Player Ratings by Peter Doherty
After a sparkling introduction and the prospect of anything other than a handsome Arsenal victory in the first twenty minutes, the mileage in the players legs seemed to take its toll. Southampton looked a beaten docket but Arsenal’s failure to score further goals left the door open for a Saints revival, and unfortunately that is exactly what occurred
The accuracy of the passing and the forward thrust disappeared in the second half and it was evident that, try as they might, the players couldn’t find the energy to up the tempo. However, keeping perspective, the fact that we are disappointed not to have put away Southampton at their home ground is a reflection of how far this team have travelled.
Here are my ratings. …
Ramsdale (7) It’s difficult to rate him as he had practically nothing to do all game in terms of shot stopping. Was very impressive when dealing with the corners that Southampton kept sending down his throat and his distribution in the sweeper role was on point.
White (7) Lovely assist for the goal and a reflection of his growth in the attacking aspect of his full back role. Allowed very little to develop down his flank and was always available for an out ball.
Saliba (5) Another performance where his hitherto unflappable demeanour was shaken. He looked uncertain at times in possession and at one point offered Armstrong a gilt edged opportunity. His decision making was ponderous and missed some opportunities to start an attack with a more decisive ball.
Gabriel (8) Got his head on just about everything that came into the box. Was very commanding particularly in set pieces and made some early interventions, tackles that can break the spirit of the opposing team. Kept his focus even when his team mates were flagging.
Tomiyasu (8) Similar to Gabriel his ariel dominance was first rate. Has a fantastic knack of judging the flight of the ball and shaping his body accordingly. Won almost all his duels and there are very few full backs who will effortlessly switch wings like this fella.
Partey (5) Completely ran the show for the first twenty minutes and was passing and tackling his way to rating of 10. His effectiveness waned in the latter part of the first half and by the end of the second half was a liability.
Xhaka (8) The beautifully struck goal was a highlight but his small contributions, like a well placed and softening header that turns an awkward ball into a potential attack as he lays it off, highlights the confidence he’s playing with. Continued to offer protection when all around him were becoming error prone.Where does he find the energy, and how is he never injured?
Odegaard (6) Like most of his team mates was effervescent in the first half but couldn’t return to those levels in the second half. Was still game and did his usual impressive amount of closing down, but was considerably less incisive. What was particularly alarming was how poor his replacement Vieira played.
Saka (6) Not as influential as the last few weeks but is an ever present threat. Got harshly booked for what looked like a potential penalty and was offered no protection by an appalling ref. This is a worryingly recurrent theme.
Jesus (6) Earlier in the season would have bagged himself a hat trick but the amount of game time he has played it s starting to tell on him. Like Saka was constantly man handled and the ref ignored the offences. However didn’t read the refs intentions and continued to go to ground looking for soft fouls when carrying on would have been a wiser option. Looks exhausted and in need of a week off.
Martinelli (6) Although it was one of his quieter games he still manages to have regular cameos that lift you off your seat. Was surprisingly subbed as he looked to have more in the tank than either Jesus and Saka, and he’s such a reliable outlet because he rarely loses the ball.
Overall a brilliant first quarter, a receding second quarter and a troubled second half leaves us two points clear at the top of the table. Show me a single Gooner who wouldn’t have taken that at the start of the year.
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