cup with Germany in the same year had sapped some of his hunger. It was as if “a valve had been released”. This is what he’d worked so hard for, especially under Mourinho. Wenger afforded him more freedom, and he was being feted as a genius, the star.

    For Ozil’s part, he responded with what might have been a career-best campaign, breaking the single-season record for assists in 2015-16. This was when the debate about Bergkamp really arose. This was the period when he produced some of his finest moments, like that luscious goal against Ludogorets.

    It’s just that Ozil was signed for more than moments, and certainly for more than goals against Ludogorets. He doesn’t really have the defining career contributions that many of the other Wenger greats – such as Bergkamp – have.

    Trademark tricks like that bounced shot off the ground stand out more than great moments of character.

    That is as much down to what Arsenal were as a team as what he was as a player, but the two are interlinked. It shouldn’t be forgotten, either, that not one other top club was willing to take a punt on one of the world’s great stars at a huge discount over the past two years.

    That was admittedly because of what Ozil was the last two years, rather than what he had been for most of his time at Arsenal. He was one of the Premier League’s great entertainers, up there with Gianfranco Zola and David Silva. Ozil was a joy to watch.

    That is a fine legacy all of its own, and Arsenal supporters will have so many glorious memories.

  • Avec plaisir; merci beaucoup
    not so pleasant/funny: is there any truth in that, mate:

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