Southampton 1-3 Arsenal: Pick your player ratings

Written by Edward Pitt

January 27, 2021

Pick your player ratings from Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Southampton

Fantastic! What a way to avenge the FA Cup misery we endured against the Saints on the weekend. We made a bright start to the game. Once we conceded so sloppily from the corner, I was really worried. But the reaction was impeccable. We went into the break with a 2-1 before Lacazette saw the game off later in the second half. Here’s how I think the players got on. Do you agree with my ratings?

Leno – 9/10: His performance may well fly under the radar because of some of our brilliant attackers today, but he made some outstanding saves. Some of which at crucial points in the game, like at 1-1 when we were conceding chances to Southampton’s counter attacks. I truly believe we have the best ‘keeper in the league right now based on form

Bellerin – 6/10: Defensively ok but his decision making in attack was sometimes a little off. He was leading us well though, and knew that his most important job was to get the ball to Saka and let him do the rest

Holding – 7/10: He was extremely commanding at the heart of defense and did a much better job at dealing with their attack compared to Saturday. Especially in the closing stages when Southampton were really trying to pile on the pressure

Luiz – 5/10: He was the one weak link in our team today. He just seemed very erratic and nervous. We know that this can happen with Luiz; he either plays a blinder or makes a number of small errors. Luckily, none of these mistakes were punished today, but I am certainly wanting to see Gabriel back next time

Cedric – 8/10: Early in the first half I didn’t feel like he was getting to the byline enough. Then he flicked this switch and put in a brilliant performance. His ball delivery was really good, he was supporting Pepe well and he was showing great experience in winning fouls and throw ins in awkward areas. Really good from Cedric, especially considering he was at LB. His cross field ball to Saka for the Lacazette goal was jaw dropping as well

Partey – 8/10: This guy is just elegant. I lost count of the number of times he’d glide past the Saints midfield or spin away from their press and get the ball out wide. He is so important to what we are doing right now. I think a lot of other teams are kicking themselves wishing they had met that release clause; by the end of the season I think he will be regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Prem

Xhaka – 8/10: Another excellent showing from Xhaka. The best thing about Xhaka is when he has a game and does not put a foot wrong. Sure, he isn’t the flashiest player. But you know you can rely on him. He is also becoming increasingly involved in the high press, shown perfectly by his assist for Pepe’s equaliser

Saka – 10/10: I can’t not give this guy a 10/10. He has got to be one of the most effective player’s in the Premier League right now. Another goal and another assist today and he was a menace all game. The best way to describe it is that I trust when he has the ball. Like when Alexis Sanchez was at Arsenal. When certain players get on the ball you are nervous; you feel like they’re about to lose it. When Saka (or Sanchez) get on the ball, you can relax. You can watch knowing he will either beat his man or play the right pass; what he won’t do is lose the ball

Smith Rowe – 8/10: It’s easy to assume that because he didn’t get a goal or assist he hadn’t met the standards he’s been setting for himself. But he was excellent again. His ability to pick up spaces and move the ball quickly and directly make us so lethal on the counter attack. Odegaard will be hard pressed to get this guy out of the team

Pepe – 9/10: That is the kind of performance you expect out of a £72 million player. I said he showed glimpses of quality on the weekend; well today he showed it all game long. He was heavily involved and looked after the ball very well. Most importantly, he was clearly enjoying his football again for once which is so good to see. I think using him on the left is something we definitely need to keep trying over the next few weeks

Lacazette – 9/10: This is the best football Lacazette has ever played for Arsenal. He paves the way for everyone behind him to shine and works tirelessly in our press which is why we are starting to create chances by winning the ball back in the final third. He set up Saka’s goal brilliantly and got a deserved goal in the end to reward another fine performance

SUBS

Elneny/Willock/Willian – n/a: None of them had much to do other than sit in and see the game out, which in fairness they all did fairly well

ARTETA – 9/10: I think Luiz over Gabriel was his only mistake. Many fans bemoaned the inclusion of Pepe but he really shone and proved Arteta right to include him. Finally, I want to appreciate how pumped up Arteta had his players for this game. We made such a bright start to the game and thankfully we weren’t sat at 0-0 at half time again

 

 

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