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.