Frankfurters, Well Done (and Player Ratings)

Well, that was an entertaining game wasn’t it?

We put out a team with plenty of young talent, all of whom acquitted themselves on a scale between “well” and “outstanding”. Saka particularly caught the eye but Willock was also excellent.

Heart palpitations have become a common condition throughout the Arsenal supporting community whenever we play out from the back. Last night it suddenly all seemed fine and our tickers could relax (was that down to bad pressing by Eintracht Frankfurt, or better decision making by our second string goalie?).

We created lots of chances and scored from three of them, which is pleasing. We gave the opposition plenty of chances (they should have scored from at least a couple), which is not so pleasing but is par for the course at the moment.

Our European campaign is off to a great start with an away win in what was reckoned to be our most difficult group game. Let’s hope we can carry that attacking intensity into our EPL games.

Player Ratings (please feel free to be disputatious):

Excellent decision-making and distribution throughout; prepared to go long when necessary and made some excellent saves. If I was Leno I’d be worried. 8.5 MoTM

John Hartson (co-commentating) kept blaming him for EF’s success down our right flank but I was not aware of Chambo being burned by their attackers. However he did occasionally get drawn further infield which perhaps gave EF more space down their left, so maybe that’s what Hartson was referring to. That said, I thought he was excellent on the ball and in his defensive effort generally. 7.5

The fans’ favourite fall guy stood up and was counted last night. I’ve been as frustrated as the next supporter with his mistakes but I also hate to see an Arsenal player taking such stick so I was pleased he performed well. 7.5

Understated performance but did fine. 7

Good going forward and plenty of effort defending. Solid night for Kola. 7

Defence Overall
Individually the performances were solid but we gave up a lot of chances and a more clinical team would have punished us. Is this to do with our tactics (too much space between MF and Defence as Martin Keown suggested)? Or just because it was a very open end-to-end game? 6

One of his better games in recent times. He controlled much of our play and passed extremely well. 7.5

The little terrier was busy all over the pitch and should have scored with an early chance, but his impact seemed less than I would have expected and he and Xhaka have to take some responsibility for the amount of chances we gave to EF. 6

Excellent game from the youngster. His running, his passing, his ability to go past players, his awareness, his physical strength, his eye for goal… I can’t believe that just a few days ago I was suggesting he’s not ready for the big time. He proved me wrong last night and has a really bright future. 8

Good game time under the belt for ESR. He was not as impactful as the other youngsters (Willock and Saka) but had a decent outing. 6.5

Midfield Overall
Neither team was really able to take control of MF (which helped make for a very entertaining game). But any defensive issues in our MF were more than compensated for by the way we attacked with purpose, pace and skill, particularly on the break. 7

Got his usual goal, could have had a couple more, ran tirelessly and never allowed the EF defenders a chance to relax. One of the best strikers in world football. 7.5

I did not get to see any of our pre-season games so this was really my first look at Saka. Wow. What a great little player. You realise how long it’s been since we’ve had attacking wide players who can take people on and beat them. His decision making will improve as time goes on but it was not shoddy last night. And the goal was like he was possessed by the spirit of TH14. Very exciting prospect. 8

Attack Overall
We could have bagged 5 or 6 but I’m not going to complain after a three nil away in Europe. The attackers worked very well together and with the attacking midfielders. Some of the moves were sweet on the eye. 7.5

Pepe (for Smith-Rowe, 60 mins)
Had a few good moments but didn’t really get into the game and was overshadowed by Saka. Auba could have set him up for a tap-in first goal for Arsenal but when a striker is one-on-one with the ‘keeper you can’t blame him for tucking it away himself. I’m not worried. Pepe’s time will come. 6

Ceballos (for Willock, 72 mins)
Looked composed on the ball and slotted in well. 6.5

Maitland-Niles (for Kolasinac, 80 mins)
Did fine as we closed out the game in the final minutes. 6.5



25 Responses to Frankfurters, Well Done (and Player Ratings)

  1. fred1266 says:

    Shkodran Mustafi has no interest in entering a “war” with Arsenal after not getting a move in the close season.

    Mustafi, 27, was told he could leave the Emirates Stadium despite being contracted until 2021, but no move eventuated.

    The defender made his first appearance of the season on Thursday, playing 90 minutes in a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

    Mustafi said he would avoid causing problems at Arsenal, but admitted he was open to a move.

    “My father, who is my agent, spoke to the club. I am an Arsenal player and I’ve still got two years [left on my] contract,” he told Sport Bild.

    “I’ve never been someone who begins a war when something doesn’t work out. I always said if it is possible, I am open to taking the next step. If not, I keep playing my football.

    Shkodran Mustafi

    +3 points ✔ 3 goals ✔ Clean sheet ✔ Great way to start @europaleague 👊🏼 #sm20

    View image on Twitter
    3:44 PM – Sep 19, 2019
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    2,017 people are talking about this
    “The manager said he sees me the same way he sees every player in the team. That’s why I played today and that’s it. We’re going to see what the future holds.”

    With his playing time seemingly set to be limited in 2019-20, Mustafi said he was open to a switch to his homeland, Germany.

    “I have got a wife and two kids, so they have to agree as well,” he said. “When a German club shows interest and it suits me, then I am open for it.”

  2. RockyLives says:

    Interesting, Fred.

    My hope for Mustafi: that if he gets a run of games for whatever reason, he plays really well and cuts out those stupid and costly errors that infuriate fans.

    Likelihood of happening? Small, but you never know.

    It can’t be a fun time for him right now.

  3. RA says:

    Well done. Rocky, very good post-match, and the ratings are spot on! 😁

    Before the game, I was expecting the Gunners to get beaten by that bunch of Frankfarters — but it turned out to be a game we could have won 0 : 7, or lost 24 : 3 if them thar Frankensteins had had their shooting boots on.

  4. RC78 says:

    Great Post and I think plenty of positives with Martinez, Willock and Saka especially while Chambers and Xhaka did well too.

    Some worries relating to the massive amount of chances conceded.

    Hope the coach will take notice and maybe out some pressure on Leno, Sokratis and the Torreira-Xhaka axis and a bit on Pepe

    What if Emery just played Sunday with
    Martinez – AMN, Chambers, Luiz, Kola – Torreira, Guendouzi, Willock – Ceba – Saka, Auba

    Reward Martinez, Chambers, Willock and Saka – make them feel there is a chance to be playing in the first XI and also put some pressure on some players

  5. fatgingergooner says:


    I agree with your assessment of Willock and I also agree that he looked weak against Watford, but then again Doucoure and Capoue are big lads so maybe that was a factor. I think with a lot of young players you tend to get a bit of inconsistency, and we’ve certainly seen that this season with Ceballos, Geundouzi, Nelson and Willock who look amazing in one game and then not quite at it in the next. What I do know though is that the experience that these young players are getting at the moment is invaluable, and I think we have to praise Emery and his team for getting so many of these kids into the first team. Hopefully they can continue to progress as history has shown that a team built around a nucleus of young players who all develop together can be a force for a sustained period.

    The other side of having these youngsters is that it allows us to save money on big transfers and wages to fill out the squad, so when we do enter the market we can buy 1 or 2 big money players rather than £20m-£30m guys who don’t quite cut it. It’s a different business model to what we were doing under Wenger towards the end but I think it’s the correct one but it only works if these kids progress and improve to first team level.

  6. kelsey says:

    Martinez was faultless and in the first 25 minutes kept us in the game as the defence still seemed to be very suspect. Saka and Willock had really good games as it’s not easy to win everywhere in Europe and Saka showed real class, composure and scored an excellent goal.Smith Rowe is nowhere near fit as yet and perhaps shouldn’t have started.Xhaka, not often praised also played well. My only observation was that for the second time running Pepe didn’t get into the game but hopefully he will adjust,otherwise he will have been a very expensive signing and also most of the players bar the kids looked knackered which is also a concern.

  7. Rasp says:

    Great report Rocky, no ‘disputations’ from me.

    I thought Martinez’s decision making in terms of his distribution was much better than Leno’s. That could be because they had been given different instructions from the manager, but if it was just Martinez using his initiative then 10/10 for him. He also looked solid receiving the ball in the air – dare I say that extra 3 inches in height gives him an advantage over Leno.

    Maybe Xhaka feels more able to be a leader when he’s surrounded by youngsters rather than superstars, but he was the captain we wanted to see yesterday.

    Sako and Willock … wow! We’ve got to see more of these boys, and not just in the cup competitions, very exciting.

    Any half decent EPL team would have scored a couple against us and we know what can happen when we are under pressure, so I do think we were lucky that Frankfurt were so woeful in front of goal – but massive positives from the game. Hopefully Unai will have learnt a lot about his players and playing it out of ddefence last night and will transmit those lessons into our EPL campaign.

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    Everywhere I look people are telling me how many shots we’ve conceded, but I don’t remember games being won or lost on shots conceded. Is it ideal? No. Should we be losing sleep over it? No. We’ve conceded 8 goals so far in 6 games, but 3 of them were penalties, 1 was a corner, and 3 were down to blatant errors. So that’s 1 other goal we’ve conceded from open play and that was a fortunate deflection for Burnley that landed in the path of their CF in our 6 yard box. I’m more worried about the errors and pens than I am about shots conceded and so should we all be. With our full backs returning and Holding come back I think our performances will improve and hopefully Emery will be a bit more consistent in his team selections as that is a massive factor in keeping shots, but more importantly, goals conceded down to a minimum.

  9. Sue says:

    Nice one, Rocky! It was end to end stuff… they had lots of chances, but luckily didn’t take them.. whereas we did!! It’s unheard of 😂
    All joking aside, i was pretty impressed, especially with the trio i was dreading seeing (Luiz, Mustafi & Xhaka) why can’t they play like that in the league?? Especially Xhaka!! He was very unlucky not to have scored!!
    Martinez was excellent… as was that little beast Saka… was nice seeing ESR again..
    I think it’s safe to say that Arsenal are Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get!!!
    U23’s tonight… Bellerin & Tierney – buzzing!!

  10. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky, hard to disagree with your ratings. An excellent away win at a ground were few come away with anything, and a glimpse at the quality of some of our exciting young players who all acquitted themselves well last night.

    I do like a balanced viewpoint from any game. If we lose a game that we played well in and were a tad unlucky then the loss needs to be put into perspective because, despite the loss, the general play can indicate good things around the corner.

    Conversely if we win a game we should obviously be delighted, but also put it in perspective in the general overall play and context of the game, without diminishing the positives. The great teams and managers do that.

    For the most part of the game, or at least most of the early exchanges, we seemed to be executing a soak it up and counter-attack game. They had a lot more opportunity in our area than we did theirs early on, but we counter-attacked rather effectively so that our fewer opportunities were actually more clear cut and dangerous.

    It could be viewed in 2 ways. Either we set up to execute that type of game in a tough away fixture, or the game plan was rather forced upon us. I suppose even if it is the latter we reacted to this situation and found a way to counter their game and ultimately hurt them.

    In many ways it was for us a reverse of the Spurs game where we largely dominated at their end in number of attacking opportunities but they arguably had better earlier chances. In that game I thought we were very unlucky to find ourselves 1 down then 2 down and I am sure at those same points yesterday EF would have felt the same based on the balance of play.

    A top team should be able to execute a great counter-attacking game, and we can, so that is a big positive. We are potentially one of the best at this at the moment. Overall though, in the general context of a whole season, I would like us to be able to execute a quick devastating counter-attack, but I think I would prefer us to dominate games, possession, territorial possession and shots on goal a lot more, and then find the ways to unlock those teams we are dominating. I think it has more longevity in terms of positive results across a season.

    I loved the win but was watching with a bit of trepidation at times. That type of game with the 2 contrasting styles of play can easily swing the other way, and at times yesterday we could have conceded the early advantage and then not all be quite so happy about the game.

    In many ways this game was almost a classic end to end EPL fixture, rather like the Spuds game. It was open and end to end with both teams having multiple opportunities. However, maybe it needs to be noted that they were superior in all the stats bar the scoreline with shots, shots on target, possession, passes, and pass completion rate all being in their favour.

    We all know we have been clocking up a worrying stat in terms of shooting opportunities on our goal, and yesterday we added significantly to that. I make Keown’s assessment of the situation right in this instance.

    Anyway, not meant to be negative, more just a balanced analysis. Lets be delighted with the win and the positives, but not sweep certain concerning aspects under the carpet. They will need to be addressed if we want a successful season rather than another yo-yo one with some great victories along the way but ultimately disappointment once the season is looked at as a whole.

  11. VP of Oz says:

    24 shots conceded. Did you see some of those shots. They were rubbish. Leno could stand behind his goals drinking from his water bottle for some of those shots.

    I think we missed better opportunities than the Frangers. Plus we scored 3.

    Love the mix of new players coming through. Credit to Emery.

    So much to love.

  12. fred1266 says:

    Yea if he wanted to leave how come the club didn’t let him, especially when the manager said je could have left

  13. GoonerB says:

    I actually started my comment and then had to disappear for 45 mins before completing it so seen some other comments now since.

    It is great that we have depth at the keeper position now, but it could be telling that Martinez was our (on AA at least) MOTM.

    Kelsey, I would look at your comment on the defence still being a bit suspect and say that at first glance, yes that appeared to be the case. However I would turn that on its head and say that I thought the defence were forced into lots of last ditch, body on the line, defending. I actually thought they did well to keep all of that onslaught at bay.

    The problem is that it is not our back 4 who really (FB’s aside at times) stop the opposition from getting to the edge of our box. Here is the problem for me. The defence, once asked to defend in their own box, put on a brave display, but the question is why were they having to defend so desperately so often in their box? The opposition have to work it to that point in the first place before they start asking the questions of our back 4.

    Personally I feel that our back 4 were asked the question so many times and still managed to put up a clean sheet that collectively they were our game winners and joint MOTM’s, even though the attackers stand out with the goals.

    Xhaka did indeed look better overall, especially in his moments with the ball, but the fact that EF were able to get at our defence so often would still indicate that collectively the forward guard is not right. Is there more to see in the game, if it was re-analysed more carefully, in terms of positioning and tracking runners. It is potentially as much about what we don’t notice when a player is not immediately near the ball as what happens when it comes to them.

    I use the word collectively in regard to midfield, because it is a team responsibility to provide the first line of defence and protect your back 4 as much as possible. I think about your comment FGG that you are more concerned with the errors and pens than the shots conceded and agree to a point but not entirely. I am not so sure that the two can be so easily separated in their analysis and wonder if they are more indelibly linked than it seems at first glance.

    We seem to have been talking about error prone CD’s for an eternity at Arsenal. I just wonder if our CD’s in recent seasons have not been as bad as we think they are, but are exposed way too much, maybe way more than any defender at any other big club, in having to desperately defend in our own penalty box so often.

    These errors and penalties are seen to be more obviously down to the defenders themselves and their own individual quality, but there is a possible argument that some of our defenders have not been so naturally error prone, but that it is just a numbers game working against them. If they are asked the question in their own box way more than any other defender at any other big club then eventually there will be an error. That is just the numbers speaking in terms of last ditch defensive moments.

    I think back to that 1997 period where we were slipping in the title challenge, and the famous talk to Vieira and Petit from the Arsenal back line, to provide more protection to the defence. This was arguably the best back 4 around and yet they were asking for more protection from those in front.

    What came next, once that was addressed, was great success, that shaped Vieira and Petit into world class players and almost defined Arsenal in the ensuing number of seasons. We improved our defence as a team without sacrificing any attacking intent. Arguably we actually became a greater attacking team because we could attack more freely from a solid defensive base.

    Most of us have acknowledged that we have sorely lacked a balance in our midfield going back many seasons. For me it is still the glaring area we are deficient in, but maybe others feel different.

  14. GoonerB says:

    Some of those shots were rubbish no doubt VC but out of the 24 shots on our goal 7 were on target and a few others that weren’t on target were very near misses. Lets arguably say that they had an additional 4 near misses to make it 11 either on target target, or very close misses, leaving 13 as absolute pants. That’s probably quite conservative, but what would be the expected goals from that if they had got the rub of the green?

    I haven’t come on to be negative about a great win just to look at it more constructively. We can’t be doom and gloom and there is no hope every time we lose but neither can we be cock-a-hoop we are brilliant in every victory.

    If we are to be a successful work in progress certain factors about last night need to be seriously looked at, while still being delighted with the result and many aspects of last nights game.

  15. fred1266 says:

    I agree rc78, he should reward them for playing brilliantly yesterday

  16. Sue says:

    Well if that’s what a night out in Mayfair does for the team, then do it every week 🤣

  17. VP of Oz says:

    thats Ok GB, I wasnt looking at it constructively at all. I’m just enjoying the development of the young players, the regular changes to the team and I am going to enjoy the journey this season. I’m confident that we will be better than last season and I think Dick is smart enough to know that he is pants away in the EPL and needs to work harder for these results.
    I wont be talking about cracks and scapegoats until the New Year.

    Spring is here, summer is around the corner, the Ashes are retained, Saka, Willock and Pepe are playing and we just beat the franks in their fortress. COYG!

    I’m off to bed singing…
    Come on, join in, everybody
    Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
    Everything that’s wonderful is sure to come your way

  18. Aaron says:

    Thank you for a fair assessment.

    Enjoy the youth, but then again, I have been banging that drum for some time. Martinez, Chambers, Saka and Willock had good games.

    Stats don’t lie, and the Arsenal edged it last night and it could have swung the other way as others have mentioned.

    Then Arsenal will not get that kind of time in the EPL. Every team watches film and will press the hell out of us. Totally agree with GoonerB about the midfield coverage, along with Mike’s Emery does not do defense. Even the defenders he has on the field are not defenders. Am amazed he has not called up some from below, but hey, he is the coach, and will live and die, die being the operative word here, with his approach.

    Will watch the games looking at the diamonds in the rough coming of age, knowing I will still be getting pi$$ed that we coughed up another lead. Emery is going to stick with Xhaka, Sead and others while ignoring the midfield stability. (Will Chambers will his chance?) But hey, we will score some goals, give up possession, passing accuracy and fluency in order to out score everyone.

  19. Sue says:

    Oh great, that overweight little man, Jon Moss is the ref on Sunday 😩

  20. fred1266 says:

  21. fred1266 says:

    Probably was the new jackets

  22. Sue says:

    Oooh they’re nice, Fred!!

    Well Tierney & Bellerin played 63 minutes….

  23. Sue says:

    Saka, Martinez & Chambers made it into EL TOTW 👍

  24. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post … stolen from Mike

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