Arsenal player ratings v Burnley – Xhaka gets punished for yet another mistake

Arsenal has just dropped points against Burnley in a game that they should have put to bed before half time.

It was a day to forget for Granit Xhaka, whose pass went straight to the body of Chris Woods for Burnley’s equaliser. Here is our Arsenal player ratings:

Bernd Leno – 6

Had a hand in Burnley’s goal as he should have cleared his lines instead of trusting Xhaka. But made some good saves to redeem himself.

Calum Chambers – 6

He was a surprising pick at right-back and offered much more defensively. Needs to do better when he joins the attack.

David Luiz – 6

He showed why Mikel Arteta still wants to keep him by ensuring Burnley didn’t win the aerial battles.

Pablo Mari – 6

As cool on the pitch as he looks and gets the job done with minimal fuss.

Kieran Tierney – 6

We have come to expect more from him, but he delivered as good a performance as he could against this opponent.

Thomas Partey – 7

Arsenal fans will wish he can stay fit. He is a master of long balls from the back and was the best Arsenal player on the pitch.

Granit Xhaka – 3

Has had a good time in recent weeks, but that intercepted pass for Burnley’s goal was a horrible one and that is what you get from Xhaka on occasions.

Bukayo Saka – 4

One of his worst days in the Arsenal shirt as he missed some good chances to help the Gunners kill the game off.

Martin Odegaard – 5

Started brightly and seemed to struggle to get back in the game when Burnley equalized. Took too many wayward shots in the second half.

Willian – 6

Slightly above average today, put it this way, he has been a lot worse.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5

Started the game brightly but after his goal we almost didn’t see him.


Alexandre Lacazette – 5

Could do nothing after coming on apart from drawing fouls from Burnley’s players.

Nicolas Pepe – 4

Brought on to rescue the game, but he missed the best chance of the match.

Dani Ceballos – 6

Almost scored a late winner, but the post rescued Burnley.


Mikel Arteta – 5

Cannot really blame him for the players missing gilt-edged chances but the reality is we are tenth under his watch and if the results do not come, for whatever reason, then the buck stops with him and it does today.

Ratings from Ime

Tags arsenal player ratings


  1. Xhaka shouldn’t have even received the ball from Leno who was to blame NOT XHAKA.

    1. We have a team of clowns, they couldn’t make any worse mistakes ……..jeees I couldn’t believe it. Sunday league football and that’s an insult to Sunday league football.

    2. Be honest, not silly, as BOTH were to blame, as you very well know but chose not to say! I dislike half truths and expect better from our fans.

      1. jon, why has the obsession with playing it out from the back, led to the lack of common sense in choosing the option to just hack it long?
        There are two maximums of every code of football breached for this goal:
        1.Don’t pass to someone in a worse position to you (Leno); and
        2. Don’t play the ball across your own goal in defense (Xhaka)

  2. Xhaka deserved a much better rating and Leno should’ve cleared out the ball. We shouldn’t have made the mistake in the back and we should’ve had a penalty, but our attackers were at fault today for missing four clear-cut chances

    Arteta can’t control his players’ temperaments nor can he minimize the individual’s mistakes, but we produced a lot of great open-play chances under him. Chambers demonstrated good ball control and aerial ability, despite not fast enough in attacking

    1. Xhaka called for it

      If he didn’t want it why call? If he didn’t want it why not clear it? We all know he’s your favourite, just admit he made a mistake. It’s okay

      Continous individual errors have to fall under lack of focus which is a mangers responsibility. A random once off brain fart is def the players fault but ours are again and again and again. No focus and discipline.

      1. Yes he made one mistake, but Leno should’ve made a better decision when seeing Xhaka surrounded by two Burnley players. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t matter if our attackers didn’t waste many easy opportunities

        The brain farts have been happening since Wenger’s era, so it might take more than three seasons to fix that

        1. Leno didnt make a,mistake. Xhaka asked for it, Xhaka could’ve passed back, hold on to the ball, boot it wide but he decided to pass it sideways. And his sideway pass had NO EFFORT in it at all. Look at his body language when he passed it, he wasn’t even panicking, just gifted the goal.

          There’s no reason to blame Leno as Xhaka had plenty of time to make his move.

          1. Xhaka run also opened up other passing options for Leno. Leno had a clearer view of what was going on behind Xhaka, so he shouldn’t have made the pass in the first place. Xhaka should have still done better.

          2. Whether xhaka wanted the ball or not he must if seen that this option would have put xhaka under pressure he should of launched it up the pitch

          3. McLovin, Be truthful! Of course Leno made a mistake and should not have put the woeful Xhaka under such pressure. LENO KNOWS AS WE ALL DO, that Xhaka is a mistake on legs and always liable to make one. SO WHY give him that daft, unnecessary short ball! Just be honest with yourself!

        2. STFU..
          U definitely have not idea about anything.
          Xhaka is a slow thinker,.. I might even say he’s brain dead when it comes to decision making most times on the pitch.
          This isn’t the first time Leno is playing out centrally to a midfielder. Elneny and Ceballos receive those balls almost every game. What Xhaka failed to do was hit it one time and not take that clumsy touch with his left foot that put the ball in the path of his right foot. After he made that useless first touch, the safer option was to return to Leno so he could boot it.

          How such a player is still at Arsenal, tells the story of our massive decline.
          Since Xhaka came to Arsenal, our midfield game has been soooo slow and lethargic. He takes the most touches on the before deciding what to do with it, which in most cases is pass sideways and backwards.
          Xhaka can easily be replaced with intelligent footballers like Bissouma or Ndidi to partner Partey

          1. That first touch was everything. With the ball rolling away to his right, he limited his option…pass sideway to the left (which he did) or kick away. A Partey or ceballos would have control the ball close to his body. That way he is control of the ball, have time and options.

            Also a better player could have played a one-time pass to Luiz before that space was blocked. Xhaka is not only slow on the ball but also with his thinking. I only blame Leno for trusting him with the ball in the box.

        3. exactly leno as a gk could see the whole pitch

          he could see whos coming and make the decision

          1. Admit Xhaka is a limited footballer. A Partey and ceballos would control that ball better and get out of that situation.

      2. hI PJSA. The keeper is the one with a view of where all opposition players whereas most defenders who are running back can’t usually see through the back of his head! It’s fairly normal for any retreating player to show the keeper he’s there, but the keeper has the ball, the 180 degree vision and the responsiblity to make the right decision. Xhaka is guilty of a poor pass under pressure but Leno is more culpable. He’s done this before and he will again – not Leno’s best skill.
        On a similar note I recall Willian’s stats reflecting he is a very accurate passer. He may rech his man, but like Leno he repeatedly today played it to teammates with the opposition right on top of them, resulting in immediate ball loss. Watch him next match – you’ll see what I mean.

        1. 180 degree vision ,it’s Leno not an owl lol.
          Xhaka first touch let him down. He ask for the ball

          1. I don’t know why we everyone is ignoring that heavy first touch in the box…any good footballer will go for a close body control.

        2. exactly

          alot of fans here have never even played a game

          players will always ask for the ball and they do not have eyes at their back

          as a gk…if any players is potentially in danger of losing the ball …then why make the pass?

  3. Can see why Odegard was shipped out from Madrid ,how many times have we seen this kind of player for Arsenal ,great technical pleasing on the eye but doesn’t actually do
    Another Madrid player getting minutes in Ceballos ,not sure what he actually brings to the squad at all TBH ,another player who always looks busy without actually achieving anything .
    Bringing on Laca when we was ment to be chasing the game when we have alittle wipper snapper in Martinelli itching to get on ,a player who brings energy every time he steps on that field .if he’s fit enough for the bench he’s fit enough to start else he’s just wasting a spot .
    For me Leno was my MOTM ,2 cracking saves and not his fault XHaka decision making is poor .
    Bad day for the forwards also ,should have been 3 nil up before their goal .
    Last of all ,VAR once again robbing us ,like how bloody obvious that they cheat .

    1. I prefer Ceballos in the CAM position, because Ceballos is more adventurous and more upredictable in attacking than the likes of Ozil, Willian and Odegaard. Ceballos has also shown that he can consistently produce defense-splitting passes from deep-midfield area, but maybe Arteta prefers Smith-Rowe and Odegaard in the CAM position because Ceballos is slow

      1. Funny you would bring Ozil in your comparison. At the age of Odegaard Ozil was unplayable. Additionally Ozil is the past.

        1. Ahmad: The Ozil haters try to justify his departue by comparing him to payers not even in the same league

  4. One bad defensive mistake by Xhaka was costly but to be fair Arsenal did get lucky with the Aubameyang goal being down to a howler by the Burnley keeper The 200 m strike force has to do a lot better.
    One controversial VAR decision.
    But to me the penalty rulings need a massive overhaul. Penalties should only be given when it is clear and obvious a goal would have been scored. Pepe was never going to score so why should he get a penalty? A free kick yes but not a penalty.

    1. Because it was handball ,every other top teams get them so why not us ,that was the clearest handball I’ve seen this season ,he moved the ball away with his arm

    2. A freek kick inside the box?
      You do know Pepe could create a goal scoring opportunity by squaring the ball had he gone past the defender.

      Your comment is sooooo dumb Wyoming

      1. Luiz was terrible in my opinion. So many long back attempts easily snuffed out by Burnley. That 1 – 2 towards the end that resulted in a great save by Leno was due to Luiz diving in, missing the ball then casually jogging back. I like Luiz but here had a bad game today.

  5. I wonder how many goals we have lost, and how many points we have dropped this season,by the tactic of playing out from the back.On the same theme I cannot remember one example of us scoring as a direct result of this policy which is an obsession of modern day football.Can anyone , who is into stats , she’d any light on this .If the benefits of persisting with this tactic are outweighed by goals and points conceded, why should we continue to take the risk?

    1. Guardiola brilliantly explained about the advantage of it : “When the ball is in the air, it’s half-half. But when it’s on your feet, it’s yours”

      Watch his very logical explanation about playing out from the back, when training a Sunday League team (starts watching from 03:00):

    2. Grandad, you’ve hit the nail on the head! Apart from giving us palpitations, it does nothing else apart from adding to ‘possession’ stats. There are teams that do it well, Man City and PSG to name two but look at the quality they both have throughout their teams. I suppose it’s the modern way of playing the game?

    3. Our goal came from playing from the back. Partey to William I believe it was and then to Auba for the goal.

    4. Grandad You will have read my posts about how when I bet I ruthlessly play the percentages against all other ways The risk in playing out from Leno in OUR team with Leno himself being not good with his feet well outweighs any benefits which are very little anyway.

      On balance of risk it is against us overall.

      1. jon, the issue is the goal keepers lack of discretion and judgement of when to kick long. Leno had one player to pass to Xhaka and 4 Burnley players in the area. You are always coached in all codes of football from a young age to not play to a team mate in a worse position than yourself.
        As for Xhaka, you are also coached to not play the ball across your own goal in defense.
        These guys are professional footballers playing at the highest level and at Arsenal these basic mistakes occur too frequently. Where are the ramifications, as the offending players keep getting selected?

    5. so true Grandad. I keep saying the same thing. we keep playing out from the back without any real conviction of moving the ball forward with 5 to 10 passes.the keeper play it to the defender, the defender to the keeper,the keeper to the dm,the dm to the keeper,the keeper to the left back,the left back to the CD,the CD to the right back again and again. where in that is the press getting beaten. one half of mistake playing like that and the opponent will get at least a half of chance every match to score. pathetic if you ask me.

    1. You forgot to blame arteta for this ridiculous tactic of playing out from the back while the cbs are on the sides.. its clear that our players are not comfortable/capable with this tactic so why insist on it

      1. Krish, do you really think MA instructs the players to play out of defence whatever the circumstances?
        Do you also believe he instructs Xhaka to play a cross ball in his own penalty box, or Leno to pass to him when opponents are bearing down on him?
        I’m not arguing about our, seemingly, desire to play from the back, but the two players mentioned are supposed to be professional players – have you ever seen that kind of kindergarten play on a Sunday morning, because I never have!!!

        1. I do agree with you, and I dont really blame arteta much for this mistake its mainly xhakas and lenos fault and it was a joke to be honest but I just think that we need a better ball-playing gk or a mid who is more assured in pressure and until they play we should not insist on such a tactic, but for your first question i do think that arteta wants to play out of defence whatever the circumstances, you dont think so?

        2. Ken. I don’t disagree with you often but this time you are too nice to the coach.
          Let’s assume MA did not instruct the players to play from the back (and that’s doubtful because Guardiola plays from the back). We conceded many goals playing from the back and that means MA did not tell them not to play from the back. Either way the coach is to blame.

      2. Excessive long clearances would be a suicide, since Burnley CBs are dominant in the air and they would easily dispossess our attackers

        Guardiola brilliantly explained about the advantage of it : “When the ball is in the air, it’s half-half. But when it’s on your feet, it’s yours”

        Listen to his very logical explanation about the advantage of playing out from the back, when training a Sunday League team (starts watching from 03:00):

        1. yes i do get the advantage of playing out of the back what i dont get is why this tactic where the cbs are being that much on the sides which invites too much pressure imo

        2. gotanidea, there is a time and a place and players have to use their discretion. Don’t pass to a player in a worse position than yourself and don’t play the ball across the goal mouth in defense!

    2. U must up your knowledge in football. Anyone who says Leno is at fault is naive.

      1. Was there pressure on Xhaka? No
      2. He could’ve passed back to Leno.
      3. He could’ve hit it one time to Luiz.

      Xhaka has made 8 mistakes leading to goal excluding penalties and red cards. I have always said any manager who trusts Xhaka will never succeed at Arsenal.

  6. I really doubt if there are stranger things that can happen in the EPL than the double blatant ball handling in the 18yard box by Burnley which was ignored by both Var and match official.

    1. Burnley player in a “natural position”, thinking he was an aeroplane with his arms outstretched “flying” towards Pepe. How can the referee justify that decision of no hand ball by reason of “proximity.”
      Incompetent or corrupt take your pick.

  7. Grandad – If my memory serves me correctly, our goal was scored by playing out from the back. I believe Leno rolled out the ball to Partey and it started from there.

  8. GAI, while I respect the views of Guardiola, what benefits has it produced for us this season?I suspect we have dropped at least 9 points this season by persisting with a system which we are clearly unable to implement with the players available to the Manager.I am not advocating long punts up the park from Leno but with the ball in his hands we have more control than we do with the ball at his feet and with defenders under pressure from the opposition.Before the current obsession was introduced many keepers were adept at finding their colleagues by throwing the ball.Indeed many counter attacks were started by quick throws from keepers .Basically I have yet to see the benefits of Leno playing out with his feet but perhaps some fans can prove me wrong.

    1. To also add to what Grandad said… we are not very good at playing from the back. Hence why I seem to have developed high blood pressure and uncontrollable swearing. Its absolute suicide and the opposition have worked it out… FFS.

      What I can’t get my head around is why does MA constantly tinker with his tactics and team selection. Last Sunday we were excellent this week we are just… bleagh…

      1. Exactly that! You never know which Arsenal you’re going to get!!
        My confidence was super high after last weekend – back down to earth with a thud!!!

        1. Professional disappointment, they give you the hope of improvement to crush it.
          So frustrating..

    2. I mainly dont get why the cbs have to so wide in their positions they are basically making it easier to intercept a pass as they then have to pass crossfield

    3. We controlled many games because of the playing from the back, despite making many mistakes from it. We could do a lot of long clearances in the end of Wenger’s tenure because we had towering target man like Giroud, but we don’t have someone like that now

      If our final goal is to dominate the games like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City and Liverpool, we should enforce that high level system into players. Guardiola said the players would do many mistakes because building from the back isn’t easy, but our players should play like that if they want to compete with other top European teams

      1. GAI, I kinda agree if we pressed from the front and our players were adept with playing from the back.

        At the moment it is a poor imitation of “pure” football and if we can see it then MA should be able to too.

        FFS this is Burnley and prior to that every game we have probably lost.

        I would give it up and give us at least a chance without making the comical errors that is costing us games.

        When we start competing for the top 4 and have the proficient players then yeah… let’s play from the back. At the moment we are in a mid table scrap and our season depends on the Europa league. So at least play to whatever strengths we have.

  9. Partey premier league starts…

    Won 1, lost 1, drawn 2 = 5 points from 12.

    I keep hearing that he is different gravy… I haven’t seem to have seen it yet?

    Maybe I love Elneny too much😳

      1. Lol Sue.

        We should have a petition to say we only play away in yellow.

        Be interesting to find out how.many games we have won in this Chelski blue guff and the white scenery from the film Saw

        1. Yellow and navy blue for sure, Sue. Why change the traditional away strip? Too many strips just to sell shirts.

      1. Armad, Arsenal should have bought Dacoure as well.
        Thomas Partey injuries apart, has not been poor or the reason for Arsenal’s results in those games.

    1. Yeh, I’m sure Elneny would have changed the entire complexion of the game. It’s what Wegner used to do isn’t. We knew the game was well and truly lost whenever he brought Elneny on in the 80th minute. Everything but the kitchen sink in order to grab a miracle draw.

  10. A ridiculous goal, the one we conceded even for Arsenal’s standard, which is already too ridiculous!

  11. Xhaka wasn’t at his best but let’s be real neither Saka and Auba!
    Our team still has this bad mentality whenever we are facing teams below us in the table, we give less effort, I can’t blame MA today except for one thing, he should’ve included Martenilli in this game. And what’s wrong with Pepe? how he can lose such an open clear shot!!

    Awful draw .. let’s hope they can overcome this one fast!

  12. Anyone who can’t see the similarities between how Arteta and the latter Wenger era have blinders on!!! From the sideways/backwards passing, to the shoehorning of favourites, to the fragility following a shambolic mistake, to the lack of goal contributions from the midfield, to the overreliance on players who are simply not good enough, to the shocking displays in front of goal, to the tactical naiveite, to the mismanagement of substitutions, to the underwhelming performances against bottom half teams who play a more physical style, to the blaming of officials, rightly or wrongly, and to the ridiculous notion that every time we lose we were unlucky…like I’ve said before, Arteta seemed to have learned far more from the stumbling and stagnant Wenger years than from his time under Pep

    finally, everyone understands why it makes more sense, for a possession based team, to want to play out of the back, but if you’re going to employ this strategy you must have the proper personnel or you will almost assuredly concede easy chances, which seems so counter-intuitive for a manager who has placed far too much focus on our defensive zone coverage…this problem is exacerbated by the fact that Leno is one of the worst longer ball passing keepers I’ve seen in the modern era of footballing…between this fact, the poor finishing and the glaring lack of one touch or quick direct passes, it really makes me wonder what they’re actually doing during training

  13. Arteta is the. Coach, the players play according to his instructions, including taking unnecessary risk and unmitigated pressure upon themselves he must accept the fault. I saw that goal coming because of the shambolic way the team was moving the ball around the Arsenal goal . Such mistake is always going to happen unless they change

  14. 5 for arteta is ludicrous … we were playing a team in the relegation fight who play a well organised but predictable type of football with minimal attacking threat … he simply doesnt know how to break down these kind of teams .. the chances in the first half were decent but far from stone cold description by some fans here … the last 10 mins were our best and the penalty decision beggars belief but the basic truth is that 15 months in charge arteta has no discernible style of football cant get a high work rate out of all players has completely failed to build a creative midfield and depends completely on 3 or 4 players delivering quality performances all the time … they cant … watching us inch out from the back through a series of back and forth passes is painful stuff … clearly worse than last years of wenger and emery … we have gone backwards in terms of results and even further back in terms of football … we will not progress under arteta so need a change at end of what will be a barren season … sad state of affairs that too many fans seem comfortable with

    1. Thank feck for that RW1. I’ve been saying it for months but been called a Juvenile and all sorts. I tap my hat to you sir/madame.

  15. I’m not an engineer but I know every PROCESS needs to be re-evaluated from time to time to measure whether or not they are producing the desired results. I think we’re at the point where a proper re-evaluation of the PROCESS needs to be done.

  16. What is the problem Arteta? Why cant Martinelli play? Is Arteta egocentric? When was the last time Martinelli played? What is going on? We were on the same points with chelsea when Lampard was sacked. We are far behind them now on the table. We are not making progress as a team.

  17. Mistakes happened here but our attackers are at fault here.If they had converted their chances into goals then we would have surely got the 3 points.Our attackers must be ruthless.Same thing happened in the wolves game.

  18. Aterta is a rookie who is not growing fast into the role. His team selection and game management is not getting better. Willian over stayed ought not to start the second half. Chambers did little in attack made Saka poor.
    When is Xhaka going to take a rest. Last WK he caused the goal at Leicester and today he gifted Burnley another. He can’t make split moments decision. Takes too long to decide.

  19. If Arsenal fails to convert clear chances into goals against Olympiakos, as they did in the first leg against Benfica and against Burnley, they will not progress any further in the Europa League.

  20. The burnley goal was not a leno mistake
    Thats one of MAs tactics of breaking the press and we have been doing that well.
    But yesterday was unfortunate,xhaka did see Woods but couldnt get the elevation needed on the ball maybe because he was using his right foot.

    And our whole system depends on playing out from back so why leno didnt clear cuz thats how we play we get our runners into spaces and we cross. That is obvious because when teams dont press or they park tge bus we need an extra bit of creativity.

  21. About Burnley’s goal, does anyone think, it was actually scored by Wood’s arm? It looked a handball to me.
    I have seen no one mentioning that, may be I should see it again.

  22. It always astounds me how athletes get paid millions a year and never learn to use BOTH FEET; inexcusable.

    Xhaka and Luiz have well earned reputations for brain farts, yet continue to start games.

    Sorry but Xhaka is an albatross for Arsenal; slow, indecisive, can’t attack & can’t defend.

    Time to bench him and give someone else a chance. To think AMN wasn’t ready for midfield, yet Xhaka is.

    That’s 8 goals against he is directly responsible for, AND COUNTING.

    1. Durand, only the non favoured face repercussions for supposed sub par performances. The one thing you can be sure of is that Xhaka’s name will be the first name on the score sheet.
      I have seen players, who have made lesser mistakes, told to “shake hands with the reserve grade coach” for their next match.

  23. At first i thought the blame is on Leno. But after watching the replay, i realized that the blame is 100% from Xhaka. He wasn’t really under pressure and he had all the time and space in the world to make the correct decision, i.e. pass the ball back to Leno, clear it to row Z or he even had the time to turn and pass it forward. It’s fully on Xhaka.

  24. Once again Xhaka costs us Europe. He did it under Unai Energy with ‘that’ stupid Penalty against Brighton, when Unai Emery was at the Rudder. Under the clueless Arteta we are a mid-table mess of a team. Xhaka is our curse. Kevin Friend’s interpretation of VAR is corrupt.

    1. Sean, Kevin Friend’s interpretation of “hand ball” is known only to him. If the world worked as it should he should be laughed out the game, never to referee at this level again, or demoted down the leagues. Not that the lower leagues would deserve him.
      Mike Riley is the problem, as he will not implement VAR under the same conditions applied in Europe or the rest of the world

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