Saturday, December 3, 2022

Holding, Nketiah & Aubameyang Emerge As Positives | Arsenal Players Rated In Win Vs Southampton

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Arsenal finally managed to bounce back to winning ways by securing a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southampton this evening. It was their first victory since the return of the Premier League as well as the club’s first away victory under Mikel Arteta in the league as goals from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock was enough for the Gunners to seal all three points.

Arsenal Player Ratings Vs Southampton

Emiliano Martinez 8/10

Filling in for the injured Bernd Leno, it was a commanding display from Emiliano Martinez this evening. The Argentine looked confident with his claims and notably made an excellent save to deny Shane Long an equaliser in the second half. But, it was his brilliant spot to pick Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang free on goal that caught the eye.

Hector Bellerin 7.5/10

Hector Bellerin played a vital role for Arsenal in the defensive department. His tight-marking on Nathan Redmond was key in minimising Southampton’s offensive firepower and ultimately helping the Gunners preserve a rare clean sheet away from home.

Shkodran Mustafi 7.5/10

A reassuring performance Shkodran Mustafi, who defended well and was involved in a host of defensive actions throughout the game. This display should boost his confidence, especially after a miserable performance against Brighton.

Rob Holding 8.5/10

Rob Holding was by far Arsenal’s best defender this evening. His physical capacity and aerial prowess were essential in denying Southampton any freedom, even from set-pieces. Another key element in his performance was his commitment and the willingness to preserve his clean sheet. A truly wonderful display.

Kieran Tierney 7/10

Despite starting at left-back, Kieran Tierney had a more defensive role this evening. He provided additional support to Holding and Mustafi in almost a pendulating backline. It was the Scot whose pass led to a glorious opportunity for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the first half, and he overall did well to keep things tidy at the back. However, Tierney’s awful luck with injuries continued as a cramp led to his substitution midway through the second half.

Arsenal Player Ratings Vs Southampton - Another injury for Tierney?
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 25: Kieran Tierney of Arsenal receives medical treatment during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC at St Mary’s Stadium on June 25, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Granit Xhaka 8/10

It wasn’t perhaps the easiest games for Granit Xhaka, especially in terms of passing. But, the way the Swiss international integrated himself into the system despite just returning to full fitness is truly commendable. The holding midfielder also played a vital role in the second half, where his aggression, commitment and work-rate helped Arsenal somehow preserve a valuable clean-sheet.

Dani Ceballos 5/10

Another disappointing performance from Dani Ceballos, who simply failed to influence the game in midfield. He spent most of the time doing the defensive work as Southampton dominated possession in the second half. His substitution late in the game, therefore, did make sense.

Nicolas Pepe 6/10

Failed to replicate his magic as he did in the game against Brighton & Hove Albion. He lacked time and space on the ball and got rightly subbed off around the hour mark as his dynamic presence in the far side was always going to be useless for an Arsenal side, which was defending in the second half.

Bukayo Saka 7.5/10

Bukayo Saka was a real spark for Arsenal in the first half, especially in the final third. His willingness to attack the opposition caused confusion and problems for the Southampton defenders. But, the youngster also deserves credit for adjusting his role after the restart when the Saints pushed forward. He was seen providing ample defensive cover for Tierney and later Sead Kolasinac on the left flank. A strong and composed display.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal fouled
Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (L) fouls Southampton’s English midfielder James Ward-Prowse during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on June 25, 2020. (Photo by Mike Hewitt / POOL / AFP / GETTY)

Eddie Nketiah 8/10

A positive performance from Nketiah, who scored the all-important opener through an excellent use of cover shadow. But more importantly, the youngster worked hard and was always willing to cover the ground for his team. This performance will surely help him get the nod ahead of Alexandre Lacazette in future matches.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8/10

Aubameyang was simply one of the best players on the pitch this evening. The Gabonese looked like a real threat for Southampton right from the start, often exposing the lack of pace of Jack Stephens with his runs in behind the backline. Although he was unlucky not to score a goal himself, his positional sense, combined with his work-rate and selflessness only aided the Arsenal attackers.


Joe Willock 7/10

Replaced Pepe around the hour mark to provide more steel in central midfield. It allowed Xhaka to operate in a deeper channel while Willock himself provided some much-needed goal threat late in the game. And it was evident in his late goal that sealed all three points for Arsenal.

Sead Kolasinac 6/10

Replaced the injured Tierney during the final phase of the game. He was a substantial presence at the back, though additional support from Saka was critical.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles N/A

Replaced Ceballos late in the game to offer additional support for Bellerin on the right flank.

Alexandre Lacazette N/A

Replaced the tiring Nketiah in the 80th minute. Provided goal threat.

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