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Manchester United 0 - Arsenal 1: player ratings

Lots of high numbers coming...


Arsenal put in easily their best performance of the season to down Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford. In doing so, they snapped a bunch of ignominious streaks, including not winning in 29 tries away to a “Top 6” team and not winning at United in the Premier League since September 17th, 2006. I don’t think that anybody wearing an Arsenal kit had a bad game, and a handful of guys were spectacular.

Bernd Leno - 6
Didn’t really have all that much to do today, which is a credit to how well Arsenal defended. Claimed a few balls in the air instead of punching them away, which is nice. Got a bit lucky on a ricochet off his face, Mohamed Elneny, and the post.

Gabriel - 9
An early yellow for pulling Marcus Rashford back was the only stain on an otherwise scintillating day for the centerback. Impressively, his level didn’t fall off nor did his aggression after being booked, and he managed to do that without picking up a second caution. He was an absolute monster, putting in at least three key interventions at the last second to block shots/break up big chances.

Rob Holding - 7
Also picked up an early yellow but didn’t let that slow him down. Played a solid, mostly mistake-free match. Props to him for coming back quickly from his hamstring injury and putting in a shift.

Kieran Tierney - 6
Maybe wasn’t quite as involved offensively as he usually is, but still put in a handful of dangerous crosses. Only remember one mistake from him all match. Solid, if unspectacular performance.

Hector Bellerin - 8
Earned the penalty for the winner, and his passing was on point in the final third. Like Tierney, had just the one mistake that the team covered for him — so a solid game defensively. Finally seems to be back to his pre-ACL injury level, which is fantastic.

Mohamed Elneny - 9
Played his best game in an Arsenal shirt today. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s fundamentally sound. His positioning is on-point, and he rarely makes mistakes. Was much more progressive on the ball today. His doggedly chasing down Lindelof in the 92nd minute is a perfect snapshot of his performance.

Thomas Partey - 10
He was magnificent. He breaks up the play, recovers the ball, then progresses it up the pitch, both passing and dribbling it. He absolutely bossed Paul Pogba all match. If today was an indication, he’s the engine that is going to make the Arsenal machine go. Perhaps the most impressive thing was that on the few occasions he lost the ball, he chased it down and won it back almost immediately.

Bukayo Saka - 7
Was involved in the attack in the first half, was a bit quieter in the second. Had a good, headed chance. It’s impressive that he pairs his skill and creativity with defensive awareness and solid play off the ball at such a young age.

Willian - 5
Thought he was better than he has been, but that’s not the highest bar in the world. Did some good work cutting into the middle from the right, including nicking the top of the crossbar with a shot. Gave the ball away a bit too much for my liking.

Alexandre Lacazette - 5
Continues to get himself into decent positions and involved in the attack, but too often, the attack founders when it goes through him. Had a very good day pressuring the United defense and recovering the ball, which (I suspect) is why Mikel Arteta keeps going back to him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 8
Came close a few times in the first half and converted the penalty for the winner. Can’t really ask for more from the guy you pay to score goals. Well, maybe you can ask for a double, but when you don’t let any up, one goal is enough.

Eddie Nketiah - 7
Was a good substitution for Lacazette, who looked gassed. Picked up the pressure on United defenders. Made a good decision to slow a break down and try to retain possession and kill the match in injury time rather than trying to head for goal.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 7
Added good energy and running when he came on for the closing minutes. But mostly, he just played.

Shkodran Mustafi - NA
He played. Didn’t have much to do.