Only Martinez and Ceballos can hold their NLD Heads up High – Analysis and Player Ratings


I feel you Emi…


I hate losing to this lot.

This lot has a way inferior mark in the world of football than us.

And they beat us!

Call this salty or sour grapes, but I feel sick here. Not because we lost, but more the manner of our defeat.

Let them gloat and revel in their win – can’t expect anything less.



Mikel could have done better this game.

But then I don’t see that we played badly in this game.

The line-up made sense, though I’d have started with Sokratis over Kolasinac. He would have added more of a physical threat than the Bosnian international, and more pressure on Kane.

Moreover, we controlled the play largely, but for me, we lost the game for two main reasons. Bad defending and not really capitalising on the possession when we had the chance.

From the middle of the first half to roughly the middle of the second half, we passed it well and were getting behind them. Jose was playing Transport for London football (,i.e. park the bus) which he perfected at Chelsea and now is employing at Tottenham.

But they took hold of our mistakes, and sneaked the win. Simple. Our game-management was poor, and if was 100% we would have won.

People may think I’m being salty by saying they were lucky. I’m not (whether others believe that or not…i’m not bothered really). But we handed them the win way more than they dominated us.

Jose got on over us again – but that is that for now.




  • Laca’s banger



Lacazette LacaBANG


Laca has come under stick lately and rightly so, but he’s still a good player and he proved it via a rocket in the first half.

It was so well-hit that his countryman Lloris had no chance and I feel it was worthy of our performance to that point. That said, I don’t think he imposed himself on the game after that. But it was a great way to open the scoring.

It’s a shame that we didn’t hold on to the lead though…as…


  • Kolasinac…

When watching this I let my negative bias towards Luiz overcome me.
But I feel in fairness, he wasn’t at fault. he couldn’t bring Son down and get sent off, and Son’s trickery got the better of him.

Kolasinac had options. He coudl have switched play, hit it harder to reach Martinez, hit it down the line to reach Tierney, or even knocked it out of play.

And this is a major point that we always have these issues in lapses and decition-making. Look, NO defender is perfect. but the best defenders have good concentration throughout, and we didn’t at that point.

Kolasinac really looked strong in his initial games for us, but in defensive terms is like our other “top stars” in this area.

This mistake alone didn’t cost us the game but then it was a major factor in our downfall.


  • Auba vs. Kane – battle of the super-strikers



Auba topped Kane. Neither scored but Auba had the better chances.


I’m sorry….Auba won this.

Kane was quiet, and had a chance towards the end but was easy save for Martinez. I’m sure Harry himself would say he usually would do better.

Auba had a free-kick that went just wide, hit the woodwork, and had a late shot that Lloris did well to save. He had more open chances, and given the billing for this game was who would do better, Auba won this I feel as he was more active overall in the game. Son got a goal and an assist so of their forwards he did better than Kane, by definition.

Look, both Kane and Auba are world-class, and even if this seems small and petty I’ll take some consolation in that our star striker out-did his English counterpart.



  • Pepe


Pepe was poor overall, I feel. He didn’t really impose himself consistently, though when he did he got some chances away.

However, I feel he’s lost on the wing. He gets crowded out and no matter his expert dribbling gets lost out and crowded out.

I feel he’d be better as a number 10, or just as a free role. Let him run into spaces and dribble, as defenders hit this. he’d also be harder to mark and pick up and be less predictable.


  • Luiz/Mustafi


Many of us have critiqued these two in their Arsenal tenures, though both were reasonable.

Mustafi did let Kane get the better of him in the latter stages, but in his defence I feel he wanted to make an early challenge and went to ground because he knew he lacked the skill to beat them later in the play. And in fairness to him, neither of the times Kane beat him led to major chances. In the first half, he kept Kane, Son, and Moura quiet, and similar is true of Luiz.

I said I don’t blame Luiz for Son’s goal. But the second? The defence overall is to blame for letting Alderweireld in. However, he was stable generally and getting challenges and headers away.

Look, I didn’t want Luiz to stay. Mustafi, despite his improvements recently, isn’t the level at what we need. But I won’t blame them specifically for our loss to these 1961-never again no-hopers.


  • Tierney/Bellerin


I find both had reasonable games, but Tierney got in good positions but then didn’t get his final ball correct as often he could have.

Bellerin had a good first half, and I feel he was able overall.

The three at the back seem to be working for both of them – and utilises their strengths well enough.


Player ratings


Martinez 7

Bellerin 6

Kolasinac 3

Luiz 6

Mustafi 6

Tierney 6

Xhaka 5

Ceballos 7

Auba 6

Laca 6

Pepe 4

Nelson 5

Saka 5

Maitland-Niles 5

Willock – 5

Soares – 6Arteta – 5 – the line-up was fine, but the team lacked the drive to captialise on our greater possession. We were taking the game to them a lot more, but then should have stepped it up more in the final third. 



Man of the match


Dani Ceballos


0 GettyImages-1255757448


I haven’t really been enthused by him that much in fairness. But lately, he’s done well and put in near-complete midfield performances. His short and long-range passing has been on point, and he’s looked very combative. We did dominate possession and he was a major reason for this.


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