Arsenal took on Sunderland on Tuesday night, in a game where the Gunners needed to win in order to keep the heat on Liverpool and Manchester City for their top-four spot.
Arsenal dominated the first-half and had countless chances to score. While Pickford showed why so many Premier League clubs are after him, most of the other Sunderland players had their bags packed and shorts on ready for their holiday. Arsenal’s apparent dominance, however, did not result in a goal and at the halfway mark both teams went in honours even much to the frustration of the reasonably empty Emirates crowd.
The second-half started much the same as the first played out: Arsenal poor and Pickford keeping Sunderland in the game. The young goalie was absolutely outstanding tonight as he made save after save to keep Arsenal out but eventually Arsenal’s player of the season stepped up to give Arsenal the lead. Sanchez followed up his first to tap in his second of the game and his 23rd goal in the league.
It wasn’t a great game but Arsenal got the job done, so here are our player ratings from the game…
Petr Cech: 7/10
Made some solid saves in the first-half and as the game wore in he had less and less to do. Three clean sheets in his last four games now in the league, not a bad return and just when we needed them.
Hector Bellerin: 7/10
A quiet night for Bellerin considering his exploits at the weekend but none the less solid. Not much more to say really.
Rob Holding: 7/10
Another solid game for the young Englishman. It’s incredible how easily he has slotted into the lineup, at his young age he just looks so assured. He and Mustafi combined well to lessen the loss of Koscielny.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7/10
A solid game from the German international. Jermain Defoe caused some minor problems in the first-half but aside from that, Mustafi and Holding pretty much shut the sharpshooter.
Nacho Monreal: 6.5/10
Two moments of rashness brought Monreal’s rating down. One poor back pass which resulted in a bizarre indirect free-kick routine then followed by a rash challenge saw Monreal show signs of sloppiness that we haven’t seen recently.
Kieran Gibbs: 6/10
Not much to report from Gibbs’ standpoint. Average would probably sum it up.
Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
The Welshman has settled into Arsenal formation quite well but tonight wasn’t his night. Before he was forced off with an injury, Ramsey had struggled to impose himself on the game albeit his usual energetic runs were still apparent.
Granit Xhaka: 7/10
Completed 91% of his passes and even tried to play the killer forward pass as opposed to his usual diagonal ball to the flanks. The change in formation has really helped Xhaka who looks like a much more assured player than he did earlier this season. With more time Xhaka will learn to understand the game and pace of the league but the last few games have definitely showed promise.
Alexis Sanchez: 7.5/10
Once again, El Nino Maravilla popped up to score, taking his tally to 23 goals in the league this year and 52 in 102 games for the club. Where would Arsenal be if not for Sanchez’s goal? Well we could certainly be adressing that come the beginning of the season but for now, let’s just be thanful we have him.
Mesut Ozil: 8/10
The best player on the pitch. While most of the Arsenal players sleep walked through the first-half, Ozil was a constant pulse of energy throughout the team. The German constantly threaded some superb balls through but unfortunately, didn’t have the players to finish them off. Overall, Ozil created 12 chances, the most ever recorded by a player in the game, that says it all really. A superb game for the German maestro.
Olivier Giroud: 6/10
He put in a good shift but didn’t do much up top. In the 3-4-3 system, Arsenal need a striker who can hold the ball up whilst also being able to run in behind, Giroud just can’t do the latter – a tough game for the Frenchman.
Danny Welbeck: 6/10
Welbeck was brought on to give Arsenal some mobility up top but in fairness, he didn’t have much of an effect on the game.
Alex Iwobi: 6/10
Came on late and didn’t really do much.
Theo Walcott: N/A
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