Boys will be men! – Arsenal v Vorskla Player Ratings

Well, everything seemed to be stacked against the team in the beginning. Whose idea was it to organise a long trip away midweek before celebrating some serious Spud-bashing in the weekend! Really bad idea!

And then, serious brass monkey weather in the Land of Always Winter! Note, the ref needed a replacement can to paint the ground in the second half because the first one froze in his pants! 🙂

To top it all, martial law and proxy wars of the kind never seen in the civilized end of Europe on the correct side of 1945. Who would have thunk!

And then, in a shocking late move just to disrupt our preparations, UEFA decided at the last minute to move the game to the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. Surely, the sole purpose was to bring memories of another Brexit side crashing to European opposition in last season’s Champions League final!

Yes, the odds were all stacked against us.

In response, Unai Emery decides, in his enormous wisdom, to pack the team with teenagers fresh out of nursery. Bless the man and his sense of humour! In the event, we had a fantastic spectacle where the young gunners ran amok and Vorskled the shell-shocked opposition 3-0 on the night! What’s not to like?

We have struggled a bit with our academy setup in the past couple of years. But, if there was one thing we learnt last night, it was that the future is bright and shining. Yes, these young boys will be men soon enough. But will they stay and take it up the Arse? That is the long term question. In the short term, things look bright. We can look forward to another brilliant teen-show of Emery-ball against Qarabag.

Here are some quick thoughts and ratings. Please feel free to disagree.

Helmet: 6
Better with his feet than with his hands, which were probably frozen. Had to make a couple of saves, which he did, not without pretending to be nutmegged once early on. But that was just play-acting. Especially loved his bold clearance outside the box in the second half.

AMN: 6.5
Holding: 6
Jenks: 6
Licht: 6
The defence had precious little to do by way of stopping opposition attacks. It seems all aggression is diverted towards the Russians at the moment. Holding and Jenks were solid. Licht was good on the overlap. AMN was somewhat iffy in defence but linked up really well with the midfield.

Elneny: 5
Worked hard, but I thought he was the weak link on the night. Caught out of position a few times, and got himself into an offside position in the second half for what would have otherwise been Smith-Rowe’s second goal. However, decent assist for the third goal.

Rambo: 7
Almost convinced the ref and everyone else that he was attempting to dive, but in the process earned as fair a penalty as one would ever see. Wonderful stewardship of a bunch of youngsters (Cech was the captain on the night, I think, but Rambo looked very much the leader on the field). Most importantly, he got the opposition goalie on his knees for the penalty. Now, how many times have a seen a goalie defending a penalty kneeling down rather than diving! Wow!

Douzi: 6
Good solid link up play. Nothing spectacular except the hair, but valuable nevertheless.

Smith-Rowe: 8
Such games can sometimes be nervy affairs, and the first goal is always important. On the night, a wonderfully cool finish for an early first goal that set the tone for the game. To top it all, a wonderful sheepish smile after calmly finishing off a second half goal only for the goal to be disallowed very late. Just because Elneny was caught too far upfront trying to give the opposition goalie the eye!

Nketiah: 7
Tireless work throughout the game. Really gutsy, and very skillful. A fine assist to boot!

Willock: 7
What wonderful maturity, skill and finish for the third goal! A fine talent. A great pleasure to watch.

Zech Medley, Bukayo Sako and Charlie Gilmour.
What wonderful names! Never heard of them before. Medley was wonderful in defence, seems to be a real talent for the future. Sako was excellent in link up play. Both solid 6’s for me. Gilmour was not on long enough to make an impression.

Two final thoughts………..

First, a special thought for the team doctor (don’t know their name) who apparently did not travel with the team and reached late on his own. Then forgot that the game was moved to Kiev and travelled a pointless 400 miles by road to finally reach the game. What a performance!

Second. By the way, that is now 18 and counting! Look forward to some serious mauling of the blue-skinned swamp dwellers from N17 in the weekend.

A mildly satisfied,

Red Arnie


22 Responses to Boys will be men! – Arsenal v Vorskla Player Ratings

  1. LBG says:

    Thanks Arnie
    First unbeaten November since 2005.
    A pleasure to see youth getting a chance. Hope Chas is right re Jenkinson. Please ditch Mustafi for Sunday, Dick!

  2. LBG says:

    Ray Parlour asked what was his most intense North London Derby. First return to White Hart Lane for Sol Campbell – ” Sol sits here”. Look it up for those who haven’t heard it.

  3. LB says:

    Excellent write up Arnie, top work, thanks for giving us something to read on this warm sunny morning.

  4. LB says:

    PS, I am in the Costa Blanca not the Costa del Sol; we don’t have anything to do with the riff raff from down there 🙂

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Thank you Red Arnie.

    Very enjoyable first half with the young players showing considerable potential.

    As I wrote post-game, Ramsey was excellent.

    LB. “Warm sunny morning”. Are you taking the Michael, it is freezing here!

  6. Red Arnie says:

    motning all, thanks.

    Sol? You mean sun. No sign of that fella in the past fortnight. Bl….. awful.

  7. RA says:

    My first sight of an Arsenal game in yonks, and I was blown away with the young talent we have unearthed – not from a crypt or whatnot – but the new scouts seem to be trawling and casting their nets in areas we do not normally venture into. Keep it going guys.

    The Post was excellent, and written by a true cockney geezer — or so I thought, until I reached the finish line and saw the inestimable Arnie was the accomplished maestro who had weaved his own style onto the delightful proceedings from last nights game.

    I was both entertained by the prose, Arnie, and in total agreement with your analysis, the points awarded to individual players, and the special call for another 3 talented newbies. Spot on, sir. 😃

    And ‘Top of the morning to All”.

  8. RA says:

    Does anyone know where Terry Titmouse is? My vision is returning after a bit of a nightmare, and I could do with some of his exquisite humour again, and there he is —- Gone!!

    Get your ass back here Terry —— please. 😎

  9. Ants says:

    Great stuff Barmy Arnie

    Particularly enjoyed this..

    “we had a fantastic spectacle where the young gunners ran amok and Vorskled the shell-shocked opposition 3-0 on the night! ”

    I think you may be being a bit harsh on the doctor travelling to the original venue. I don’t think he forgot.. he just travelled earlier before the game was moved!

    I only realised from the commentary on BT Sport that the Willock we saw last night is a different one to the one we had seen previously who we apparently sold in the summer!

    Praying we can mash the Spuds on Sunday

  10. Rasp says:

    Thank you Arnie … what a celebration of our youth … it seems our academy is back on track. With suggestions that they may change the ‘home grown/foreign’ quotas, this is very good news for the club … and let’s not forget Reiss Nelson in all this.

    It was a brilliant and entertaining game with all the young players looking to attack but tracking back and defending with equal energy.

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    Nice to see a post from you Arnie.

    Raddy, all is well with me after a few nervous weeks, thanks for asking.

    Why oh why is youth wasted on the young? (with the notable exception of young Gunners)

  12. Red Arnie says:

    Thanks, everyone. 🙂

    Yes, it was nice to see, just for once, youth not wasted on the young! 🙂

    And yes, Nelson as well.

    I think the major break was how Iwobi and Holding broke into the first team. A lot of positives in how the academy and senior team coaches are working together. Beyond scouting of course.

  13. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you, RA. Too much agreement! 🙂

    Ant: Id did not realise this was not the same Willock.

  14. LBG says:

    Chris, Matthew and Joe Willock. What a footballing fraternity!

  15. fred1266 says:

    You kidding about the physio right

  16. fred1266 says:

    Holding not getting a rest

  17. John Mathews legend says:

    Nice write-up Arnie.
    I really enjoyed watching the kids and some of the fringe players stroll past an albeit limited team, with no stress.
    Sunday will be a completely different kettle of poissons…..
    The press are all over the Mesut playing or not thing (I can’t do an umlaut, so we’re on first name terms…)
    I’m for him playing.
    Oh, and yes….what happened to that ‘Hair transplant’ geezer?

  18. VP of Oz says:


  19. chas says:

    Thanks, Arnie. Excellent stuff.
    Such a fine result from our second string.
    Let’s hope the benefits for both the first team and the youth players will be clear for the Qarabag game.

  20. chas says:

    It almost feels as if our 9 game schedule for December has been cut to an 8 game schedule.

  21. Red Arnie says:

    Thanks, guys. good fun! 🙂

    “completely different kettle of poissons” ha ha!

  22. chas says:


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