Alfie’s review and player ratings for Watford v Arsenal

Here is Alfie’s review and player ratings for yesterday’s game…


A great result in a must win game, albeit in bizarre circumstances. The goal, combined with the red card, and the way the game played out in the aftermath of the sending off contributed to what was a strange game. They started the better side, putting us under pressure in the first ten minutes, with us struggling to get out. However, it was us that put them under pressure which gave us the incisive moment in the game, with Aubameyang sharply closing down Foster to give us the lead.

Just minutes later, the satisfying red card to pantomime villain Troy Deeney looked to give us an unassailable position to go on to win the game, but the pattern of play did not conform to the expected pattern. Watford only grew in momentum, appearing aggrieved by the decision, and put us under unnecessary pressure for long periods.

We regained control for the majority of the second half and could well have added to our lead with more ruthlessness in the final third, but the closing stages were not without their fragile and nervy moments. Ultimately, we weathered the storm and saw the game out, collecting a precious 3 points.

Not a convincing performance, but for me, a satisfying 1-0 win, not something we see enough of on the road. We kept a clean sheet, were defensively sound for the most part, and rested key players for Thursday.

Not a bad night all in all….


1️⃣9️⃣ Leno 7

2️⃣0️⃣ Mustafi 8

0️⃣6️⃣ Koscielny 7

2️⃣7️⃣ Mavropanos 6

1️⃣8️⃣ Monreal 6

1️⃣1️⃣ Torreira 6

2️⃣9️⃣ Xhaka 6

0️⃣7️⃣ Mkhitaryan 4

0️⃣8️⃣ Ramsey 6

1️⃣7️⃣ Iwobi 7

1️⃣4️⃣ Aubameyang 6 –

1️⃣0️⃣ Ozil 6

2️⃣9️⃣ Guendouzi 5

1️⃣5️⃣ Maitland-Niles 7 –

Tell me your thoughts below and if you don’t understand some of my ratings, ask below and I’ll give some justification

Alfie Culshaw


  1. Leno’s and Torreira’s ratings should be 8 like Mustafi’s

    Leno was brilliant with his agility and saves. Whereas Torreira was great with his interceptions and steals

    I think that was why Emery took Torreira out very early, to keep him fresh for the Napoli game

  2. I am truly astounded that you could award Iwobi a 7. From the beginning of the match till the end he was guilty of constantly giving the ball away. Even when he did some productive work it looked clumsy and cumbersome. Iwobi -5 at best
    Leno was outstanding ( and Xhaka was solid 8

    1. Did you not see how many chances Iwobi created? He could have had a lot of assists if others could actually finish.

      1. Some fans only see goals and assists of a player to judge Iwobi

        There are other stuffs that we can’t quantify, such as his pressures and his links with other players

        He is still indecisive in the final third, but he almost made two assists yesterday if Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan could take those easy chances. That’s why Iwobi needs to be more selfish and shoots whenever there is an opportunity

        1. I agree about Iwobi, especially his indecisiveness. He made the same mistake last night, like he always does in regards to shooting. He was almost central in the box in the first half, got right up close to an opponent then tried to shoot through the guy, who easily blocked it. He needs to make his mind up earlier, and position his body better for a shot. Open his body up, instead of almost shooting straight where you cannot generate the same power or create a better angle.

          He keeps getting too close to an opponent, which is good for a beating a man, but not for shooting. Emery needs to work on this with Iwobi. I felt his work rate was excellent as well, which I think some fans are not picking up on as well.

        2. Afternoon, I don’t think iwobi is a winger. He has attributes to be a good player, but is indecisive in the final 3rd. Maybe he will get chances next season in the number 10 role with Ramsey leaving, and mikis performance last night was poor. The priorities in the summer have to be getting an out and out winger and bringing Nelson back and integrating him to the 1st team. I hope iwobi develops into a decent player for us, as previously stated he has the attributes, but some serious coaching is required in the final 3rd. Have a good day.

      2. Disagree, Iwobi had alot of the ball and I would say he managed 3 crosses. Not good for that amount of ball. I would have gave him 5.

    2. Why hating on iwobi
      I think iwobi is the scapegoat now.he never does anything right.
      This lad is trying and really commited.

  3. So if we go out this summer and spend 150mil on two specialist wingers and a center back will this guarantee the manager will change the tinkering or is it just to give him option. I just confused as to where are we headed.

    1. Jah son remember not so long ago when most of us were crying because Wenger made us so predictable and one paced?

      Tinkering is good provided we get the right results. We may not always win because like it or not our opponents also improve. All the best mangers tinker when need be and that’s why the get the big bucks. Our Manager has a small pool of quality players to employ his style which makes him look as though he doesn’t know what he is doing at times, lets give him this summer and see who the club brings in to work with him.

      All the tinkering must be good education for our young players, they will learn to play in many systems, the trick is to learn how to switch in a swift manner.

      1. So are we going to change tactic when playing like South Hampton, Burnley and so on. Amean where is our still. As much as I do not like Sarri atleast you can actually see what he is doing.

        1. Jah son
 again to hound you
          You are right about Sarri
          Every true football fan weather you support chelski or not can see what he is doi g
          He is playing world class players out of position
          Buying fat over the hill strikers who’s best days are behind them
          Playing players week in week out dispite of poor forms
          Systems that no one can adapt too or understand
          But aleast we can see what he is doing
          Now for.our man..
          He changes things around ..not always for the best but mixes it up
          No one is beyond being dropped if not.meeting his standards
          He has got us 4th in the table
          And any true fan would have bitten your hand off at the beginning of the season to be in this position if asked
          Good lead in the quarters against the favourites..
          Not bad for a loser in your eyes….
          Cant wait for next season with a few more additions and dead wood gone
          Onwards and upwards

  4. For me credit goes to the Manager as well.

    He tried to control the game by changing tactics and personnel which the players were rather slow to react to. If Mkhi and Auba took those chances we would have been talking about a comfortable win.

    We finally have a Manager who can read the games and make corrective measures depending on the tactical changes made by our opponents. Not an easy game especially with Naples in sight and needing to rotate some players.

    Credit also goes to Watford who played a good game even with 10 men. Apart from Troy, I think there team is pretty decent and they have a good Manager.

    I believe we will have a better showing on Thursday. COYG

    1. That’s what I’ve come to realize with this manager, there will be no easy games whilst Chelsea, city, pool,United and Tottenham frighten the hell out of people.

      1. How Stinkingly Negative can an Arsenal fan be, in the name of having an Opinion…?
        I suggest u start supporting Chelsea or Spuds then, if you don’t like the current manager at our beautiful club…
        Cos like it or not, he ain’t going nowhere….. Get that.

  5. I also thought Mustafi was excellent last night. Yes he went to ground a couple of times but got the ball and some of his headers out of defence were immense.

    1. GB I agree with you. He was solid. Guendouzi deserves more than 5 because he was the only milder who thought of braking down Watford even on his. He deserves like 7 because he gave more than mhiki and Ramsey even though he played less minutes.

  6. Aubameyang deserves 7/8 because he won us the match, and he actually worked extremely hard to get to the ball, cover a long distance and was extremely determined. MOTM for me.

  7. It’s all a matter of opinion of course but I respect the comments of our own Alan Smith who was justifiably critical of Mustafi and Mavroponas on a number of occasions.That said for his first game of the season the young Greek did well and I am confident he will develop into a dominating centre back next season.To be fair to Mustafi , he improved when switched to centre back and was worthy of a 7 rating.I would however take issue with you on Monreal who has been a real cause for concern in three consecutive matches.It may have to do with the switching from a back three to a back four but his positional sense is weak and his legs have gone.He was caught high up the pitch on a number of occasions and like the game at Goodison, the opposition quickly took advantage of the gaps on our left defensive area.I feel at least one new left back must bought for next season as Kolasinac has also been found wanting in that position.

  8. We rode our luck as we were truly awful, midfield missing Mika absolute dross of a player, his wages should be going to someone better, Iwobi, no end product but put a shift in, Leno getting better and better, Monreal always dependent, Xhaka hit and miss. Torreria love him, and Deeney what a mug you really are, just a thug, but Emery’s team selection was wrong, this was a game for Lacazette who can give as good as good he gets. Thought the ref was weak, the kick to Mustafi’s head was dangerous and high, yet no card. We were too casual and it almost cost us, but we rode our luck and we won. Palace should be three points, Wolves and Leicester tricky and could cost us, Brighton three, and Burnley possible three points, but we need to get a grip on our away performance the worst after Fulham, even Cardiff have a better record

    1. With 22 points from 16 matches Arsenal is actually 8th in the ‘away’ record.

      We have an away game in hand, though. If it’s won, we will be 6th as regards to our away form.

      So no need to exaggerate.

  9. Leno… 8…couple of good saves to keep us in the game… MOTM for me

    Mustaphi… 7… a shaky 1st half but a decent 2ndhalf

    Kos…7…did nothing extraordinary but his presence brings stability

    Monreal… 7…not a blistering performance but made a good block which would have lead to a goal

    Mavropanos…. 6…not what I expected bcux I know he is made of more, probably bcus of his long time out in a competitive game

    XHAKA… 7… Did his normal routine, good to see him back

    Torriera… 7…pain in the neck for the opposition as usual… Always hungry for duels

    Ramsey…6…below par performance offers next to nothing in the game… He set his standards he should live up to it#Rambo

    Micki… 2…so so awful, he looks like someone lost… His head is not in the game at all. A miserable performance one which requires a sub just after 20min 1st half

    Iwobi…7…i wish I could give him 5 honestly… But he created more clear chance than anyone on the pitch.. He needs to learn how to shoot if it was Nelson he would have break and shoot which might possibly lead to a goal

    Auba… 7… Lucky goal due to his effort which I have slated him for… He puts in a good shift effort wise buh turn off his goal instinct


    Ozil… 5…was expecting more than he produced

    Guendozi… 5…did his part trying to get forward with play

    Niles… 6…a very important block in the die minutes of the game

    A win is a win… Happy for the 3point even if we play below par not the 1st time this season… I’d rather win without a Beautiful game than lose with one that am used to…

  10. These far too high and fan biased marks make me wonder if Alfie watched the same game as many on here did, who rightly posted what a disppointing perf it was. Mavropanos having same marks as Torreira and Ramsey is just plain silly and plain wrong! Mavrop was way out of his depth, as was thE shocking Mkhi, whom at least Alfir marked down as a four. A two would have been generous, IMO. It is generally accepted in newspaper marking that six is average and seven good. On leat night perf I would have awarded only Torreira, Xhaka and Ramsey a six with Iwobi and Leno getting a seven. No one else would have got above four and MAVROP AND MKHI both two, save only Auba , perhaps a five, for the single good thing he did whole game in chasing down the keeper for his goal. A desperately bad team perf on the whole!

    1. We kept a clean sheet so you can’t be harsh on the defenders. Mustafi was good throughout, particularly playing out of position until Guendouzi came on. Won everything in the air. Koscielny was good again, dealt with Gray’s physicality. Monreal was solid as ever. I agree with the rest of the team which is why I didn’t give anyone else other than the ones you stated above a 6 apart from Maitland-Niles.

  11. I don’t think Arsenal is going to spend a lot on transfers this summer. I feel they are already following a planned integration of some of the U23 into first team. May be a defensive player but I feel they are already building from within. Wenger and his staff left a talented group that is ready to explode onto English football scene. Watch out for Wenger’s future comments when they become household names

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