Player ratings are fun and cool. They’re even more fun after a very good North London Derby win. We decided to double down and do dueling ratings this week.
Bernd Leno - AG: 6 | AL: 6
Aidan: The thing about Arsenal’s performance today is Leno didn’t really have anything to do. Went the wrong way on Kane’s late free kick.
Aaron: Tough to fault him for the goal given he didn’t see it until late. Noticed that several times, instead of playing a pass and maybe putting a teammate under pressure, he went Route 1 up the pitch.
Cedric Soares - AG: 5 | AL: 6
Aidan: Beaten badly in the build-up to Lamela’s goal. His crossing was not good, and went backwards a lot in the first half. He did hit the crossbar, but this last week has shown that Bellerín is clearly the better option.
Aaron: Thought he was somewhat better on the ball than he normally is. You got about what you’d expect from him without any atrocious blunders. Yeah, he might have gotten beat in the run-up to the goal, but sometimes that happens, you know?
David Luiz - AG: 7 | AL: 8
Aidan: When he’s good, he’s very good. Didn’t put a foot wrong today. Nice variety on his passing from the back.
Aaron: Solid, mistake-free match. Even, strangely, found himself on the ball around the Tottenham penalty area and helped generate some half chances. You could see that he was a vocal leader at the back today, too.
Gabriel - AG: 8 | AL: 9
Aidan: Both he and David Luiz had very little to do until the final ten minutes or so, but Gabriel, like his countryman, was excellent. Brilliant block at the end.
Aaron: Not sure he got beaten once today. Back to the early-season level that had me thinking he could be a bona-fide CB star in the making. And yeah, saved the win with his headed block.
Kieran Tierney - AG: 9 | AL: 9
Aidan: Absolutely dominated the left-hand side, got Lamela sent off, set up Ødegaard’s goal. He’s fantastic.
Aaron: Up there with Bukayo Saka for most important player for the club at the moment. Arsenal are a different side with him attacking down the left. Matt Doherty is going to be having nightmares about how badly Tierney toasted him for Arsenal’s first goal.
Thomas Partey - AG: 6.5 | AL: 5
Aidan: This was going to be higher until the final fifteen minutes when he gave the ball away a couple of times in careless fashion and gave up a stupid free kick, from which Kane hit the post. He’s clearly a class above anyone else in the Arsenal midfield, but I think he’s also clearly not fit. Great stuff in the build-up to ESR’s first half shot, too. Also please stop him from shooting.
Aaron: Thought he had a pretty pedestrian game, at least by his own standards. Certainly did not stand out in the same way as he has at other points this season. Absolutely dreadful closing fifteen minutes of the match.
Granit Xhaka - AG: 7 | AL: 8
Aidan: We know about his limitations. It was painful at times watching him go backwards and taking an extra touch after the one-touch play of Partey, Ødegaard, and Smith Rowe. But he was also very good, again. 94% passing in midfield, 4/5 on long balls, helped establish Arsenal’s control.
Aaron: One of Xhaka’s best games of the season. Picked up the slack from Thomas Partey not being his usual force in the midfield. Had a few fantastic defensive covers and strong tackles. The sliding tackle he put in on Matt Doherty towards the end of the second half was authoritative and textbook. And props to Granit for not letting Erik Lamela goad him into anything stupid.
Bukayo Saka - AG: 7 | AL: 6.5
Aidan: Hopefully his injury isn’t bad. He was bright and inventive in the first half, even though his support from Cédric clearly doesn’t suit him as well as Bellerín.
Aaron: Obviously didn’t have as much time to do his thing because of the injury. Thought he was a bit more hesitant to take on his man than usual, but still was involved in his productive passing combinations. Maybe one of these days the Premier League referees will start protecting him like the star he is; he got fouled hard twice today.
Martin Ødegaard - AG: 8 | AL: 9
Aidan: His best game for Arsenal. 96.6% passing, some lovely one-touch stuff, created two chances, and scored a goal. 3 tackles, too; his work-rate is great, he buzzes around, and his overall play was really, really good. I want Arsenal to keep him.
Aaron: Not much more to add. I was skeptical of Arsenal’s ability to make it work with him and Emile Smith Rowe on the pitch together (because the Leeds game aside, the formation hadn’t clicked all that well), but it worked today. He has a sixth sense for when to move the ball quickly and when to slow the game down. Underrated counter-presser and ball-recoverer as well.
Emile Smith Rowe - AG: 9 | AL: 9
Aidan: If that first half shot had gone in, I would’ve gone to town. An outstanding game, dominated, with Tierney, the left hand side. Set up some great chances for Lacazette (more on that in a minute), 4 key passes with 97% passing is outstanding, and he links so well with other Arsenal players. He hadn’t been at his best on the left before tonight, but this was an outstanding all-round performance.
Aaron: Great to see ESR back up for it. After looking so bright back in January when he was first inserted into the lineup, he had started to slow down and look a bit leggy. It seems that the injury layoff was just what he needed to get the spring back in his step. Along with Kieran Tierney, absolutely ate Matt Doherty’s lunch down the left flank.
Alexandre Lacazette - AG: 5 | AL: 6
Aidan: Wouldn’t have started if Aubameyang hadn’t been disciplined, and it’s fairly clear why. Better than he has been, in that he took some shots from open play, but he was the opposite of the three behind them. While they were quick, inventive, and always moving, Lacazette was lumbering and static. Arlo White has never said a truer piece of commentary than, “Lacazette doesn’t want to run in behind,” and Arsenal missed that. In the second half, Arteta kept shouting at him. Good penalty, after a complete airshot on the pass from Pépé. And a nutmeg 8 yards out from goal is an absolute nonsense, even if Cédric ran on and hit the bar.
Aaron: Worked as hard as he usually does when Arsenal weren’t in possession. Was particularly good in the first half when he was cropping up on the wings to unbalance Tottenham in the wider areas (but that did leave the middle vacant at times). Converting penalties is a skill, and Lacazette’s got bunches of it. He should take them over Aubameyang when both are on the pitch — his conversion rate is higher.
Nicolas Pépé - AG: 7 | AL: 8
Aidan: Very good as a substitute for Saka. Probably should’ve started when Aubameyang didn’t, because he offers a threat behind. Fantastic pass for Lacazette, was direct, and got into good positions.
Aaron: Another appearance with a goal contribution for Pépé. Look, we all slated him when he didn’t create and score goals, and now he’s doing just that. He’s been one of Arsenal’s better, more dangerous attackers for going on two months now. The pass he hit for Alexandre Lacazette was absolutely magnificent.
Willian - AG: 5 | AL: 4
Aaron: Not saying Willian is entirely to blame, but Arsenal’s inability to get on and keep the ball to close out the match roughly correlates with his introduction into the game.
Mohamed Elneny - AG: 6 | AL: 5
Aidan: Brought on to close things out, ran around a lot as instructed, to try and help Arsenal regain control. Not sure if he actually touched the ball.
Aaron: Definitely a player that played in this game.