Sean’s honest assessment of Arsenal at Norwich – It doesn’t get easier to watch

Norwich v Arsenal Assessment – It doesn’t get any easier to watch, does it? by Sean Menzies

At this point of the season, I hope it’s clear to everyone that it’s the players. CBs are slow, positionally awful and undisciplined. RB is a gaping weakness with the best of the bunch a very off-pace Bellerin. Although we looked a little better drilled and sharper in possession in the first half, this is a team severely lacking in discipline, getting distracted far too easily and leaving so much space for opponents.

The first half was offensively positive but after Auba’s second, the pace slowed to a walk. Arsenal are a team in crisis when we look beaten by a team 2nd to bottom in the league, and it’s hard to see a way out. Holding isn’t the defensive messiah we had all hoped, Tierney looks like only a small upgrade on Kola, Auba’s form has dropped, our wide players are impotent, we have no CM on the roster that can transition from defence to attack.

A large part of this is psychological because we have some superb players, but the rot has set in, and I think we need a real man manager to build players up again. That may be Freddie – he deserves a chance – but we have some big problems. The good news is that it can’t get much worse than this… Right?

Norwich 2-2- Arsenal – Player ratings

Leno – 8 – MOTM. Kept us in it today with at least 2 world class saves. Scraping positives is hard but at least GK is one position we don’t have to worry about (it’s just all the others)

Chambers – 4.5 – Struggled all game against their LW who wasn’t all that special. Like the rest of the team, he gave Norwich far too much space and allowed them to advance into dangerous positions. Going forward he was abysmal, rendering most of our attacks on the right completely impotent.

Mustafi – 4 – It’s a shame but if Norwich can give him this much trouble, it’s hard to see how he can justify any more good faith. Gave attackers too much space, was beaten with suchease on many occasions. His aerial prowess is impressive but against teams who play quick attacking football on the floor like Norwich, it just felt like he wanted it all to end.

Luiz – 5 – Slightly better than Mustafi with some good interventions and distribution (in those moments when Arsenal were on top), but very much off the pace and doesn’t read the game well enough to get away with it.

Kolasinac – 6 – Best of a bad defence. Was generally very positive going forward, especially in the first half. Defensively, the attacking mindset he was given meant he was often absent during counter attacks, but was generally pretty solid and held his position well when Arsenal were spread.

Xhaka – 7 – Good game from the beleaguered ex-skipper. Defensively much more solid than he’s been criticised for and did his job excellently passing into space to launch counter attacks. His role was essential to today’s set-up, and he performed it well. More consistently finding his man would be nice.

Guendozi – 6 – 30% impressive 70% painful. Decision-making questionable as he often kills attacks choosing the safe option. The team as a whole need to improve their passing accuracy to give our attacks some potency and Gwen is one of the biggest culprits. Made some great runs.

Willock – 5 – A very industrious performance from young Willock, but mostly full of poor touches, allowing himself to get closed down too often. His role was Ramsey-esque but he doesn’t have the quality to carry it out at the moment. More urgency and more control is needed for our attacks to pay off.

Ozil – 6 – Mixed bag as we’ve come to expect. To be fair to Ozil, he was playing out wide, which we all know doesn’t suit him. He was one of a few players we saw very little of throughout the game. Improved when moved to AM with Torreira’s introduction and produced some great touches. Low work rate as per (although I remember at least one good challenge just outside our penalty box).

Auba – 7 – Two goals, the first being a little fortunate given he missed the initial penalty. Disappointingly looks like he’s losing the pace that has made him one of the most fearsome forwards in the prem. That said, he was one of the most involved players throughout the game even if not everything he tried worked out.

Laca – 6 – Cut a frustrated figure up top, getting very little service and not registering a single shot (I think). Made a few silly challenges and had a few poor touches in the first half but was always battling. A player like him needs much better service.


Torreira – 6 – I was impressed with him when he came on. It’s hard to know where he can fit in the current set-up, but provides some much-needed tenacity in that part of the field. Played a big part in saving our bacon late on, deflecting a pass away from a Norwich player who would’ve been left with a tap in. Almost got the winner at the death but his shot was blocked heroically.

Saka – 5.5 – Maybe harsh to rate him given he had just over 10 minutes but he was pretty poor. Either lost the ball or guilty of poor service. Should’ve been Pepe but then maybe I’d be writing the same paragraph about him.

Martinelli – N/A – On the pitch for 5 minutes and looked busy, going on one good run down the left.

Ljungberg – N/A – Gets a pass given he had one training session.



  1. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Got to say Sean, that’s a bit better than Admin Martin’s assessment. I thought Chambers was the worst player on the pitch, OK you gave that honour to Mustafi with Chambers not far behind. I’ve looked for Martin’s previous post but looks like he’s deleted it. Don’t blame him after making Chambers one of our best players

    1. Admin Martin says:

      No NOT DELETED. Consider this the final warning Kenny. I have warned you repeatedly and will not allow this constant sniping.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Calm down Martin, if me, Jon Fox or Ken1945 make an inaccurate statement were rebuked. Anyway, went back about 50 posts and couldn’t find it. That’s all I’m saying. Why you getting so excited.

        1. Admin Martin says:

          Inaccurate statement? ah well, one week

          1. Admin Martin says:

            Oh look what I found using the search button, how did that happen?

  2. Liam says:

    I think Luiz was worse than chambers who was worse than Mustafi. Luiz was at fault for the first goal for not closing in and it was unlucky to deflect in off Mustafi. Furthermore he’s the best of the bunch when it comes to being a threat in the box. Moving forward we should pair Holding with Mustafi as Holding marshals him sort of like per and kos. Luiz can start in cdm instead of Xhaka. The other midfielder position is a toss up with Guendouzi taking the other. Attacking is our main issue and I think it’s down to playing Lacazette and Abameyang together and or having ozil in the 3. Lacazette must be dropped and two of Pepe, Martinelli,Saka and Nelson need to be starting. Playing narrow in the premier league is suicide especially when your don’t have techniqually gifted players to control the tempo and possession.

    1. Andrew Elder says:

      I think Luiz would do OK as a DM, more mobile than Xhaka, as good a long passer, and definitely a better tackler. Another thing, he would be further up the pitch so rash tackles wouldn’t be as costly as in or near the box. I believe he started out as a midfielder.

  3. James says:

    Freddy shocked us with his team selection. Trying to fix our defensive issues by picking the most comical partnership in the league was disheartening.whats more shocking is that the two clowns went on to do exactly what everyone(well almost everyone except freddy) feared. They gave away a stupid goal when we had the opposition on the ropes. How freddy settled for that partnership is beyond me.

  4. Grandad says:

    Sean I am sure Tierney will go on to prove your way off the mark in your assessment of his ability.That apart your ratings are in line with my own but I feel you are harsh on Chambers who is a CB and nothing else.

    1. Sean M says:

      Hope you’re right on the first and agree with the second. He was pants, but that’s not on him.

  5. RSH says:

    It was a very poor defense picked. As bad as sokratis is, he’s still a level above Mustafi and if available should always be picked. Xhaka, was fine, but 7 is too high. He doesn’t press enough, and hardly stops any counters or runs quickly back enough to defend a ball coming in from wide play. Guendouzi, the same issue, so that just leaves Luiz and Mustafi chasing shadows and looking like loonies. Also I’d actually give Ozil more credit (i know, shocking). He’s the reason we are able to move the ball quickly in our attacks and why we were good the first part of this match and had similar good ball movement. As I said yesterday though, it wasn’t something that he reproduced much in 2nd half, and he seems to attempt pinpoint passes far less often and would rather recycle the ball. Lacazette coming back from injury, but has looked a mess for a while now. I think we need to just start Auba upfront and leave Laca on the bench personally.

    1. RSH says:

      Also, waiting for the proper faith to be shown in Martinelli. He should be considered for a starting spot even. Why he only gets 10 minutes and Saka got more time, i didn’t understand.

      1. Andrew Elder says:

        Agree with you RSH, we need to trust the lad a lot more. Superb natural talent. Reminds me of Anelka who was given his chance by AW and lit up the EPL at the age of 19.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs