Player ratings vs Manchester United: Saka stars again, Aubameyang clinical, midfielder continues to impress

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Ashley Young of Manchester United battles for possession with Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal FC at Old Trafford on September 30, 2019, in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: Ashley Young of Manchester United battles for possession with Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal FC at Old Trafford on September 30, 2019, in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Arsenal came from behind to draw against Manchester United on Monday night in a scrappy match that never really lived up to the hype.

Arsenal's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrates with Arsenal's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (L) and Arsenal's English striker Bukayo Saka (R) after scoring their first goal, decision of off-side overturned by VAR (Video Assistant referee) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 30, 2019. (PAUL ELLIS / AFP / Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrates with Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (L) and Arsenal’s English striker Bukayo Saka (R) after scoring their first goal, decision of off-side overturned by VAR (Video Assistant referee) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on September 30, 2019. (PAUL ELLIS / AFP / Getty Images)

The first-half was a little reminiscent of Arsenal’s recent trip to Anfield, with a defensive tactical setup backfiring thanks to a goal just before half-time. Arsenal fans with sense used 123Aposta to find the right betting sites for the match, knowing how it would go.

The Gunners were up for the second 45 though, and only a fortunate block from Victor Lindelof prevented them from taking the lead with two goals in a few minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did manage to find the net for 1-1, at least.

After that early spell of pressure, Arsenal retreated back into their shell. Bar a couple of very late chances to win it, a draw always looked like the most likely result.

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

Goalkeeper

  • Bernd Leno 7.5 – Leno didn’t make a huge number of saves (three in total) but the ones he did make were crucial, and the goal he conceded was deflected and unstoppable. His distribution wasn’t at it’s best, but it wasn’t a major problem.

Defence

  • Calum Chambers 7 – The early yellow card put Chambers in for a really tough night, but after that, he played really well. Excluding the first 10 minutes, Dan James was limited to random blind crosses, and Chambers won five of his seven attempted aerial duels and tackles.
  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6.5 – One of many players you could accuse of not being awake to the second ball for United’s goal, and the defender ended up deflecting the shot into his own net. He did pretty well for the most part otherwise.
  • David Luiz 7 – One of his better showings in an Arsenal shirt so far. The centre-back made six clearances, twice as many as anybody else on a busy night for him. His passing was also as creative as you’d expect and got Aubameyang away once or twice.
  • Sead Kolasinac 6 – A little lucky not to give a penalty away for handball, even considering the deflection off Aubameyang’s foot first. A bit hit and miss defensively, though his three interceptions matched the rest of the team combined.

Midfield

  • Granit Xhaka 5 – No, he didn’t duck. He bent his neck to head the ball before Sokratis’ arm deflected it away from him. Xhaka wasn’t particularly impressive overall in the match, but that was the one thing he didn’t deserve criticism for.
  • Matteo Guendouzi 8 – Had another great game in another comeback, just like against Spurs and Aston Villa. He’s a fighter, and four tackles, three clearances and six fouls won emphasise that. He also completed more passes than any other Arsenal player.
  • Lucas Torreira 5 – As he has been a few times recently, Torreira was a victim of the role he was being asked to play. His pressing game from the front does help Arsenal win possession, but then he has to make things happen in the final third and finish chances in the box, not his strong points.

Forwards

  • Nicolas Pepe 4 – Unfairly criticised in a lot of his positive recent performances, this time the winger deserved it. He pressed well in the build-up to Arsenal’s goal, but he badly struggled to impact the game and blazed over with a good chance.
  • Bukayo Saka 8.5 – Excellent again. Saka set up Arsenal’s equaliser with quick thinking and a nicely-weighted pass, won a game-high five tackles, created as many chances and completed as many dribbles as anyone on the pitch. He could have scored too but Lindelof’s block ensured his shot flew over the bar.
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8 – Aubameyang’s running caused a lot of problems and he finished his one chance very confidently – let’s be grateful to VAR that the goal wasn’t chalked off. He also created two chances and tracked back from time to time.

Substitutes

  • Dani Ceballos 6 – Essentially benefitted from not being Torreira. He, Özil and Willock are all more suited to that role, so any of them would have been an improvement. Other than set-pieces, the midfielder was solid in his 35 minutes.
  • Reiss Nelson 6 – Nelson doubled up with Chambers well defensively, won a good free-kick and Arsenal should have done better with his (admittedly unconventional) corners. His left-footed shot was too weak though.
  • Joe Willock 7 – Playing on the wing for the final minutes, Willock did very well. He made two chances – the joint-most of anyone in the entire match – made a good tackle and completed all of his passes.