Arsenal put on a display of wasteful finishing as Tottenham Hotspur did the exact opposite on Wednesday night, with Unai Emery’s side losing 2-0 to crash out of the League Cup.
After a convincing victory over the same opposition in the same stadium earlier in the month, Arsenal fans were confident of a similar performance in the midweek League Cup quarter-final. However, despite a number of first-half chances falling Arsenal’s way, they failed to take a single one, and they ended up 1-0 down at the break.
It was the same story in the second half, with chances falling Arsenal’s way only for Spurs to double their lead with pretty much their only big opportunity. After that, the game was dead, and the Gunners’ efforts to get back into it were half-hearted at best.
Let’s have a look at our individual player ratings for the fixture.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 4
The advantage of having Cech in the team is his ability to deal with crosses, free-kicks and corners, but there were very few of those to deal with. As a result, there was a lot more focus on two things the 36-year-old isn’t as good at, coming off his line and playing out from the back.
The goalkeeper only managed a pretty woeful 58% pass accuracy and one save from a Christian Eriksen long shot. Other than that, he let the only other two shots on target into the net. You couldn’t really blame him for conceding the one-on-ones, but you just wonder if Bernd Leno would’ve got out to the danger a little earlier.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 5
Maitland-Niles had some good moments, but it was very much throwing him into the deep end playing against Danny Rose and Eriksen. He struggled to win the individual battles, and he perhaps could’ve made more of one or two good positions. It will be a good learning experience, at least.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 5
Sokratis had a good game in the air, winning twice as many aerial duels as anyone else. However, he got caught up in a challenge with Lucas Moura to open up space for the first goal and he wasn’t ready for the ball over the top to Dele Alli for the second. He also missed a sitter of a header.
Granit Xhaka 5.5
Xhaka was caught out for the first goal, playing Son onside. Centre-back is not his position and any top-six team will exploit that. It was bizarre that Emery decided to keep him there rather than moving him into midfield when Guendouzi went off.
Yet, other than that goal Xhaka actually had a fairly solid game. Credit has to go to the Swiss international for his set-piece deliveries. In particular, his corners were excellent, and it was a shame the players in the box did nothing with them. Mostly as a result of those set-pieces, he created twice as many chances as anyone else in the match.
He likely would’ve made even more happen from midfield.
Nacho Monreal 5
Like Sokratis, Monreal excelled in one area in particular (tackles – he won six) whilst performing averagely in most other areas. He struggled to make anything happen with the ball, failing to create any chances or take any shots on, which is usually an area he does well in.
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