Arsenal won a hard-fought three points in Cardiff on Sunday, taking the lead on three separate occasions to eventually finish 3-2 victors.
Cardiff didn’t have a Premier League goal until this weekend, but of course they found their scoring boots against Arsenal. Fortunately the Gunners’ heads never dropped, and they kept finding increasingly impressive ways to take back the lead.
Let’s have a look at how each player did individually on the day.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 4
Arsenal largely relied on Cech’s saves against West Ham United and Chelsea to keep them in the game, but this match was a completely different story. The goalkeeper made one save, conceded two goals, and looked more nervous than ever playing out from the back.
Harry Arter should’ve scored early on from a Cech pass, and that wasn’t the Arsenal man’s only error leading to a shot either. He has to do better than this.
Nacho Monreal 6
As always, Monreal got forward very well, and supported Arsenal’s attacks effectively. The fact he had a one-on-one with the Cardiff goalkeeper at one point emphasised that. At the other end though, Warnock’s side completely took advantage of the Spaniard. He was caught out for their first goal, and never looked comfortable.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5
Sokratis won most of his duels, made interceptions and clearances and completed a very high percentage of his passes.
At the same time, he didn’t make any tackles, and looked uncomfortable playing the ball with his left foot. Cardiff noticed that early on, and kept pressuring him whenever he tried. That forced the defender to play back to Cech, who was having an even worse game in possession.
Shkodran Mustafi 7.5
For probably the first time this season, Mustafi was Arsenal’s standout defender. He was very dangerous on offensive corners, scoring a header from one and almost adding another later on. Defensively he was more solid than anyone around him too, though still not perfect. Similar to Sokratis, he didn’t win any tackles, which is concerning.
Hector Bellerin 6.5
If you look at the map of Arsenal players’ average positions against Cardiff, you’ll see how impossible Bellerin’s job was on the day.
He was playing the right-hand side of the pitch on his own, and unsurprisingly had trouble doing so.
It wasn’t the right-back’s best performance as a result, and he could’ve done more for the first Cardiff goal. Nonetheless, given the circumstances, the Spaniard was actually fairly solid in general.