Arsenal lost yet another away match on Wednesday night, this time against Leicester City, but for once the team had a valid excuse.
After just 15 minutes, referee Graham Scott reduced Arsenal to 10 men, right after the team had just conceded a goal. At that point it was a massive uphill battle to get back into the game.
It was therefore to Arsenal’s credit that they managed to do so. They got an equaliser in the 53rd minute, and dominated for large parts of the game. Eventually the work they’d put in showed in the final 15 minutes, with the players tiring and Leicester scoring twice to win the match.
Nonetheless, it was a better performance than most away games this year. Here are our individual player ratings:
Petr Cech 8
Arsenal fans love to put the blame on Cech whenever they lose this season, and unfortunately he’s often deserved the criticism. However, on this occasion he played very well, keeping Arsenal in the game until a late penalty he couldn’t do much about.
His distribution of the ball was also much better, and his kicks straight up to Aubameyang to counter attack gave Arsenal the kind of outlet they needed with 10 men.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7.5
Maitland-Niles also had a very good game, filling in at right-back. He made one crucial last-man tackle at one end, and created a goal at the other, even though it won’t go down as an assist in the stats. The academy star has had to play all over the pitch this season, so it’s impressive that he’s performed well in each position.
Rob Holding 6.5
Holding had to make a goal-line clearance to keep the score down, and did pretty well in general. It’s hard to blame him for the goals, since only the third was in a position where he could do anything to prevent it.
In that case he was rushing across to cover the right-winger because Kolasinac had ventured up-field in search of an equaliser. Perhaps Mahrez turned him a bit too easily, but it’s difficult to stop without giving away another penalty.
Konstantinos Mavropanos 4
It’s harsh to judge Mavropanos on this performance, because he really only made one mistake, and that error defined the entire match. After two good showings against Manchester United and Burnley, he wasn’t up to the pace quickly enough against Leicester, and let Kelechi Iheanacho get a run at goal.
He decided to bring the Leicester player down, and the referee made a poor decision to send the defender off, even though Rob Holding was coming across to cover. The red card wasn’t Mavropanos’ fault, but the initial defensive error was.
It’s all very reminiscent of Xhaka’s red against Swansea. Referees clearly don’t like new Arsenal signings.
Sead Kolasinac 7
This was better from Kolasinac in general, just as at the weekend. He’s not missing as many passes as he was in the middle of the season, and he’s a threat again in the final third, hitting the post on this occasion. He did commit more fouls than any of the other defenders though.