Arsenal v Sporting Player Ratings – Vieira the worst in an awful performance

Arsenal v Sporting Player Ratings by Peter Doherty

After displaying dominance, assurance and complete control against Fulham Arsenal showed polar opposite qualities against Sporting. From the kick off Arsenal were uncertain, outworked and uninspired. After the goal they began to have the upper hand but even then it was unconvincing. Whatever was said in the dressing room at half time did not have it’s desired effect, as they emerged a shambles and made a team that are fourth in the Portuguese league look like world beaters.

All in all, this game played out to the worst possible conclusion. Two early injuries caused disruption and concern for the rest of the season. There was the abject failure of any of the second string to demonstrate the capacity to replace their first team counterparts. And then 120 minutes of energy sapping action and tension capped off by a penalty shootout loss.

Our departure from the Europa League may turn out to be a good thing as there has always been doubts that we have the squad to compete on two fronts. The failure of the second choices present in this game to take control of it highlighted the scale of the drop off in performance, because when the main men entered the stage we began to look like ourselves. How this evening will be judged will be clear at the end of the season as it may be a blessing or a curse.

Here are my ratings

Ramsdale (8) This tie would have been long lost if it wasn’t for him. Made a few outstanding saves when his defense seemed to be collectively conspiring to lose the game.

White (4) Made an unexpected early entry for Tomiyasu and showed his surprise by being constantly unaware that a game of football was taking place around him.

Holding (6) Another who entered the game earlier than anticipated but wasn’t particularly culpable for the lack of cohesion. Made a few interceptions when Sporting were on top early in the second half.

Gabriel (6) Was overworked by a lack of midfield cover and Zinchenko’s absence at left back, as Sporting constantly targeted that gap and the Ukranian didn’t react. Was called upon to intervene far too frequently and had a hell of a lot of work to get through.

Zinchenko (4) Was obviously suffering from colour blindness as he managed to pin point pass to green and white on at least six occasions. Caused havoc with his wayward distribution and was taken to the cleaners by Edwards.

Jorginho (5) Maybe suffers by comparison to his counterpart Partey but the difference in stability and control when he was replaced was alarming. Did show what he is capable of with the lovely through ball to Martinelli that caused the goal.

Xhaka (6) Was trying manfully to turn the tide but the failure of his team mates to resemble a cohesive midfield meant it was a thankless and fruitless task. Took the goal well and when the cavalry arrived he regained his groove.

Vieira (3) Is there a player in there? He hasn’t shown anything to date to warrant his price tag or a place in the first team squad. Looked like somebody who had wandered off the terraces, as he had not a single input into the game of note. Has a lot of work to do to convince observers that he has a future at Arsenal.

Nelson (6) Worked hard and it was difficult not to have some sympathy for him as there was very little to work with. Tracked back magnificently on two occasions in particular where he prevented attacks from unfolding. On a night when nothing was going right for the team demonstrated a willingness to graft.

Jesus (6) Showed his qualities as well as a lack of match sharpness in equal measure. In another couple of games his closing down will be considerably more effective. Good to have him back as he offers so much.

Martinelli (6) Toiled in the morass of the team performance but continually showed for the ball. Was directly responsible for the goal and tried constantly to make something happen, although largely to no avail. And of course missed the decisive penalty.

Subs: Trossard (5) From the king of assists to someone you wouldn’t trust to assist a pensioner across the road, in the space of five days. Improved considerably when the first teamers came to play.

Partey (8) For the love of God please don’t get injured. If ever there was a doubt as to his importance to the team then the contrast in pre-Partey and post-Partey should comprehensively dispel it. Makes everyone around him a better player.

Odegaard (8) Similar to Partey he makes everybody else put on their big boy pants. Single handedly rose the volume in the Emirates. Indispensable.

Saka (6) Struggled initially to have an impact but when Odegaard came on for extra time it seemed to bring him to life and he was dangerous thereafter.

Only one tournament to focus on now, which is the only positive that can be taken out if this evening. If we go on and win the league this will be seen as a huge positive.


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  1. I bet Vieira could’ve played better if he worked with Saka on our right wing. Nelson was unable to attract Sporting’s defender into the middle of the field, because his options were more limited on that side

    If Saka or Marquinhos played there, they could’ve opened the right wing for Vieira. Watch how Saka opened the space for Odegaard in other games, by cutting inside frequently

    We’d likely be in big trouble if Saka gets a long-term injury this season. If that happens, Arsenal better assign Vieira or Cozier-Duberry to replace him

    1. GAI
      I personally think Vieira is too lightweight and simply not up to scratch and unfit for the 1st team. Even with good players around him he delivers poor performances.

      He was very bad last night; even when the whole team dipped he was the standout poor performer.

      We have ESR now and Patino coming soon, so I don’t see a place to wait on Vieira. Obviously Arteta thought Vieira would be a Bernado type player, but he is woefully not ready.

      Looks like Ceballos 2.0, and needs a loan first, then sold afterwards. Some players don’t fit in the PL, and Vieira is an example of that.

      1. I have to agree Durand – I would even forego the “loan” part if the opportunity arose…
        In the same way we witness those breakout performances that show us we have a star, we last night saw an “oh my goodness” display to convince many of us that he will never succeed in the EPL. It was like a successful youth player being out of his depth in the seniors – the difference being that he’s had 6 months to adapt.
        He will bulk up, but his reaction time to events around him will always be poor, his willingness to get involved is questionable and this system doesn’t work with only 10 men playing it. His awareness is patchy at best. He struts around and watches others working like Ozil in his twilight days – the difference being that Ozil on his day destroyed teams, whereas Vieira has never done so.
        However, to Arteta (and to other pundits tbh) he seems to be wearing the Emperor’s new clothes, so he may well continue to frustrate the rest of us during the run in.

        1. Guy
          As a fan it’s frustrating to watch Vieira stink up the pitch, and Tierney can’t get a sniff. Vieira lacks the physicality and fight, and basically we play with 10 men far too often when he’s on the pitch.

          Why not Tierney at LB and Zinchenko in midfield instead of Vieira?

          Can we afford to wait for Vieira to outgrow his teenage boy body and start playing? How many 50/50 chances has he won this year?

          Vieira also reminds me of Ozil in his twilight, strolling about, avoiding tackling, invisible for long stretches.

          Just don’t think PL is a good fit for Vieira, perhaps a swap and send him to Spanish league.

      2. He got bullied by a team that originated from his home country and league. That’s a really bad sign. They weren’t any more physical than a standard prem team. Besides that bad tackle on Saka at the end…

      3. He needs to improve his physicality. He reminds me of Ozil, Ceballos and Odegaard when he just joined us

        But I’d like to see how he would perform when playing with Saka on the right side of the pitch. He played there with Marquinhos last year and his performance was much better

  2. Arsenal and indeed MC can’t be winning every game or all the time.
    This will stop the 5 game winning epl . It will break the sequence enabling the gunners to go another run ,hopefully victories

  3. I doubt if Viera will ever be good enough. It’s not just his size. Leo Trossard is 5’7″ too and has great skill and motivation in tight spaces. Viera operates in space, and is easily knocked off the ball. Maybe he needs a years loan. Arteta tries to help him by ‘bigging’ him up, but I’d rather next season Charlie Patino comes back and Viera goes on loan. Just IMHO.

    1. You are forgetting this is his first season in epl, he just moved to new country new culture etc. The league is completely different. He has the technical ability and potential quality to be a good player. Comparing him to trossard is not fair plus it does not help when you are playing in a make shift team. He will come good next season , ppl for get he is 21 years old. If you say you trust Arteta this season then trust his judgment on players.

      1. I understand that it’s his first season, but I think he needs to be out on loan. When Charlie Patino returns he will be much more ready than Fabio Viera. At the moment, now, Viera is very poor in tight spaces and he needs a lot of room to function. Saliba went on loan and came back top class, why not Viera?

        1. My take is a bit different on this, first Patino is not really setting championship on fire he has been OK. Epl is a bug step up and I don’t think he is ready yet. Second I don’t agree with narrative of Saliba, how Arteta has been given credit for it. Credit goes to the managers Saliba played under on loan and Saliba him self to force his way into Arteta’s team. He broke into a strong world cup winning french side and was young french player of the year it would have made Arteta look absolutely dumb not to give him a chance in Arsenal side so he kind of forced his way in. Saliba has not become better now he has been good for 2 years before this season. If we had him last year then we would have finished 4. His performances last year were miles ahead of White and other defenders we kept at the club so no credit does not go to Arteta for saliba’s progression before this season. I would not send Viera on loan and keep him in the team. He will learn more by playing with more quality players in quality league then in some other lower level league. He will come good, cream always rise to the top.

  4. Viera needs to work in the gym 24/7, and needs to eat loads of red meat to bulk up. He looks so frail and weak and a tad on the pale side. He tripped over a blade of grass against Fulham and received a free kick for it. A very interesting Champions League draw for the quarter finals. Manchester City vs Bayern Munich,, and Chelsea vs Real Madrid

  5. Fair enough, but I would give Gabriel Mangalles 8 , Martinelli 4 , Xhaka 5 , jorginho 6 only because of that pass to martinelli that got us the goal.
    Arsenal were only good in the later 25 minutes of the first half and both halves of extra time. We were outplayed, outmaneuvered, out matched , outfought and outclassed in the first 20 minutes of the first half and the entire 45minutes of the second half.
    In hind sight I understand Artetas decision to go with the team he put out, i think he believed (as did I) that that team had at least 2 goals in them, and they almost got it, and his decision to rest MØ, BS and TP5 was based on solid reasoning but luck and the unpleasant surprise of seeing GX, GM11, and FV even LT not step up was mind boggling. The injuries to TT and WS and subsequent forced changes had its own effect on the game plan and tactics.
    Sad but not painful , I was hoping we get a double this season.
    Let’s hope partey ode and saka stay fit and injury free. Our title charge depends on it.

  6. Last night’s game demonstrated how week our squad is. We have a small core of players that are undroppable if we want to stand a chance of winning. Saliba, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Jesus. When these 5 don’t play we look so much weaker. Zinchenko was incredibly poor. I really like him and I think he has had an enormous impact on our team, but how he can keep out Tierney as a nominal defender is beyond me. I understand that Zinchenko fits the way Arteta wants to play with the inverted full-back and it has worked well for us this season but all the danger comes down our left side and Zinchenko just isn’t good enough at defending to stop it. I would much prefer to see him just rotate with Xhaka for the midfield spot and left Tierney do his thing at left back. Martinello would get some proper support and Gabriel won’t have so much covering to do.

    1. Yup. No argument there. The fact that so many among the media are speculating that Tierney is as good as gone is just bizarre given hes our best left back.

      1. Arteta could easily afford him more game time or even adjust our set-up from time to time to include him and Zinchenko. We play 3 at the back basically and Tierney performs that role for Scotland, so I don’t see why we needed to buy Kiwior if I’m honest.

  7. Not sure if you were at the game I was at. Ramsdale was poor . He let in a long-range goal and didn’t get close to any penalties, some of which were not that good . White did little wrong but you are right about Partey and Odegaard . Gabriel was excellent

  8. Saka is starting to rack up some very average performances and can’t say I’m not worried. Our attack relies on Odegaard way too much that is obvious.

  9. Fabio Vieira is clearly technically proficient but he lacks positional sense, he is too easy to brush off the ball, and most importantly last night I saw him shirk responsibility and just try to look for a pass regardless of the situation. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence or maybe he doesn’t trust his own ability. He is a better player than Reiss Nelson but Nelson is prepared to take responsibility and is much better at tracking back and far far stronger on the ball. It’s a real quandary because clearly Arteta likes him. It concerns me that he feels Vieira is more deserving of game time than ESR who has proven he has what it takes at this level.

  10. I still ask myself why did we buy Viera.. His technical ability, his physical strength, his speed or dedication are not upto our expectations. The recruitment team must learn from the past mistakes and must try to correct by employing another measures. Lokonga and Viera got 1 star..

    1. Not every signing is going to work out, unfortunately Sambi, Taveres & Vieria hasn’t worked out as of yet.

      Ramsdale is only part of the problem as to why we lost, his concentration for the goal is debatable and sometimes that is what he lacks but pulled off some great saves when Sporting were all over us.

      We also missed a few chances, hit the post and misplaced or mistimed passes or made wrong decisions to have another pass instead of having a go.

      Squad selections was In question as Vieria should’ve been off long before he was & Saliba/Tomi going off early didn’t help. Jesus just back, so many diff factors but we learn as we go along and now head into one of the most Important parts of the season to go on and lift this league title. 11 Finals begins Sunday, 1 game a week and an international break on its way

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