Arsenal fell 2-1 to Hiberninan to kick off their preseason today in Scotland. The Gunners were in control for most of the match but had a few defensive lapses that cost them (where have I heard that before). They looked brighter in the second half with a few more of the senior attacking players on the pitch.
You could tell preseason is just getting underway. Some guys look like they aren’t in the best of shape, and most everybody was not weighting their passes correctly. The sharpness and fitness will come. That is what preseason is for!
I think the best way to summarize the match is through player ratings / bullets about each guy, so here we go.
Arthur Okonkwo - 3
Not the best senior debut for the lad, who just signed a first-team contract last week. Made a few mistakes with the ball at his feet / played back to him which I’ll chalk up to nerves. The goal was as much Cedric’s fault as his — it was an atrocious back pass.
Karl Hein - 6
Had a good punch on a ball into the box. Not much he could do on the second goal. He was blocked off by a player in an offside position. Think the goal would have been called back by VAR, but it’s not in-use for a friendly.
Cedric Soares - 2
Far too many mistakes on the ball from one of the older players in the squad. Was also late and wild into challenges. Not a good showing.
Hector Bellerin - 5
Assisted the Arsenal goal with a nice overlap and chip to Emile Smith Rowe. Misplaced a pass or two, but played fine. He’s almost certainly headed to Inter Milan anyway.
Harry Clarke - 5
Solid performance. Didn’t really do anything of note, bad or good.
Omar Rekik - 5
I guess he played. Could have fooled me. Honestly not sure I heard his name called once.
Pablo Mari - 6
Gave what he always does, a consistent, slightly above average performance without any terrible errors. That’s who he is and who he’s going to be all season.
Sead Kolasinac - 6
Thought he played pretty well. Looked to be a bit trimmer and quicker. Got involved in the attack as he usually does and his service wasn’t great, as it usually is.
Omari Hutchinson- 6
Just a handful of minutes for the 17-yeard old, but made the most of them. Bombed forward well.
Mohamed Elneny - 5
Same old, same old. Steady, unspectacular play.
Jack Henry-Francis - 5
Not much to say about the 17-year old’s cameo.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 6
Had one particularly nice chip around the 18 that created a chance and nearly a goal. Played in the midfield two, but if he’s got a future at Arsenal, I think it is as a right back.
Thomas Partey - 6
Absolutely cannoned a free kick off the woodwork from 30 yards out. Apart from that, a fine performance from him.
Willian - 4
He played. I guess he was a bit more involved than usual, but he had a gross instance where Cedric played a ball to where his overlap should have been, and he was 10 yards behind and couldn’t be bothered.
Emile Smith Rowe - 9
Along with Nicolas Pepe, the best player on the field for Arsenal. Good movement, got on the ball and caused problems, scored the only goal.
Reiss Nelson - 5
Had one or two flashes, as he always does, that makes you think there could be something there still, but he’s still got to have more of a consistent impact to have a place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - 6
Was involved, did some things in the attack. Wasn’t playing with the better group of attackers so it’s tough to judge. I think he’ll be just fine this season.
Nicolas Pepe - 9
Picked up right where he left off last season. He’s going to have a big year, I can feel it.
Eddie Nketiah - 6
Got into good positions and was involved in the attack in the first half. Had a bad miss on a breakaway that he created by pressuring a defender into a mistake. If he can get into the areas that he did today and continue to get chances, he’ll bag some goals this season.
Alexandre Lacazette - 8
Played quite well. Showed good strength on several occasions. Solid link-up and combination play. If he could have as much of an impact consistently this season as he did today, Arsenal will be in very good shape.
Folarin Balogun - 7
Has great instincts for a striker. His first thought whenever he got on the ball in or around the box was to try to work himself free for a shot. I really like that about him and won’t even begrudge him the one time where passing might have been the better option because Arsenal need players who are willing to shoot the ball. Shooting is how you score. Shooting is good.