An Arsenal team of second-string players and youth stars had no trouble at all breezing past FC Vorskla on Thursday, winning the match 3-0 in Kiev.
With the North London derby on Sunday, Unai Emery had a call to make in midweek. Starting his star players would wear them out, and even taking them on the trip to sit in freezing conditions after a long journey to Ukraine could hardly do them any good.
As a result, he decided to trust in the Arsenal academy to fill the gaps in the squad, and it worked a treat. Let’s have a look at our individual player ratings for the match:
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 7
Cech really didn’t have much to do for most of this game, but one great chance did fall Vorskla’s way and the goalkeeper was out well to smother it. He did drop a save early on, but he managed to hold it on the second attempt.
Stephan Lichtsteiner 7
Back from his hamstring injury, Lichtsteiner did well, particularly in the air where he won all of his aerial duels. He got forward effectively enough and created one chance in the first half. In all honesty, he had an easy night and perhaps should’ve created one or two more with the positions he found himself in.
Carl Jenkinson 8
Jenkinson had to play out of position on this occasion, and he did so very effectively. No Arsenal player made more tackles or more clearances than him, and no defender made more accurate passes either. He also threw himself in front of a shot well at one point.
Rob Holding 7
Holding had a good game too, with the usual caveat that he wasn’t really tested. The negative for the night was that he picked up a yellow card which rules him out of the final Europa League game, although that shouldn’t be a big problem. The defender ended up coming off early, perhaps with the North London derby in mind.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7.5
Maitland-Niles had one of his usual all-action performances, getting up and down the pitch all game.
The midfielder turned left-back had a bit more to do than the other defenders, with Vorskla mostly attacking down the right-hand side, and Arsenal mostly attacking down the left. His link-up with Smith Rowe was pretty important as a result, and he didn’t let himself down.