in #sportstalk2 years ago


Here's how I rated the players in a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Anfield

BERND LENO: Dealt convincingly with Liverpool's bombardment from wide and swept up swiftly in behind when Liverpool got away. There was little he could do about any of the goals. 6

AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES: The youngster has a worrying tendency to hoof the ball anywhere at all when in defence, often inviting more pressure than he was already under. Whilst that is usually offset by his ability to get forward against the darts of Sadio Mane he inevitably had to be more conservative, a task he was ill-suited to. 5

SOKRATIS PAPASTATHOPOULOS: As ever the Greek centre-back put his body on the line in defence of the Arsenal cause, making a powerful tackle just outside the area to dispossess Mohamed Salah at what appeared to be a crucial juncture in the match. Sokratis also might well have questioned why VAR was not consulted when he found himself in the wrestling match that led to Joel Matip's opener. 6

DAVID LUIZ: For 45 minutes Luiz was exceptional as Arsenal repelled almost every cross that came their way, leading by example and offering a reassuring presence in the heart of defence. Then he did what supporters of his team always fear he will.
One moment of unnecessary foolishness, a grab of Mohamed Salah's jersey, cost Arsenal dearly indeed and for a player of his experience was simply unacceptable. 4

NACHO MONREAL: It was hard to see any significant contribution he made at either end of the pitch and his alarming lack of pace was cruelly exposed by Salah for Liverpool's third. He is a steadying presence against sides Arsenal are expected to beat but simply looked nowhere near good enough at Anfield.
The moment where he simply threw his hands up in defeat after Salah had beaten him yet again did not reflect well on one of Emery's captains. 5

GRANIT XHAKA: His ability to fire a pass over the top gave Liverpool all sorts of problems early on and he seemed to find releasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe rather easy. Yet at the other end of the pitch Arsenal's deepest midfielder made a negligible contribution, allowing Salah and Mane to slip infield with far too much ease. 5

MATTEO GUENDOUZI: The Frenchman is proving to be a reliable presence in the Arsenal midfield as once again his pass completion rate hovered around the 90 per cent mark, he made his fair share of tackles and dropped back diligently to give his defence an option with which to play out from the back. 6

JOE WILLOCK: Emery's trust in the youngster was rewarded yet again with a sterling performance on the toughest of occasions. His direct running and mobility was crucial in Arsenal's rare forays forward. At the other end he threw himself into the task of winning the ball back, completing more tackles than Xhaka in the games first 75 minutes whilst offering a ball-carrying threat going forward. 7

DANI CEBALLOS: The Spaniard's close control and intelligence in possession were in evidence on the occasions that Arsenal managed to break the press. However there were too many occasions when he was rather too cavalier in possession, none more so than a lazy pass across his own area that teed Sadio Mane up to fire straight at Leno. No player conceded possession in his hour on the pitch more than Ceballos. 4

NICOLAS PEPE: Arsenal wanted pace. They certainly got it. Pepe is electric and gave Virgil Van Dijk the sort of difficulties he has rarely faced during his imperious spell at the heart of the Liverpool defence. If only his finishing had matched that this could have been a very different game, particularly if he had not fired straight at Adrian when one-on-one with a goalkeeper who looked unable to save anything that required him to move. 5

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG: Ran hard and pressed diligently but like Pepe will be disappointed with his wayward finishing, particularly when he allowed Joel Matip to pick his pockets moments after Liverpool had scored their second. 5

LUCAS TORREIRA (SUB, CEBALLOS, 61'): The Uruguayan worked hard even if his cause was in vain and got his reward when he drilled home a scrappy strike in the 85th minute. 6

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE :Like Torreira, Lacazette should have started the game. When he came on, Arsenal suddenly had a focal point. It would have been quite something to see how Lacazette, Aubameyang and Pepe would have performed together, from the start. Maybe this will happen in the next game. 6