Arsenal 2 -1 Leeds: Quick Player Ratings

Eddie was our Angel yesterday

Well that was a strange experience.

I managed to get a ticket for the game and went with my youngest son (19). After 10 minutes it was like the joy of Christmas morning (including surprise gifts) and the excitement of a day at Alton Towers all rolled into one.

By full time we were mentally exhausted and felt we’d spent too much time on the rollercoaster.

Nevertheless, despite making heavy weather of things in the second half, the crucial thing is that we got all three points and we head to the Armitage Shanks Arena on Thursday night with a lovely four point cushion.

A win there guarantees us top four; a draw sees us almost home and hosed; even a loss still leaves top four qualification in our own hands.

Until squeaky bum time the atmosphere was fantastic at the Emirates (with the Leeds fans contributing plenty of noise of their own). The pre-match singing of Louis Dunford’s song ‘The Angel’ was lovely. I can see that tune catching on as an Arsenal anthem.

Player Ratings

Ramsdale – 6

A low-ish rating for Aaron because (a) he had very little to do until the closing stages and (b) a couple of times in those nervy moments he seemed panicked into bad clearances. It’s not the first time the season he has tried to relieve pressure by booting the ball away only for it to scud along the ground through the centre of the park straight to the feet of an opposition midfielder. Something he needs to work on training.

Cedric – 6.5

I have finally reached an opinion about Soares – I know what I think of him: he is a very hard working, reliable squad member but he is a class below most of his team mates in terms of footballing ability. This is not meant to sound harsh – he does lots of things well and is probably a safer option than Nuno at the moment. But I watched him closely yesterday and it was clear that he just does not have quite the speed of thought and execution that most of his team mates have. It’s absolutely not his fault – you can only be as good as the gifts you’ve been given and many of the players around him are majestically gifted. Basically he’s a solid player who plays to the absolute best of his ability, but on whom we could do with an upgrade next season.

Holding – 7.5

Rob has been excellent this season – in his substitute cameos and in the recent games where he has started. He was 100% alert and committed yesterday and I loved seeing him (on more than one occasion) intervene to pull Arsenal players away when their tempers were getting overheated (I’m looking at you Granit!).

Gabriel – 7.5

Another typically reliable performance. Brings the ball out from the back very well and is comfortable in possession.

Tomiyasu – 7.5

What a player. Drafted in to LB so that we could play Cedric at RB, he looked just as comfortable on his left peg as on his right. Excellent performance. He went into several challenges where it looked like he had no chance and somehow emerged with the ball every time.

Elneny – 8 (MoTM)

Bossed midfield. Late-season Mo has been a great and timely addition to the side for our top four challenge.

Xhaka – 7

Good all-round performance from Granit. His long range goal against Man Utd seems to have given him a taste for more: towards the end yesterday he was sometimes our most advanced attacker and almost got on the scoresheet.

Odegaard – 8

Dreamboat of a player. Whenever the ball is coming to him in an awkward spot I automatically do that quick, split-second thing you do (with any such moment) where you’re trying to see what his options are. With Ode, he has already played the right ball before I have even figured out his options. This boy’s brain was created by God to translate football for mortals.

Martinelli -7.5

An outstanding attacking performance marred only by a little bit of lack of composure in front of goal. He ran Ayling ragged (leading to the latter’s two-footed lunge and red card) and continued to terrorise Leeds until substituted with cramp late on.

Saka – 7

One of the reasons Martinelli could operate so confidently was that – like many teams – Leeds felt they had to put two men on Saka at all times. Such is the fear the young man causes in opposition managers’ hearts. Some typically excellent moments.

Nketiah – 8

His two goals – one based on pure alertness and determinations and one on sharp, clinical finishing – won us the game. Enough said.


Pepe – 5

Had well over 20 minutes to make a mark but never got into the game. Was responsible for one infuriating moment where – with the Leeds ‘keeper still in our half after going up for a corner – he got the ball near the halfway line with a clear run at an empty net. Instead of just pushing the ball ahead and running he turned backwards to try and nutmeg a Leeds defender and lost the ball. Bonkers. Hard to see how he fits in next season.

Smith-Rowe – 7

Full of energy.

Lacazette – N/A

Not on long enough.



15 Responses to Arsenal 2 -1 Leeds: Quick Player Ratings

  1. LB says:

    As I was reading, I was thinking who is this, who is this and then at the end — The Rock Star Returns, we are blessed.

  2. LBG says:

    Welcome back Rocky.
    I am in total agreement. ( Does bOdeguard remind you of any other recent midfield maestros?) Like the balanced comment on Soares, but do think his corners and occasional set piece free-kicks deserve commendation. Tomi may well have been moved to the left to accommodate Soares, but I think quelling Rafinho completely was the main aim.
    If any one has read the Times this morning and hadn’t seen the match, they might conclude Leeds were unlucky not to get a point.

  3. LBG says:

    As I commented on yesterday’s post, Pete is the most infuriating individual. He , apparently, is marvellous on the training field, but literally refuses to push the boundaries/ use those skills, on a match day.
    Unfortunately I believe he is very limited in his ( football) brain, and intuitive response is alien to him in a game situation. A definite Arsenal error!

  4. LBG says:

    He won’t even let me use his name……Pepe, Pepe, Pepe!

  5. LBG says:

    Listen to rendition of Arsenal anthem on number of sites on YouTube.

  6. RockyLives says:


    If he was called “Pete” he’d be worth £7.2m and playing for Burnley.

    Sometimes autocorrect contains a deeper truth 🙂

  7. LBG says:

    That may well be what the gentleman concerned is worth!😉 But it would be too cold for him in Burnley, and they only play rugby anyway!

  8. KrishendathMike M says:

    Didn’t see it. Played golf because it’s better for my blood pressure. Watching the updates, when Leeds scored I could see the “10-man Leeds scupper Arsenal’s C/L hopes” looming. But in the end, result was all that mattered. It would be nice to have an easy win but it doesn’t look destined to happen. But with every win grows belief and “learning” how to win. Not too concerned about the goal difference thing, it’s unlikely to matter. we’ve won 5 and lost 4 of our last 9 games, picking up 15 points from 27. It looks likely we’ll need another 4- 6 points unless we beat Spuds and if we end up with 20 or more from our last 12 games, incl. trips to Chavs, Spuds and West Ham, plus Liverpool and Manure at home, we’d have to be happy with that, no matter what happens. So on to Thursday……… !!! I’ll be watching that one !!!

  9. fred1266 says:

    Hearing everyone talk about this song where can I find it

  10. RockyLives says:

    It’s called ‘The Angel’ by Louis Dunford – you can get it on iTunes etc.

    Here’s a video of it being sung before kick off:

    Chorus words are:
    North London forever
    Whatever the weather
    These streets are our own
    And my heart will leave you never
    My blood will forever
    Run through the stone

  11. RC78 says:

    A tougher than expected win…after giong up 2-0 and 1 man up…We manage to make hard work of easy games at times…

    Thanks Rocky for the post 🙂 Hope to have you back on the blog on a regular basis.

    Rumors link us with Sterling as well…

    I think we definitely need another winger whether Pepe stays or not.

    So we could have Sterling and Jesus from City, not the worse players to join us given their age, ability and experience in the EPL…

    Ramsdale – Tomy, White, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, RECRUIT – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – G.Jesus

    Turner – Cedric?, Holding, ?, ? – Xhaka, El Neny – Pepe, ESR, Sterling – Nketiah

    + Lokonga, Patino, Azeez, Balogun?

  12. fred1266 says:

    thank rocky found it on youtube

    for anyone interested in the full song

  13. fred1266 says:

    So we not even going to give Nelson a chance sigh, surely we should have sent pepe on loan and kept Nelson this season, unsure where feynord is in league but dey in super cup finals and he was brilliant in first leg assist 2 of the 3 goals

  14. LBG says:

    Moaninho was hurt by his sacking at Totteringham Hotspurs, having got them to a Final!! But he is happy to be in Rome……not as happy as we are to see you there!
    PS. And what about a renewed offer for X, Jose!
    PPS. And talking of the midfield maestro, Goal of the Month for his strike against Manure. Good strike as it was, did anyone see the other choices for the month?

  15. fred1266 says:

    Yea the other choice was mkepu goal against us which I thought was actually the the best goal but obviously couldn’t have voted for that

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