Arsenal 4-0 Slavia Praha: Player Ratings

Written by Edward Pitt

April 16, 2021

Wow! What a win. And what an opening 25 minutes. Everybody was on song and clearly from the same hymn sheet. It started with Saka wreaking havoc down the right side, having a shot pushed onto the post before Smith Rowe tapped in the rebound. That one was ruled out for being a toe offside. But that didn’t stop us. Moments later we were in again, Smith Rowe the creator this time as he picked out Pepe who finished well. Another minute or two pass and Smith Rowe and Saka are causing danger again. This time, Smith Rowe plays it to Saka who is brought down in the box for a penalty which Lacazette converted. ANOTHER couple of moments pass and Saka is bombing forward yet again as he goes on a great run and smashes the ball in at the near post for 3-0. The game settled down a bit at this point but we were still looking dominant, dangerous and most importantly in control. There were no real silly errors to complain about. Then, later on in the second half, Lacazette rounds off a great day at the office with a smart finish after Pepe picked him out. Here are my player ratings

LENO – 6: In truth, I don’t think we really needed him in this one. Didn’t do anything wrong, but in fairness he had nothing to do

CHAMBERS – 7: I really like the way Arteta is setting up our back 4 in the absence of KT. He is effectively telling Xhaka and Chambers not to go forward very much. With that rigid back 4 of basically 4 centre backs, the players ahead really have the freedom to do what they like. Chambers did that well today and didn’t really put a foot wrong

HOLDING – 8: Rock solid as usual. Won every header, won his duels. If a Prague player wanted to have a bit of handbags he was fine with that. He was winding them up all night

MARI – 8: £6 million for this guy is beginning to look like a real stroke of genius. Some would argue he is the best centre back at the club. He is certainly up there and he is playing really well right now

XHAKA – 7: Much like Chambers, he defended reasonably well but, as I’m sure he was told, he didn’t do much attacking. Decent performance

PARTEY – 9: I thought he was maybe our best player. Considering he didn’t get a goal or an assist, that might need some explaining. But, I just thought he was a ball-magnet. He won every tackle. He pretty much single handedly won that ball back and was spraying it about the pitch all night long. Without him doing that, we wouldn’t have been able to have attack after attack after attack in the opening 20 minutes

CEBALLOS – 7: Nothing amazing but a decent performances. He was finding spaces well, picking the ball off the back 4 and helping to facilitate our attackers

SAKA – 10: What a game from the young man. What! A! Game! It felt like he could have had 3 goals and 3 assists. The amount of times he found himself up the pitch and on the charge was insane.

PEPE – 9: He was also really dangerous. Perhaps not quite as heavily involved as Saka but his execution in the final third was exemplary. He scored a really smart finish and he set up Lacazette’s second. Surely, with the form he is on he is going to play pretty much every remaining game this season

SMITH ROWE – 9: I must say I was surprised to see him start because he must have only just recovered from injury. But that shows how much Arteta trusts and rates him. ESR repaid that trust with a great day at the office. He had a goal which I suppose in a world where your toe can’t be offside it might have counted. But he was still really dangerous. He showed great skill to play Pepe in for his goal and played a significant role in almost all our goals and all our dangerous attacks

LACAZETTE – 9: Perhaps I’m being harsh and he too deserves a 10. He was fantastic as usual in fairness with 2 nicely taken goals. I do love Lacazette. Not enough to offer a 30 year old a monster contract, but I do love him and I will miss him. I do think we should be in the market for a top number 9. Let’s go and sign someone like Calvert Lewin. Surely that is a realistic signing for our club and he can do a similar job to what Lacazette is doing now but he’s a lot younger

ARTETA – 10: I would have liked to see Martinelli from the start, but saying that I don’t know who I would have dropped for him. Overall, it was a good lineup and a good game plan, executed to perfection. He clearly had the team so well drilled to go out and make an instant impact on the game

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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