Here are our player ratings as Arsenal drew 1-1 with high-flying Sheffield United on Saturday, in a game they could and should have won.
Arsenal faced a Sheffield United side high on confidence, and the visitors started brightly. Mikel Arteta’s team got a foothold as the first-half went on though, and eventually made their pressure tell as Gabriel Martinelli scored just before half-time.
The second half continued in a relatively similar fashion, and Arsenal had more than enough time on the ball to add to their lead.
Alexandre Lacazette went close with a free-kick, and Nicolas Pepe should have had a penalty. The contact was clear, the incident was extremely reminiscent of when VAR overturned Wilfried Zaha’s ‘dive’ to give a penalty, but no luck this time.
That ended up being the pivotal moment, as the away side scored a late deflected equaliser. Let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings for the Sheffield United match.
- Bernd Leno 6 – Beaten by yet another deflection, Leno has no luck. He made a couple of good saves, but he mostly had a quiet day.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles 6 – A bit disappointing for the goal, both with the initial header and the deflection that took it in. He dribbled away from trouble well on the day, and he found Nicolas Pepe often enough. Needed to support him a bit more often when Arsenal got on the attack though.
- Shkodran Mustafi 7.5 – After a shaky start, made some really crucial touches to deny Sheffield United an earlier equaliser. Dominant in the air, winning seven of his eight aerial duels. Led the defence, in interceptions, clearances and tackles.
- David Luiz 7 – Not half as involved defensively as Mustafi, but still solid when called upon. For once, his long passing could’ve been better. Still a very solid game overall.
- Bukayo Saka 8 – Looks a proper left-back, despite playing almost exclusively on the wings for the u23s. He passed intelligently, got forward effectively and ended up setting up the goal, albeit with the aid of a deflection.
- Lucas Torreira 7 – Did a good job shielding the defence as he has been doing recently. Impressively, won all three of his aerial duels. He needs new boots, he slips over every single game.
- Granit Xhaka 6.5 – Made one silly pass to gift Sheffield United a chance, but redeemed himself with a clearance off the line a minute later. Very good in the air and his passing was solid outside that one mistake.
- Mesut Özil 6.5 – There were flashes of his talent, particularly one excellent first-half touch in the air. He also created more chances than anyone else. You still feel he needed to do more if Arsenal were going to win though.
- Nicolas Pepe 7 – Deserved a penalty. In the first half, he was one of Arsenal’s most positive players, driving forwards despite minimal support on his side. Had a few decent shots and a couple of good corners. Should be on free-kicks over everyone else.
- Gabriel Martinelli 7 – Popped up in the perfect position to score as he does so often. Could’ve had one or two more in the first half. Wasn’t as threatening in the second half, though he worked incredibly hard throughout.
- Alexandre Lacazette 6 – Still can’t find his goal. Went close with a free-kick, but that was his only shot. Linked up well with the wingers, something the team lost once he went off. That’s good, but he has to start scoring too.
- Eddie Nketiah 6 – Created one chance soon after coming on. His only shot was a bit wild, and his few passes a bit hit and miss. Certainly brought energy and enthusiasm, and he’ll want to take his chance now with Aubameyang out.