Arsenal suffered a frustrating and rather embarrassing 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 clash on Thursday.
Though they still have the second leg to redeem themselves, Unai Emery’s side couldn’t have put themselves in a much worse position than the one they’ve ended up in.
The Gunners failed to score an away goal, which could be their downfall if Borisov score just one at the Emirates (leaving Arsenal needing three). They also got their second top scorer and top assist provider for the season suspended for the return fixture.
The problems were largely down to the system Emery chose to employ, rather than individual faults, but with that in mind, let’s have a look at our player ratings for the fixture.
2Midfield and Wing-Backs
Sead Kolašinac 7
Kolašinac remains one of Arsenal’s biggest creative threats, which says more about the setup than anything else. On this occasion he was pretty much Arsenal’s only creator, making seven of their 13 chances. He could’ve made even more but for a couple of slightly overhit passes to him, when he’d picked up good positions.
The defender could have done a little more to prevent the goal, but his strength has never been winning aerial duels.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 4
After coming in for some unfair criticism after a good performance against Huddersfield, Maitland-Niles put in a showing more worthy of derision on this occasion. His control was loose, as was his passing, and he struggled to create anything going forward. He did make more tackles than anyone else, which was the one redeeming aspect of his game.
Granit Xhaka 5
Xhaka was solid but uninspiring. He played a few nice long balls and kept possession moving pretty well, but he had so little to work with that he ended up mostly just passing back and forth with no real threat of creating anything. His corners were terrible, as were Arsenal’s corner routines in general.
Matteo Guendouzi 3
Guendouzi had probably his worst performance for Arsenal so far. The pitch didn’t help his game, as his usual body feints past opposing players just led to him losing control of the ball. Nonetheless, he did very little to help creatively, and he kept gifting Borisov players the chance to counter-attack.
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