Benfica v Arsenal Player Ratings – Great performance but goals sadly lacking

It is amazing how exactly the same group of players could have such a toothless performance in front of goal, after destroying Leeds (who are a far better opponent than Benfica!) so quickly at the weekend. I have to say that most of the team had a solid performance but it is a shame that Aubameyang was totally toothless.

Surely we must do better in the second leg?

Bernd Leno – 6
Had an easy night and should have ended with a clean sheet but for the dubious penalty for Benfica.

Cédric Soares – 7
A very able deputization for Tierney and even assisted the 57th minute equaliser for Saka.

Hector Bellerín – 7
Hector seems much more relaxed with Saka in front of him. Good all round performance.

Gabriel – 7
A very solid performance and glimpses of great promise.

David Luiz – 7
Partners well with Gabriel, but all the defenders today were without much pressure.

Martin Ødegaard – 7
The Norwegian looks like a real find, I just wish Arsenal could afford him.

Dani Ceballos – 6
Not one of his best nights, and dare I say a usual performance from the Spaniard. I expected more than this against a team like Benfica.

Bukayo Saka – 8
There is no doubt that this man will lead us to glory in the future..

Emile Smith Rowe – 7
Would have rated higher if not unlucky with the penalty call for Benfica. He is still on couurse for stardom.

Granit Xhaka – 7.5
Very solid display and a calming prescence.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 5
What a difference to the the last game. Oh Aubz! We should have seen another hat-trick!

Substitutes
Gabriel Martinelli – 6
Great to see him back in action and I hope to see him against City.

Kieran Tierney – 6
Again – Great to see him back in action and I hope to see him against City.

Nicolas Pépé – 5
Not involved much

Willian – N/A

Mohamed Elneny – N/A

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50 Comments

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  1. Dan kit says:

    I’m not a fan of Ceballos one but but he was easy MOTM for me .
    Brilliant again from saka ,even though he looks shattered,biggest moan from me is not seeing more from Martinelli ,I just hope Arteta is being cautious with him ,because watching 2 loan players get minutes ahead of this talent would not sit right with me .

    1. Defund_My_Fanboys_Opinion says:

      Agreed dan especially on the martinelli front, he definitely needs more game time!

      1. ozziegunner says:

        👍 👍

  2. Reggie says:

    WHAT! Xhaka 7.5 after that display, giving the ball away needlessly more than once, playing backwards more than forwards, even getting a dirty look from his team mate for turning round in the 70th minute and playing to Luiz when he had an empty field in front of him. The guy was by far Arsenals worse player. Plus i dont think you watched the game properly to give Luiz the same score as Gabriel, Luiz was by far our best defender. Al opinion but to give Xhaka a 7.5 is rediculous.

    1. Reggie says:

      Oh and Ceballos was by far our best midfield, i dont get where you are coming from with these ratings.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Reggie, based on this performance the ratings across the board are too high; Aubameyang 5!

    2. Behlule says:

      I agree Reggie, Xhaka was so poor and Gabriel as well. Ceballos is just average for me and I would pick Elneny all the time over him. Auba is so poor these days and needs to find confidence.

      1. Son says:

        Am sure you guys didn’t watch that game
        ceballos played a beauti bellerin through to set up that auba chance in the first half, the guy bossed the midfield, dictating the play,
        won back possession many times

        1. Reggie says:

          Doh! I said Ceballos played well did you not read the post? Son

        2. Geo_Gooner says:

          70% of Ceballos’ passes were backward, and he delays our attack with too many unnecessary touches. Elneny is clear for me.

    3. Joe says:

      Bro , quit with the whole negative play thing . I saw Tierney play the most infuriating back passes with no threat in sight . in one instance Pepe and martinelli combined to create a corridor for him down the left and he literally run about 20 meters backwards with the ball to find Luiz . let’s stop acting like back passes are unique to particular players.
      And all the ones you love are the progressive ones. Much as Xhakas ball at the end of the first half was crappy, the idea was smart. Had either Bellerin or Ceballos been alert to it,it could have sprung an attack having taken 3 opponents out of contention.
      One would think Xhaka played the most back passes in the game, but I’m sure if I checked, it might not be true.

      1. Reggie says:

        Xhaka is the sole most negative player in the team added to his speed of control, he is one of the biggest single problems in the team. Yes i saw Tierney play that rediculous ball back but to call Tierney on the way he plays generally is rediculous, Tierneys play generally is forward, that isnt my point and he shouldn’t be singled out as an example for one pass.

  3. Kay says:

    I can’t seem to understand Arteta’s obsession about Willian, he should have kept Ozil instated. It’s making me infuriated each time I see his name in the squad .

  4. Behlule says:

    I agree Reggie, Xhaka was so poor and Gabriel as well. Ceballos is just average for me and I would pick Elneny all the time over him. Auba is so poor these days and needs to find confidence.

    1. Thomo says:

      Aubameyang has no confidence he just banged in a hat trick

  5. Danny says:

    Don’t think it really matters what team we pick for Man City game we will get destroyed whoever plays will be very painful watching and a reality check for some to show we are a million miles away from challenging for anything!!

    1. Innit says:

      I agree sadly
      I think the last time City didn’t win was in December

  6. Sue says:

    Funny how we see different things!
    I thought Dani had a great game and even had me singing “He drinks Estrella, he eats paella……” in my living room 😄
    Starboy Saka gets a huge thumbs up – he did it again!
    Let’s hope we have more to be happy about this time next week!

    1. lcw says:

      I admit. There is only one reason to like Dani and it is as good as any😉

      1. Sue says:

        He’ll have you singing before long, Icw 😄

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Danny Ceballos did play well Sue. I would like to see him playing alongside Thomas Partey in midfield.

          1. Sue says:

            Me too, Ozzie..

  7. Goonerforever says:

    Xhaka is too safe and slow with his passing, Ceballos tried to drive forward with the ball which creates space for others alongside Odegaard. Xhaka is generally too slow to dribble or does his usual shield the. Ball and fall over for a foul, but which again slows us. Pace is the thing that will win us games.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Ceballos or Odegaard should replace Xhaka to play alongside Partey, when he returns from injury. This will speed up Arsenal’s play forward to ESR (or Odegaard) playing behind the front 3.

  8. stevie says:

    Xhaka was awful gave the ball away to slow passed backwards all the time Ceballos my motm

    1. Thomo says:

      I couldn’t believe in the last 10 minutes how slow we were playing and passing sideways and backwards

  9. gotanidea says:

    – Soares: Growing in his LB role, but he still can’t dribble as good as Tierney along the left wing. We still need a specialist LB to compete with Tierney
    – Bellerín: Had Aubameyang been able to bury the easy chance, he would’ve gotten an assist. Arteta’s tactic to make him cut inside has helped our DMs and CBs tremendously
    – Magalhaes and Luiz: Nothing much to do, since Benfica’s attackers didn’t really press high up the pitch
    – Ceballos: He’s my MOTM, because he made at least two defense-splitting passes and some crucial interceptions. Had Aubameyang been able to bury his first easy chance, he would’ve made two pre-assists
    – Xhaka: Erratic display, as shown in some of his misplaced passes. Apart from his jittery moments, he stayed deep as the last DM to do some dirty works and his forward passes through our left flank made our attacking flow ticked
    – Ødegaard: Too invisible for my liking, so he’d probably need more time to gel with his new teammates. Smith-Rowe’s previous performances in the CAM position were better than Ødegaard’s
    – Smith-Rowe: Didn’t make too much impact and ball recovery, because he played on the left wing which is not his natural position and the other attackers didn’t swap their positions frequently with him. He was unlucky to get the handball in our penalty box
    – Saka: Didn’t click well with Aubameyang and Ødegaard, but still managed to score. A consistent inverted RW like him is a rare breed
    – Aubameyang: He needs to be more focused next time

    1. RFrancis says:

      This is a brilliant/accurate assessment GAI. Well done.

    2. ozziegunner says:

      GAI, Odegaard was “too invisible” for your liking, because he kept taking up good positions in space and “team mates” like Bellerin refused to pass him the ball.

      1. Joe says:

        I’ve seen this argument a lot but it goes both ways. There’s times when the reverse was true.
        I did see times when Odegaard could have passed to Bellerin or Saka, but he chose Xhaka or Ceballos .

  10. Grandad says:

    To describe Odegaard as a “real find” is not appropriate for a player who has been recognized as supremely talented for a number of years.Unlike Ozil, he works hard off the ball to close down and regain possession, and he is clearly highly skilled and aware of what is going on around him.I think he will be a real asset for the rest of the season particularly if he can be encouraged to shoot when he gets into good positions at the edge of the box.A class player who links up well with ESR and Saka, a trio who will put bums on seats when fans are allowed to return.Tough game ahead on Sunday but we can create a surprise if every player is completely switched on and gives 110%.

    1. lcw says:

      Some how you always find a way to bash Ozil even when the subject at hand has nothing to do with the man.. Odegaard and Ozil are 2 different players with 2 different styles and even different positions.

      That said at age 22 Ozil was an actual starter at Real while Odegaard (at the same age) was shipped out on loan because he wasn’t good enough.

      I hope he does well for us but so far there is no magic to his game and ESR appears to be the more complete player. Besides, let’s hold judgement till he plays well against good teams instead of Benfica.

  11. PJ-SA says:

    IMO the kids seem to click much better with Laca that with Auba when they play together. Maybe because Laca is a lot more involved in build-up/general play.

    I find Auba really struggles when we play a team that defends deep, without his pace and gaps behind a defence he doesn’t seem to offer much unfortunately.

  12. Kay says:

    I hope Arteta’s sentiment will not cost the team. There was no reason for Auba to be on the field for such a long time after wasting a lot of chances and considering we had Laca on the bench. I also don’t understand his obsession about Willian. I hope we will all wake to the reality that Auba will not get better, He’s more interested in His weekly packages than playing for the shirt now.

  13. Gworm says:

    How does Martinelli get a 6? He hardly touched the ball! Not his fault, he was screaming for it but the passes didn’t come.
    I really don’t rate Ceballos, even for all the good defensive work last night.

  14. A J says:

    “Dani Ceballos – 6
    Not one of his best nights, and dare I say a usual performance from the Spaniard. I expected more than this against a team like Benfica”

    MoM for me.

    Thought Dani had a very good game.

    It’s all about opinions.

  15. GPeter says:

    As far as I’m concerned, every player played well to the setup of the opponent. Few mistakes here and there is part of the game. Don’t expect perfection from every player in every game. We created chances, no excuse for the misses. We are getting better!!

    On Sunday, we go again. #COYG.

  16. Iykmatt says:

    This your love affair with luiz will eventually end in tears because it seems in your sight he does no wrong at all

  17. jon fox says:

    Again, though as a voice in thr wilderness, I make the critical point that UNLESS we have a table of what each ranking mark precisely means, that the whole thing is a pointless shambles. Some consider 7 as good; others think a nine means the same. Like comparing chalk and cheese!

    It i s a meaningles shambles UNLESS all are ranking from the same hymn sheet. It seems only I see this! Or perhaps I am the only one who wants a fair comparison and thinks it matters that we do have one.

    But nothing will change, as people don’t care about fairness, only about giving their own meaningless – without a ranking table – opinions. This is the reason I do not take part in this charade.

    1. Chapo says:

      Best comment I’ve read on here regarding the ratings. Every rate number should have a particular definition.

      For instance you score a goal 6, two assists gets you a 7, five clearances 8, 7 saves gets you 9, 1 red card -5, 1 unnecessary yellow card -2, 1 neccesary yellow card for the team +1. Attackers should have their own standards, midfielders theirs and defenders theirs too. I think if we can bring a definition to each number rating for each role and position then it will be great. Jon is right and doing that will bring fairness because it seems the writer gives ratings based on what he feels not actual match contributions e.g Ceballos in this case.

      Firstly I think to do this we’ll need a well detailed article on what each number ratings for each position and role will be and how it will be earned. After that all writers will know that there is a standard with which the ratings are given. We have good writers in Dan Smith, Konstantin, AI, etc. But I think this should be the work of the Admin, Admin defines the standard of the ratings for each position and role. Once defined then any writer that decides to rate will follow the standards set by the Admin. That to me is the only way we can start seeing fair ratings.

      A very great suggestion Jon.

      1. jon fox says:

        Chapo, Thank you for proving I am not a totally lone voice! Without some substance, then all rankings are just wildly diverse opinions based on subjective random fans ways of seeing play and as such, meaningless.

        1. Chapo says:

          Really wish the Admin could look into this idea of yours. This is not me telling the Admin what to do but I think this idea of yours if implemented will be very nice.

  18. GunnerDev says:

    Did no one else see xhaka telling everyone to slow down after yet another back pass?

    1. Joe says:

      It’s called being an experienced player. You can’t concede if the opponent doesn’t have the ball.

  19. adajim says:

    i think Xhaka had an average game but for that crucial block that lead to the counter we got, was enough to wipe his mistakes

  20. Mogunna says:

    did we win or draw?

    Not sure destroyed be proper word against Leeds, shaky could have been a draw or nervy 4-3…

    With a draw, i would rate 6 in average in staed of 7

    1. Tony says:

      Hey Mogunna man! Where have thy been fan.😅😅

  21. Joe. S says:

    Found your six for both Martinellii and Tierney puzzling. Martinellii did absolutely nothing, not that I blame he just didn’t have the opportunity to get involved. Tierney on the other hand was involved,and if anything contstructive was going to come out of attack in the final 25 minutes it would be from his running. Blinkered vision or wishful thinking?

  22. Joe. S says:

    Oh My! Just noticed you’ve given the mighty Granit 7.5. Yes what an inspiring dominant presence. The City boys must be quaking in fear.

  23. sekman says:

    ESR was not good last night.. i give him a 5.5 at most

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