Soccer

Arsenal vs. Liverpool player ratings: Arteta’s Gunners lack coherent plan as Jota shines as Klopp super sub

Liverpool moved within two points of Chelsea in fourth with an exceptional 3-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool dominated the first half with one of their most complete performances of 2021 but were unable to capitalise on their excellence as James Milner curled wide of a near-open goal and Mohamed Salah got the ball trapped under his feet after beating Gabriel.

As Liverpool’s pressure built it was only a matter of time before the levee broke, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s brilliant cross landing on Diogo Jota to break Arsenal’s resistance in the 64th minute. Four minutes later the game was over, Mohamed Salah holding off Gabriel and rolling the ball past Bernd Leno.

Jota added gloss to a comprehensive win late on as Liverpool took a sizeable step towards the top four following Chelsea’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion. Arsenal, meanwhile, were left to lick their wounds after a 12th league defeat of the season.

Arsenal ratings

Bernd Leno
With the exception of the second that rolled through his legs there was little that Leno could do about Liverpool’s goals and it should be noted he faced few other dangerous shots, saving well from Salah in the 73rd minute.
Rating: 5

Calum Chambers
His positioning could be called into question on numerous occasions in the first half, when he seemed unsure whether to follow Sadio Mane infield or protect his lane. Chambers’ work in the low block could not be faulted and as the game wore on his battle with Mane seemed to swing his way.
Rating: 5

Rob Holding
He was guilty of getting too tight to Mane early on, allowing Liverpool’s No.10 to spin him and bear down on goal. Still there were impressive moments defending his own area as he put his head or boot to any dangerous cross that came his way. His performance certainly impressed Jurgen Klopp, who let out a frustrated cry of “someone get in front of him” when Holding made another near post clearance. Perhaps he would feel he could have done more to clear Alexander-Arnold’s cross for the opener but it was perfectly delivered.
Rating: 5

Gabriel
There were tough moments as there inevitably are when defending against top tier forwards but there wer at least plenty of moments when Gabriel could feel like he had got the better of his opponents. He was not afraid to dive in on Salah and often came up with the ball at his feet. A clumsy pass that led to Liverpool’s third ought to be a lesson to him.
Rating: 6

Kieran Tierney
A solid effort that was ended early by injury, more often than not Tierney came out successfully from the duels he was involved in even if this was a gruelling night after a heavy toll of minutes over the international break. 
Rating: 5

Thomas Partey
The contrast with his colleague in the engine room could scarcely have been more pronounced. Partey was a one-man midfield: winning the ball in dangerous areas, beating his man and playing the right pass. On one occasion he nearly released Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in behind.
Rating: 7

Dani Ceballos
This was a horrible performance by the Spaniard, who somehow needed more time on the ball to make the wrong choice. He could have been the man to unleash Arsenal on the counter, instead he kept giving the ball back to Liverpool. After his third match in an Arsenal shirt at Anfield Ceballos admitted he found it almost impossible to deal with a team that has Liverpool’s intensity. More than 18 months later there are no signs that has changed.
Rating: 3

Nicolas Pepe
A performance all too familiar through his Arsenal career so far, flashes of true talent but too few of them over the course of 90 minutes. Like the other forwards he could reflect on being asked to do more defensive work whilst Pepe could also point out that most of his side’s best moments of the first half involved him carrying the ball forward. But he was often late to the press and out of position when chances to attack emerged.
Rating: 5

Martin Odegaard
Explosive and energetic in the press early on but with Arsenal largely unable to get the ball up through the middle of the pitch quickly his influence on the contest was rather minimal.
Rating: 6

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
It should be noted that his difficulties were in part down to the role he was put in by Arteta, one that demanded he chase down the channel to defend against Alexander-Arnold when Liverpool’s center backs were often pushed into their own half. Couldn’t Gabriel Martinelli or Willian have done that? Equally if he is in that role he should know not to give Alexander-Arnold the time and space to ping a first time delivery onto Jota’s head.
Rating: 4

Alexandre Lacazette
One could not fault his effort nor his willingness to take a beating as a bleeding left eye attested early on. Equally he did not manage to register a single shot on goal nor did he ever look like giving any difficulties to Liverpool’s makeshift central defense.
Rating: 5

Cedric Soares (sub, Tierney, 44′)
He seemed more willing to drive upfield than many of his team-mates and registered their only shot of the second half. He defended well enough as well on a solid night in an awkward position.
Rating: 5

Mohamed Elneny (sub, Ceballos, 58′)
Though he was not as poor as the man he replaced Elneny simply looked a level below those he was lined up against, unable to progress Arsenal up the field.
Rating: 5

Gabriel Martinelli (sub, Aubameyang, 77′)
The young Brazilian brought energy and aggression to a doomed cause.
Rating: 6

Manager – Mikel Arteta
There are questions to be asked about how the Arsenal boss set his side up for this game. Aubameyang and Lacazette left them with little creativity or link play and having the former on the left chasing his man did little to threaten Liverpool’s high line. In this form the champions may have won however the Gunners set up but Arteta’s approach made a tough task harder.
Rating: 3

Liverpool ratings

Alisson
Wasn’t exactly tasked with too much responsibility in net. Faced three shots with two on target, kept the clean sheen. Rating: 7

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Strong opening half hour putting Liverpool on the front foot, delivered the assist on Jota’s goal, and remained active in attack.
Rating: 8

Nathaniel Phillips
Struggled to link up or combine out of the back in the early minutes, but eventually played himself into the game with little pressure from Arsenal. Rating: 6

Ozan Kabak
Struggled on the ball during the first half before eventually settling in to slight improvement coverage out of the back. Subbed out in the 84th minute.
Rating: 6

Andrew Robertson 
Active on the wing for Liverpool and present defensively when needed, subbed off at the hour mark after fading a bit coming off international duty.
Rating: 6

Thiago Alcântara
Did well in the first half to close down space and get on the ball to defend against Arsenal attacks and generate attack from the base of midfield.
Rating: 7

Fabinho
Strong in the midfield but was challenged very little while distributing the ball into attack for Liverpool.
Rating: 7

James Milner
Strong on the ball in the early minutes in Liverpool’s attack but nothing to show for it in the first half. Moved to left back in the second half after Robertson subbed off
Rating: 7

Mohamed Salah: Was active in the final third during the first half and scored the second goal for Liverpool. Rating: 7

Roberto Firmino
Good movement on and off the ball during the first half, but had questionable shot selection when in front of goal. Subbed out during the 78th minute.
Rating: 6

Sadio Mané
Active first half despite no goals to show, provided an unlikely assist on Jota’s second goal.
Rating: 7

Diogo Jota (sub, Robertson, 61′)
Subbed on for Robertson in the 61st minute and changed the game for Liverpool. Scored after just three minutes on the pitch and added another in the 82nd minute. Rating: 8

Georginio Wijnaldum (sub, Firmino, 78′)
Was subbed on for Firminoto sure up midfield and kills the game off
Rating: N/A

Rhys Williams (sub, Kabak, 84′) 
Defender for defender with under ten minutes left.
Rating: N/A

Manager – Jürgen Klopp
Offense didn’t click early on and made a game changing sub in Jota and now the club is back in the hunt for a spot in the top four.
Rating: 7



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