Arsenal won another three Premier League points on Saturday, albeit in a game they perhaps didn’t deserve them against West Ham United.
West Ham had a few more shots than Arsenal over the full 90, though the quality of shots both teams had was roughly equal. In the end, Arsenal took their biggest chance whilst West Ham failed to do the same with theirs, thanks largely to Bernd Leno.
So it was a little lucky Mikel Arteta’s side picked up three points this time. That won’t matter a few days from now though, as it’s just about racking up points at this stage.
That said, there were a couple of underrated individual performances, regardless of the overall team effort. Let’s have a look at our Arsenal player ratings for the match.
- Bernd Leno 9 – Arsenal’s star player by far. Leno made six saves, and one or two of them were excellent stops from close range. Leno didn’t have his best games in the last couple of appearances but this was a return to form.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos 6 – Still not a right-back, but he did just about enough defensively. Hit the crossbar from close range, the third time in four games he’s either scored or hit the woodwork.
- David Luiz 7.5 – Covered well for Mari’s one big mistake, forcing Antonio into a risky pass. Won most of his own duels, made a number of clearances and passed effectively. He’s on a positive run since the Chelsea red card.
- Pablo Mari 7 – Harshly criticised for his first half, where he made one bad mistake but otherwise performed well enough for a PL debut. Improved after the break and made six clearances and won two aerial duels in the second half alone. Completed more long balls than any other Arsenal outfielder – again.
- Bukayo Saka 7.5 – Arsenal look a little too reliant on Saka at the moment. He created a game-high three chances, including an excellent opportunity for Nketiah at the end of a great dribble. Passed accurately and even won two-thirds of his aerials duels, an area of his game where he has struggled a bit so far.
- Dani Ceballos 8.5 – Certainly one of the best performers on the day, so I don’t feel bad about picking out the one area he could’ve done better. In the first half, Ceballos had a few potential counter-attacks where he either played it behind the runner (slowing them down) or found a West Ham man. His passing improved after the break and he was lively and extremely hard-working defensively all game.
- Granit Xhaka 7 – Solid, but not much more than that. Made one really important tackle, but also one slack pass leading to a shot. Not great in the air on the day, but played a lot of nice long passes.
- Mesut Özil 7.5 – Özil was playing fine with no real killer ball until late in the game, when he found the right run and a nicely-weighted header to set up Arsenal’s winning goal. He’s had a couple of performances like this recently, which is fine as long as the team actually score the late goal.
- Nicolas Pepe 6 – Put a few dangerous crosses in but no one got on the end of them. Did well in the air and with his short passes, but never seemed to be on the same wavelength as Özil and his dribbling wasn’t up to his usual standard.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 6.5 – Created a couple of good chances, but barely had a single one of his own. His late deflected effort that happened to loop right to Özil was his first of the match. This front three worked well against Newcastle and Everton but not here.
- Eddie Nketiah 6 – Only played 59 minutes, but had the best opportunity of that period, forcing an instinctual save from Fabianski at close range. He just struggled to really get involved in the game other than that though. Debatable shout for a penalty, the TV didn’t show a conclusive angle.
- Alexandre Lacazette 7.5 – Playing the final half an hour, Lacazette looked keen to win his place back. He created a chance and took one of his own, with a confident finish overshadowed by the VAR check afterwards.
- Reiss Nelson 7 – Did a really good job tracking back in the final 20 minutes. He made one tackle, one interception and two clearances despite coming on as a winger. Also completed his three passes and had a shot off target.
- Hector Bellerin N/A – A substitution almost entirely designed to waste time. It even seemed possible Arteta picked Özil to come off simply because he’d be the slowest to walk across the pitch. Bellerin made one interception and three touches.