Arsenal Player Ratings for 4-2 win over Dundalk – Who was our best youngster?

Arsenal consolidated their 100% win record in the Europa League Group Stages even though Mikel Arteta made wholesale changes to the starting line-up.

The boss was not happy with conceding two goals but the stand-in players and youngsters put in some excellent performances against the FAI Cup winners.

Here are my ratings….

Runarsson 5
Our new reserve keeper is hardly up to the quality of Emi Martinez, and this performance is hardly going to fill Arteta with confidence.

Chambers 6
Good comeback game for Calum, and I’m sure he will only get better with more game time.

Mustafi 6
Didn’t have much to do and didn’t make much impact for a captain

Mari 7
Another one that needs games under his belt, but was the busiest of our defenders and played a solid game all the same.

Cedric 7
He is looking like a very capable backup at the moment. I’d like to see himget arun of games too.

Maitland-Niles 7
Poor Ainsley gets moved around the pitch on Arteta’s whim, but he must be getting close to run in first team soon.

Elneny 7
Great goal and hopefully will be back in the first team on Sunday.

Pepe 6
Nowhere near the quality of his last performance in the Europa, but was still bust in attacking moves.

Willock 7
Another great Europa performance from Joe and another goal, but can he carry that into the EPL?

Smith Rowe 8
Excellent performance from the youngster, and surely must get given some opportunities in the first team very soon.

Nketiah 7
Always looking hungry and deserved to get another goal. Maybe play this Sunday?


Ceballos 6
Played half an hour but couldn’t make much impact.

Balogun 7
I can’t wait to see how this young man gets on against Premier League defences. A real live wire.

Cottrell N/A
Azeez N/A

Tags arsenal v dundalk


  1. No way Mari get a higher rating than Mustafi, sometime I wonder if people rate players based on the a particular match or they just rate them based on who they like or don’t like because Mustafi was our best defender yesterday.

    1. Mari was clearly lacking speed and awareness but more than likely due to game time. The first headed goal we conceded he was out jumped and poorly positioned.
      The link up play between AMN and ESR was the highlight for me..more youngster’s with ambition would be nice. Cedric looked great.

  2. I am crying out for Arteta to play Smith-Rowe, M-Niles and Balogun more regularly in the Epl.

    Smith-Rowe can do the job of Aoaur or Szoboszlai.

    M-Niles will have a good game in Central midfield.

    Balogun should be convinced to sign a new contract.

  3. There is always a room for bias in these ratings and for me Pepe deserves only a 5.
    If this team can make so many shots at goal and wind up with 4 goals why dont we make it our first team? What we call our first gets 2 shots on goal the whole 90 minutes, how pathetic

  4. Pepe should get a 5 and I am really worried about Runnarrson. He does not seem to be confident and I hope he improves for the later stages of the EuL. Also fantastic performances from ESR and Balogun. Hope AMN, Elneny and ESR play on Sunday with Balogun introduced at some point.

  5. The three proper youngsters- I don’t count AMN as a youngster – that I would love to see given first team chances are ESR, FB, JW, plus the reliable AMN.

    For my money I would make AMN and Willock REGULARS, in place of XHAKA(even my cat would be better than him!!!) and Willian. I would play Willock as our main attacking central creative player and also bring in Nelson for Pepe , who to me is just not cut out for Prem toughness football.

    Pepe is talented but largely ineffective and what matters is effectiveness. Unless talent leads to effectiveness, it is merely of theoretical use and as a realist, what MATTERS is whether or not any player is effective. If not, they are no use.
    Balogun is clearly more effective and a far better all round player , plus a regular scorer in his young career, than Nketiah, who does not much impress me as Arsenal quality, despite being a useful player. Useful is very different from being good though and our club needs GOOD players throughout, not merely useful ones.

    AMN is a cut above the hardworking but severely limited Elneny and about a thousand cuts above the statuesque and ponderous Xhaka. I cannot believe a player like XHAKA is STILL at our club, let alone the team! WHY?


    1. Jon, I think there’s 100.000s of us praying for Xhaka to finally leave.

      But I think he will take a 3rd consecutive coach down with him before he does.
      Unless Mikel learns from the 5-year disaster that is Xhaka’s Arsenal career.

      1. Could you rate our midfield and let’s see if Xhaka is the worst?
        you seems to forget the whole team performance is dreadful.
        Need I tell you our problems so far this season has been inability of our attackers to convert chances to goal?
        why do you guys always find someone else as scapegoat.
        in my opinion, Xhaka performance this season is better than AUBA,

    2. to me we can do without Xhaka, at least we have midfielder on same/higher level as his, so he isn’t our main priority or issues, those we can’t do without but constantly disappoint are our attackers, none has performed above average so far this season, and Pls dont give me that excuse ‘our midfield aren’t creative enough ‘ , I have seen clearc-Cut chances Wasted by AUBA and his cohorts on several occasions already.
      The kind of tactic MA is employing wouldn’t create tons of chances but decisiveness and prudency is highly required, that’s why spur is doing great, because their strikers are prolific, where’s we are struggling because our strikers has no scoring boot

    3. MA beg Xhaka to stay when he almost sign a contract that will take him to a club at Germany but I wonder why MA did such a mistake… MA convinced Xhaka to stay put because he claimed Xhaka was part of his project this season… Imagine such nonsense😎😏

  6. Mari was at fault for both goals and the GK does not fill me with confidence.Apart from the wonderful goal from Elneny, ESR and Balogun impressed me.To be fair to Mari, he is not yet match fit and is a very fine passer of the ball who will I am sure improve.Whether he can make it in the EP L with his lack of pace is unlikely.

    1. maybe Mari should me moved a bit forward to d midfield. just my opinion because i can see the man has the ability to read d game when it come to passing of the ball

  7. Gunnerforlife, Runnarrson should remain below par for him to remain a gunner. if he gets too good and starts challenging Leno you know what will happen, you will kiss him good bye

  8. More sad delusion … willock and nketiah need to be moved on asap … lack basic footballing skills to make it in epl in their respective positions … smith rowe didnt do much wrong yday but the idea he was the best player on the pitch beggars any sense of credulity he should go out on loan in january and given a full run somewhere he wont get it at the emirates … to put it in perspective he is same age as mount harvetz foden greenwood … not in same league but room to improve … liked the look of balogun and asseez … would give both a taste of first team matches … AMN best of younger players yday but still has periods when he seems to lose focus gets in to scoring changes now but fluffs them

    1. RW1, well said – I totally agree with every one of your comments, and would add that IMO Saka is regressing worryingly over the last few weeks. Whilst I would agree that he promises something different he is no longer delivering. on that promise. Tierney is putting in more and better quality crosses and Saka’s diminishing ability to either beat players or finish is becoming a concern. Overhyped, affected by the general malaise at Arsenal, or simply exhausted? Hopefully the latter, and I would rest him for a couple of weeks. The brightest prospect by far for me remains Martinelli, but I’m praying we dont rush him back too soon and create another Wilshere/Ramsey invalid, not least because he seems like a great kid. I believe that most of our youngsters, whilst good, will never reach top class premiership standard, despite the praise that we as Arsenal fans in our rose-tinted glasses wishfully lavish upon them! I would be fascinated to know which youngsters others, watching recent Europa and EPL performances, honestly believe are now or have the potential to be good enough to make Arsenal a Top Four Team? I see too many weaknesses that should have already been addressed in players for example such as Nketiah and Willett, and hints but no more of class from Smith-Rowe, Nelson and Balogun.

  9. Cedric and Balogun.

    Although Cedric not the long term answer, he must now be worth a run at R/B.

    Balogun. Would like to see him continue to push ahead of Eddie N, and grab a place on our bench – then hopefully it comes good for the youngster.

    A real Concern follows.

    As I said on here previously, if Leno ships another injury Runar R is nowhere near ready for Premiership football (in fact a million miles away – if indeed he will ever will be up to it, with all due respect to the lad.

    For me, this just adds to the ever growing list of extremely pressing issues we currently have spread throughout the 1st team / squad – in a way, the keeper situation is one of my major concerns.

    1. Agree on Cedric. The more I se him the more I think he gives a consistency we really benefit from. Bellerin is on too many occasions found out. He was always a positionally naiive defender but his pace redeemed him. Now that’s gone hes very ordinary. Balogun is a good prospect, looks better than Nketiah, who is no longer a kid and seems to have become a one trick pony. For a goal sniffer he misses too many sitters. Yes Runarsson looks awful. dodgy distribution, rash decisions, bad positioning, flat footed. Doesnt leave a lot to be poitive abou, does it? I think the saying is “you pay peanuts, you get…”. And he’s another poor buy recommended by a coach.

  10. MA and JM have been doing same thing, or rather playing same tactic, the only difference in result has been the input of personel/players, for example, in Leeds game we had all the chances to win early and even after the red card in the last 15min, 3 goal bound chances were squandered, would present Son or Kane fail to convert those chances? how much chances does our attackers needs to score a goal, against spur, ineffective attack exposed us to opposition counter and we got punished. We can blame MA all days but except our defenders and a few midfielder, most of our players have become liability especially the high earners

  11. Jon I can only think that successive Managers have been lulled into the belief that Xhaka, being a left footer, brings a measure of “balance” to the team.In any event,to me, he contributes precious little to the side going forward, and defensively , he is a liability.I do hope Arteta sees through him soon and goes with AMN, Willock and Elneny in midfield against Burnley which is turning out to be a must win match.

    1. Grandda, I belive that not only we two but almost all Gooners fail to see what successive managers presumably must see in Xhaka. IMO many of our long term problems come from lack of pace and decisiveness across most areas of the team. I cannot ever rememeber a slower moving or less ponderous midfielder at our club in all my 60plus years of watching.

      To my mind , pace and mobility are essentials in any player at the level we need. This is why I never agreed with those who saw Mertesacker as a top player. Not for me, as he lacked any pace and was so immobile and that is always a massive accident waiting to happen.

      Look how many goals Xhaka has been responsible for conceding and then look at how many he has created or scored. A VERY one sided event that would be. It is a complete mystery what any manager sees in him , shared by VERY few fans. Pace, mobility and workrate are essentials in ALL players.


      1. Xhaka provides the occasional good pass forward. He is a good player for a lesser league. He is not PL quality.

  12. My only concern for Runarsson is his positioning in goal.

    You watch carefully, most times he’s at the edge of the box (left or right edge) even when we’re being attacked instead of being in the middle of his goal…. Which is very hilarious!!!!!

    No one was special yesterday to warrant a starting place except Elneny and Cedric who are just a cut above Bellerin and Xhaka.

    Also Mari is the best passer of the ball at the back. Aside from that, he’s still not match fit and I saw him basically reserving his strength for tougher challenges.

    What even baffles me the more is that players like Nketiah are branded “hardworking” but in actual sense they just run around without real conviction to win the ball back off a defender. This alone disqualifies Arteta from being a good coach because players overwork themselves aimlessly without attempts to tackle or win balls back.

  13. I watch all Arsenal games. In my view, Arteta’s style and tactics are poor and his methods are doomed to failure. Many have pointed out his suffocating intense micro management. Also many of our players are overrated. They are growing but have not learned to free themselves of constant mistakes, poor passing, unimaginative passing, and lack of concentration. Watching at least half of corners not getting past the first defender is more sad than anything. How can Arteta stay, when his football cannot be successful. It’s incoherent football and will always struggle. All IMHO.

  14. Absolute dream to not only play against @Arsenal
    but to score against the team I’ve supported all my life! I’ll remember this forever #DundalkFC….

    This was from Sean Hoare, scorer of their 2nd goal. So fair play to him and his teammates… played well and scored 2 great goals!

    Loved all of our goals, especially Mo’s!!!
    ESR and Balogun excellent once again…

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs