Bukayo Saka starred as Arsenal recorded a 3-0 away victory over Frankfurt that was less convincing than it sounds.
A strong performance from Emi Martinez in goal, Bukayo Saka going forward and a little luck on top ensured the scoreline didn’t reflect the number of times Frankfurt put the Arsenal defence under pressure.
There’s no doubt the Gunners deserved the goals they got in terms of the quality chances they had, even missing three or four sitters on top of the ones that went in. It was too easy to run at the backline though, as usual, and the hosts were just very wasteful.
Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the match.
- Emi Martinez 8.5 – An excellent competitive return to the side for Emi after his Reading loan. The goalkeeper made seven saves and three good high claims in an assured performance that earned his clean sheet.
- Calum Chambers 5 – Played a great cross to Aubameyang which should have been an assist. Frankfurt ran riot down his side, unfortunately, abusing the fact they were up against a makeshift right-back and right-winger.
- Shkodran Mustafi 7 – A good return to the side, winning plenty of balls in the air and making a lot of covering tackles. We all know he can play like this until his next mistake, which is the problem for him.
- David Luiz 6.5 – Solid enough defensively, and he didn’t give away a penalty (hooray). Funnily enough, his passing went the other way and wasn’t quite as good as it usually is.
- Sead Kolašinac 4 – Seems completely averse to using his right foot for anything, whether it’s passing, controlling the ball or even making a tackle. It really hurt him on the night, as he slowed things down and looked clumsy. Did play one important pass to Saka in the build up to Willock’s goal.
- Granit Xhaka 6 – When Xhaka had any space and time on the ball, he played some really good forward passes and made chances. He also had good defensive numbers, which masked how he was out of position often. Gave the ball away in his defensive third dangerously again, though Martinez shouldn’t have given it to him in the first place.
- Lucas Torreira 6 – Bit of a mixed performance from Torreira, who looked a bit lost in his role at times, but did have positive moments in the individual duels too. Missed a sitter after a nice cross from Saka.
- Joe Willock 8 – Drove forward fantastically and completed some intelligent and well-placed passes. His goal was more than a little lucky but came from one of those positive forward runs. Should have scored another though, much as it was another good night for the youngster.
- Emile Smith Rowe 5 – Smith Rowe did have some good moments, spinning around a few players and making nice attacking runs into the box. He just seemed a little off the pace at times, giving the ball away too easily, understandable for a first game back.
- Bukayo Saka 9 – Not everything Saka did was perfect, yet he consistently created excellent opportunities to score for himself and others. He got a goal and two assists but arguably should’ve had another assist or two with better finishing from teammates. Showed just what he adds to Arsenal’s attacking options.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8 – Worked really hard all night and had lots of chances, one of which he put away. He also missed an absolute sitter but that only slightly took the shine off another good performance.
- Nicolas Pépé 7 – Got one of the easier assists of his career, but his drive also added something positive to Arsenal’s attack in an important part of the match. Drew the first yellow card of Dominik Kohr’s eventual red card with his clever dribbling.
- Dani Ceballos 6.5 – Also drew a useful foul and had a couple of nice touches, though a bizarre chipped free-kick and backheel in the box were the kind of gambles that look great when they come off and a bit silly when they don’t. Not a problem taking risks in the final third though.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles N/A – Filled in at left-back for a few minutes, the midfielder’s (!) versatility continues to be a good asset to the squad.