Arsenal overcame a relatively poor first-half performance to win comfortably against Fiorentina on Saturday night.

Eddie Nketiah after scoring against Fiorentina in pre-season (Photo via AP)
Eddie Nketiah after scoring against Fiorentina in pre-season (Photo via AP)

These player ratings articles are going to start sounding like a broken record. Once again, the young players stole the show in Arsenal’s third match in the USA, this time a 3-0 win over Fiorentina.

Eddie Nketiah got himself two goals, with Joe Willock adding the third, though they were set up by senior stars Sead Kolasinac and Alex Lacazette. That didn’t tell the whole story though, as a calamitous first-half defensive performance went unpunished.

Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.

Goalkeeper

  • Emi Martinez 8 – Martinez had to deal with a disappointing defence in front of him in the first half, so he certainly earned his clean sheet. The goalkeeper made four saves and bailed the centre-backs out on a number of occasions.

Centre-Backs

  • Calum Chambers 6 – Chambers was the only centre-back to come out of the first half with his dignity intact. Though it wasn’t exactly a perfect performance, Chambers at least put in a respectable showing with no major errors.
  • Shkodran Mustafi 3 – Mustafi was all over the place in a worrying defensive showing throughout. The formation didn’t help, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that individually he was poor.
  • Nacho Monreal 3.5 – The only reason Monreal gets a higher rating than Mustafi is he improved as soon as he was back out at left-back again. His first-half performance was very worrying defensively and he looked to be asleep at times in possession.

Wing-Backs

  • Carl Jenkinson 5.5 – Jenkinson’s best moment was when he blocked two players off to give Mkhitaryan the time and space to pick out Lacazette in the build-up to Arsenal’s second goal. He was solid.
  • Sead Kolasinac 5 – Kolasinac picked up another booking for a silly free-kick in a dangerous area, and didn’t help the centre-backs out at all in the opening 45 minutes. He did get an assist, and put a couple of good balls into the box, but was caught offside just as often. Sacrificed at half-time to change formation.

Midfield

  • Robbie Burton 6 – Both Burton and Olayinka put in more impressive performances earlier in the week, but there were lots of positives here too. Burton retained possession well aside from losing a couple of physical duels.
  • James Olayinka 6 – Just like for his goal against Colorado, Olayinka pressed well from the front, which is probably why Unai Emery has taken such a fancy to him.

Forwards

  • Reiss Nelson 5 – This was Nelson’s first start after joining pre-season late, and he did look a little off the pace. The first-half system didn’t help at all, and he did have a couple of nice shots.
  • Eddie Nketiah 9 – Nketiah starred again, for the third time in three pre-season appearances. This time he outdid his goal against Bayern and assist against Colorado by scoring twice, and proved a menace to the Fiorentina defence with his runs.
  • Bukayo Saka 6.5 – Like Nelson, Saka wasn’t helped at all by the way he was utilised. At first, he was pushed too far infield by the wing-backs, and then he was forced over to his less-favoured right-hand side. Despite that, he was involved in some direct and encouraging moves, including the opening goal.

Substitutes

Half-Time

  • Bernd Leno 7.5 – Like Martinez, Leno also had to make four saves, though they were significantly less dangerous attempts on goal. The goalkeeper did have to make one acrobatic stop though, so he deserves his half of the clean sheet too.
  • Alexandre Lacazette 8 – This was a lot better from Lacazette, after his slow start to pre-season. He might’ve been tempted to go for goal for either of his two assists, but instead found the better-placed player and boosted Arsenal into a 3-0 lead.

63rd minute

  • Henrikh Mkhitaryan 7 – Mkhitaryan may have been helped by Jenkinson’s block but he still did well in the build-up to Nketiah’s second goal.
  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5 – Sokratis made the defence look a little less scattered and won a couple of duels.
  • Joe Willock 8.5 – After two impressive midfield performances in deeper roles, Willock reminded everyone he can be good going forward as well. He had one driving run ended by a last-ditch sliding tackle, before scoring with his second venture into the box. It was a clinical finish from a midfielder who has found plenty of those in the last 12 months.

80th minute

  • Mesut Özil 7 – Özil just about had time to make a couple of Fiorentina players look silly by drawing them in and flicking the ball away from them.
  • Dominic Thompson 6 – Thompson had a few positive touches in the few minutes he spent on the pitch.
  • Gabriel Martinelli 7 – Martinelli almost made the headlines with a blistering run from inside his own half, but put his finish narrowly wide of the post. We’ll be kind and blame the bobbles the ball took as he ran, and it was still an exciting run.
  • Zech Medley 6 – Medley shielded the ball back to Leno well at one point. That’s pretty much all he had to do.
  • Granit Xhaka 5 – Xhaka played some nice passes but also did his usual trick of sparking an opposition counter-attack.
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles 5 – Maitland-Niles wasn’t involved much but did get a booking for giving away a dangerous free-kick, compounding Xhaka’s mistake.
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