Arsenal player ratings v Southampton – Saka is special, Pepe proves a point, Leno is Mr reliable

Arsenal needed to respond to losing to Southampton in the FA Cup, and they did with a 3-1 win over the Saints in the Premier League tonight.

Everyone rose to the occasion, and this is exactly what they have to do consistently now, here is the Arsenal player ratings.

Bernd Leno – 8
Couldn’t save the goal, but he pulled off at least three superb saves, including a fine free-kick in the second half.

Hector Bellerin – 6
Early yellow card limited what he could do in the game but he remained solid and supported the attack well a few times

Rob Holding – 7
Solid in the air and on the ground. Made sure Che Adams and Danny Ings didn’t get enough joy from his position.

David Luiz – 6
One of his better performances for the Gunners, however, he let himself down a few times with poor touches.

Cedric Soares – 8
He struggled the last time he played out of position, but he proved today that Arsenal probably doesn’t need to buy another left-back. Made amazing runs forward and his long ball set up Saka to assist Arsenal’s last goal.

Granit Xhaka – 7
Helped Arsenal to win the midfield battle, and his precise pass to set up Pepe’s goal is what we want to see more often.

Thomas Partey – 7
His addition to this Arsenal team is beginning to make sense. The Ghanaian is like an octopus, he covers everywhere and gave the Saints very little room to create something.

Bukayo Saka – 8
This boy is special. Words cannot describe his performance tonight. He was arguably our best-attacking player, yet he tracked back like a box to box player.

Emile Smith Rowe – 6
A bit quiet tonight, hopefully, he hasn’t suffered a serious injury.

Nicolas Pepe – 8
Pepe had to prove a point, and he did. Still struggles to sort out his legs sometimes, but he was determined to impress for the duration of this game.

Alexandre Lacazette – 8
A goal and assist is a due reward for his troubles. Southampton defenders will have nightmares of him pressing them tonight.


Willian – 5
Nothing unexpected and should remain a substitute for now.

Mohamed Elneny – 5
Brought on to ensure Arsenal kept control of the midfield and did the best he could.

Willock – N/A

Mikel Arteta – 8
Got it badly wrong in the FA Cup but was spot on this evening.

Tags arsenal player ratings southampton v arsenal


  1. Great comeback from last match even though the last match ruined any chance of a trophy IMHO

    Anyway great performance all around by the boys 👍☺👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍☺

  2. This is what I wrote prior to Arsenals win v Southampton. “This is an excellent team. Southampton will be tired after the FA cup game so I am hoping Arsenal will win well. Mikel will be vindicated by focusing on the league. A much needed boost to our top 6 chances. Cedric will play well and Partey and Xhaka will dominate in midfield. Our front four look very exciting with Eddie Martinelli and Willock from the bench . Arsenal 3 -1”.

  3. I always do 2 players that stand out ,and for me tonight that would be Pepe and Saka .
    Pepe as been made the new scape goat along with Willian ( probably both deserve it ) but Pepe as not been given a proper chance IMO to show us what he can do ,even though his stats last season were pretty good and was better than any winger we have had here in the last 10 years in his first season ,I believe it’s a confidence problem and his price tag is weighing heavy on his back and that’s what fans will judge him on .He’s still only in a handful pelf players that will get me out of my seat when he’s on it .
    Moving on to Saka ,an absolute beast of a player who I would like to see bulk up abit muscle wise .Hes gone from strength to strength since last season ,and I will hold up my hands and say that I wasn’t worried if he signed that new contract when he didn’t look like he wanted to stay .
    Big ups once again to Leno who was super clean and Partey who I hope the club can get a proper partner for him to showcase what he can do ,looks the best midfielder we have had in 10 years

    1. “…Pepe better stats than any winger we have had in the last 10yrs…?

      Have had of a certain Alexis Sanchez? Pepe can’t lace his boot!

  4. Lacazette would get my vote for MoM. He was tireless, many times his press was wasted due to a lack of awareness form his team mates. Scored the clincher and worked his Arsenal off.
    Nice 3 points, time to have a chat with my Chelsea mate!

    1. Lacazette plays better with Saka and ESR, because these players have learnt to drop into the CF position, when Lacazette drops deeper to chase the ball. .

  5. Pepe worked hard so credit to him. Cedric is very workman like, important to have players like that. ESR and Bukayo are so refreshing as is Gabriel Martinelli. If only we can keep Balogun and slip young Odegaard in, we could have a young enthusiastic group replacing the OAPs. Lets hope we never put out an old cogers team ever again.

  6. I have been harsh on lacca. And I am beginning to think maybe just maybe he has been worth the wait. Good game from him. Solid from saka brilliant.

    Cannot fault this team tbh. They all played well. Happy to see pepe get time and get his head down and score.

    Well done arteta. Introducing ESR has made a huge difference and benching willian and cebellos also made a huge difference.

    Interested to see where our new rm signing will slot in.

  7. Thought Esr had another great night. He gets the ball into the next phase of our attack way quicker than our other midfielders. We need players like him that dont take a million touches and needs 10 seconds to find a player to pass to.

  8. Love Saka! He just keeps getting better and better. I love the fact he’s always willing to take people on.

  9. Saka is an amazing player. The boy is literally carrying Arsenal right now. As for Pepe, except for the goal, he was useless.

  10. MA did not get it badly wrong in the FA cup. He did set his priorities right.
    We need CL football more than the FA cup 10 times.
    We can’t afford to pretend to be what we are not.
    We don’t have a quality squad depth at the moment and it would have been imprudent to risk our first 11 for the FA cup. We are not there yet.
    Tierny is not back and I remember he and Martinalli got themselves injured during the FA cup match against Newcastle.
    Why play our top stars in cup matches and risk depleting our team in case of injuries ?
    I believe that if there is any target set by the board for MA, it definitely would be to qualify us for CL football.
    We are now 8th on the table and 5 points within touch with West Ham @4th place.
    I’m no prophet but MA in his full season will send us back to CL football.

  11. I agree with you Jo. I would have loved to have FA cup. But we do not have the squad to fight for all front. This is a strange season. We have an outside chance of top 4. The direction is clear now. Go for top 4. even if can not get, we should be closer to that. Team like Arsenal should be at least top 6.
    We also have Europa league to aim for. Arsenal should not be restricted to a cup team. Next game against United , if we can pull that off, then every one will take us seriously and the talk of top 4 will intensify.

  12. Admin, Luiz was quiet today and this is not one of his better performances, especially in recent time, he has performed above that several times this season, he wasn’t comfortable but still pull through despite his lack of concentration

  13. Didn’t manage to watch the game but I caught the highlights! Saka was amazing with his passing and finishing. I can only imagine what him and Balogun on either flanks can do! Arteta, can you get Balogun in the team right now coz he is as good as Saka in my opinion.

    1. Spot on Quantico 👍👍👍,
      That balogun lad is another gem on our hands….scores goals for fun

      Saka ,balogun , azeez..really special lads…hope the other two get their chances

      I know its just a matter of time before they are unleashed on our opponents..

  14. Thank you Pepe for making good use of a rare opportunity to start. If you can be consistent with good performances, Arsenal will get rid of Willian sooner rather than later. Willian best position is out of the team.

  15. this really shows that arsenal have started playing like a top 4 contender ,we pray for our players to be fully fit, if we really have saka, partey, Tierney, ems,Leno,holding, laca fit for any game, I don’t think we’ll loss games easily for now,we’ll score more and concede less.

  16. Congraturation arsenal for that impresive win.mine is to thank B Saka Rowe Pepe and the rest of the team for that commitment keep it up

  17. Great performance,couldnt watch the match(semester exams😐) just the highlights.

    OMG we won with xhaka,pepe,luiz…thats surprising for some😉😅


    1. Best of luck bro!
      We have our projects right now, but would finish in time for the Arsenal ManU matches 😁😁

  18. A really balanced and solid performance from the Arsenal. The coach got it spot on in this showing. The team kept their heads up after conceding early and looked dangerous on attack. I was a little worried about our midfielders because the opposition runners found space easily between them and the defence, but it was defended well. MOM was a toss up between Laca and Saka , with Soares really looking great with his switch play, defending and passing.

  19. Something interesting to note was Pepe winning aerial battles. It seems he’s the only forward who can do that in our team and that can help alot against low block teams.Long may it continue.

  20. Pepe was good but Southampton gave us a lot of space, which suits Pepe, but most teams won’t give us that. and even under those favorable conditions, Pepe lost a lot of balls because of his obsessive and needless dribbling.

  21. Once again Saka’s the man!! I could watch him all day long… 🔥
    That was a fantastic team performance… couldn’t have asked for more..
    Four weeks ago we were 15th, four points off relegation. Five wins and one draw later, we are now five points off the top four!

    1. Having played extra game then nearly all those above us and below us though! For proper context that should be admitted, surely Sue!

      We are effectively 10th- 11th when the other teams have caught up to us in games played.

      1. Yes but those games haven’t been won yet…. as we’ve seen so many times anything can happen in this crazy season!

  22. Pepe starting on the left (something Grandad’s been talking about for weeks) and playing with the in-form players (Saka, ESR and Laca) showed that there is a capable player in there. I think he needs to play on instinct and never give himself too much time to think. If he gets the ball he needs to either play the pass quickly or just run – he’s been getting caught in two minds a lot, partly because he often doesn’t have a good passing option, and it’s been ruining him.

  23. We are on the right track. Patience is what we need. Pepe was decent tonight. Saka outstanding as always. Laca leading by example. I think you were a bit unfair on ESR, the Southampton players pressed him but he showed excellent maturity under pressure. Rob Holding was a stalwart at the back I think his rating is unfair. Xhaka is looking good in that midfield.

    With a whole lot of players going out I think we going to have a awesome summer transfer watch this space.

    OH and the Manager did not get it wrong in the FA cup. He knew what he was doing. He needs more depth in the team. We getting there.

  24. It was our best team performance all season with two stellar performances from saka and Cedric … but there is no way that Luiz should be starting given his errors which could have been costly against a more alert attack such as United and the praise for lacazette is way out of proportion … he scored from a great move thanks to our stellar performers which he couldn’t miss from but he doesn’t press and lumbers around when not on ball his hold up play is solid but he doesn’t threaten defenses … the difference in midfield when partey left was obvious

  25. Agree with you on Holding Declan.Despite Cedric playing well, we really need a left footed back up for Tierney.Cedric is a far better kicker of a ball than Bellerin and is arguably the better of the two.Competition is required for every position for an ambitious Club and the arrival of the young Norwegian will add another string to the bow of Arteta.To stir things up will AMN be used to man mark Rashford ?

  26. SADLY STILL NO OVERTALL,TABLE OF WHAT EACH MARK MEANS eg 5 poor 6 average 7 good etc. Until we ALL use the SAME criteria for ratings they will continue to be meaningless!

    Incredibly, I am STILL even now , after saying this several times, the ONLY Gooner who can see this as the free for all it is and will be UNTIL we get that defined table of what EACH rating mark means ! Sigh!

    Who agrees with me and if not, then why not?

  27. Arsenal’s midfield is terrible. Arteta needs to upgrade on Xhaka and Elneney. If he doesn’t, we will not be able to compete with top 6 teams. If arsenal can have a midfield of Partey, ESR, Torreira, Bissouma, Aouar and Guendouzi, selll Xhaka, Elneney and Maitland-niles and loan out Willock, that will be an elite midfield

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