Arsenal’s first home game under Freddie Ljungberg ended in disappointment as Brighton won 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
Arsenal player ratings today do not make great reading. First off, Freddie Ljungberg didn’t exactly get the fans on side with his team selection.
Kieran Tierney missed out on the starting lineup, Mesut Özil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the wings and Nicolas Pepe remained on the bench.
None of that was any excuse for how poorly the team performed in the first half though. The team gave those fans nothing to get behind, and the ‘new manager bounce’ was nowhere to be seen in their application on the pitch.
Ljungberg made the changes the fans wanted, bringing on Pepe, Martinelli and Tierney and moving Aubameyang and Özil into central areas. It didn’t make a difference, as the team slumped to a 2-1 defeat with most of their best XI on the pitch.
Let’s look at the Arsenal player ratings today.
- Bernd Leno 8 – Same as always. Leno made seven saves, and a number of good ones at that. It’s inevitable that he concedes multiple goals anyway with the way Arsenal defend.
- Hector Bellerin 4 – Doesn’t seem to have got back up to speed physically, as he lost a few key individual challenges that left Arsenal exposed at the back.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 3 – A lot has been said about the way Arsenal let attackers run at them but the centre-back pairing is just as poor at defending those runners. Sokratis lacked any authority and he also just stood and watched for the first goal.
- David Luiz 3 – Similarly, Luiz just watched as Maupay headed in the second. He knew where the Brighton man was (he looked at him a second before the goal) he just didn’t get close to him.
- Sead Kolasinac 4 – Akin to his performance against Norwich, Kolasinac made some good forward runs but nothing came of any of them. He just doesn’t have a final ball.
- Granit Xhaka 6.5 – Arsenal’s best player in a terrible first half, played some really nice forward passes and created a couple of chances. Dropped off a little in the second half but was still better than most.
- Lucas Torreira 5.5 – A solid but not exactly impressive nor commanding display. Whichever players are partnered at the base of Arsenal’s midfield, it doesn’t seem to make any difference, they get caught out anyway.
- Joe Willock 4 – His pressing was good, he had a few nice forward runs, but his passing was very poor, particularly in advanced areas. He gave the ball away more often than he found his man, and that’s not an exaggeration. Rightly subbed at half-time.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 5 – Looked tired. He made a few good sprints at both ends and put one or two nice crosses in but spent a lot of time walking around, often in offside positions. Wasted out wide.
- Mesut Özil 5 – Created good chances from set-pieces, including for the goal. If Luiz hadn’t strayed offside, Özil could have had two assists. Didn’t achieve much else though, with his position out on the left partly to blame.
- Alexandre Lacazette 5 – Took his goal nicely, with a good header to the far post. Other than that he was fairly anonymous in attack. He’s not playing well enough to justify Aubameyang being forced out of position.
- Nicolas Pepe 7 – Probably created the best chance of the second half as Aubameyang raced through on goal. He brought some life to the Arsenal team, at least for 20 or 30 minutes.
- Kieran Tierney 5 – Has seemed a bit off form in the last few games. He put in one good cross for Martinelli but had a couple of loose touches and wasn’t involved much.
- Gabriel Martinelli 6.5 – Finishing up our Arsenal player ratings vs Brighton, Martinelli made a positive impact briefly, going as close as anyone else had in the latter stages with a header that had Mat Ryan scrambling. Was one of few players trying to lift the pace of the game with his energy and fight to win the ball.