Arsenal faltered yet again on the road, losing to Everton by a single goal, in a result which was a big blow to their chase of a top four place.
Arsenal had the chance to go third above Tottenham, but they squandered their opportunity as Everton won by a single goal at Goodison Park, falling to an early Phil Jagielka goal. The Toffees had the chance to score plenty more, but due to their wastefulness, this defeat did not turn into an embarrassment for the Gunners.
None of Arsenal’s outfield players were up to the mark and lacked sharpness. The midfielders lost the ball countless times, while the forwards and creative players were unable to have a connection among themselves. Chances for Arsenal came few and far between, and the defence was exposed time and again by Everton’s pacy attackers from wide areas.
Overall, Arsenal were poor and only could muster a few bright periods during the entire 90 minutes at Goodison Park. Here’s how Arsenal’s beleaguered stars have been rated.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
The Everton goal was a difficult task for Leno to save, but apart from that, he did fine when called upon to protect his side. That one save from Bernard was good, but other than that, it was Everton’s wastefulness that he was not asked to work too much.
Shkodran Mustafi: 3/10
When Unai Emery spoke about signing a player like Virgil van Dijk, it does feel like a player of that sort might be needed at Arsenal after watching Shkodran Mustafi play. Mustafi’s horrendous display not only forced the team’s midfield to play out of position but also put the defence in danger far too many times. In the end, he can count himself lucky to be on the pitch after a bad foul
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 5/10
Sokratis did not have a perfect game by any stretch, but was reliable for most parts of the match, especially given his dealing of Dominic Calvert-Lewin during the game. Other than that, Arsenal should thank him for helping to keep the score at 1-0, although they might not want to do the same for some bad moments he had.
The good news is Arsenal have a defender of his quality, but now that he is suspended, the Gunners have to rely heavily on Mustafi for a further two games.
Nacho Monreal: 4/10
Not his best game, but not his worst either. Monreal though, needs massive improvements when playing against teams like Everton. Richarlison dragged him wide time and again with his pace and he was unable to defend everything that was thrown at him. Additionally, Kolasinac’s more advanced position and then a lack of a hard working winger did the damage and stopped Monreal from playing his A-game.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 4/10
Arsenal needed a hero, and Maitland-Niles certainly did not step forward to be one. In fact, he could have turned villain for that back pass that handed Bernard the chance to score, only for Leno to bail him out. The Brazilian winger also got the better of the Englishman for most parts of the game, but Maitland-Niles was the least of Arsenal’s problems in reality.
Matteo Guendouzi: 3/10
The second reason for Arsenal’s failure to control the game. The youngster was all over the place and was troubled continuously by the brilliant Andre Gomes in the middle of the park. His challenges were off, and so was his decision making when it came to forward passes.
Mohamed Elneny: 3/10
Emery lost the game due to his abject midfield selection. Mohamed Elneny, for starters, is a good player but with limited qualities, something that showed during the game. His abilities, in our opinion, are useful in a midfield three, while there is more needed from a central midfielder in a two-man unit. Taken off at half time to be replaced by Aaron Ramsey.
Sead Kolasinac: 3/10
Kolasinac was abject, offensively ineffective and defensively vulnerable. Everton foresaw his eagerness to get forward and thus exploited that flank with diagonal balls to Richarlison. With the Bosnian offering close to nothing during the first half, Emery decided to haul him off for the second period.
Mesut Ozil: 4.5/10
Did we see the reasons why Emery has so far excluded Ozil from away games? Yes, we did. Anonymous is the word, and although there were early promises of good passes, Ozil faded away within the first half itself. To his credit, none of his teammates did anything to support his play, nor did they perform any better than him.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 3/10
Arsenal fans might have had their hopes raised when his low curler went just wide of the goal. Barring that moment, however, and some occasional positive gameplay, Mkhitaryan offered close to nothing and could be deemed anonymous, like Ozil.
Alexandre Lacazette: 3.5/10
To be fair to Lacazette, he was playing with limited or no service. Tried at times to make things happen, but Phil Jagielka and Kurt Zouma were ever present to deal with the long balls that were sent Lacazette’s way, although he did miss a few decent chances.
Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
Came on at half-time and instantly was considered the protagonist of an Arsenal fightback. Little did Ramsey know that his side needed a team effort than individual performance. Took a few wayward shots, but failed to inspire his side for a comeback. To his credit, he did look like the only Arsenal player playing with a purpose.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 3.5/10
Aubameyang was sent to score the goals, but he got little to no service and only ended up with 12 touches, which in perspective is one fewer than Alex Iwobi who came on with just 29 minutes remaining. Not his fault, but not his day either.
Alex Iwobi: 6.5/10
The player who played the least for Arsenal played the best football for the side. Iwobi was industrious, creative and direct in his work. He became the only hope for Arsenal to forge a comeback, although it wasn’t to be for him in the end.