Arsenal Player Ratings: Eleven Warriors, Two MOTM

Arsenal 0 – 0 Manchester United

Player Ratings

Leno: 8 – superb finger-tip stop at crucial moment, great presence.

Cedric: 7.5 – deputised well for Tierney once again.

Luiz: 8 – Shared MotM – super performance: wise, cool and he put his body on the line.

Holding: 8 – Shared MotM – just solid again. Great defensive shift.

Bellerin: 7.5 – a balanced performance by Hector.

Partey: 7.5 – getting more settled with every game.

Xhaka: 7.5 – solid and put in a shift as always.

Martinelli: 7 – some great defensive interventions and positioning but less effective in attack

ESR: 7 – less effective, especially in first half, but Emile worked his socks off. Much better in second half.

Pepe: 7.5 – really involved in the game for his doing. Should have scored from Willian’s pass.

Laca: 7.5 – tireless team performance. Missed his buddies Saka and Auba but battled so hard. What a warrior.


Willian: 7 – worked hard and added impetus to our attacking play. Close to assist.

Eddie and Ødegaard: Not long enough on pitch to make a judgement.

By TotalArsenal.

57 thoughts on “Arsenal Player Ratings: Eleven Warriors, Two MOTM

  • Leno 8
    Bellerin 6.5
    Holding 7.5
    Luiz 8.5
    Soares 7
    Partey 5
    Xhaka 7
    Martinelli 5
    ESR 7
    Pepe 7.5
    Laccacette 7
    Willian 5

  • Was almost late for church after the delay caused by Laca’s last minute aerial gymnastics. (6.30 am kick off over here). A good watch and a good point, a fair result on the day. Rob was MOTM for me. Won everything in the air, unfussy, great, stout hearted character. Proud of the whole team. I think if Xhaka had raked his studs down Fernandez’s calf, it would have resulted certainly in a yellow, likely a red card. Xhaka’s reaction was exemplary. T.P uncharacteristically mislaid a few passes, but he and the Swiss are forming a solid midfield pivot. Bring on the second half of the season…

  • Seriously?. Luiz lets Fernandes turn him inside out in the box and he get’s Motm. He get’s beaten with regularity but bitches at everyone around him when they do the same. Holding had another good game, most others played decently. Pepe too worried about scoring at the moment, should be looking for Laca more often.

  • After criticizing Luiz Mustafiesque performance last time out, I thought he was excellent today.

    Holding, I think it’s time somebody said it, so I will, if you take pre injury and post injury stretches, and take out his readjustment right after the injury, he’s been as good a defender as you could ask for. I’m sorry, we were loving Gabriel from the beginning, and Robs been even better. Southgate should be watching him. This will be a problem for Saliba in future because I can’t imagine taking Holding out. A lot of us have said it, he’s not flashy, not huge, not rapid. But give me instincts in a CB every time. Steady, well positioned. I really appreciated Mertesacker for years, and when Arsenal were paying for a guy like Mustafi, I wanted us to grab Jonny Evans. Let’s not forget though, Robs also a battler. I remember him in a mini war with Mikel Antonio and shutting down other top players, recently, and in the past.

    Cedric, people were harsh on him up until last week… Even today he was all energy fighting for the ball and defending very well again.

    Watching on tv, it’s hard to see what Arteta has devised to neutralize Bruno, but he’s doing something right. I never see Fernandez look so inconsequential in games as when we play them. Mikel deserves much credit.

    I already complimented Willian and Pepe.

    I’ll say Xhaka and Partey didn’t have their best results, but it definitely wasn’t for lack of effort, and they still contributed to winning the ball a lot in midfield.

    What I see from all of us, and my friends I’ve spoken to, is that we are all feeling kind of good with our performance, even with the draw. Partly because we were missing 3 of our best players, and lost Martinelli. Also because this is the most dangerous United team in many years.

    I thought the effort and spirit of the boys was great, even though coaches say things like that a lot, today it was really clear.

  • SNA, well done for getting up so early and getting your football fix and your religious contemplation.

    Spot on re Xhaka staying calm after being provoked, which seemed the Manure plan. The ref made a poor decision on a number of occasions, I thought.

  • Aus Gunner, it was a very good move by Fernández and at least Luiz was there to deal with him and put him off. And remember I did not give him a nine or a ten…. But an eight.

  • A fine comment, J.

    A nice ode to Holding and yes we can be proud of the team. We missed Saka and Tierney and also Auba but yet we did not lose.

    I thought Partey and XhakA did very well positionally but they missed Saka as support and outlet. I also thought that ESR was less effective this time round.

  • Interesting point regarding Saka and his absence Total, because I thought that Smith Rowe missed his buddy, they are both great players individually but as a combo they’re almost unstoppable. Pepe never stopped working up and down the pitch and if someone deserved a goal, it was him, but Saka is our 1st choice on the right flank and that’s a problem for Nick going forward.

    Imagine if we’d gone into that game with our full 1st choice starting XI and the Mancs had been missing Wan Bissaka, Pogba and Cavani, as you put so well J our teams effort and spirit carried us through the injuries.

    I wonder if Lacazette is going to be fit for Wolves? Folarin Balogun could be set to earn his debut at Molyneux in a couple of days time.

  • Yes Kev, at the moment, Saka (and Tierney) makes other players better. They are real outlets and can carry the ball so well. Imagine bringing on those two and Auba after 65 minutes yesterday..

    The boys did us proud, and Pepe deserves praise. I think he has a future on the left rather than the right.

  • Everyone loves a good bareknuckle fight. London Rules in play yesterday. 👊🏼
    Though a draw with knockdowns, both sides had their chances.

    Lacazette’s sneaky free kick off the bar caught DeGea standing stock-still. While Cavani, twice staring into an abyss of a goalmouth, inexplicably missed twice, defying laws of physics and probability. Fernandez and Pepe both might have done better. While Fred did, but was Bernd by a lights-out fingertip save.

    Either XI might feel shorted, but this 0-0 result was fair. Might have been more exciting to us fans had it been 2-2 or 3-3. This match, with an ebb and flow of momentum changing often enough to have been a boxing match– was more tense without the goals. Neither wanted to lose– both played to win.

    Eris mentioned prior to– that a draw might be a good result for Arsenal, in light of the quality missing from the team and bench. Through that lens? Don’t have a bit of disappointment today. Bit wistful. Bit relieved. 😌


    Am concerned The Kidz have taken a lot of punishment of late. Seeing the aftereffects of December’s schedule and FA Cup during the January interlull. Arsenal are one of the few clubs to have played all of their slated games on schedule. Will travel restrictions affect the Europa League schedule? If so, perhaps February will offer some respite and rest. Several of the youngsters look to be nearing their individual redlines.

    This was the time where a couple players might have expected to step up and step in (Nelson, AMN, Willock). As opposed to the club seeking loans. Speaks to the squad Arteta has been tasked to resurrect or cull– that three players who shined briefly in moments– may be packing bags today.

  • Bit of humor from over here…

    KSE’s LA Rams have reached out to potentially offload their star QB Jared Goff to multiple teams.
    Are DC United or Fenerbahce among them? 🤣😂😆

  • Per Arseblog:
    Liverpool, in desperate need of cover at centre-back, are said to have made contact with Shkodran Mustafi.

    A CL spot hangs in the balance… 🙄

  • Morning all,

    Hi Total, to me your ratings are spot on for the starters but (surprising for me to say) I think Willian deserved a higher rating, I thought for a change he worked his socks off and looked as though he wanted to be a part of the team.

    Overall I thought we were the better team and deserved all three points but our finishing lacked both luck and the cutting edge. It was also good to see Pepe pull up his socks he had a couple of well placed shots that only jut missed the bottom corner.

  • Good shouts for Willian and Pepe, GN5.

    I think a draw was the right result as both teams had good chances to win it. Something to build on. Proud of the team.

  • I wonder how many of the managers who came out against the 5 substitutes suggested over the New Year holiday and their clubs are feeling now as the injuries and fatigue piles up?

    Leicester lose Jamie Vardy and the wheels start to fall off, Tottenham lose Kane and as the song goes, heaven knows their miserable now, it’s happening everywhere and the Luddites are making us all suffer.
    In the words of Mr Gump’s mother ‘stupid is as stupid does’…

    But how are the effects of a steadying increase in sick bay incumbents going to influence what business we do tomorrow, because we all know very well that it’s going to be as crazy as Duck Soup on deadline day?

    Can Arteta afford, with the injuries staking up, to let Maitland Niles go on loan or Willock or Nelson even?
    What if Liverpool are in for Mustafi, do we help the club who disrespected us so openly over the Suarez bid a few years ago, I’ve not forgotten. No free transfer to the Scousers in my book, you want to be Mustafi’d, you can bloody well pay a fee for the privilege mate.

    And are Arsenal going to do any last minutes business themselves as I’ve seen us linked with a young Scottish left back (Celtic) and a young Irish centre back (Stoke) – both would be considered foreign so we have to bear that in mind as we don’t currently have any spaces even if Mustafinho goes to Scouseland.

  • JW, if you cross over Blackfriars Bridge in central London from north to south you come to a junction, to the right is Stamford St which will take you towards Waterloo Station and the London Eye, to the left is Southwark St which will takes you towards Shakespeare’s Globe and London Bridge, it’s a very historical part of London but back in the 16th and 17th centuries it was mostly undeveloped and farmland.

    If you continued south and straight along Blackfriars Road you would come to another junction, to the left in Union Street, unremarkable in itself but to the the right is The Cut and that doesn’t mean cut through to miss the traffic, because on the corner is an old pub called The Ring. It stems from the pre Queensbury Rules era of bareknuckle boxing that took place for many years in the surrounding fields.

    If you’re a boxing fan the look it up.

  • Great pub, Kev. Some fab photo’s on the walls. For easiest access, Southwark Tube station is right across the road, but the walk you suggest is more rewarding. My old stamping ground was North London but used to meet a mate across the river and enjoy a pint in the seats outside The Ring.
    6.30 am is a doddle, Total. It’s the 3 am kick off’s which test ones faith…

  • Stu, just like the Thomas A’Beckett pub in Old Kent Road I think they’ve got a boxing club there at the The Ring, in the basement if I recall? Yes Southwark Tube is right opposite Stu and just down The Cut a bit further towards Waterloo Road you’ve got The Old Vic theatre. It’s a fascinating part of London, very popular with tourists and very safe with lots of interesting eateries, pubs and bars, it’s used to be heaving in the evening – in the good old days…

  • Just watched Kev’s darlings hammer the hammers
    When their bearded pharaoh scored his first one, I couldn’t help but think of Nick again; when he’s in that position I think Salah’s on target EVERY time, whereas Nicolas … well, I wish “Orbinho” could tell us what his stats are (I’m not talking about scoring, just being on target)
    What annoys me about that is I have the feeling the difference is a matter of dilettante vs hard-working professional
    Henry, Papin, became the scorers they were through painfully repetitive sessions, where the “TH14” special came from; as for Papin, he went as far as dedicating his “Ballon d’Or” to Alain Casanova, the Marseille backup keeper who had accepted to be the target of an extra half-hour of his volleys after EACH training session …
    Nick can sneak or dribble his way into scoring positions very often, which is a talent not everyone has, but once in this position … he lets us down, or more precisely he lets himself down – should he hit the target just every other attempt, his whole career would be turned downside up.
    Get to work, young man, many of us still believe in you.

  • LeG, I have seen Salah miss dozens of chances recently. But yeah Pepe needs to improve his finishing. Luckily he is three years younger than Salah.

  • I’m alright with the relations of the ratings, but I would decrease the defenders with half a point (after all they let Cavani to 2 clear cut chances and Rashford had his moments too), and the attackers by a full point (I don’t question hard work or defensive contribution, but their overall performance was only above average, not in the 7,5 level in my opinion).
    But this is TA’s signature generosity, and I find it quite appealing. Nevertheless I’m closer to Silentstan’s opinion, but would reduce the 3 Ls (Lacazette, Luiz and Leno) by 0,5 each and give them all to Willian.
    I’m not sure we were the better team yesterday or that we deserved to win, but we played against the team sitting on the top of the table and we missed 3 of our key players, so maybe we are the better team overall, although we couldn’t prove it on the pitch.

  • Dozens. Recently. Wow. You and I must live in parallel universes, TA.
    Anyway, we might maybe agree that both players try to score from that position a lot, and that Salah is a lot more successful than Nick.
    Yes, the second was a beauty, Salah’s two touches were … bergkampesque.

  • Good point about the Cavani chances, PB. The CBs were close every time and did enough to try and put him off. I thought they were awesome but we all value different things. If you want you can do the next lot of player ratings if you want to 😎🙏

  • TA, you always have a great way of finding descriptions of the game and players. I was struck by your use of the word “outlet”, other people use the term, but I can absolutely feel that it was missing with Saka not there on the right, as we’ve become accustomed lately. To a slightly less extent Tierney also.

    So, again, even more admirable the performance of the team under the conditions. Also totally fits into the equation as to why Thomas and Granit didn’t produce as much as usual, like ESR, as was mentioned, even though they worked hard. Effort, with a little luck, got us a point, and we still looked like the more deserving of three. Promising signs.

  • Cheers J 🙂

    I thought Pepe was a good outlet too but Saka is just great at this, and the Mancs would have been scared of him and sat back more…. And that would have freed up Partey and Xhaka more I think. 👍🏿

  • Mustafi to Schalke instead of Pool?

    Upon reading this…

    “Mustafi’s arrival could signal a much-needed upturn in form as the Bundesliga side look to complete the impossible by surviving the drop. Mustafi will certainly shore up a rather chaotic backline should the deal happen.”

    ..I LOL’d loud enough to startle the dog! 🐶

  • Morning all,

    Here are the results for last weeks competition:-
    1st JWL with 4/6 plus 2 bonus points.
    2nd Total with 2/6 plus 2 points for correct score.
    3rd Kev, Gooneris & PB with 3/6
    6th Le Gall & GN5 with 2/6.
    Season to date results:-
    1st Gooneris – 74.33
    2nd Kev – 73.00
    3rd JWL – 64.66
    4th PB – 62.66
    5th GN5 – 57.33
    6th Total – 54.66
    7th Le Gall – 27.33

  • Here are my choices for this weeknds competition:-
    Aston Villa v Arsenal
    Burnley v Brighton
    Fulham v West Ham
    Manchester United v Everton
    Liverpool v Manchester City
    Leverkusen v Stuttgart


  • Thanks, TA, for the link, Rocky is indeed great both in imagination and writing style.

    I’m working on a longer piece about Arsenal’s 2025 PL-winning team, but after that I will be happy to distribute the ratings.

  • From Jeorge Bird:

    “Arsenal held their final first-team training session ahead of tomorrow’s game away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, with a host of youngsters in attendance.

    Ben Cottrell, Nikolaj Moller, Ryan Alebiosu, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Mazeed Ogungbo, George Lewis, Alex Kirk and Catalin Cirjan were all called upon by Mikel Arteta for the session, but there was no sign of Folarin Balogun, whose future at the club remains uncertain.

    With regards to first-team players, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Pablo Mari and Dani Ceballos were all involved, but Kieran Tierney and Mat Ryan, who have been struggling with injuries, were not pictured.”

    Looks like a crazy quilt tomorrow for Wolves!

  • Matt Smith moving from Swindon and going on loan to Charlton is interesting as the Addicks are a much better team and are battling it out for a play off spot in League One.

    Just over 5 hours to go…

  • It’s going to be a cut-throat competition for the from-academy-to-fist-team CM spot(s). I also fancy Matt Smith big time, but Azeez and Cottrell are also huge talents. (So is Cirjan, but he is closer to an attacking midfielder than to box-to-box.)
    And the track record to break into the first team as a CM is not that promising, neither AMN nor Willock are success stories.

  • I’m a bit ambivalent on the current winter transfer window, but delightful on the recent development.

    On the negative side it’s still a shame that we lose valuable players for nothing (Sokratis, Mustafi, Macey), and I’m not reopening the Ozil chapter here. While Kolasinac has a year and a half on his contract, I don’t have high hopes that we will sell him to Schalke close to his market value.
    Mat Ryan arrived injured and on low confidence, but let’s not evaluate his signing before seeing him pay against a reasonable opponent. Nevertheless I’m not in favor of the current 3-goalkeeper setup, but time will tell.

    The positive part is that we found regular playing minutes for Saliba, I’m excited about Odegaard, and the loan of Willock and AMN will make both players as well as Arsenal stronger for the second half of the season. While Willock’s move is a more promising one (Newcastle is full of quality players, Joe can learn a trick or two from Steve Bruce, and has the chance to become a regular in Newcastle’s midfield), I’m less enthusiastic on AMN’s decision. Indeed he is likely to get more minutes at WBA than at Leicester and Villa, but an almost unavoidable relegation will not look good in his resume, and I don’t have such a high opinion on Allardyce to expect him developing Ainsley much.

    Maybe in the remaining couple of hours we can find a strong loan club for Nelson, who became the 5th-choice RW (and we have only 3 RWs in the squad), and the team looks comfortably trim. If he stays and will not get 800 minutes in the remainder of the season that will be a serious mistake and a costly mistreatment from the club.

    I seriously hope that there will be no further additions to the squad. Tierney is close to return, Soares is a quality substitute, and 8 defenders are plenty especially when all play in strong form.23 outfielders will start to look like a decent environment to have strong players for each positions, to provide cover and rotation opportunities, and to all have the chance for valuable minutes.

    Regarding the youth team, we still have a crazy high number of 4+1 goalkeepers for a single tournament (are we actually hoarding them?) and probably unnecessarily insured in full back positions. With the arrival of Rekik and the return of Medley we have a capable CB contingent without the regular involvement of first team players. Olowu’s loan to National League South side Wealdstone is a bit humiliating, but considering he ended up relegated from the Irish league it is most likely his swan song before leaving Arsenal in the summer. Our midfield is already strong, so I’m glad we found a better host team for Matt Smith – whom I expect to reach promotion (or at least the play-off) with Charlton. Maybe McEneff could go on loan, and if Olayinka is close to fitness he can find another stint as CM places will be hard to come by whith Akinola starting the team sheet and Azeez & Cottrell in great form. Coyle’s return is strange, he might be above PL” level, still will have a fierce competition for the AM spot. And Balogun’s staying is a mystery for me – let’s hope for a happy ending.
    I hope Bola, Coyle and Iliev will find an opportunity for the rest of the season – with the potential to make it permanent…

    Update: Medley did not return after all, and will continue his spell on loan at Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock (good for him), but the Rekik-Dinzeyi partnership still seems alright.

  • Been thinking lately about Falorin Balogun’s situation. Why a change of venue had not yet occurred? Were I, as a youngster in the same situation In the midst of this pandemic– I may not want to move to another country/city where my environment may not be as secure as the one I’m in. Plus– he’s on the cusp at a storied club– who seem to want him to stay. If he can be patient enough to wait until the team shakes out in June perhaps?

    Lacazette’s deal isn’t going to be addressed until Summer. Nketiah’s style doesn’t seem favored with how the club’s style is developing. Eddie’s been a bit too passive for my liking.

    Then Arteta was quoted as stating:

    “Again his progression and the use of the time he’s had with us, has been incredibly good, and he will keep having chances when he is with us,” said the Spaniard earlier this month.

    He later went on to imply that outside forces were stopping the youngster from extending his stay in north London.

    “Well, you need three parties to make a deal,” he said. “For sure the club wants to make a deal and the manager wants to make a deal; the player wants to stay; and I’m not sure about the agent.”

    Seems there’s more than meets the eye.

  • I really like that Ainsley and Joe have joined PL teams. They are both good players who just need this sort of exposure. An opportunity to develop further. It is no punishment at all and I will be looking forward to seeing them in action. They are our boys in the end.

  • If someone had asked me a few months ago, in that blink of an eye we had between last season and this season, what I most wanted from the next two transfer windows, I doubt very much that I could have come up with a better cast of departures than Mkhitarayan, Ozil, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac (on loan) and l’enfant terrible Guendouzi (on loan).

    And then if you’d told me that we were going to sign Thomas Partey, Gabriel and Odegaard (on loan) and retain Ceballos for another season, then I would have been hard pressed not to give you a hug.

    A narrow escape…

    I’m not sure that we fans or even Arteta himself for that matter could have asked much more of Edu.
    Stan and Josh will also be delighted at seeing so much waste removed from our wage bill.

    Yes PB, I’m with you on Matty Smith, I just wish that Nelson could have got a loan and that an agreement could have been settled with Balogun, but he’s still on our books so there’s still hope…

  • My first thought too TA. They should– ‘should’, walk into the first XI in both cases. Think both need to come back tougher. See what life is like on the outside of a big club– and come back in with an edginess.

    Perhaps a bit cynical even.

  • Maitland Niles I think, was pushing for game time in midfield and if it’s that that transpired then we’ll see how he does in what will be a stressful environment.

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