Player Ratings for Arsenal’s tough win at Brighton

It certainly wasn’t as exciting as Arsenal’s win over Chelsea, but it was a tough slog and 3 points is 3 points, however you look at it. Brighton didn’t make it easy for us at all!

Here are my Player Ratings…

Leno: 8
Definitely one of Leno’s better games. Made a couple of excellent saves and seems to have an understanding with Holding and Mari

Tierney: 7
Fast becoming one of the first names on the team sheet. Gives his all every time.

Mari 7
We may have needed to wait a long time to see him fit enough to play, but it was worth the wait. Solid.

Holding: 7
Long may Holding stay fit as well. Him and Mari are looking like a very solid pairing and surely must be first choice when fit.

Bellerin: 7
Another good game from Hector. He seems to have clicked with Saka down the wing.

Elneny: 6
He seemed out of sorts in the first half and kept giving the ball away. Improved in the second but not up to his usual standard.

Xhaka: 7
No detractors today. Solid display without errors. As it should be!

Martinelli: 7
This boy is the real deal and will be even better when he matures further. May need protecting at times.

ESR: 8
An old head on young shoulders. Another youngster earning a permanent spot.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Saka: 9
Another superb display. His energy is catching but defenders just love taking him down. works his socks off.

Auba: 6
Auba is still far from his best. Maybe we need a new captain.


Laca: 8
Perfectly timed change from Arteta, and perfectly taken goal despite it not being the perfect pass. A true poachers goal. Have we got the real Lacazette back?

Ceballos N/A


    1. Giggsy was a traditional LW, but Saka’s weaker foot is more adept to be an RW. Probably Pepe could be a conventional LW or LB, if he doesn’t cut it on the right wing

          1. Mark thanks for that, I don’t get some people problem with Gotanidea, the man analyse football better than half of the fans here but still some still find ways to criticize him. If you don’t like his post then just move on its not a must you comment under his post.

          2. Some people are just too lazy and simplistic in their assessment of football. All they care about are STATS and who their favourite player is.

            As a human species, we are more attracted bu simple catchy HEADLINES and one liner CATCHPHRASES.

        1. Typical Arsenal comparing mari with Gabriel at 22years. Two good games and he is better than our 3 consecutive player of the month

    2. Saka is world class at 19 , Martinelli Will be a super star,ESR is another one that proved to be good enough for first team football an Ozil replacement.We just need a new midfielder to replace xhaka samaore of lille or niles can do a great job there so buy or play our own

      1. The 19 year old tough tackler.. Cant recall his name that just signed should be brought to replace xaka,or raid Brighton for bisoma(since their going down, he should be cheap, lamptey is young like arsenals rising stars.. So it would be great for team building)
        Edu must ship out
        Nketia (loan)

        Suff our midfield with buendia, esr, the guy from dortmund(yes all 3)

        Strikers: auba, laca, martineli, balogun.

        Hope mikel has learnt his lesson youths are the way forward.. And arsenal is filled with too many old logs oldand stagnant energy.. He should check dortmund, ajax etc where unknown “kids” are making it happen

        1. So ship out 10 players ?
          That is not going to happen ,and half the players you mentioned our 1st team regulars.

          1. That’s the issue with arsenal supporters.. Very confused.. Yes ship out all the above and more.. How many are playing?

            Ozil =esr

            Ican go on on but every listed player above is easily replaced.. Worse case scenario by an acedemy kid..

            Worse case scenario The acedemy kids cant perform worse than those above.. Paraventure they do.. They live and they learn

    3. That’s exactly the comparison I’ve had in my head for a while. They don’t have exactly the same playing style (Giggs was far quicker compared with the defenders he was up against) but there are similarities in their consistency and intelligence.

  1. Saka has been playing well as RW, but I’m afraid he’d have to be LB again if Tierney is injured. I’m just concerned about Bellerin’s aerial ability, since Bernardo won seven out of nine aerial duels against him and Marco Alonso also did that two seasons ago

    1. I think Bellerin spends so much on his hair.

      He feels afraid to head a ball perhaps he’s finding a way to escape dementia

  2. I saw last game people here criticising Mari performance anyone who saw how he put his tackles last game know that he’s can defend well, Holding is good enough, Tierny is a horse, bellerin is good player and I think our defense is sorted for years.Gabriel has not impressed me much,when he get tested enough I can tell you he’s not good enough .Elneny out party in and you the rest should earn their place in the first team,as for distractors like Ozil his contract should be terminated atletico just did that fo costa.

    1. You’re being a bit harsh on Gabriel don’t forget that he hasn’t been here 6 months I think it’s due to the standards he’s set since he came in and the timing of his loss of form is no coincidence he is used to winter breaks as for Bellerin there are rumours that if one candidate gets elected as Barca president he wants Hector back .

    2. I don’t understand where the negativity towards Mari came from. He looked very solid until his injury last year. I think he’s just been a stick to beat Arteta with because he was MA’s signing, but he’s not done much wrong and looks to have a bit of leadership ability.
      Gabriel has been absolutely excellent overall, especially given his age and the fact he was thrown in straightaway during a rough period. It’s really harsh to criticise him now.

      1. A good post
        I liked Mari before his injury and he is doing fine since his return
        He is a trier – something that has been missing in some of the team

    3. Gabriel has been our best player for the last two or three months. Pls stop demoralizing our players.

  3. Martinelli yelling at Auba to spring back and press is the highlight for me.
    Don’t give a damn who Auba is.
    These kids needs to keep screaming at them and showing them how it’s done

    1. Eddie, this (a young Martinelli calling him out) is indicative of why Aubameyang will never be captain material, as long as his backside points at the ground. Is the misplaced captaincy another reason for his loss of form?

  4. Saka and Leno for MOTM for me ,I wasn’t sakas biggest fan last season but he keeps getting better and better and Leno again showed why the club stick with him as NUmber 1 .
    A shout out agin to Bellerin who I thought was top notch but won’t get any plaudits from a section of our fan base .

      1. Dan Dan we all love Leno and want him to do well but saying he should be MOTM have to be a joke, Saka Tierney and Holding should be MOTM, Leno was well protected, if I remember very well he only saved 2 shots one at close range and the other a routine save but I understand what you are trying to prove. Happy new year to you and your family.

    1. “A shout out agin to Bellerin who I thought was top notch but won’t get any plaudits from a section of our fan base”

      You are a fair minded individual.. Some fans are quick to call out some players for poor performances but you can hear a pin drop when they do well..

      1. Mark exactly sir, have been waiting for two people on here who always talk about Cedric being a better defender than bellerin to at least say something good about bellerin but they have been quiet since the Chelsea match. I won’t mention names.

      2. Mark I have no idea what your comment ment ,so I’ll leave it at that ,
        Leno Leno you can see what I’m trying to prove ? I’ve called out 3 players who I thought played well what’s the problem in that ,I’ve been Bellerin biggest fan on here all season so if your getting at something g spill it out .
        Some of you speak in riddles and It looks like Mark as become one of you .

    2. Saka’s strength is in his head. He doesn’t get phased by anything, always calm and just keeps learning and getting better.

    3. Did you not see Leno’s juggling the ball when he came within inches of gifting Brighton a goal??
      Otherwise a good performance, but overall still not on Martinez’s level.

  5. Saka was the motm and that was a perfect finish from laca.
    The Saka-laca-xhaka seems to be working😉

    ESR has massive potential and should keep on playing

  6. Xhaka and Elneny were poor. they can’t move the ball forward fast enough. the weakness of our connection between defence and attack is the root of our problem, and can only be solved with two top midfielders.

    1. OxInTheBox we must have watched a different match, Xhaka like all the other players played poorly in the first half but he played well in the second half, his understanding with Saka and Smith seems to be working,but I know some fans will never say anything good about some particular players even when they had a good match.

      1. Lenohappy, 100%agree.
        Excellent grading of the players AND 10 out of 10 for the boss… selection and half time talk.
        Long may it continue.

  7. ESR and Saka are teaching us the most effective way to play in the final third. Beat the defender with speed on the outside and then squaring the ball for the striker. We could revitalize Pepe’s game too if he plays this way on the left side. There is enough speed up front to do this very well.

  8. A dilemma for Arteta concerning Mari or Gabriel? Mari is probably better in terms of positional sense and passing but lacks pace whereas Gabriel is commanding in the air and physically strong.Holding is doing well as the right sided CB and is showing good leadership qualities.Elneny needs a rest and hopefully AMN will replace him against WBA if the game is still on?

    1. Grandad I always love reading you and Gotanidea analysis, I know everyone loved Gabriel but I really still don’t have much confidence in him, he seems to lack positional sense, whereas Mari seem like a very intelligent defender, Mari played one over the top pass to Saka yesterday which could have lead to goal if only Saka was able to control it well, thats what we have been missing since Luiz got injured a defender that can really pass the ball. And as for El neny I also think he should get some rest along with Saka against west brom, we should still have more than enough to beat west brom.

    2. Not concerned at all.. Different horses for different courses( I think that’s the Plus AFC has horrendous luck with injury…but I see your point

    3. Mari and Holding are both good enough to be bit-part players. Not starters, though, if we hope for a return to top 4, clearly.

      Unless Arteta is a shit coach who cannot coach defenders, our starters next season should be Magalhaes and Saliba, with Mavropanos, Mari, and Holding as backups.

  9. I’m more than ok with the ratings. Leno gave me a near heart attack with juggling the ball. Scary moment.
    Auba is not captain material and had a lacklustre game. Excellent goal from Laca and an all round better second half.

  10. Let’s stay calm and cautious, we won two games, first in a dominant manner, not second, we must kill game as against Chelsea.

    Bit scary towards end, defended very well by holding ball, to avoid a draw which would have changed ratings I’m sure.

    I was not satisfied by team selection as he just played same and sacrificed Laca for Auba and he ends up saving the day. The change was a must, players tired, not a genius move.

    Saka should have been rested so do Martinelli to protect him and Rowe and Elneny who all ran socks off against Chelsea as Tierny.

    Rotation is a must during boxing day, and we must not burn young players but play them.

    Bellerin Holding Mari Kolas
    Willock Xhaka
    Nelson Auba Pepe.

    This team wins this game by 3,, eager to play, fresh legs.

    Goals by Auba Nelson Willock.

    Get all players involve, rest and protect some. I felt we could have lost Saka and Rowe, close call.

    Point, Arteta is in learning process, forced to play team because of covid and injuries allowed us to beat Chelsea or Willian Luiz would be on and it just ruins it all. Forces him to play Auba on left and Saka behind him over and over for same poor result.

    Now he realises we have better options than Luiz and kept the team that won.

    Sorry to disappoint some but we can’t get hyped up with two wins but cautious, alert on what must be done, address it to secure ourselves.

    If we draw or lose next game, it will be disappointing, we were close to draw towards end of game, we can’t be fully satisfied and feel secure but expect much more; top4 we belong in.

    We are here because of Arteta lack of experience, it should not take every players to be injured to bring Rowe in this team, same goes for all youngsters, Niles, Willock, Nelson are all being waisted same way.

    We want to keep these young players, they are our best asset.

    Not playing Saka almost had him gone, we could have lost Rowe if not forced to play him to realise he is the only 10 without Ozil, why bring back and play Ceballos instead? Have Rowe sit all season, he be gone before that by winter window.

    End of the day, management of these youngster is crucial to fulfill their devellopmt, must start every or other week in order to do so.

    Nelson was doing great in Germany, as Rowe, why bring them and sign Pepe and Ceballos to bench youngsters all season? Then Willian to do do too?

    Send immediately on loan Nelson, Willock and Nkethia as they should be since season started. Same goes for Rowe, if no injury, he would be benched as for ages.

    Sell senior players so they can make way for all of them next year.

    Willian Luiz Pepe or Ceballos should not have been brought at all to block youngsters.

    Stop playing Auba on left wing and he will be Auba again. Prolific all his career on LW or in center. Do we need everyone injured to realise that?

    Tuchel is available, perfect coach for Arsenal present and future, best for our transition.

    Arteta must go and experiment elsewhere as every new coach, bring his Luiz Ceballos and Willian non sense with him….

    Arsenal deserve way better after Wenger, not easy task but we must get right coach to do so; Tuchel is

  11. WBA re had to breakdown. Dont forget leeds were creative nd we are lacking dat right now. We can rest eleny but not saka

  12. Saka was outstanding and his consistency is amazing, no words are enough for him. ESR is improving leaps and bounds and Martinelli is the next star on the horizon. With Gabriel and Partey to arrive after they are fully fit and a youngster or two in the creative midfield role in the January window Arsenal will soon be a force to reckon with. Hope MA has realised now that the youth are the future of Arsenal now, no looking back, onwards and upwards Gunners!

  13. I’ve been critical of Leno in the past but I must say he’s been good this season and particularly in the last 2 games. Looks like he may be addressing his weaknesses – hope so, that’s a rarity for a GK and would show Arteta made the right call in backing him, even though I’m still sad we lost Martinez

    1. Bless you for this, a lot of folks here were bitter for Martinez’s sale and used that stick to beat Leno, forgetting his heroics kept us afloat for sometime. At least I’m happy I saw just you really giving him the credit he deserves after going through the comments. Happy new year in advance

        1. Neither Leno nor Martinez was responsible for the decision, both wanted to be number 1 goalkeeper; thus neither should be abused.

          1. Absolutely right. I thought Martinez was magnificent and would have loved him to stay but he wanted regular first team football and that was that. Leno came back slowly but has got much better (minus his knee juggling act last night).

  14. Wow … 7 out of 10 for a midfield that could not dominate a relegation contending midfield didn’t create a chance all afternoon and contributed to the worst 45m of arsenal football in a decade of declining standards … some people are easily impressed … again some perspective … they had as much possession more shots more corners than us … we had the best player on the pitch in saka … and by some way including in comparison with most of his own team mates … and was the difference in the end … we should be thankful we have him coz otherwise we would be in Brighton territory

  15. What did you say the pass from Saka to Laca was? Not a perfect pass? I beg to disagree. Where we haven’t been scoring, that pass was a “miracle pass.”

  16. Now for some more realistic ratings, after all if you’re willing to hand out 7 and 8’s like Halloween candy on a night when we played about 12 minutes of good football, how credible is your ratings system:

    Leno-5–average game with one above average save…still not a sweeper keeper, as he lacks the distribution skills required to truly play out of the back…likewise almost cost another goal for wandering too far from the box when it wasn’t even necessary

    Bellerin-5–did a couple of good things, but is far too positionally and physically weak to be a credible defender, especially when it comes to 50/50 balls(most notably headers)…why not position yourself between the opposing player and your goalkeeper if you only win about 2% of headers…how is it possible he’s still in charge of throw-ins???

    Holding-5–puts in a shift, but can’t seem to provide any stretch passes, which is problematic considering how much are central defenders are on the ball when we’re playing so negatively…he needs to work on opening up his hips more so that he can defend smaller and quicker players

    Mari-5–did okay, had a chance to stretch the field on numerous occasions…mostly he opted for the sideways passes instead, but when he did grow a pair, only 1 was weighted properly…please remember we were playing a team who DIDN”T even start a striker and were playing on 2 days rest…keep in mind if Mustafi had done what Mari did against Chelsea he would have been roasted on social media…if Arteta thinks he’s a better option than Gabriel moving forward, we’re in deep trouble(credible cover though)

    Tierney-7–really rounding into form, showing some real confidence going forward…once he figures out when to cross in the air and when to look for someone coming into the box late, he’s could be something special

    Xhaka-5–played way too deep yesterday…we seemed to revert back to that old scheme we utilized when Arteta first arrived, which positioned Tierney farther up the pitch…this hurt us offensively because it left ESR alone in the middle and he’s not quite good enough with his movement off the ball yet..against Chelsea Xhaka played farther up the pitch at times and more centrally, which allowed us to be more direct and run the offence through Marts and Saka

    Elneny-5–decent game, still needs to work on first touch passing and at the very least peeking up field before doing his usual 4 foot pass sideways/backwards…likewise gets caught chasing a bit too much for someone with little to no offensive impact on the game

    ESR-6–like his energy and he’s clearly gaining confidence, but he’s still has a lot to learn…his movement off the ball is crucial against teams that are going to clog the midfield and/or “park the bus”…he needs some time to acquire those subtleties of the sport that can usually only come with experience…could become really good cover for the more polished creative midfielder we desperately need and hopefully get

    Saka-6–good energy, willing to take on defenders and not afraid to put his body on the line…needs to work on his passes when he’s facing our net in our end…his rating would be higher if he had the necessary service…if he’s going to play on his non-dominant side he needs someone better than Bellerin providing overlapping runs

    Martinelli-5–not his best performance, but not much service either…always puts in a shift, but our negative tactics early on didn’t allow him to get involved enough, as offence was being run through Tierney…probably wise to get him out when they did, although it did make me worry because he always creates chances…average output, but largely due to scared tactics

    Auba-5–wasn’t overly involved, once again due to negative tactics…you could see he made a mess of runs but we tried very few long passes…surprised he didn’t pot that cross where he slid across the ground right in front of the keeper…we need to stop playing the sideways shuffle when we position Auba up top…seriously what’s the point…if we don’t have enough confidence to try some serious stretch passes against a team that didn’t even start a striker for countering purposes, then when will we take those chances…this was the perfect opportunity to work on this seriously stunted aspect of our game

    Always great to get 3 points, but we need to stop lowering our standards when it comes to evaluating our performances…for far too long this club has settled and this can’t continue to be the norm or we will never truly turn things around

    1. YOUR RATINGS WERE TOO LOW, JUST AS HIS WERE TOO HIGH! Most players deserved around a six with one or two more, esp Saka and some less, Elneny especially.

      1. Of course you’re entitled to your opinion Jon, but when I reviewed the tape again I looked specifically at how players performed based on what appeared to be their expected roles within the tactical plan provided…the formation reminded me of Arteta’s tactics when he would deploy Tierney farther up the pitch and have Xhaka providing cover on Tierney’s side when necessary…a far more negative approach than the Chelsea game, maybe in reaction to what he felt Brighton would do defensively…in one respect he was correct, since Brighton didn’t even start an outright striker, but it did cause us to play a much more pedestrian sideways passing style that provided very little in the way of productive service to our forwards/striker…only Saka, Tierney and ESR received above average marks(5 being average), as they were the most consistently productive players on the pitch…if you watch closely Auba and Marts made numerous runs into open space but they were never properly rewarded…the few times they actually tried to connect on more direct passes failed quite miserably(Mari had the most glaring miscue)…there was more than a handful of times in the game where our players raised their respective hands to apologize for their failure to either recognize or provide service to a open runner…this is why I was a bit more forgiving to both Auba and Marts…as for Elneny, I did make a comment about his sometimes bad positioning considering his largely defensive role, but I think he’s been given very specific information about what the tactics require of him = keep it simple, provide coverage and pass quickly to the closest man at all times…just a very average game, which was clearly reflected in my ratings…Happy New Years Jon!!! (btw, this is my new handle, which was just Vieiralynn before, that was provided by adminPat to help eradicate the posting delays I told you about) Cheers

        1. TRVL, Just to say that in the sports newspaper industry it is widely known that 6, not 5, is average. 5 is below par and 7 is above average with 8 being very good and 4 really poor. That makes a crucial difference to all your marks. Most of my marks would therefore have been average at 6 with the three you said plus Tierney getting more than average. Elneny, who is very limited, just a five and Auba, who to be really honest was almost invisible once again, only worth a four. If I were to award half marks then Holding, Mari and Leno would get 6 and a half. I do not believe in over or undermarking players without good reason.
          I wish you and all Gooners a much happier and esp a safe NEW YEAR.

          1. I understand you thought process, but that seems to be a byproduct of an age where everyone gets rewarded for simply participating, whereas I’m a little more inclined to save 8 & 9s for exceptional performances…10s are almost impossible to achieve, according to my ratings system, unless your Arshavin in 2009 v. Pool…Cheers

  17. fine ratings but explanations are so premature. Holding and Mari have a solid partnership after two games? Saka and Bellerin have clicked? Bellerin has been awful all season. We always get carried away so quickly. There’s nothing to definitively conclude after these two games besides that Saka is very talented, which we already knew.

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