Am I allowed to give out separate ratings for the first half and the second half? Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Sheffield United felt almost like two, distinct 45-minute matches rather than a full, 90-minute one. Overall, I don’t have many complaints about the Arsenal performance today, and I thought that a few guys were particularly good. My ratings might be a point too high across the board because that first half was turgid, but I’m inclined to be generous after a win.
Bernd Leno - 6
Didn’t really have much to do aside from a handful of decent punches. There wasn’t much he could have done on the Sheffield goal, although he may have been slightly off his angle to start, but you can chalk that up to being unsighted.
Hector Bellerin - 8
Two assists and a solid defensive performance makes for a very good day. It seems as if he’s rounding back into his pre-ACL tear form, which is great news for Arsenal.
David Luiz - 5
Marking him down for the early turnover and pullback that should have earned him a yellow card and being slightly slow to close down David McGoldrick on the Sheffield United goal. Not a bad game from him, though.
Gabriel - 8
He is the real deal. He wins his aerial duels, is strong in a tackle, and can pick a pass. He’s already the best CB at the club.
Kieran Tierney - 7
Was probably Arsenal’s best player in the first half. Whipped in a few great crosses that accounted for almost all of the attack in the opening 45. Didn’t do as much in the second half, but that’s in part because the attack flowed more down the right.
Mohamed Elneny - 7
Another solid performance. He doesn’t ever really stand out as particularly great or poor, but he’s always in position and defends well. He made more progressive passes
Dani Ceballos - 8
Another great match from Ceballos. Right now, he’s the straw the stirs the drink for the Gunners. Arsenal were notably not able to keep control of the ball in the closing minutes after he’d gone off.
Bukayo Saka - 9
Not much to say about Bukayo other than “he’s great.” I’d say scoring your first goal in the Premier League at the Emirates is a great way to follow up earning your first senior England call up.
Willian - 6
Had some poor touches in the first half, and I’m still concerned he’s lost a step. Looked much better after moving off the wing and taking up more central positions. Think that might be his best spot going forward.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 6
Not his best match, but was involved in the passing move the led to the first goal. Arsenal looked much more potent going forward once he’d swapped to lead the line.
Eddie Nketiah - 4
Was full of running without much end product. Part of that was a lack of service, but part of it was poor touches on the scant few opportunities he did have.
Nicolas Pepe - 9
Immediately changed the match when he came on. Having another attacking threat opened up space all over. Involved on the move for the first goal, and his goal was an absolute gem.
Granit Xhaka - 5
Didn’t do anything good or bad.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 4
Wasn’t on the pitch for long, but his strange decision to go with a diving chest led to a Sheffield United shot and corner kick at the death, which isn’t great.