Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Leciester City in the Carabao Cup 3rd round looked as you’d expect a midweek match between mostly reserve players to look — high energy, lower quality. Mikel Arteta made 7 changes from his starting lineup at the weekend. Brendan Rodgers put at an entirely different 11. The Gunners didn’t look like world-beaters but did show flashes of positive play. Arsenal looked appreciably better than the Foxes, who weren’t really able to get much going all match.
Vote here. I’m trying something new not embedding the poll. Not sure it will be a permanent change.
But without further ado, my player ratings.
Bernd Leno - 7
Fine game, didn’t have to do much. Made a nice save on Iheanacho but got frozen on Maddison’s chip that went off the post.
Sead Kolasinac - 5
Didn’t make any glaring defensive mistakes, but did make some on the ball. To be fair, he had one or two good attacking involvements too.
Rob Holding - 7
Solid game. Didn’t get beat. Showed good strength and craft a few times to slow down and take the ball off Iheanacho, who clearly has him done for pace.
David Luiz - 8
Strong game. Stepped up well to cut out passes around midfield, cut out a few probing balls in the defensive third.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 5
Fine defensive performance, but continues to be limited going forward.
Mohamed Elneny - 8
Quietly had a good game. He’s not flashy by any stretch, but he does the little things well and rarely makes defensive mistakes (didn’t make any today).
Joe Willock - 7
Solid if unspectacular. Unlike most of Arsenal’s options at the double pivot, he has the range to play box-to-box. Had one or two good attacking involvements.
Bukayo Saka - 9
Arsenal’s best player on the pitch today. Looked threatening every time he got on the ball and drove the attack.
Nicolas Pepe - 5
Still would like to see more from Nico, and I think he can give more. Some of that is down to usage — he’s not getting the ball in ways and areas primed for him to excel. Some of it is down to not really having a right foot — two or three times he ran around the ball / switched feet when he needed to hit it first-touch with the right. He did force the own goal.
Reiss Nelson - 7
Good performance from him today. He was involved in the attack and had at least two decent chances of his own. I’m probably being a bit over-critical, but it felt like he was / is lacking that little bit of final quality to turn chances into goals.
Eddie Nketiah - 8
Arsenal’s second best attacker today. He was full of running and pressured the Leicester backline all evening. He gets himself into good positions, and he poached another goal for his efforts. Not even sure it qualifies as a poach — it was a very nice little flick as he was tumbling to the ground.
Willian - 4
Looked a bit leggy. Had a bad turnover and gave away a clumsy foul in a dangerous that almost led to a Leicester goal. Not a great cameo.
Dani Ceballos - 6
Had a few good defensive interventions. Didn’t really have to do much in his 12 minutes on the pitch.
Hector Bellerin - 8
Beating two guys to set up a goal is a pretty good haul for an 87th minute sub.