Arsenal stumbled to yet another defeat, falling to a 2-1 loss to Everton despite the late cameo from the returning Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal endured their worst start since the 1974/75 campaign following yet another 2-1 defeat at the hands of Everton on Saturday.
The Gunners were once again clueless in the attacking third, struggling to too many clear cut opportunities to trouble the opposition backline. In fact, it was ex-Arsenal man Alex Iwobi whose cross led to the first Everton goal in the 22nd minute through Dominic Calvert-Lewin, although it was registered as an own goal from Rob Holding.
Arsenal did equalise in the 35th minute through Nicolas Pepe’s penalty, which was won by Ainsley Maitland-Niles. It gave them the ideal platform to stage a potential turnaround, but they ended up conceding a goal just before half-time through a set-piece that allowed Yerry Mina to restore his side’s lead.
The visitors still responded well in the second half, looking much more threatening going forward. Unfortunately, they struggled to find any opening and were a tad unlucky overall, with David Luiz most notably hitting the post once. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Arsenal players following their disappointing defeat to Everton this weekend.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Bernd Leno did not have to do much in a game where both the sides amasses two shots on target each. He was, however, a little rattled by an early long-range effort from Michael Keane, though he did well to later save one of Calvert-Lewin’s attempts. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper had no answer to neither of Everton’s two goals.
Rob Holding: 4/10
Rob Holding was extremely unlucky to concede the first goal as Calvert-Lewin’s misplaced header deflected off him to find the back of the net. He was, however, culpable for some shoddy passing out from the back, as he often looking like the weakest link in Arsenal’s build-up play.
Rob Holding is the only Arsenal player who has scored more goals against Arsenal than he has scored for Arsenal. https://t.co/k60zzcZ1OU
— Luta (@VictorLuta) December 20, 2020
David Luiz: 4/10
As the most experienced defender in the Arsenal lineup, one could expect a lot more discipline and leadership from David Luiz, who was simply a bystander when Mina scored the second goal just before half-time. The Brazilian simply failed to marshal the Gunners backline and it was reflected in the result.
Kieran Tierney: 6/10
Kieran Tierney did a decent job of supporting the two centre-backs whenever necessary in his pendulating role in the backline. Offensively, the Scot tried to move forward at every given opportunity, though his final deliveries were far from ideal. He put in a good shift nonetheless when compared to his defensive teammates.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6.5/10
Ainsley Maitland-Niles enjoyed some excellent moments in the game, especially during the defensive phases. His pace, work ethic and willingness to make things happen were key assets to Arsenal’s play. He also won the penalty that helped his team equalise in the first half and the academy product certainly deserves to earn a more prominent role in the first-team.
Dani Ceballos: 3/10
Filling for the absences of the suspended Granit Xhaka and the injured Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos as awful as one can be. He was completely anonymous in the park and was extremely clumsy with his challenges. In terms of his passing, the Spaniard was way too passive to make any real difference to the proceedings.
No team have scored fewer goals than Arsenal (3) across their last 6 Premier League games.
3 goals and 2 points in their last 6. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/eXZaRSfAAL
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 19, 2020
Mohamed Elneny: 4/10
Mohamed Elneny did not do much in midfield either, though he certainly did his job better than Ceballos. The 28-year-old played his usual role in the holding midfield role, at times dropping deep to initiate Arsenal’s build-up. He did fail to provide that cutting edge needed to dominate things in the middle of the park but one can only expect so much from him.
Bukayo Saka: 5/10
Bukayo Saka had a relatively disappointing game compared to his lofty standards. The Englishman looked anonymous for the most part of the game, struggling to provide any real influence on the proceedings. He did have one excellent chance to score late in the game but his effort was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford.
Nicolas Pepe: 6/10
Nicolas Pepe calmly converted the penalty in the 35th minute to hand Arsenal the much-needed equaliser. The winger looked menacing whenever he was on the ball, but he never really made any impact. There was a visible lack of penetration from his end, though the ex-LOSC Lille forward clearly deserves to be in the side ahead of Willian.
Eddie Nketiah: 4/10
Eddie Nketiah led the line for Arsenal in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta, the youngster was so bad fans started missing Alexandre Lacazette, who was on the bench.
Indeed, Nketiah made the wrong decision every time he was on the ball and simply did not do enough to justify his presence in the starting eleven.
It was yet another exceedingly bad performance from Willian, who simply looked disinterested throughout the course of the game. The Brazilian offered no spark or penetration from the flanks, yet somehow managed to not get substituted by Arteta.
Willian in the Premier League this season:
🎯 890 mins per shot on target
🏃♂️ 127 mins per successful dribble
🧠 59 mins per chance created
An interesting use of resources. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/L2wh6epvG2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 19, 2020
Joe Willock: 4/10
Joe Willock replaced Elneny around the hour mark as Arteta opted more a creative presence in midfield. Unfortunately, the Englishman looked like a misfit for the most part.
Gabriel Martinelli: 7/10
Gabriel Martinelli’s return to the pitch was the only positive for Arsenal in this match. The Brazilian replaced Pepe during the final phase of the game and immediately made an impact. He looked lively on and off the ball and clearly looks like a better outlet than most of his teammates.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6/10
Came on for Nketiah during the final phase of the game, looking determined to find that second goal for Arsenal. The Frenchman should have been brought in much earlier.