BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal – Player Ratings And Thoughts.

Morning, folks.

Last night we saw an extremely entertaining game of football. At times, our defensive stability was, shall we say… questionable, but we did control the game for the majority of the 90 minutes and despite spirited opponents we ran out worthy winners. That’s a decent 2 wins from two games and 7 goals scored in our Europe League campaign. We’re already looking in a very strong position to top the group and move onto the next…errr… group? Are there two group sections in the Europa League, or am I going bonkers?

Never mind…

Here’s how I rated the players:

  • Ospina (5) – He did make one excellent save in the 1st half, but he continues to look flappy and Almunia-esque.
  • Holding (6) – Scored one, nearly had two. Needs pace around him to be truly effective and appears lacking in confidence at the moment.
  • Mertesacker (6) – Not entirely at the races.
  • Mustafi (5) – Here’s been here a over season, and I don’t think he’s good enough for Arsenal. Too often rash and stupid.
  • Willock (7) Looked comfortable and assured without ever being a show stopper. Very composed for someone so young.
  • Elneny (6) – Headless chicken mode today, but didn’t do much wrong.
  • Nelson (7) Offered little defensively, but has bags and bags of skill and enthusiasm.
  • Maitland-Niles (5) Doesn’t look at all comfortable as a wing-back.
  • Wilshire (8) MOTM – Not quite back to his imperious best, but certainly looked very good. A few more starts will do wonders.
  • Walcott (7) Scored 2, probably should have had several. Always a threat, always wasteful. Frustratingly effective. Theo Marmite.
  • Giroud (6) Scored his 100th Arsenal goal from an incredibly soft penalty award. Love him. Didn’t do much else on the night.
  • McGuane (Sub) N/A
  • Nketiah (Sub) N/A

Moving forward from the result, there are certainly a few concerns in our ability to defend when we’ve taken the lead. It’s almost as if the entire team assume their work is done when we’re ahead and they transform into the Harlem Globetrotters. The old football cliché says that a team is never more at risk of conceding than just after having scored themselves. I think that applies to Arsenal at all times when we’re ahead. Actually, I think that applies to Arsenal pretty much constantly and irrespective of the score. To put it simply, I don’t think we really know how to defend as a team.

Perhaps I’m just being glum and pessimistic. After all, we did score 4 goals last night and never looked in any danger of losing the match. There were many positives in the attacking areas – Wilshere looked good, Walcott is always a threat and Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson both look to have very bright futures.

It’s just sometimes I’d like to see us be that little bit more ruthless when it comes to keeping our opponents at bay. We showed at Stamford Bridge that we can put in a resolute, staunch defensive performance and we did that against a very strong team. We have little or no issues going forward. Arsenal will always create chances and score goals with the attacking players at our disposal. If we sorted out the opposite, we’d really be a threat to the Premiership title and who knows what else.

Okay, this slightly downbeat and sombre post will come to an end here. The comments await your thoughts below. Am I being a bit of a sourpuss and moaning about the goals we conceded when we scored double that amount? Or is our defence an area you think needs to be addressed?

As always: Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Music whilst writing:

Com Truise – ‘Usurper’  

4 Comments

  1. Veer

    It would be a big disappointment if we didn’t win the Europa league, hopefully Bayern won’t finish 3rd in their CL group. Maybe it’s our best chance of being in the champions league next season

    Reply
  2. Grandad

    Your article is spot on in all respects.I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on Mustafi. Holding is a promising youngster who will come good but Wenger first priority in the next transfer market should be to acquire a quality centre back.

    Reply
  3. Tommy Oli Moulds

    Every player ratings ive read talks up maitland-niles as the better wingback, Ospina as solid (the almunia comparison is wholly unfair). I think the only consistant view across all ratings has been Mustafi, nobody seems happy with him and rightly so

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      @Tommy Oli Moulds

      Interesting. You’re first in a while to disagree regarding Ospina. I’ve never really rated him at all. I thought Maitland-Niles looked a little awkward – like he would have been far more comfortable playing centrally.

      Reply

Leave a comment. Go on, you know you wanna...