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Arsenal Player Ratings vs Sheffield United From Hard-Fought Win

Here are your Player Ratings from the 2-1 win against Sheffield United.

Arsenal were trying things from the off. A series of long balls and attempted through passes immediately tested the Sheffield United backline. A lovely ball by Aubameyang almost set up Eddie Nketiah, but the chance went begging; and once we settled into our groove after those opening five minutes, it started to go downhill.

Andreas Georgeson’s set-piece training looked to pay off, as Arsenal looked particularly convincing defending balls into the box. Unfortunately, a couple of cute little trick plays didn’t bear any fruit for the Gunners.

I honestly think the Houssem Aouar news might have this Arsenal team as upset as I am, because there was very little energy in the first half, and the front-line was exceedingly flat, almost uninspired. There was very little creative movement, as Arsenal controlled possession during the first 45, but just didn’t do anything with it. We totaled just four shots, with three on target, during that time.

The second half changed that narrative entirely. After a pretty blasé opening 15 minutes, Arsenal turned on the jets, scoring two in quick succession. Some good substitutions and tactical changes by Mikel Arteta led to increased success.

It all got a bit ropy towards the end. Our backline fell asleep, and David McGoldrick pounced on the opportunity. And Sheffield United fought tooth-and-nail to recover, coming late on. It was a rough game, but a deserved victory.

Here are the Player Ratings from the 2-1 win.

Goalkeeper & Defenders

Bernd Leno – 5.5

Didn’t have much to do, to be honest. Looked unconvincing under a few crosses, but was consistent in possession. Had one sharp move to clear the ball after a David Luiz error, and a simple save from an Ollie McBurnie drive. Nothing he could do about David McGoldrick’s thunderbolt from the blue.

David Luiz – 4.5

Looked slow to start with, misplaced a few passes and committed stupid fouls. That trend continued into the second half. Really didn’t offer anything special going forward either. Won some headers in the box, but nothing special. Fell asleep for the Sheffield United goal. Poor from the Brazilian today.

Gabriel Magalhaes – 7.0

An island of calm. Didn’t really put a foot wrong during the first half. His communication and teamwork with Tierney was evident throughout, which is a nice sign. Did well to cover for David Luiz on a few occasions too. Continues to impress at the heart of the Arsenal backline.

Kieran Tierney – 5.8

Didn’t do anything wrong, but lacked a cutting edge. Played a couple of lovely crosses that narrowly missed heads, and ran the hard yards all game. Got forward really well, and won a number of key 50-50 balls. But his crosses never really found their mark, and his marking on McGoldrick was really poor for the Blades’ first Premier League goal this season.

Wing-Backs & Midfielders

Hector Bellerin – 6.0

Played a few lovely breaking passes to the forwards in the first half, but looked half-a-step off his normal pace. Struggled to beat players on the dribble, but tracked back well against the pace of Ollie Burke. Then he came alive in the 61st, delivering a peach of a ball onto Saka’s head. Coasted through the rest of the game.

Mohamed Elneny – 5.5

Did everything asked of him, but nothing special. Almost played right-back at times to account for Hector Bellerin’s movement forward. Picked up a knock around the 35th minute, but recovered nicely. A vintage Elneny performance.

Dani Ceballos – 6.0

Started out the game very quiet. Nothing like the dynamic performance we saw from him against Liverpool. I’m not sure if he was asked to sit deeper, in order to account for our marauding full-backs, but the ‘Granit Xhaka role’ didn’t suit him. Grew into the game steadily, and controlled the second half beautifully. Played well when he was allowed to step forward and start taking risks. Nice nutmeg on Ollie McBurnie, too.

Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka – 8.0

Man of the Match. What a footballer he is. On the back of his first England call-up, provided promising movement all game. Our most consistent performer in the first half, he drew a couple of key fouls. Almost all of our bright attacks came from the left-hand side, and much of that is due to Saka. Really came alive in the second half too, drifting inside and creating chances. Lovely finish on the header.


Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Willian – 5.5

Quiet to start, and to finish. Very little creativity down the Arsenal right, and part of that is due to Willian. He looked dull in possession and off-the-ball. Looked marginally brighter after his shift to the left, where he almost dropped into the midfield. Miscued a couple of key passes.

Eddie Nketiah – 4.5

Great movement, but he really struggles with hold-up play. His passing and link-up play was very inconsistent. He drew the first save out of Aaron Ramsdale, but offered very little otherwise. Spent most of the second half walking around, and deservedly hauled off for Pepe before the 60-minute mark.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7.2

I like him in that deeper role, where he actually dictates play more, but he was still a bit isolated to begin with. Troubled Aaron Ramsdale with a lovely long-range effort, and again with a speculative overhead kick about ten minutes later. Whiffed on a lovely ball from Ceballos in the 53rd, but his movement was sharp. Lovely hold-up play for the goal, and it was nice to see him play as a No. 9. Really dictated play throughout, especially once he stepped inside, something we haven’t seen from him in ages.

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Nicolas Pepe – 7.2

Shifted Willian to the left, taking over on a rather dead right side. He immediately started creating, and was heavily involved in the buildup to Saka’s goal. And while his finish for the second was nothing short of spectacular, the run was stellar too. Pepe finally showed us what he’s capable of. So bright.


Granit Xhaka – N/A

There is no player rating for Granit Xhaka, given the state of the game when he was introduced. I would like to note that he too fell asleep for the SHU goal. McGoldrick filled the space he should have been occupying.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – N/A

There is no player rating for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, given his late introduction. Ran hard, as always.

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