Bernd Leno’s misery continued as the German goalkeeper’s defensive error handed Everton a narrow 1-0 victory over Arsenal.
Arsenal’s dismal week continued as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Everton. It was a disappointing result for a team that has consistently underperformed in the Premier League this season, added by the additional pressure exerted by fans in the aftermath of the European Super League debacle.
It was a tightly contested, somewhat cagey fixture throughout the course of the ninety minutes as both teams looked to remain solid at the back. However, it was still an entertaining match as Everton created most of the opportunities in the first half, despite remaining goalless at half-time.
Arsenal upped the ante in the second half, pushing hard for the breakthrough and opened up the game. They were never really successful, though, and on the contrary, it was Everton who found the opener through a horrid mistake from Bernd Leno. The goal gave the Toffees the incentive to defend deep in their lines in the final phase of the game.
The Gunners did create one excellent chance late on, but Jordan Pickford had other ideas. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Arsenal players in their dismal performance over Everton on Friday.
Bernd Leno: 4/10
Bernd Leno had to remain vigilant for the most part of the game as Everton packed quite a punch on the counter. He remained solid up until the moment when he spilt Richarlison’s cross, with the ball rolling into the back of the net. Tried to make amends by going forward in the dying embers of the game, but was not able to score the equaliser.
Oh no, Bernd Leno 😳 pic.twitter.com/xYEjrchg0i
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 23, 2021
Calum Chambers: 5/10
Starting ahead of Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers did not have the best of games at right-back. The former Southampton man had difficulties dealing with Lucas Digne’s marauding runs while he also did not contribute much offensively, leading to a lack of balance in the Arsenal backline.
Rob Holding: 7/10
Rob Holding fared well at the heart of Arsenal’s four-man backline. His physical and aerial superiority was crucial in denying scoring opportunities to the dangerous Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The centre-back did not provide too much penetration in his forward passes, but one can only expect so much from a defender.
Pablo Mari: 7/10
Pablo Mari was equally impressive at the heart of the Arsenal defence, keeping the Everton attack in check for the most part of the game. One of the most noticeable aspects of his performance was his willingness to march forward with the ball, as well as his composure in possession that arguably makes him a better option than Gabriel Magalhaes.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Deputising for the injured Kieran Tierney once again, Granit Xhaka did what he could in the makeshift left-back position. He looked comfortable on the ball and offered a decent amount of progression in possession. Defensively, the Swiss international could have done a lot better in dealing with Richarlison out wide, with one of Brazilian’s runs leading to Leno’s own goal.
Thomas Partey: 5/10
It was another disappointing display from Thomas Partey, who simply could not influence the game enough to keep Arsenal ticking in midfield. The former Atletico Madrid star was particularly sloppy in his tackles, failing to put a real marker on the Everton midfielders. Did offer the forward ball that led to Gabriel Martinelli’s chance late on, though.
Don’t let the Arsenal protests distract from the fact that they paid £50 mil for that dosser Partey
— Billie (@Billie_T) April 23, 2021
Dani Ceballos: 7/10
Dani Ceballos continued his excellent performance in midfield with another decent showing. The Spaniard showed a lot of intent, especially in regards to the offensive game, with the midfielder almost even winning a penalty. He was certainly a better outlet than Partey, which is not a good sign for Arsenal at all as one of these two players did not cost a fortune and will return to Real Madrid this summer.
Bukayo Saka: 6/10
It was one of those rare occasions where Bukayo Saka simply could not influence the game. The youngster did indeed find it difficult to contribute much, although it is Everton’s Lucas Digne who deserves credit for tightly keeping eyes on the Arsenal starlet throughout the game.
Emile Smith Rowe: 6/10
Emile Smith Rowe was equally ineffective in the final third, as the youngster failed to navigate through Everton’s last line of defence. The youngster, as a result, appeared too passive on the ball, although it was still surprising to see him not get substituted by Mikel Arteta during the final phase of the game.
Nicolas Pepe: 7/10
Nicolas Pepe looked like a menace for Arsenal, as most of the club’s attacking forays originated from the left flank. As such, the Ivorian became the brightest player for the Gunners going forward, often keeping the opponent busy with his pace and trickery out wide. He could have even scored for Arsenal with a penalty had it not been for VAR.
7 – Arsenal have lost seven games at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League this season; their most home defeats in a league campaign since 1992-93 (also seven). Unstuck.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 23, 2021
Eddie Nketiah: 5.5/10
Eddie Nketiah was given the nod in attack, in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The youngster could not make much of his opportunity, often lacking ideas and game involvement in the final third, despite showing good work ethic as usual. Arsenal fans will surely be desperate for the return of their two frontline strikers in the next game.
Martin Odegaard: 5/10
Martin Odegaard marked his return to the pitch during the final phase of the game, replacing Pepe. The Norwegian, though, struggled to offer the additional creativity in the final third. Very few would blame him, though, having spent a brief spell on the sidelines due to injury.
Gabriel Martinelli: 6.5/10
Gabriel Martinelli showcased his snap-shooting ability by testing Pickford late in the game. Should have featured in the game a bit more, as his agility could have been useful for the Gunners.
A late replacement for Chambers. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.