Bernd Leno was the only positive for an abysmal Arsenal side, who were handed a 3-0 defeat by Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday.
Arsenal were quick off the gates, with Gabriel Martinelli denied by Ederson in the first minute. Alas, that would be their only shot on target for the rest of the match, as Manchester City subjected them to a clinical thrashing. Mere moments after Martinelli’s saved effort, Arsenal were down a goal as Kevin De Bruyne volleyed the ball past Bernd Leno.
De Bruyne then turned into the provider, laying on a low cross to Raheem Sterling, who tapped the ball in to double City’s advantage. Five minutes from the break, De Bruyne completed his brace with a peach of a left-footed finish, and it took a wondrous save by Leno to deny him his hat-trick soon after.
Manchester City never went out of second gear post the interval, while Arsenal did not pose any sort of threat, as the game finished in a 3-0 defeat for the Gunners. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Freddie Ljungberg’s men.
Bernd Leno: 7/10
It is rare that a goalkeeper who has conceded three goals gets such a high rating. Such was Leno’s impact that it was really a wonder how Arsenal did not suffer a more humiliating defeat. Kevin De Bruyne was frustratingly denied a hat-trick by a mindblowing save by Leno, a notable stop among other superb efforts by the German.
Could not have done anything to deny Manchester City any of the three goals they did score. Singlehandedly saving Arsenal from embarrassment match after match, it is quite a damning indictment that Leno is their best player despite rarely keeping clean sheets.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 4/10
With Hector Bellerin still out injured, Maitland-Niles got another chance to make an impression. But, the youngster failed to grab his opportunity, producing another underwhelming performance. A constant outlet going forward, albeit without quality end product. The one time he did get a cross in, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended up heading wide of target.
His forays down the right flank, though, meant that he left a lot of space in behind him, which De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy duly exploited. Continues to be a liability on the defensive front. High time he started pulling his weight.
Calum Chambers: 4/10
Part of the problematic defence, Chambers had his fair share of troubles. Far too often, though, he had to cover up for Maitland-Niles, which is hardly an ideal situation to be in. Sure enough, he was not comfortable over the course of the game, having too much to deal with on most occasions, but he should have done better when dealing with Gabriel Jesus leading up to De Bruyne’s first goal.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 3/10
For the umpteenth time this season, Sokratis failed to rise to the occasion. Supposed to be the leader at the back, the Greek is not doing enough to keep the defensive line organised while also being a liability himself. It really is a wonder just how many times he managed to be anonymous during various waves Manchester City attacking moves. Just not good enough right now.
Sead Kolasinac: 4/10
Kolasinac has been one of the better players for Arsenal lately. However, on Sunday, he was part of the collective bunch that failed miserably. Usually a big threat in the final third, the Bosnian hardly made an impact while charging down the left flank. Directly at fault for the second goal, leaving Raheem Sterling completely unmarked.
His nightmare ended early as he hobbled off a little before half-time. Even then, he managed to be unimpressive as after giving Bukayo Saka no time to warm-up, Arsenal were left with a man down for a bizarrely long time, which ended up being telling as De Bruyne strolled through to score his second goal of the game.
Matteo Guendouzi: 3/10
Yet another performance that showcased Guendouzi’s levels of late. Up against De Bruyne, the Frenchman was clearly second best in the duel, as Manchester City’s talisman overran him with ease in the middle of the park. There have been too many theatrics lately and no end product to go with it. Where is the quality from earlier in the season?
Lucas Torreira: 4/10
This was Torreira’s chance to prove his worth to the side. What transpired in the match, though, was more of a meek surrender, as the game seemed to simply pass him by. Just ridiculous how he let De Bruyne and Phil Foden enjoy so much time on the ball. An opportunity squandered.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Coming into the game after perhaps his best performance in Arsenal colours, the confidence was clearly seeping through Pepe. However, there is only so much even a confident player can do when there is very little support around him. Faded as the game wore on, exemplifying the Gunners’ lack of fighting spirit in the second half.
Mesut Ozil: 4/10
A frustrating evening for Ozil, who just could not find a way to get himself into the game. Saw so little of the ball that the few chances he did create came solely from set-pieces. Taken off just before the hour mark and kicked his glove in annoyance. Has gone cold since his comeback game against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.
Gabriel Martinelli: 5.5/10
True to nature, Martinelli was a bundle of energy. Right from the get-go, the Brazilian was looking to make things happen and got into dangerous areas. Arsenal’s only shot on target in the game came from his boots and he continued displaying the kind of urgency that was needed from the rest of the team thereafter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 4/10
At times in the game, you could have been forgiven for saying that Aubameyang was not even on the pitch, as if he was on an extended bathroom break a la the Brighton game – so isolated was the Arsenal captain. Fed off scraps over the course of the match and never looked like scoring. Such a game to forget.
Bukayo Saka: 5/10
On for the injured Kolasinac, Saka played an unfamiliar left-back role for the final 50 minutes of the game. The lack of experience as a full-back was visible as Saka often left space in behind him and on the occasions he did not, he could not find a way to affect things in the final third. Never stopped trying, though.
Emile Smith Rowe: 5.5/10
Smith Rowe replaced Ozil to make his Premier League debut. And, the teenager was a step above the German playmaker, making a few incisive passes through the City defence. Might just be the start of a regular role in the side.
Joe Willock: N/A
A late substitution, Willock did not have much time to make an impact.