In depth Arsenal Player Ratings for the 2019/20 Season

Arsenal Player Ratings – Full season 2019/20 Dan Smith

So, I promised myself last week that whatever happened in the FA Cup Final, I wouldn’t let it cloud my judgement for the playing ratings for the whole season. I’ll be honest …. I’m so buzzing about the weekend I’m finding it hard.

In many ways Arsenal are quite a hard team to review as there are two versions of the Gunners. The one before the Pandemic and the one post Lockdown. Because of the 3 month break the first half of this season might feel a long time ago because ….it was. It started In August 2019 and officially it’s still going on in terms of European Competition.

So, if you want to put your player ratings in the comments try to look at the whole Pie not just a piece of it. As much as we want to celebrate what happened at Wembley, try to factor in the dark days of November/December as well…

So here are my player ratings for each Arsenal squad member…

Leno – 8
Let me stress, I think he’s had a good season. I just don’t agree with this perception that he’s one of the best in the League. One day he could be, but it might shock some to learn the German is near the top of a list for errors leading to goals. I should clarify though under Emery he was having to deal with like 20 shots a game. I still haven’t forgiven him for Olympiakos. If he had just a kicked a ball straight instead of out for a corner, we be playing Wolves this week in Europe

Martinez -9
If you had said when Leno got injured at Brighton that he would be training in Cup Final Week, I would have said play him even if only 70 per cent fit. In the end you could tell me that he was 100 per cent ready, I wouldn’t have selected him given Martinez’s form. He made some world class saves against Liverpool and Watford, but also has outstanding presence in terms of taking charge of his area, claiming crosses – which calms down your defence.

If he hadn’t already won the hearts of gooners he did with his post-match interview at the weekend.
Growing up in poverty, he promised his parents that one day he would return to Argentina with a winners medal. A promise he has now fulfilled. Someone in South America has to make a movie of this.

Bellerin – 6
I have taken into consideration the length and seriousness of his injury, which some gooners were guilty of not doing. He was in danger of becoming the next scapegoat within our fan base, the most ridiculous comment I heard was he was the reason Pepe wasn’t playing well, just because the winger happened to cross a decent ball when the Spaniard happened to not be playing. Pepe did okay at the weekend even though Bellerin was our right back?
I was worried that he had lost his pace or the confidence to take on his man and get to the bar line, but technically his burst of pace made our winner in the Cup Final.

Kolasinac – 3
I said it for years if you have to play a back 5 because you don’t trust him defensively, he shouldn’t be a defender for a club at this level. It’s not like we sacrificed his defensive limitations because his final ball is great in the attacking third. Arteta had a vision that maybe he would be more suited as one of three centre backs but while you could never question his effort, he seems to get his feet muddled up and is not confident on the ball. Of course he does deserve credit for his bravery in fighting off those cowardly carjackers back in August.

Tierney – 8
I didn’t know if he had played enough to get this high score due to injuries, meaning it was post lockdown until, he got a proper run in the side. Based on the games he has played, he has been brilliant and crucial to Arteta’s new system.

His manager trusts him to be in the back 3 when we are out of possession but having the intelligence to know when to switch to a wing back and join in with attacks. He can defend, get forward and has a quality delivery. If he stays fit will be a future captain.

Sokratis -3
First choice under Emery but frozen out by Arteta, who has reportedly told the defender he doesn’t tactically do what he wants from his centre backs. You can’t fault his attitude but just because you roar to the crowd and bang your chest doesn’t make you great at what you do. You can trust him to defend a lead in the last 10 minutes, getting his head to things, blocking shots, etc but not good on the ball. The big Greek could be the latest player who we struggle to sell due to his wage.

Mustafi -6
Best of a bad bunch? One of the first things Arteta did was bring him back in from the cold, not understanding why he wasn’t considered just as good as the competition. He is still not immune to mistakes but at the moment he is the most consistent out of our centre backs. It was harsh that he missed another Cup Final due to injury as it would have been a great story, given the verbal abuse from trolls he got in pre-season. At the very least has won the respect of gooners again.

Luiz – 4
The Brazilian’s two best performances for us were the FA Cup Semi Final and Final which kind of sums up David Luiz’s career. Unfortunately though, I have to judge him over the whole season, and given this was the man who replaced Koscielny, you have to say he’s made our defence worse overall. He conceded more penalties and red cards in one campaign at the Emirates compared to his whole time at Stamford Bridge. But he seems a nice chap who is popular in the dressing room, but is that a reason to reward someone with a new extended contract? I’m friendly and assume I’m popular…. where’s my 100,000 pounds a week?

Holding -6
Another defender who one week can be great and then the next week be sloppy. I put that down to his injury problems. If he stays fit, he’s young enough for Arteta to improve. He has put on some muscle and performances in big games fills me with confidence for the future.

Chambers – 6
Calum spent the first half of the season as our first choice right back, popping up with the odd goal from set pieces. The cruel irony is that in Arteta’s home debut he picked Chambers to start in his preferred central position for the first time this campaign only for the defender to get injured. He has showed enough quality on the ball to suggest he could fit into Arteta’s ethos

Maitland-Niles -4
He may have rescued his Arsenal career with his performances in the FA Cup Semi Final and Final, proving to Arteta he can follow the tactical instructions set to him. It’s worth remembering though in the first half of the season he wasn’t even trusted to be our stand-in right back with Chambers preferred to replace Bellerin. The story goes that under Emery and then under Arteta the youngster spoke his way out of the team, by vocally complaining that he wanted to play in his favoured positions of midfield. Has he just done enough for Arteta to give him a bit longer to impress?

Saka -8
Considering his age has shown great bravery and mentality. Even when we were really struggling under Emery he demanded the ball and wasn’t scared to try things where others played it safe . Injuries at left back meant he got a run in the side with a back 3 playing to his strengths. When in the attacking 3 has assisted others although he needs to work on his finishing. That will come the older he gets as well as putting on some more muscle.

The next stage is dealing with the pressure and expectations of being so good so young. He will need the right people around him who make sure that comparisons with a Sterling or Sancho don’t get to his head. In that sense, in the long term it will help him that he was dropped for the Cup Final

Torreira – 4
Whether it’s the niggling injuries or the home sickness his agent talks about every Transfer Window, the Uruguayan seems to lack the enthusiasm and confidence he had when he first joined us. Even when Emery was playing him out of position, he seemed to have more energy, since then it’s like he’s been going through the motions. He is a player we can bring on to protect a lead but not disciplined in the role. In a market where we might have to sell to raise funds, he’s an obvious talent we can cash in on.

Guendouzi – 6
I’m judging him on what he did on the pitch not off it, and for example, you can’t say a Torreira has been better? In the first part of the season was our best player (think back to his performance in the NLD). He showed his youthful side by at times being raw. Would put in great effort but not always disciplined, running round like a headless chicken. If you believe reports it is also that he is not receptive towards advice from his peers but he thinks he’s better than he is. His comments after the Brighton game showed us a mentality not likeable. That we lost to Brighton and his first thought was to boast about his salary tells you about his mindset.

Xhaka -6
At the end of October, it was assumed Xhaka had played his last game for us after swearing back to fans and throwing down the arm band when subbed against Crystal Palace. Arteta has since admitted having to talk the player into not leaving in January. While we don’t always notice what he does when he’s in the team, we certainly notice what he does when he’s not in the team. He brings balance to our midfield and controls the tempo of our game, whereas other midfielders who play deeper are too similar. If I was him after the Cup Final, there are some fans I would have to make a point towards. The sad part is, those who wished his baby would get cancer and would break his wife’s legs probably were cheering when he was making Chelsea go down to 10 men?

Ceballos – 5
Perhaps sums up the pre/post lockdown Arsenal better than anyone else. Gooners got over excited by his home debut, a performance he wouldn’t repeat again in 2019. One of Arteta’s best tactical tweaks was to drop him deeper where he could play the ‘Pirlo’ role. In the final 10 games we saw his partnership with Xhaka develop, but we need to see a bit more of it until I decide if I would want the club to sign him permanently. Another loan would be sensible for all parties in my opinion.

Willock -4
What I like about Willock is he’s not scared to want the ball, or drive at the defence. For a rookie in a team that hasn’t always been the most confident that’s impressive. Unfortunately, this doesn’t normally count for much with his final ball and decision-making poor. Will that improve the older he gets? Time will tell…

Reiss Nelson – 2
The irony being the most anticipated member of our academy graduates has probably been the least impressive. Granted he’s had injuries but, apart from Liverpool, name a game where he really impressed? Even his goal against the Champions was more to do with the high press of the whole team. With youngsters you want to know if they have the right mentality and where Willock wants the ball and at least tries to make things happen, Nelson seems to play it safe and lets the opportunity pass him by.

Ozil -4
No, I’m not going to judge him on his salary or because Stan Kroenke wants to slash the wage bill. Without opening up the debate again, we lost more games without Ozil then we did with him. From January to March when we were unbeaten, he played every game. From March to August when he was dropped, we lost to City, Brighton, Spurs and Villa with us fans often moaning about a lack of creativity. So, I have given him a low score but was he worse than Nelson, Willock, etc ….no way

Even when he has periods where the goals dried up (and some gooners gave him a hard time for it) you can never fault his work rate, sacrificing his own game to help the team. In November and December when we really needed our established players to step up he went missing. Yet in hindsight his body language and demeanour now, compared to then, suggests Emery had lost the dressing room.

Aubameyang -9
While he’s always scored goals the accusation of Auba will be that’s all he did (which isn’t a bad quality) but under Arteta he’s added other elements to his game. He defends from the front, tracks back … things he normally wouldn’t do under Emery.

It’s been such a long season it’s worth remembering back at Xmas he was getting criticised for not being the best captain. He wouldn’t hide his frustration if a youngster misplaced a pass, and his body language was fairly negative. On reflection though, that’s another indicator of how toxic the atmosphere had become under the previous regime. You would never see Auba act like that under Arteta. The one accusation was he never quite did it in big games. He proved that theory wrong in FA Cup Semi Final and Final.

Martinelli -8
It was clear that the idea wasn’t for him to develop so quickly. He used the Cup competitions to make an impression. While he has obvious talent, the most impressive aspect is his mentality. In November to January he became one of our main leaders, quite embarrassing to the rest considering his age . It felt like he was the only one who wanted the ball and wasn’t scared of failing or getting something wrong. If he stays fit he could be one to watch next season.

EddieNketiah -5
He is a gaol poacher but are there other aspects of the game he has to learn? His decision making at times has let him down, but again he’s young so time will tell if he belongs at this level. Apart from his celebration I want to see a bit more swagger. Sometimes I feel like he plays in awe that he’s playing at the Emirates, like he doesn’t believe he belongs. I’m yet to see the ruthlessness I saw at Leeds. Still a Championship and FA Cup winners medal is not bad for a 21-year-old.

Pepe -6
For 75 million you should be making a difference in the big games. Fans have pointed to his number of assists in all competitions but do they protest a bit too much. He’s got some tricks and holds up the ball brilliantly, but can be rash with his final ball. Many gooners give him the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that the likes of Pires needed a season to adjust to English Football. But he seriously needs a lot better.

Do you agree with my ratings?

Dan Smith

Be kind in the comments please….


  1. Maybe Dan you should have done ratings based on the manager they played under ,like 2 separate ratings per player then we would have seen how much improvement each player as made under Arteta ,the least we can do is give them a clean slate each because under Emery we could see each player struggling .
    I bet you no player would have had a worse rating since Arteta took over compared to when Emery was in charge .
    Harsh rating on Luiz IMO ,we have won a cup with big performances from him

    1. Spot on, I thought the Luiz rating was too harsh. We had fans talking about how he was good before the break. He was doing fine, apart from his cheap penalties, he was at best a 5 before the break. The City game after the break made everyone turn their back as usual, he then went ahead to have an OK season.
      Overall?:? Would be a 6 for me.
      How Holding got 6 and Luiz 4 beats me

        1. I agree Luiz was huge in us winning the Cup but also was huge in our worst position in 25 years
          ‘ Apart from the cheap pens ?’ That’s quite a big deal lol

      1. Love the cheeky dig @ Mustafi, even though he was
        BY FAR the best CB on the team under MA. Give
        the man a top class talent to partner with and watch
        the Germans games continue to evolve.

        Ranking Holding/Chambers the same as Mustafi is
        British favoritism at its worst. Both are injury prone and
        even when in form aren’t good enough to prominently
        feature for a team that aspires to challenge for the
        EPL title and CL futbol.

        Bellerin a 6? LMFAO

  2. Can’t simply give Martinez a 9 and Leno 8. You said you’re putting all things in consideration, I hope you’re aware both were in the team under different circumstances.
    Leno was at the back of a broken team, a lost team and he was the only one alongside PEA who kept turning up until he got injured. Yes his mistake cost us the Europa league, after that game and the Chelsea game I don’t recall him being the reason we were terrible at the back. Also there’s a reason he’s the only senior player contending for our player of the season alongside Auba. Saka is a youngster.

    Now Martinez did have a fantastic season, but put into consideration too that he came when Arteta already sorted out our defending as a team.
    He’s very good, very commanding, but in the grand scheme of things he walked into the better team.. He wasn’t facing 20 shots on goal in a single game, hell he wasn’t facing 15 shots on goal in a single game. So it’s unfair to clearly say he’s a 9 and Leno 8… Both deserves a 9 of we’re being sentimental, if we’re being fair, Martinez had a solid 8… Leno with the 9 because of what he was doing.

    And Ozil getting a 4 while Ceballos 5?
    Ozil didn’t even do up to half of what Ceballos did.

    Xhaka should be a solid 7 or 8, heaven knows I saw what he could do under Emery and I wrote a few times how he was exposed and being used wrongly by Emery, I even wrote an article on it, about how Emery exposes Xhaka and constantly let’s Xhaka take the blame for our team’s poor performance.
    Then a proper manager came, and we saw the truth about him.
    Well, they’re your ratings

    1. I dont think AMN performed lesser than holding and chambers as well.
      I think we are been overprotective of Holding because of his 2months heroic display under UE and his injury.

      1. Holding did nothing to warrant even a 5 if we’re being honest, but that’s not a discussion fans wanna have.

    2. Okay Ozil apparently didn’t do half of what Ceballos did ?
      Ozil.1 goal. 3assist – poor – hence gave him a 4
      Ceballos – 2 goals , 2 assist having played double the amount
      So again Ozil doing half of what Ceballos did simply made up.

      1. @Dan Ceballos has been amazing in the role he is playing. He is protecting the back line, helping to build out from the back and pass the ball from a deeper positon to forward players. He has been fantastic at recoveries, interceptions, tackles as well as him dribbling past opposing players and then deliver the ball. He has also shown fantastic passion and dedication for the team and he has excellent workethic.

        Playing from a deeper position then an attacking midfielder he is not expected to have an abundance of goals or assists. So comparing him with Ozil on one metric alone is perhaps not the best approach.

        1. I didn’t make the comparison
          A reader said Ceballos had double the stats of Ozil so that’s him making comparison
          I would say Ceballos played as an AM till post lockdown, his only consistent run in team

      2. Really? Comparing Ozil to Ceballos? Because their goal contributions are same, you claim Ozil did what Ceballos did?
        The same Ceballos that was protecting the back line and helped in quick transitions is the one you’re comparing with Ozil who can’t run 5 yards?
        At this point I doubt if you’ll ever say the truth about anything to do with Ozil

        1. Eddie , you made the comparison
          Your words ‘ Ozil hasn’t done half of what Ceballos has’ which was a lie
          I never said Ozil did the same hence why I gave him a lower score then Ceballos
          Most of this season Ceballos played as an AM and didn’t get in the team but if you want me rate him a DM , why are you bringing up Ozil?

    3. I gave Leno an 8 not a bad score
      Just think Martinez was better
      If your using Emery as an excuse then that applies for everyone
      Leno under Arteta made mistakes against Chelsea, Everton , Olympiakos , so couldn’t give him a 9

  3. Decent rating but I will give luiz a 5 or 6. Yes, he goofed at times and decent in some games. Those two games against (Mancity and Chelsea) were huge in lifting a trophy and he did well..

    Ceballos I will give him a 6 or 6.5. Tempted to even give him a 7. Lol.

    Other ratings are spot on for me. Welldone Dan Smith

    1. me I think apart from our goal keepers, non of our team right from manager is beyond a 5. people fancy auba en hyp him a lot, to me there is no reason he can give for not lifting the Golden boot given its person, the team has done enough to create for him, en I will Neva 4get the Europa incident atop strike how do loose such a Golden chance last minute, a person who wants to go for champions league.
      en to me I think matinelli can take on his boots if is going let him leave, coz I see the club heading to disastrous decisions if they don’t let him go.

      1. You must have smoked something. I have seen messi and c7 miss bigger chances so I don’t understand why a striker who plays on the wings and gives you 20+ goals is not fancied by you. You forgot you have other players playing at position 9 how many goals are the scoring or how many times are the getting in a position to even have a good chance at goal

  4. Fair actually, I’ll give AMN and chambers , Luiz, bellerin a 5 each they all had an average season, and Gabi 7 while lacca get a 5 or even 4, as football fans we seems to always pardon, pampers and easily overlook attackers shortcomings.
    The general review of our worst season in a long time, may center it’s blame on defensive horrendous shows, but if we are not been bias, the blame is equally shared between our defense and attack in my opinion, inability to kill off the game early constantly put in a lot of pressure on the defence and lacca was at the middle of it all, in fact AUBA isn’t left out, for a team to lose same amount of games with 2nd place team and still end up 8 says a lot. Loosing from a winning position was the other of the day in our woefully season which cost us at least 5draws, remember Brighton, Bournemouth, I think we seems to pardon the attackers easily.

    OT: to answer Dan repeated ‘conspiracy theory’ concerning Ozil treatment, Dan is asking us why Ozil started all our game during MA reign prelock-down but relegated him to the bench post lock-down, my answer is CEBALLOS, the guy was in the treatment room when MA arrived and didn’t have opportunity to show his ability and immediately he returned and show up at the training the manager was able to see a better fit for his tactics, and we all agreed so, the reason Ozil was axed from the starting 11

  5. I clicked on this article fearing the worst, but these are actually really sensible ratings made with a great sense of perspective. Good one mate.

  6. I do think ESR shouldve been mentioned and i would have given him a 5.
    And if we comsider managers

    I do expect the club to loan some of young academy players.
    Overall not a good season

    1. Dan, the rating of AMN is very unfair, because he should be rated on how he performed when played. He should not be rated, when the head coach decided not to select him, particularly when Arteta failed to select him when he was playing well.

  7. Everyone will have their own ideas but at the end of the season it’s probably appropriate to rate the team as a whole.In this respect , I would rate our season as a five due to our low league position and our early elimination from what is a secondary European competion.At best I could perhaps increase this to six after the FA Cup win and taking into account a lot of unfortunate injuries.Now what rating should I give MA?

    1. Great way to sum up our season, Grandad. Regarding MA, who has tactically been able to protect our weaknesses and show our strengths while still adapting to opponents. This was what I hope Emery wanted to do, but his constant reactionary tactics and the players downing their tools didn’t work for him. In that regard, MA can have, in my humble opinion, a 7-7.5.

      1. I don’t think they downed tools Sid I believe they saw the limitions that Emery brought to the side and just lost hope .
        But I agree on what you said of Arteta ,he has bought the best out of limited players and we have seen an upturn in results .

        1. Dan, Emery’s limitations were in communication in English, not in football knowledge and coaching ability. He was not supported in the transfer window to get the players he requested and had the players available to him depleted by injuries. Yes the players “downed tools” on him in the last few games to miss fourth place and the Europa League final. When this continued into 2019/20, there was no alternative other than to sack him.
          It is hoped that the Board and senior executive support Mikel Arteta and give him the players HE WANTS in the transfer window. In addition it is hoped that Arteta has better luck with player injuries.

  8. How any one who watches the game can rate xhaka’s year above ceballos’ is a mystery to me … he was a 2 before the lockdown and he has improved a lot to a 4 since … assuming an equal weighting which is generous to him that’s a 3 for the season … as long as he’s still on the books he’s just another albatross around our necks

    1. The Xhaka under Arteta is what keeps our midfield ticking, in our current formation. Post lockdown he was indispensable, and in his absence, Ceballos doesn’t get the amount of support needed for his progressive play in the DLP role.

      1. That’s right like a pendulum … from side to side … he can’t pass cant dribble cant tackle can’t anticipate the play around him … sure he passes back to ceballos if he is behind him … if he is a regular next season we will be lucky to get back in to top 6 and no chance of top 4 … without a doubt pound for pound the worst footballer in an arsenal shirt in our midfield I can recall … praise I read here is delusional … like the wenger years with bentner and walcott crowd

        1. He might not be everybody’s cup of tea but like Sid said under Arteta he has performed pretty good ,he has done the job required of him ,we have slim pickings in that area and for now he has done what’s been asked of him .

        2. RW1 – I totally agree with you regarding Xhaka!
          People see a slight improvement and have massively over-inflated him. Xhaka always was, and will be – a f**king liability. Anyone with two eyes can see this, it’s only these Wenger-era plastics who’ve been deluded by mediocrity who make excuses for him. It was the same story with Ramsey and look what happened there… neither are AFC quality in the roles they are assigned. #xhakaout, #ozilout, #kroenkeout

  9. With the exception of Aubameyang, Leno, Martinez, Saka, Ceballos and Tierney, all over 7. Every other player should be rated 6 or below, we finished 8th and the rest of the team were dire and at times a total let down. Yes some had some really good games but over a season they were short by a long way.

    1. From the tym Ozil en Matteo have been left out we have been relying on the defense, especially Tierney for creating, I mean there is no link of play from the midfield to strikers, it has been from defender to striker, en we so laca yelling at defenders for directly kicking the ball in front during the cup finals.

      1. Arsenal need a number 6. we need people who are specific. Idk some people talk a lot about the Matteo issue, Matteo is specific, is a holding midfielder en Ozil is specific is a creater, standard teams have the three, a number 6, a holding midfielder and a creating midfielder en that’s y u can see baca en Madrid on Matteo’s case a lot.

        sorry for xhaka is best as a defender, I so it under UE, is not specific in the midfield.

  10. I think these are fair ratings Dan. A lot of people want the ratings higher because Arteta changed the season for us. But these players are still responsible for the effort they put on the pitch and 90% of them were absolutely AWFUL for the majoirty of the season. And i’m not exaggerating. Ppl need to go back and rewatch some of our games earlier in season to remind themselves just how bad of a side we were and how horrible these players attitudes were. Arteta saved many of their reputations by instilling discipline and making them accountable for their piss poor displays.

    No CB deserves higher than a 6, and it rightfully went to Mustafi. Luiz, after coming off a good season for Chelsea, had his level drop DRAMATICALLY. And we all know its because he doesnt take Arsenal as serious as he took Chelsea. Cech has said a similar thing. (Another reason im weary of Willian). Holding blows hot and cold as you said. I dont rate him as high as others. Okay close to the season for him.

    Midfield, yeah just a mess. Ceballos was horrendous until the restart, so the 5 is earned. Because it really could’ve been a 2-3 if he didn’t turn it around in the end. Xhaka I never thought was awful for us, and he did always put in effort. There was just obviously the breaking point with the fans where it all went south, but another player who somewhat redeemed himself when Arteta came in.

    Up front, Pepe left a lot to be desired. Some games I really like him, most games I don’t. He needs to make changes in the way he plays. Less dribble in circles. The quality of his crosses saves his season from being a total disaster. Lacazette, hard worker, but such a drop in quality compared to last year. “Yikes” describes a lot of his performances. Definitely picked it up towards the very end at least. And Auba is Auba and has kept us out of a relegation battle honestly, and kept Emery in his job longer than he deserved to be there.

    The very end of the season really saved a lot of these players from ppl remembering how poor they were all season. Glad we rallied at the end to win silverware, but worst EPL season in over 2 decades, the ratings cannot be very high at all, can they?

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