Thursday, January 27, 2022

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal – player ratings

A win! Away from home! And a clean shee- … oh. Anyway, three points were badly needed tonight and three points are what we got.

If you want to see the goals, check out the match report, and because we haven’t played with three at the back for so long, we have no way of arranging the players that way graphically! We’ve had to improvise.

Here’s how the players rated.

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Hope Kolašinac watched this game and realises what an asset he’d be for us in LWB. Don’t feel Monreal’s suited to the role if we’re going forward with this formation.


Nacho…he is psycho…

watch the 2nd goal celebration


i agree with u. if we’re going to play 3-5-2 from here on, we need at least 5 centre backs, n monreal, holding, kos, gab, mustafi, chambers give us enough depth to play 3 centre backs. (n then there’s per)


Is anyone else still unconvinced by Xhaka? He makes a lot of fouls, teams seem to target him because they know he’s slow and I know his passing is supposed to be his main attribute but he gives the ball away a lot.


I’ve always had the belief that one should more or less ignore a player’s first season, because of settling in and whatnot, so in my opinion he’s been okay, and he’ll have a much better season next season

Walcott\'s left footed curl

I think alot of players who turned out to be good players settled in their first season. Alexis, Özil, Arteta, Cazorla, etc.


Look at his passing stats for the entire season. Nay, his entire career. He is not someone who gives the ball away a lot….


If you are going to have Ozil in the midfield you need speed behind him.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

You need players who can make space behind him. Speed is just one way to do it.


We need Santi


His passing range and ability is so useful. Hes the kind of player we need to really control a game. He certainly needs to clean up his defensive side but he did pretty well today in that respect. Had a few good interceptions and fights in the middle of the field.


He just needs an already proven, established box to box running midfielder next to him, like a Kante, then the midfield will tick. Closest thing we’ve got would be Ox or Elneny but neither is proven at the level he is.


He conducts purposefully, maintains the the tempo of a possession based team not unlike busquets, and has the vision of a trequartista. His mistake you mention will fade with comfort and age. His qualities will not. You will look back to this year in a few as the year when a famous future Arsenal team of legends like Iwobi, Xhaka and Holding all made their first marks.


I think his passing is still very good, the issue with him is that passing is his only exceptional skill and that’s not enough in this league. Needs to work on his mobility and tackling and, if we keep him at DM, his positional and defensive awareness. Still only 24 though, and it’s his first season, I think we can develop him


There are two problems with Xhaka. Firstly that he has played with really bad partners and secondly that he was bought to play in a role and a system that is not suited to him. He is not a bad player but there can be no doubt that he is not suited for the system that Arsenal have been playing for the last few years. Everything about the current squad and the way they are set up is bad for him. There is very little natural width in the system so he cannot use his ability to switch play as… Read more »

jackson smith-wellis

You make a great point and I agree with all of it, except this part: “his partner needs to be better defensively, fast and intelligent, willing to break up play and play the simple pass. The problem is that this basically means that except for Elneny there isnt a single player in the squad right now who can be an effective partner. It was an incredibly strange signing.” I think Coquelin is exactly what you are describing in the first sentence barring maybe the intelligence part. And I really think if Xhaka is to be the deeper player, then he… Read more »


His turning radius is what concerns me most he’s very stiff and slow both in pace and in movement of the ball and thats why he chooses to go to ground quickly when he’s been run at to hide his lack of pace and lack of agility. He doesn’t jump high either. but he’s passing range is good and shot is good but it’s like he’s lost confidence in himself he doesn’t even attempt to shoot anymore which is sad but im sure next season he should improve but I still think El neny should be starting above him. But… Read more »


You can tell he’s learning though. He certainly stays on his feet more now and his customary yellows are becoming less customary


You know the only common player in all of arsenal’s defeats in last 2-3 months is Xhaka? He seriously lacks a balance in his game play. He’d either play the full match defending or attacking or at times totally missing. So yes! he needs time to adjust / up his game. And please don’t talk about his passing stats. Backwards/sideways is all part of sterile possession. Yes! you’re great in passing over the top of teams but it should also happen in final third i.e. like how alexis passed to ramsey today for ozil’s goal. I really thought i’d be… Read more »

Lula da Gilberto

I think he’d benefit from knowing more clearly his role and better coaching. There is obviously a quality player in there somewhere.

Lance banner

No mention of Ozil’s slide tackle? Cmon!!


it looked more like he slipped!


Thought ozil put in a big shift tonight, tracked and tackled back a few times and still running in behind late in the game

Hleb\'s dancing feet

Rob Holding looked good today. Chamberlain seems to have really matured this year and it’s good to see. I wonder if we will stick with this formation against city, somehow I doubt it just because it still seems too new.


We won, away from home! – I’m giving everyone 10 out of 10, even my dog – in fact,especially my dog…

Hleb\'s dancing feet

I don’t get this comment moderation thing.. I don’t comment much but it’s ruining that part if my arseblog experience man

Bould\'s Eyeliner

You’d be surprised how much it improves everyone else’s arseblog experience. I think I’ve been quietly put on permanent moderation, but I keep telling myself that it’s for the greater good.


I swear Alexis would have been a 5 today if he didn’t score that great freekick. I love Alexis but he has been really poor lately, constantly giving the ball away. Hopefully he picks it back up to finish of the season


Quietly content. At peace. All warm inside.
… but that wasnt terribly convincing


What’s happened to our club captain ‘Per’ has he fallen out with the tin pot dictator? As for xhaka, that old expression ‘A double decker bus turns faster’ comes to mind – Kane he ain’t. 13 years to change the system, and folks are frothing at the mouth, come on!


That wasn’t an intelligent comment Per se. In fact if I were you I’d Xhak it away.


I thought Granit was motm. Rock solid in a new formation and passing was excellent. I’ve also been drinking all day, so maybe my head is up my arse. Either way, we needed that win so badly.. great prep for the cup.. COYG!!!

Va va voom

Totally agree. I think Ramsey and Xhaka are just too cumbersome to play together in the middle, especially with Ozil. Ox a bit further would give us more zip

Bob\'s Mexican Cousin

Didn’t get the Alexis booting chambo part over the Atlantic… Someone care to elaborate?


There was a rather brotherly post-whistle celebration, which not all broadcasters would have shown.

Not sure why you’ve been thumbed down for asking a reasonable question.


Its a shame we needed to take Bellerin out of the firing line to ease him in at the end (it was good management don’t get me wrong) but i would have preferred to have seen Bellerin on the wing so that OX could have taken up Ramsey’s role.


Gabriel…too easily waltzed passed by Friend.

Would have preferred Mustafi. He’s more of a Rback and despite height seems more complementary to Koscielny.

Va va voom

Gabriel has the pace to cover ground in this system that detaches the center backs, more than Mustafi


Ox crosses better than Bellerin (although Ox is no defender) and I think HB has a problem with his ankle. Not that Giroud made anything of quite a few decent crosses. I still think we are playing as if we’ve only just met each other, and our defending is hair-raisingly bad. Plus going forward, Wenger’s Arsenal always been known for slick teamwork but not for the last few seasons and this season they often look like strangers. Lots of slow ponderous play, then a safe pass or ball give away at the end of it. Getting excited about beating a… Read more »

Va va voom

Totally agree. I think Ramsey and Xhaka are just too cumbersome to be a pair, especially with Ozil about. Ox instead of Ramsey would give us more zip.


Most times your job itself of selection of a topic for Bonus rating deserves a 7 or an 8, Blogs, but today it deserves a full whopping 10. Great catch. Made me grin wide, seeing Alexis cheer a dejected Ox.


RE: Ox’s position, let’s not ask “Is this his position?” after every good game he has and just be thankful we have a player so versatile. Personally my MotM (and a future CM). Ok performances on an individual level though a bit disappointed by Giroud, thought the formation and tactics would have really suited him tonight. Disagree he didn’t get much service, his movement was just off tonight. Gotta say playing 3 at the back didn’t help us in the air much either

Godfrey Twatsloch

True enough about Giroud. I wonder if he’s entered one of his dreaded dry spells again. Not for lack of service or trying but he just didn’t seem able to score for love nor money.

Ox was good tonight. Shame he didn’t get a goal as he would have deserved one.


Dry spell??
You do realize that he scored less than a week ago.

Godfrey Twatsloch

He scored one against West Ham. Prior to that not since Lincoln 11/3. 2 for France against Luxembourg though.


Giroud is very streaky but he hasn’t had the run of starts in the team to confirm he’s in a big drought yet. Still, this wasn’t very encouraging. Agree on Ox, would have been good it he could cap his game with a goal or assist


Alexis put a smile in my face again.
This is the type of attitude we need from everyone, especially from AS7. Amazing free kick, but even a better ending towards the crowd that are behind this club no matter what.
Thank you Alexis. I really hope you can end your career at Arsenal.

Lance banner

The same people that thumbs down ozil’s slide tackle are the same people that hate puppies.


Decent performance. Great result.
The three at the back are necessary because we are entirely shit in the air right now. Maybe BFG could be used to help with that?
And if this formation is to go on Gibbs must be given a chance. Time and again, Monreal was exposed for his pace tonight.
Finally please play the Ox in every match. The position doesn’t matter. He looks like the only guy who is genuinely a little ashamed of whats happening and is willing to make something happen.


Agree with the BFG, he could be useful as the most central of the 3 CB’s, dealing with all the aerial duels and mopping up behind. The system was crying out for Gibbs I thought too. Monreal just doesn’t have the same athleticism to play the role. He is not cutting it in 1 v 1 defensive situations too. Regarding the Ox: he has really come on nicely this season. Last season he was culpable for a few high profile errors but he seems to have ironed those blips out of his game. As his confidence grows he will be… Read more »


Alright who’s gonna make the compilation of all the slips in this match

Bendtner\'s Ego

Ox has been playing well the past few months, aside from a match or two.

Give him a new contract. He won’t want to live in Liverpool.

Stuck on repeat...

Decent performance, albeit that it wasnt terribly convincing at times. But a win’s a win, & you have to give credit that after ‘Brough scored the team had the fotitude to dig deep. …& what’s this? A change in tactics plus formation by the manager! The team celebrating after the final whistle! Team unity! Smiles! Alexis happy & larking around! A fantastic post match interview from the Ox (who again played great by the way)! C’mon!!! Could this be the turning point!?!? Early days I’m sure, & we’re not there yet, but fair play & credit to the manager &… Read more »


Ox was excellent today. He adds something different for us as he attacks the opposition directly. He isn’t a pass and play type. This 3-4-3 system may actually suit him. Young Holding was good too. Very composed for a young man. Well done David Dein, another great buy;) Giroud did not get a goal today (That last attempt was audacious to say the least)BUT he is far more effective than Welbeck. Aside from winning knock downs, he can also defend against set pieces and he creates chances both for himself and the second attacking line. Put himself about well today,… Read more »


The Ox was great. He’s fast enough and technical enough to take on players and get behind the lines and he had the bottle to do so. I’d like to see the match with Bellerin playing though. Gabriel isn’t one to get forward and I worry what will happen when they are pressed hard by a good team.


Holding has got a great game he could possibly be the suitable replacement for mertesacker but still he needs more play time and yes he’s quite tall xD and I personally would prefer Gibbs than Monreal in this kind of formation as you can clearly see how easy it is for adama traore to sped past monreal a couple of times.


Am I the only one who is tired of Sanchez sometimes carelessly loses possesion? In the 83rd minute, there was a situation with 4 against 2, that should’v been a goal or at least a chance. Instead, he made the most difficult pass towards özil or ramsey(not sure) and the one defender easily blocked it. Although, we were 2-1 up but a smarter pass (Ox was alone on the far right!!!) would have killed the game…

Lucky for Sanchez that he tops the goal and chance stats…


I think the system needs work but so far so good. It’s the flanks that worried me yesterday. You really need pace down the side and I don’t know where Bellerin would fit in. Maybe we deploy this system against teams sitting back?


Oi, Mesut: get back to right back!


Am fed up of Giroud not being given enough passes. It’s not all about Sanchez and Ozil fgs. Give him more service and he will deliver


Could AOC be the man to replace Nacho on the left against players like Downing who like to come inside?

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