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
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
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
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