Arsenal finished their first game of the new year 4-1 winners against Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, a scoreline which doesn’t quite reflect how close the game was at times.
Arsenal started 2019 with a rare first-half lead, thanks to Granit Xhaka, though they easily could’ve conceded at least one in the opening period. In the second half, Alexandre Lacazette doubled the lead, but Fulham finally made one of their chances count to make it 2-1.
Aaron Ramsey came off the bench to score and kill the game before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added some gloss to the result in the final minutes, keeping his challenge for the Golden Boot going.
Let’s have a look at our individual player ratings for the match.
1Goalkeeper and Centre-Backs
Bernd Leno 6
It’s the same story again for Leno. He makes a few good saves, concedes one he didn’t really have any chance with and continues his growing run without a clean sheet. It’s five games in a row without one now, and two clean sheets in 15 Premier League games in total. His distribution could’ve been a little better on the day, but Fulham pressed well.
Shkodran Mustafi 4
As at Anfield, Mustafi only lasted one half before having to come off with an injury problem. He also really wasn’t very impressive during his time on the pitch.
The German had a number of poor first touches, making his passes considerably more difficult to execute. That partly explains why he was the only defender to have less than 80% pass accuracy, with 69%. He won a few aerials but lost just as many, and he didn’t make any tackles. Clearly, he still wasn’t fully fit before he came off.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5
Sokratis had a pretty decent game, though he has to take some of the blame for the number of chances Arsenal conceded. The Greek international’s best moment was at the other end of the pitch, taking on a couple of players before getting a shot away. He also led the side in tackles won.
Laurent Koscielny 7
Koscielny was caught out by Ryan Sessegnon early in the first half, and he was lucky the youngster didn’t punish him for it. However, after that, he really grew into the game, winning all of his nine individual duels and making as many clearances and interceptions as anyone on the team.
The Frenchman’s passing was also very good, he just needs to try and get through a full 90 minutes without an error like the one for the Sessegnon chance now.
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