Sean’s Arsenal v Aston Villa Player Ratings – There were quite a few positives

Player ratings v Villa by Sean M

Leno – 7 – As always, the German looked an efficient stopper and a safe, calm pair of hands towards the end.

AMN – 3 – Disastrous and costly performance. Missed a sitter after 1:30, looked ineffective in possession and then sent off for a second yellow just before half time with Arsenal 1-0 down. He said earlier in the week that he’s not a defender and he’s right. Seems to even have lost his attacking confidence. The boy needs dropping to the U23s then loaning out to a team that’ll play him where he thinks he can play. Then we’ll see.

Sokratis – 6 – Maybe a little harsh but he was his brash self. Tore around the pitch making his presence felt but allowed the assist for the second and positioning was still off.

David Luiz – 5 – Like Sokratis, had his moments and his distribution was excellent, but he’s paid to defend and he’s not very good at it. Swung blindly at the second Villa goal and didn’t look comfortable when being pressed.

Kola – 6 – Was generally better defending today but fairly ineffective as an outlet on the left. I’m wetting myself thinking how much Tierney will improve that side of the field.

Xhaka – 5 – Distribution excellent but the praise stops there. He’s bad protecting the defence; he’s bad moving towards the box. Stupid, unnecessary yellow. Ball caught in his feet several times. There are better options and I hope you join me in screaming at Unai to flipping see them! #dropxhaka

Guendozi – 9 – Arsenal’s hero for the second game this season. He was absolutely everywhere. Won the penalty that brought us briefly back to all square. Distribution was excellent. Didn’t get quite as angry as he’s been known too but I’d still like to see more emotional intelligence moving forward. He’s an asset and he’s only 20. The biggest positive of the season for me so far.

Ceballos – 6 – May seem a little harsh as he had a few moments of class but he found it hard to find any space in a congested advanced position so ended up coming back deep quite often not always helping matters with no options before the forwards. Clearly has a lot of talent but his role in Emery’s tactics isn’t set in stone yet.

Pepe – 6 – He had a few glimpses of quality and put the penalty away nicely, but my main gripe at the moment is his work rate. He gives our RB so much more to do, usually dragging our CMs over, leaving us exposed in the centre. Even attacking, he only seems to move when he gets the ball and even then he slows down far too often. No big predictions or claims, but he wasn’t great today and a few areas of his game need real work.

Saka – 7 – He was our best player in the first half. Went close with a right-footed shot and generally kept hold of possession well. He’s done enough to keep his place in the first XI. Sacrificed for tactical reasons after AMN was given his marching orders.

Auba – 8 – rating is probably pretty generous but he won us the game with a beautiful side-footed free kick from the edge of the area on 82 mins. Took up some excellent positions and, in noticeable contrast to Pepe, darted between the lines until the final whistle. His reaction after the final whistle says it all; he’s a gooner now and forever.


Willock – 7 – Changed the game when he came on. Used the ball well, buzzed around the pitch and linked up well with the forwards. Had a couple of blocked shots, but generally this is definitely going to be a breakthrough season for him. If he keeps taking his chances the way he is, and improving on keeping possession and his final ball, he’ll be a star.

Torreira – 7.5 – Like Willock, changed the game. Great time for the two to come on with Villa flagging. Got himself into some dangerous positions and put himself about in the middle. If Arsenal switch to a proper midfield three with a DM, we’d all like to see him recapture some of that early form, although he proved that his quick feet can be an asset further up. Easy to see why Emery’s experimenting with a role change.

Chambers – 9 – Yeah he definitely didn’t play well enough for a nine but bugger it, he’s the third and maybe most important hero of the day. Scored a superb goal as he battled away to regain possession in the Villa area before striking a delightful strike over Heaton into the top far corner. Even without AMN’s suspension, should start at RB and rotate with Bellerin until the best emerges. What we (in theory) lose with AMN’s attacking abilities, we gain with a bit of solidity at the back and Lord knows we need that right now.

Emery – 6 – Usual problems persist. Disorganisation all over the pitch, not enough support on the wings, huge gap between defence and midfield in the middle and Xhaka somehow still the first name on the sheet. However, he has to take some credit for risking both remaining subs on the seventy-somethingth minute and changing the game in our favour. Arsenal looked the better team throughout the second half despite being 10 men down, so he’s up to a six for tactical response.


Overall, it was a rollercoaster, wasn’t it. Same problems mentioned above took us to a shock losing position where we remained static for a large part of the game. The response to Willock and Torreira’s energy was inspiring. However. we fought with passion and never gave up. It hardly seems worth mentioning again that flaws remain, but we got three points today by battling from 2-1 down with 10 men. The lads who walked off that pitch at 90 minutes walked off as heroes in my eyes. Much will be said over the next few days about what needs improving, but I saw three or four players emerge today as a representation of this season’s core, quality players. That gives us something to build on going forward. COYG!



  1. I will give Unai a 1 for a tactical “masterstroke” of removing Xhaka from the pitch, rest agree with the ratings.To think that we struggled past Aston Villa, Burnley and Newcastle makes me shiver what do we expect against City at Ethihad? Hope Unai is gone before that.We have game changers – Lucas, Chambers, Willock on the bench and Xhaka, Socrates, Luiz are playing. No wonder Lucas was pondering switching to AC Milan and Auba/ Laca yet to sign contract extensions. Trust me, if Unai’s contract is extended, the say bye to Auba, Laca, Lucas.Till Unai benches Xhaka (as he did it to Ozil), I will never rate Unai.#Unaiout.

    1. Why would Aubameyang leave though? If we can afford to pay Ozil £350K a week for using the club’s gym and restaurant, am sure the club has the resources to cough up whatever is necessary to keep Aubameyang happy.

  2. Three terrific subs, Chambers, Willock and Torreira. All worth sevens or eights. Well done lads. Chambers gives everything. Unai Emery listen to us. Xhaka is slow in body and in mind. He cuts the intensity of the game in half. Torreira is BETTER. Guendouzi is a LEADER. Willock gives everything. Ceballos has so much potential. Xhaka though is like playing with 10 men.
    Well done Chambers at right back, you are better than AMN. Luiz and The Wrestler playing out from pressed goal kicks. Insanity. Looking forward to Bellerin and Tierney coming in soon. Will be a different creature… long as NO Xhaka.

    1. Xhaka is average at best. Look at the stats – week in week out hes an average 5/10 player more often than not!

      Unai is tactically inept and has his favourites. Xhaka just kisses ass more I think. Maybe he’s like the teachers pet to Unai?

      The team needs a shake up and a new captain!

  3. Two players, Guendozi and Aubameyang. New contracts ASAP.
    That we won from a losing position with 10 men is something positive.
    Emery need to know his team.

    1. Why not wait till the end of the season to reward Guendouzi with a new contract? After the Burnley game fans were saying spend £60M on Ceballos! He is class! The new Ramsey! Look at him More back passes than Xhaka and Kolasinac combined.

  4. Laughable how, one min you’re taking a dump on AMN,for his ineptitude, an the next you’re pointing out the reason why. Yet you and others still feel he’s useless and have no place in the team. I challenge you and many others to name when any one of the right sided players has ever helped him police the right side…. I’ll wait.

    1. NY-GUNNER
      I will surely miss Niles, the best Rb to ever grace the Arsenal, always dominant in the air and reliable on one on one so technically gifted and always with a precise pass, can always dribble his way out of trouble, more consistent than the likes of Dani alves and co, and always a goal threat, always assisting and scoring goals for fun, Niles the savior of arsenal.

      1. you must be high to come out with a statement like that,Niles is not a RB, can not concentrate for the full game, allows players to go past him with ease, you haven’t followed Arsenal long as Ashley Cole is ten times the player than Niles could ever be, Lee Dixon and Kenny Samsom two more outstanding RB.Niles needs to go out on loan because RB he is not

        1. foreverinourshadows,
          How can you say such, Niles is the best Rb we’ve had in this club in over a decade, he’s a versatile player, he can play Rb Lb he can play as a winger, he can play as a striker if needed, he can play as a midfielder (remember he’s outstanding game at old Trafford, ask Kev if you don’t remember) how can you send a complete player like Niles on loan you must be joking sir.

          1. Lenohappy

            Don’t know what you are seeing but 99.99% of supporters are seeing it different to you. AMN is suffering. He cannot concentrate, he is struggling at the moment. He is ordinary at the moment. Unless you are having a joke, which is fair enough. If you are serious…wow. You are not watching Arsenal.

        2. @foreverinourshadow
          Like how everyone and their uncle are quick to point out AMN lapses in concentration, and yet never being up that he’s constantly left policing the right side on his own. He’s also expected to bomb forward, and put in killer on point crosses as well as the as track back and defend. Effin hilarious lot…

        3. Eh – Kenny Samson only had a left foot.He didn’t play RB ever.If your going to comment at least have the sense to quote correctly.

          1. That boy Maitland Niles should never come back again. I’ve said it always here that that boy and xhaka are the problems we have in Arsenal. That should be no where near the first team.

      2. NY-Gunner, please note;

        Ainsley Maitland-Niles: ” I’m still learning to defend, admits Arsenal utility man”.

        Get it – it doesn’t matter who we stick up in front of him !!

        When Bellerin got injured, the club obviously took the stance with getting through with what we had in order to keeps funds earmarked for elsewhere.

        It soon became evident, surely to those even with a modicum of footballing knowledge, that ANM whatever his abilities elsewhere WAS NOT THE ANSWER AT RIGHT BACK – FULL STOP.

        Don’t keep pointing the finger at others.

        Chambers, Mustafi, and even Jenkison should have been employed there as the shortcomings unfolded.

        Management need to answer why this is not the case, although I suspect Chambers will get a short run there now.

        I would usually agree with the lack of cover argument, but not in this case.

        Sometimes, just sometimes, YOU have to take responsibility and get out wide and deal with it.

        This player simply gives up on crosses being played into our box FACT !

        Given our current centre back parings that is a disaster.

        Yes, he’s being played out of position (boring now) my view is simply (again, in my opinion) HE IS NOT UP TO WHERE HE IS BEING ASKED TO DO A JOB.

        Seeing his side of the argument yes, you could say he’s being “hang out to dry” …. but a decent right back, don’t make me laugh.

        So stop bleating on about cover ( which I believe not totally valid in this case) and for once give your views on his ATTRIBUTES AS A RIGHT BACK !

        Sick of goals against being sourced from our right back position – oh sorry I forgot, nothing to do with the right back ………….. “Help, where’s my Cover”

        Kieran Gibbs was far too casual, got rid eventually (although he had nothing else to offer position wise.

        With the pressure very much on to get us back where we need to be, I don’t think ANM will even feature in our midfield (Carabo ?), remember Emery still has not got HIS side assembled.

        Strong rumour has it Unai would have signed Nzonzi over Torriera , so there’s an insight into the type of player Emery looks to.

        ANM seems a good guy, one of our own, but guess what sh** happens.

  5. AMN- 0
    Sokratis- 2
    AMN- An utter disgrace of a footballer.
    Sokratis- His play acting was atrocious and quite frankly irritating. Shamefully slapped himself in the face in a desperate attempt to have an Aston Villa player who was giving him a hard time, illegally sent off. Clearly struggling and the only weapon in his skill-set appears to be tackling opposition players down. Should not be starting against Man U.

  6. Guendouzi definitely msn of the match. Chambers needs to start. Xhaka utter pants. Sokratis is a disgrace, feigning injury and generally being an arse hole every game. Can someone explain why VAR didn’t look at his handball in the area or did I somehow miss the review? Sorry but Emery gets a 2 for me, he’s out of his depth.

  7. Nice one, Sean!
    I sent a text at half time, saying the most we can hope for is a draw!!
    Big shout out to Chambers! Sooooo glad Pepe finally scored – even if i was watching through my fingers ?
    Aubameyang does it again… dontcha just love him?!!
    And Guendouzi… what a star.. very nearly scored! Defo my MOTM…i bet Unai was happy – no 1-0.. 3-2 instead… not quite his 5-4… maybe next time ? my poor heart, i hope it can take it ?

        1. My turn to use the season ticket is the game at the Emirates against Bournemouth in a couple of weeks. The way they are playing I’ll be joining you watching through my fingers. Are you going to that game Sue?

  8. Emery gets a 4 from me just for playing Xhaka, Luiz, and Sokratis and for composing and inspiring a team that manages to fall behind to Villa whilst 11 on 11.

  9. Want good ratings? Score a goal 🙂
    Anyone who scores a goal and we win gets a 9
    even if the rest of his game is cr#p.
    One goal forgives everything.
    In contrast a brilliant performance by a defender is totally
    overlooked if he concedes a goal leading to a loss.
    Context should be considered.
    The quality of the opposition for starters.

    1. I felt I was the only one noticing that Agu, fans are no longer interested in build-up or anything related to that, once you either score or assist your match rating is skyrocketed.

  10. its funny how some people are defending Emery with the we are fourth as if we not third last time before A FREE FALL,


  11. O.T BUT iF I was a coach this would be my Midfield

    1. Torreira, Willock Ceballos

    2. Torreira AMN, OZIL/CEBALLOS

    3. Torreira, guendouzi, Ozil

    4. Guendouzi, Willock, AMN

    5. there are many possible combinations as long as Xhaka does not start

  12. Good morning from this side of the world my fellow gunners. I would like to ask two questions.
    1. Why is that no matter what a player does if they fans don’t like him he always get bashed by the fans?
    2. Do most fans who criticise players don’t watch the game at all?
    I’m asking this because since yesterday everyone has called Xhaka(the new scapegoat) all sort of names, the author of this post highlighted his good distribution of the ball which is his role as a DLP so I don’t understand what makes people think he had a bad game, until he left the pitch I don’t think any Arsenal player had more blocks, forward passes than him so why the critics? You all would rather praise Dani who basically did nothing all game than dally on the ball(he just doesn’t know when to pass or dribble).
    We all should try and watch games objectively without already having a mindset that a player is “trash, clown, useless, or brain-dead”. You all might cite Xhaka being removed as an excuse to say he was bad but he was on a yellow card(which he got by hassling the ball carrier which no other Arsenal players wanted to do at that time).
    Please let’s all be wise on how we criticise, objective criticism is allowed but unnecessary criticism is bad, no one will mention how Sokratis was being stupid with his theatrics, or how Guendouzi was ball watching and lost his marker for Villa first goal but will be quick to single out Xhaka time and time again.

    1. Hey bud. I agree with the principle of your comment. Name-calling is puerile and serves no purpose.

      Watching the game, I personally felt that Xhaka wasn’t great despite his distribution. He doesn’t hold players up well; he doesn’t offer much going forward and his first touch is erratic. Ceballos didn’t play a whole lot better but I’d argue that it wasn’t for want of trying. He was a victim of tactics more than anything else. Most of all, you just feel that Ceballos can be trusted with the ball more than Xhaka.

      I agree there’s a lot of bias and attacks that border on vile. I hope we can stamp that out.

    2. Aeontisty
      I watch every game and I think Xhaka is too slow, no concentration, a thug. He slows the intensity of our game down 50%. If you want a slow game play Granite Xhaka. if you want some heart play Matteo.

  13. I think chambers deserves a 6 because much as he had a goal, he also had an error leading to goal. Also, how are you guys arsenal fans? Willing to check out Sokratis hand ball on VAR, but non of you noticed that the Auba freekick should have been a penalty because Torreira got brought down in the box? Jack grealish had a more blatant handball and you’re asking why the ref didn’t give the Sokratis one? How really are you guys arsenal fans?

    How do you guys not see that the Niles second yellow was unfair? It was a clean tackle and he won the ball fair and square. How do you not see that and say you’re an arsenal fan?

    It seems to me like so many fans say they don’t want to hurt, they don’t want arsenal to loose, but only if particular players they like win the game.

    Granit Xhaka had 93% pass completion and was very progressive. Had less unforced errors than Ceballos and torreira but they rate above him? He lost the ball just as many times as Torreira and two less than Ceballos.
    He doesn’t deserve a really high rating, but he and ceballos were arsenals highest pressing midfielders.

    Auba scored, right but how many times was he leisurely walking by as Aston Villa players controlled the ball and had fun? The front 3 should be the first line of press.

    Pepe led arsenal in shots, Key passes, Chances created and had above 90% pass completion which is metronomic for a forward and somehow you’re convinced Saka did better? How do y’all watch the game?

    Here’s how I’d rate.

    Leno :6 much as he could do nothing about both goals, he didn’t make any errors in handling or distribution

    AMN : 3 poor on the ball, undeserved sending off, bad day at the office

    Sokratis :4 lost the physical battle

    D. Luiz :6 100% tackle success, 6 clearances, 93% passing, good game. I’ve watched the best of defenders loose the kind of tap in he lost

    Kolasinac :5 one too many times got to the byline and did nothing with the ball, caught out of position and the counter a little too often. Kept pulling Ceballos and Guendouzi to cover him

    Xhaka :6 accurate distribution and good game management in the last 10 mins of the first half and first 20 of the second. Choosing to move to RB himself rather than ask someone else to deputize, then in the second half presenting himself as a passing option for a diminished team was mature of him. One key pass

    Matteo Guendouzi :7 man of the match. The ability to take risks is the difference between average players and brilliant players. There was a big chance that on one of his drives he would have been dispossessed and put us under pressure, but YOLO. And it worked.

    Dani Ceballos :5 what Guendouzi did, I expected of ceballos. Beyond his 100% pass completion, he offered nothing. Dispossessed 4 times, led both teams

    Bukayo Saka :5 possibly not as electric as I know him to be because he was playing as a straight winger, but I prefer to have my winger face his man rather than turn around and shield the ball. Nice cross for Niles. Seems like one he’ll put in more often. Either needs some more time, or needs to trust his ability more.

    Pepe :6 Made and completed more dribbles than any other player on the pitch, four key passes, most shots taken, it’s just a matter of time before the goals and assists come, but statistically, he’s been the most lively arsenal attacker this season.

    Auba :6 only because he’s Auba but I was quite disappointed really. You can’t be walking around the opposition box with one man less and a goal down. Villa defenders had too much time on the ball.

    Chambers :6 looked like he’d have deserved a 7,but it was his error that led to their second goal. Honestly though, I was very impressed, though I prefer to see him as a libero at center back.

    Willock :6 he came, he saw, then the final whistle went

    Torreira : 6.5 added a bit of zip and press but awful decision to take that volley. Also, can someone explain to me how the advantage low works? Didn’t he get fouled in the box after an advantage had been given?

    Unai Emery :4 get your shit together man. You’re the most successful European coach of the last 6 years and you’re playing like a looser.

      1. ?

        I wonder why Arsenal fans don’t see what Pepe brings even If others didn’t see it in expect we fans to see so he is direct dribbles and can shot and pass he is not there yet but we need his quality especially now that there is no laca

    1. I really look forward to seeing your comments Joe, good choice of words too. I also did like how you explained the situation with Xhaka(the filling in for Niles and the excellent distribution in particular) and Dani.
      Would really like to interact more with you, if you are on twitter kindly drop your handle mine is @aeontisty.

    2. Common sense at last.

      It blows my mind that anybody has felt the need to defend Pepe or remind us that, ‘He’ll need time to adapt.’ Typical of the ‘If he didn’t score, then he played shit,’ brigade.

      Xhaka would have been slaughtered had he made Guendouzi’s error, but nobody wants to see that, so we’ll just pretend it didn’t happen, eh?
      The same IRL people I know who slag off Xhaka now and can’t see what he brings to the team, are the same ones that used to be similarly blind regarding the qualities of Gilberto.

      Judging Emery on the performance of his defence, which lost its captain, and has both its best fullbacks and CB still out, is ridiculous. Kalasinac, Luiz, Sokratis, Chambers, AMN, can all come in and do a decent job as squad players, but collectively they are obviously not good enough. Who’d ever have thought our second string defence would not be good enough as a unit?

      You’d think it was self-evident.

  14. Aeontisty –

    Why is that no matter what a player does if the fans don’t like him he always gets bashed by the fans? Fans will always have different opinions on players. Giroud divided opinion, and it seems so does Geudouzie.

    However, the more mistakes a player makes the larger the group of fans noticing them and the smaller the group of fans willing to overlook them.

    IMO Xhaka doesn’t offer enough for the role he is asked to play. In modern-day football, you can’t be a one-trick pony. Xhaka can pass the ball but that’s where it ends. He can’t tackle, he can’t defend, he has no closing speed nor the athletic ability nor an understanding of where to position himself. This makes him a liability to his teammates who constantly have to clean up after him.

    However, he is by no means to only poor Arsenal player responsible for our poor defending. He has stiff competition from Luiz and Sokratis and in lesser ways from Kolasinac.

    In general, though, I think most players who perform up the standard (or beyond) are left alone most of the time.

    1. @truth I understand you well, Xhaka might not have the athleticism but his positional ability is always top notch, same was said about Mert it was only after he retired did fans come to understand his style of play.
      Xhaka is a DLP most of them ain’t athletic nor good tacklers but the make up for that with good positioning which is why he has good interception rate and passing.

  15. @ Truth
    Most central defensive midfielders are more tasked with being organizers than combative tacklers. They are paired with a tackle to do the hustling.
    Examples are, Xhaka had Torreira last season

    Drinkwater had Kante at Leicester
    Matic had kante at Chelsea
    Jorghinho has Kante now.

    I know I’ve used a lot of Kante references, but that is because they are the easiest to use that are fresh in memory.
    I agree xhaka lacks excitement, but the skill is there. Actually, at Frankfurt and yesterday, he’s looked more lively

  16. Joe
    I don’t think Xhaka is up to the level of a PL winning team or even a top 4 team. Sorry but he is not up to the highest standards he is not quick in his mind or his feet.

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