Slightly less pants than West Ham – Player Ratings

And we’re off. Arsenal’s season is up and running with a 3-1 win over West Ham. Not one for the purists, names like Bergkamp, Pires and Henry will not be needed to describe this one; live long in the memory it will not, if it makes it past Tuesday it would have done well. But a win, is a win is a win and those important three points will stay with us for the whole season.

Goodness only knows what style of play Emery is trying to create; I guess we are going to have to wait a bit longer to see how that one unfolds. As for the system; he employed a 4-2-3-1 which sort of made sense. Our Basque manager is obviously getting closer to what he wants. I was particularly impressed with his substitutions and his taking advantage of the change in the FA rules that must now say that it is permissible to make changes at half time, I am guessing that it is a new directive because I have never seen such a thing in all my time of watching Arsenal, well certainly not for the last 22 years.

Iwobi you are not cutting it – off. Guendouzi: a few too many loose passes – off and Aubameyang: feeling a bit under the weather – off. The substitutions were decisive — you under perform and you are off. I like it.

As for the game, West Ham went ahead after more Keystone defending which allowed Arnautovic to rifle a low shot past Cech’s out flung right hand.

“We’re winning away, we’re winning away how (awful) must you be, if we’re winning away.”

Monreal put them back in their place, with superbly controlled effort that fell kindly to him after some kind of shananigans, I can’t remember exactly; I was just too relieved that it went into the back of the net.

Half time arrived and on came Lacazette who gave us a lot more thrust upfront. We were always in control it’s just that until you get the second goal there is always that nagging doubt that it might not happen and I have to write something on the lines of at least we didn’t lose. But not this time, Lacazette put us ahead after he spun, fired the ball into Aubameyang’s chest and into the goal. The man obviously plays snooker as he knew exactly where PEA was and the exact angle he needed to hit him in order for the ball to go into the pocket.

On came Danny to enthusiastic singing from the crowd; do you realise that Welbeck is the only player with a song. Think about it, what a sad indictment, there is only one player in the squad who is deemed worthy to have his name sung – having his own song. And long may it continue, I have a soft spot for Welbeck, I still think there is time for him to turn into one of the absolute best strikers in the EPL. What a cool finish; gather ball, back to goal, spin and blast past keeper. 3-1, and we all sighed a huge sigh of relief, no one more than Unai Emery.

Cech: great keeping, kept us in the game again, have you noticed how immediately after the break when there is a goalkick, Cech plays the ball out at a 90 degree angle and then, out of panic, because no one is quite sure what they are supposed to do, it is passed back and we all start feeling really nervous, this must be on half time managerial instructions. My point is that I liked it when Cech clearly thought that this is nonsense and reverted to clearing the ball like normal teams. 8

Bellerin: someone suggested that he must be playing as high as he does on instructions, there can’t be any other answer because again we were getting slaughtered down the right flank when we lost possession. Still, good going forward as usual. 5

Mustafi: I don’t know what to say, is it all his fault? Does he really know what is expected of him? Who knows? 4

GB: played one superb long diagonal pass that I was impressed with – slowly finding his feet. 4

Monreal: Excellent goal, still our number one left back choice, I do like Nacho. 7

Guendouzi: probably guilty of trying a bit too hard and not keeping enough of an eye on the basics; should be interesting what UE does with him next. 5

Xhaka: a workman like performance, not a DM and not a goal scorer. Imagine Torriera as the DM and Ramsey next to him, you have a genuine DM and a genuine attacking midfielder who scores goals. 5

Ramsey: well he got to play his supposedly favourite position, mah, it was ok. Now about that leaving Ozil in his ‘sickbed’  malarkey, hmmm. 6

Mkhitaryan: he was better today, tracking back and all, his place is secure because no one else can play on the right. 7

Aubameyang: come on PEA, we need a hero, someone worthy of a new song; it’s been so long since a player had his own shiny new song. 6

Favourite comment:

Aaron says:
August 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Did I just see the Arsenal slow up a counter? My goodness……

Written by LB

45 Responses to Slightly less pants than West Ham – Player Ratings

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, LB.

    Thank heaven we were smiled on for a change! Phew.

    I watched the game through a drunken haze and, upon reflection, that was probably for the best.

    Great to catch up with brothers, blog royalty and Harry.

  2. LB says:

    Excellent title, your six words say it all really.

  3. chas says:

    Heehee, LB.

    Ant and me came up with that as we left the ground but with ‘shit’ instead of ‘pants’.
    Wasn’t sure ‘shit’ would have passed Newsnow’s Mum’s blasphemy filter, hence the change. 🙂

  4. Big Raddy says:

    FGG from the last post….

    August 26, 2018 at 1:50 am (Edit)
    Observations after quite a few pints of stella!:

    Xhaka was good! I thought his passing was progressive, especially in the 2nd half, and he was disciplined defensively (for the most part).

    The left to right balance of the side in midfield was a real problem at times and cost us a goal in the first half. Geundouzi seemed to want to favour the left side but with Xhaka being left footed he also naturally drifted to that side and the West Ham goal came as a result as Anderson was allowed the freedom to run through the pitch untouched and feed Arnoutovic. I think when Torreira came on our balance from side to side was much better.

    I saw that Iwobi was blamed for the first goal but i would be very disappointed if we stopped our attacking players trying a dribble 70 yards from their own goal. We would be a boring side to watch if we didn’t let our attackers try to dribble at the edge of the opposition box. With 7 players behind the ball and 70 yards to go, Iwobi losing the ball shouldn’t have resulted in a goal.

    There were a couple of times in the first half where I felt we lacked urgency in midfield. We know Xhaka can be relaxed at times and i get the feeling that without the ball Geundouzi can go to sleep as well. I’d like to see more urgency in the middle. Torreira gives that.

    I thought Mkhitaryan’s movement in the first half caused West Ham a lot of problems and allowed Bellerin space to move into. Mkhi’ send product isn’t always what I’d like but he showed a much improved performance today.

    I felt we got a bit desperate at times when 0-1 and 1-1 and we lacked shape in attack. There were plenty of times where we had a straight line of 5 or 6 players across the box. When we got to 2-1 this changed with Ramsey, Mkhi and Lacazette happy to drop slightly deeper and all of a sudden we were able to sustain attacks rather than being countered on. This is something that City are so good at and it’s because the likes of De Bruyne and Silva stay behind the ball rather than getting in line with the attackers. It means that if the ball comes out of the box they have numbers there and they immediately get the ball back. With us, at times we had Monreal, Auba, Iwobi, Ramsey, Mkhi, Bellerin in a straight line with our CM’s 20 yards behind the ball. This left us prone to counters and gave us a lack of options when moving forward.

    I feel that reputation is a real problem for us. Teams know that they can leave 2 or 3 up against our defenders and they will create opportunities on the counter. You don’t really see this with the likes of City and Liverpool as teams know they need everyone behind the ball to stop them scoring. At the moment we don’t have that fear factor and it’s giving sides confidence. We need to become more ruthless and finish teams early to get a situation where we are dominating games again.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Fine summation of a forgettable game.

    WH Bob sms’ed me to say how poor Wilshire was playing. Considering all the midfield talent no-one really stood out.

    Was there a rule about hooking a player at half-time?

    GB 😀 Not established himself yet and looks sluggish when we need someone who has the pace to cover Mustafi’s lapses

  6. LB says:

    I assumed there must have been a rule that substitutions could only be made on 70 minutes. Why else would AW only do that for 22 years.

    Half time substitutions? Outrageous, there must have been a change in the EPL rules 🙂

  7. Big Raddy says:

    LB. 😀 It’s refreshing for everyone but the player hooked.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Yesterday was the seventh time since 2017 that Ozil has been “sick”.

  9. fatgingergooner says:

    Our average positions v West Ham.

    v Hammers - v West Ham - Football tactics and formations

    Xhaka and Guendouzi were basically playing the same position. The balance in the side, both left to right and front to back, was much better with Torreira on the field. I’m looking forward to watching us with him and Özil on the field to find out if that will bring us a much more balanced side capable of attacking quickly, sustaining attacks, and defending properly against the counter.

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    Thank you LB, FGG and Chas

    Have read all comments but seen nothing of the game, and I’m not expecting to learn a lot from MOTD in 15 mins time

    I saw team line up before KO, along with the Mesut is ill, and I’m afraid I then agreed with GIE’s interpretation. Very worrying.

    I’m not a fan of Ramsey in that role at all, so would like to proved wrong if the worst happens before the end of August, therefore…… did he create chances?

  11. Eddie says:

    fattie – interesting that your diagram shows crowded midfield. To me it looked like there was a big hole there yesterday
    Boring game, no atmoshpere, buy hey, i am not complaining. Except for leaving 2 mins before the end 🙂

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Haven’t watched MOTD in years, and the music intro reminds me of being about 10 yrs old

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    Nope, learn’t nothing other than we look magnificent in our home colours 🙂

  14. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s only average positions Eddie, but even on there you can see a big gap between Ramsey, Mustafi and Bellerin. Funnily enough thats the gaping hole Anderson ran through to set up their goal.

  15. VP of Oz says:

    my favourite comment –

    ? ……no pressing

    It’s not a Chinese launderette

  16. Rasp says:

    Thanks LB … the read was more entertaining than the game.

    My observations:

    UE’s substitutions are very good

    He’s trying to get the team to execute a high press as Ramsey described (not very enthusiastically) in his post match interview.

    What will it take for him to start with Torreiira .. the guy is class and the best quick, incisive forward passer in the squad (yes, I include Ozil in that)

    Aubameyang is out of form and low in confidence, we should start with Laca

    Danny looked really good when he came on and he has the athleticism to operate the high press

    Ozil hasn’t been able to operate a high press successfully with any of the teams he’s played in ……hence the ‘illnesss’??

    It was a better game from Papa … and good to see RH on the bench

    Great to have Nacho back.

    Bellerin’s forward play and crossing is much improved …. congrats to UE for that. Defensively … he can’t be in 2 places at once so we need at least one of the DM’s to drop back when both FB’s go forward.

    A good three points, I’m happy … as UE said … we need to improve a lot.

  17. LBG says:

    Thanks LB
    FGG “Xhaka and Ouzi were playing the same position”….and I know who I’d play.
    Surely Dick can work it out, if that idiot Shearer can see we can’t be asking for anything but trouble if both fullbacks are the most forward players in any one attack. One holds, while the other attacks, and a midfielder covers.
    Play Torreira, Lacs, and Lichsteiner from the start, and why can’t Mav have a go.
    Thank you God (of whichever persuasion), Dick, the players and a poor ‘appy ‘ammers team for a good night’s sleep and being able to wake up to the prospect of Chelski being sold, losing, and Manure and Totteringham kicking lumps out of each other!

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, got it. Ramsey created zero chances didn’t he 🙂

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all.

    I don’t care what formation we are attempting to utilize or what tactics we use – as to me our issue was and remains to be – defense.

    I was born in the era where defenders were slow, hard nosed beasts who were stay at home guardians of their goalkeeper. Now it seems they have become speedy wingers who spend the majority of their time up the field trying to get around the opposing defender or to cross the ball. In the mean time they make it all to easy for the (knowing) opposition to get around our defenders – because there’s no one at home!!

    Defending was our number one problem in 2017/18 – it was our worst defensive display (1.34 goals against per game) in 35 years when in 1983/84 we leaked 1.43 GAPG and it was the second worst since 1965/66 (52yrs) when we had 1.79 GAPG.

    This season it’s quite deservedly 2.0 GAPG.

    We can spend endless hours training, watching videos, or learning new tactics – but the reality is our defending is pure shit………………and if it’s not fixed we are doomed to failure.

  20. chas says:

  21. LB says:

    I think that is the first time you have ever used an expletive GN5

    Being a person of a delicate disposition, I am shocked.

    The site has gone to the dogs……………

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    LB that was a fine game summation, you give us a well informed accounting, thank you.

    Yes I seldom get angry enough to swear especially on the blog, but it drives me crazy to see the same mistakes costing us each and every game.

    The win was not due to Arsenal improving but to West Ham being several grades below us, of the games I’ve watched so far this season, which is most of them, I super impressed with how the teams in the bottom ten have improved – Wolves looked really special against Man C.

  23. fatgingergooner says:


    I’m not convinced that any of our defenders are of the standard we need, so I expect it to be a while before we see much defensive improvement. I guess the idea is to get Torreira in front of the back 4 and get us chasing the ball from the front so as not to expose our shoddy backline quite so often. Hopefully, the introduction of Torreira into the starting line up will see the stats improve enough for us to win games more convincingly than we did yesterday.

  24. Aaron says:

    Pretty fair ratings- I believe.

    I find it amusing that in some circles people can’t wait for Kos to come back and help.

    The illustration says it all. Space on the right, what Bel is being asked to do alone, and two players doing the same job. UE needs to correct that yesterday.
    Mesut is not a right nor left winger and should be in the middle of the park, or behind the striker.
    Really want to see Litch come in and make a few teams earn their pay, and again Mavro to get a run in. Mustafi and Sok seem to similar.
    GN5 said it best. But, would enjoy seeing a Ferd or Staam in the center of our D, heck van Dijk would do fine.
    Just win the next one Arsenal and a few more sins can be forgiven.

  25. Rasp says:

    I think the best we can hope for is an improvement every game. It’s not clear that any of the new recruits were UE signings. It’s likely that he will need at least two transfer windows to build a squad that can play the way he wants.

    I’m confident that the club will give him time … I hope the supporters will be as generous.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    I fully understand that it is a new era, but so far we have been a substandard team that has shown no defensive improvement in the first three games. In fact (not knowing and stats) yesterday seemed to be the worst – it was totally shambolic and we were only saved by Cech and West Ham’s poor performance. Most teams would have embarrassed us by taking full advantage of our gifts.

    Our home supporters are among the least forgiving in the EPL and I cannot see them accepting too many more performance like Saturdays – the black fags will re-appear.

  27. GunnerN5 says:


  28. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, LB. Great review. I missed teh gam amd the MOTD coverage as well, so this was as good as it gets. 🙂

    A clash between two bottom teams on NIL points, and we shaded it. Rose from just outside the relegation zone to just outside the top half. Cannot really complain.

    Yes, the right side of defence looks bad, but I thought FGG’s graphic was very instructive. It was not so much Bellerin’s overlapping, without which we would not have got the goals that mattered. But rather Xhaka and Guend both playing just left of centre and leaving the right of the MF open. IMO.

    Onwards and upwards.

  29. Red Arnie says:

    OK, as I said, I missed the highlights, and only got to see this, which was OK.

  30. LBG says:

    Aaron 4:26
    If Hector is being asked to defend the right side on his own, why is he not doing it?
    To answer my own question:-
    1. Because he is being encouraged to attack with abandon.
    2. Because he then feels he doesn’t have much responsibility to get on his bike to get back and at least slow down the opposition fast breaks.
    3. Because he enjoys pushing forward and believes he is really a winger
    4. Because he doesn’t understand defensive positioning and hasn’t been taught.

    Sorry, if I got the feeling he “felt in any way responsible occasionally”, I would have some sympathy. Our starting point for this season was surely tighten up, let in less goals, drop less silly points. If we lose some attacking potential so be it, get Lichsteiner in and banish a little, the kittens we all have whenever we lose the ball.

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG, I just had a look at your graphic and it does help to exonerate
    Bellerin but where was the communication- why was he not yelling at the culprits that left him in the lurch?

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    I agree with you LBG when Lichsteiner played I was really impressed with both his skill and his hard nosed approach – let no one pass attitude, it reminded me of Mr. Arsenal.

  33. Aaron says:

    LBG, the idea was that Bel is being encouraged to attack, attack and attack, but nonetheless there is no cover behind him as there should be. Why Bel is being asked to be a creator in an attack minded team is beyond me. The Arsenal can score goals without his crosses, as been past practice for the last 3 years. Just want a proper defender on the pitch! UE is playing his way and that is what we shall get for a while or until the Arsenal get either the personnel correct or the current squad gets it and can execute the plan.

    Also, I do not care what UE believes, I do not want Ramsey and Xhaka on the pitch together in the middle of the park as the Arsenal will get left in the dust!

  34. Rasp says:

    Bellerin got two assists yesterday. The other FB scored the first goal. Bell must be playing to orders. I agree the defence is in dire need of improvement …. I can’t see UE changing his attacking philosophy …. he wants to create width through his full backs, so it is down to the midfield to be intelligent and see the danger. The ‘experts’ say that the high defensive line is effective only if the rest of the team execute a high press …. and that is a work in progress.

  35. Ants says:

    In the warm up, Bellerin was being passed balls on the right hand side of the box to control and then find a runner in the middle. It was exactly like what happened for the 1st and 3rd goals.

  36. chas says:

  37. Aaron says:

    Ok, so one more time: If the space behind Bel does not get fixed, no matter how many goals come from that side the Arsenal will lose ALL the big games or close to it, for reference just see the 1st 2 games. manure and totts will be drooling over the prospect of scoring goals at will.

  38. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I’ll do a POSTETTE if you want

  39. mickydidit89 says:


  40. chas says:


    Sorry Micky. I really didn’t expect anything from anyone else.
    Hopefully yours will be ok for tomorrow?

  41. chas says:

    6:57 to 7:06 – how I wish I could knock something up that quickly!!!!!!

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    HA HA, you obviously haven’t read the very short work 🙂

  43. silentstan says:

    you need to give up watching football as you haven’t a bloody clue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: