Friday, March 1, 2024

Napoli 2-0 Arsenal: player ratings

We scraped through to the round of 16 in the Champions League after a 2-0 defeat to Napoli, but you care more about how we rate the players.

Here we go.

Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10 – Generally solid, can’t be faulted for the goals but almost presented a chance to Higuain at the end of the first half.

Carl Jenkinson: 5/10 – Really struggled tonight. On a difficult pitch he looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet, lost it in some dangerous areas. Didn’t get much help though.

Per Mertesacker: 6/10 – Very good in the first half, got turned a bit easily for the goal, but hopefully that’s out of his system ahead of the weekend.

Laurent Koscielny: 6/10 – Had an amazingly composed and skillful moment in the first half, but almost caught out a couple of times in the second

Kieran Gibbs: 5/10 – Not as obvious suspect as Jenkinson but I thought he was a touch careless tonight, caught out of position a bit too often.

Mikel Arteta: 5/10 – Two fouls, two yellow cards. Behrami 6 fouls, no card. No arguments with the first but the second yellow was unbelievably harsh. It wasn’t stupid play, don’t pay attention to commentators – the referee bought the dive by the Napoli player.

Mathieu Flamini: 6/10 – Curiously our biggest attacking threat on the night, made storming runs forward and might have had a first half goal had he not been obviously blocked off on the edge of the box. Typically the referee played on.

Tomas Rosicky: 6/10 – Buzzed around but to little effect.

Santi Cazorla: 6/10 – Tried hard to make something happen but nothing much happened.

Mesut Ozil: 6/10 – Please combine the Rosicky/Cazorla comments.

Olivier Giroud: 6/10 – Had our best effort on goal, battled hard, got elbowed right in the face by Behrami (who got away with it), but without much service isn’t the kind of striker who can make things happen himself.


Nacho Monreal: 6/10 – Ran around

Aaron Ramsey: 6/10 – Also ran but got booked for pushing a bloke who kicked him because the referee was a gimp.

Bonus rating

Referee: Behrami’s dad/10

Feel free to debate and discuss in the comments, but please read the comment policy first and don’t get angry with each other, or me, about imaginary points.

And watch out for something new and exciting coming to our player ratings in the next few weeks!


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Dick Law

Everything is written. TGSTEL to score at Camp Nou and we qualify for QFs.


Prince Feisal: Gasim’s time has come, Lawrence. It is written.

T.E. Lawrence: Nothing is written.

Sherif Ali: You will not be at Aqaba, English! Go back, blasphemer… but you will not be at Aqaba!

T.E. Lawrence: I shall be at Aqaba. That, IS written.

[pointing to forehead]

T.E. Lawrence: In here.


Oh Gonzo. Watching your tears made my heart bleed.

And now you´ll be driven into the Italian countryside at dawn and shot for the insurance money.

It could´ve all been so different…


I don’t ever want to see Arsenal park the bus again…completely the wrong set up…
was Walcott inured or something?
We went in with a game plan of slowing the ball down and whining for calls???


and you sense that if we keep trying to park the bus eventually the defense will be knackered. Meanwhile we havent figured out how to score a few in those types of games, let alone hold onto the ball. We should be set up to counter in these games, but Giroud is too slow for that type of game, and Theo cant do it from the bench.


I think you’ll find that this is exactly how we won at Dortmund. Sat back, played compactly, one good counterattacking break around the 65-minute mark, 1-0 up, and we held on.


Luck doesn’t make a template for success


you never win a game by not moving forward as a team

Finsbury Park Gooner

I honestly can’t get my head around why Theo wasn’t used. We needed his outlet badly and the game was made for him. So disappointed tonight. We’re through, and well done the boys for that, but we should’ve finished top.


I have the same feeling, so disappointed, we looked so comfortable and should have killed them the 1st half. uncharacteristic play from our players and wenger, and we were punished in 2nd spot


I think Theo is finding it really hard to get back into the team. His best “skill” is speed, technically, and defensively he is nowhere near to our other midfielders. So if he is on and we really need to dug deep and defend then I’d be worried. Same goes to our ball retention and technical ability. Cause he lacks the technical bit we won’t be able to hold on the ball as we can with Ozil, Gazorla, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey and Jack. So maybe that’s the thinking of not playing in that much up to now.

Black Hei

Theo is rubbish at ball retention. He is a good player but you can’t always assume everyone is Henry (who had everything).


This. The plan from the beginning I think was ball retention and overcrowding the midfield so that neither teams could play. Theo Walcott does not provide an outlet and his ball retention is the worst of the first team. All Napoli had to do was assign 2 players to Walcott when attacking themselves and bam… his threat is neutralised.


I thought the same but on watching him more closely this year, he has much better ball retention than I thought. Try it.

Finsbury Park Gooner

Banking on a draw (or a smash & grab) brought about by ball-retention, away at Napoli when they have everything to play for, is a massive gamble. We needed Theo’s pace to stop us getting pegged back. How many times did they have 20 metres behind their defence that we could do nothing to exploit??


i think this is an old assessment


Probably because while he offers an outlet on the break, his inability to help out the defender on his side, allied with poor positional sense and an absence of footballing ability other than being able to run fast make him unsuited to playing from the start when we need 11 men to play as a team. On the night we were beaten by a team playing all out who will not have to play with that intensity I. The Italian league for the rest of the season. We, meanwhile have City away at 12.45 on Saturday.


That’s unfair on Walcott–last season he really improved his defensive play. At times he would push forward and leave the right-back exposed, but that’s by design.


thought Kos played really well again, don’t consider him at fault for either goal so 6/10 seems a little harsh. Final note, well done to all on coming through the toughest group. Super effort.


First half 9.5/10. If he plays like that consistently, which he’s starting to do, we’ve easily got one of the best CBs in the world. I don’t get scared every time we concede a corner anymore.

Gareth Murray

We played like cunts.


I should be offended by this comment, but I am somehow laughing.

Petit's Handbag

It’s because it appears a baby said cunts Babies/Dogs swearing is the amusing thing of all time…..I don’t like Family Guy but they had the right ingredients. I have nothing to say about tonight’s match other than no one had a clue what to do by the looks of things, even myself watching it I got a little confused. Should we score, should we not. We’re not a side who carries a lead into a game very often…. The last time we brought a lead into a game was Roma in 2009 if I’m not wrong? (I’m aware we weren’t… Read more »


You absolutely can’t say we played like cunts, the only cunt on that field was Behrami. Napoli needed to win that game by a large margin to stand any chance of qualifying and were always going to be up for it. First half I thought we really played well. Second half, granted we didn’t weren’t as good but I’m more disappointed with the creativity and chances we didn’t make. I feel games that like are when you need the Cazorlas & Ozils to really step up it up & they didnt.


“And watch out for something new and exciting coming to our player ratings in the next few weeks!” is probably the best thing to come from this match.


Well, we have to beat the best to win it all anyway, so lets get Barcelona or Madrid right away. We are the fucking gunners and we fear no one!

Up the Arse


Both full backs poor, especially Jenkinson, looks out of his depth at this level. Özil is supposed to be our talisman, the one who makes the difference in the big games, so far against Utd, Dortmund away, tonight he’s done nothing when really needed. Walcott surely had a part to play tonight but AW was more concerned with not losing than winning the game which is always dangerous for us as that’s not on our DNA to be able to play for a draw. The effects of losing the game and the consequences of breaking our excellent run of form… Read more »


yeah- it was a match made or our bench….and to get players behind the ball


Didn’t Ozil cross the ball for Giroud to head down Ramsey to score against Dortmund away?

with the left and the right

Though i’ll grant you that Jenkinson was poor, i think it was more intimidation from the atmosphere due to the relative lack of experience (i think he’s played less than 50 matches as a professional) than a lack of skill. The boy’s got raw talent in abundance, but in a match like this it would have been better to have the experience and composure of Sagna. Gibbs i’m far more disappointed in because he has the skill and maybe not the experience but certainly we would have hoped that he’s gained enough consistency to put in a professional performance but… Read more »


Personally I would put Arteta challenge in the ‘stupid play’ category. Incredibly harsh, but expected Arteta to be a bit cleverer than that.


If a player dives there’s little he can do. Might as well sit on the bench to avoid any physical contact.


Pretty sure there was contact. No matter how minimal it was or the dramatics which followed, the fact is Callejon was well inside his own half and facing his own goal. Arteta (on a booking of course) made an absolutely needless or ‘stupid’ challenge.


I never said it was a dive. Contact was minimal and yes Callejon (as he did quite a few times during the game) exaggerated the contact as we should be used to in every game now. I believe it was a foul but only a free kick. As we all know, these days if you make any attempt of a challenge from behind, especially in a European game and don’t even make contact with the ball. Then you’re putting yourself at incredibly high risk at getting sent off. I’m not happy this is how it is but it is this… Read more »


Arteta’s play that led to the first yellow was completely stupid. With one yellow and playing away, you’d expect him to be more careful knowing that Napoli was getting the calls their way.


we better have a talking to Arsene come Jan.
How long can the abuse last for Arteta and Flammini?
not to mention that second striker ….maybe a little less pretty.


We were really poor today and I think your ratings flatter all the players. The best player was flamini and he was at best a 5


Nah, Rozza was our best player going forward, good attacking passes, flicks and running off the ball as usual and got stuck in with tackles too. As Arteta had been booked and was slow all game as usual, AW shoul’ve subbed him instead.


it wasn’t hard to see that Napoli was playing high up the pitch…no wonder Jenks and Gibbs had issues.
You could even see Per yelling at his midfield at one point…it was a game for a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1


with some speed on the flanks of course


If Sir Bac isn’t signing a new contract then please sign a new right back in January, Arsene! Someone like Abate/Pisczek, you can act as an understudy to Bac until he leaves then take over the mantle next season. Jenkinson has speed and determination, but he is not good enough on the ball, too many of our attacks broke down with him. Just because he’s a Gooner doesn’t make him a good football player, as many fans seem to think.


my thoughts exactly, Napoli attacked down his flank constantly and had a lot of joy. uninspired performance by all though, HFB never seemed so alone


It’s unfair to pick on jenkinson, ozil never tracks back , which means its 2 on 1 every time , also if we are talking about been poor on the ball then the bfg would never get a game, any team that buts the bfg under pressure when he has the ball will always reap the benefit because he can’t pass for shit. Also last night shows Giroud is solid but has no pace which will make us winning the league very difficult, we will need to buy a world class finisher in jan or it will be 2nd for… Read more »


On the contrary, Bfg is fantastic with the ball at his feet.


Could have done with Sagna, and some pace. Played our most conservative lineup of 5 in midfield, I think, when it was not warranted. We knew they had to score, but offered very little threat of a counter. There for the taking. Left or right, if we’re going to turtle, thought Monreal would have been better to protect Jenkinson.


That was embarrasing to watch. Jenkinson should wear the shirt… home.


I said it once I’ll say it again,Prick.


He was really sheffield wednesday-esque today. Has much to learn.

Gareth Murray

To be fair, you said it once, and you were wrong to say it then, so why repeat it?

We were poor all through the whole shabang thingy tonight, not fair to single out one young player without a huge wealth of experience behind him. We win and lose as a team.

German Gooner

Oh well what can we do? Cest la vie.
Lets just concentrate on the next game vs Shitty


Quite right about Arteta. First foul looked a bit divey, but I understood. Second was nothing more than a free kick.


Look I love Lego hair but when in Europe never give the referee an excuse to send you off. Should have learned from Dortmund match when Lewondowski spent most of the match trying to get him his second yellow card.


Generous ratings I must say.Arsene tactics today….well let’s not get into that.A world class striker is a necessity now.


If in this press conference wenger doesn’t:

1. Explain why he didn’t retreat from that substitution right after their first goal.

2. Explain why no Theo

3. Apologise for substituting Santi, and promise never to do it again.

4. Vow that there’ll be hell to pay for this weekend

I will sack him.


No cunt likes my comment I see. Fine

5. Enough for now with fucking Gibbs.

Raekwon The Chef

Didn’t think you could get any worse.


Actually, it looks as if about three cunts like it. Sadly for you, there are only two people cuntish enough to like your second comment.

Master Bates

AH! a call for Wenger sacking ,how I’ve missed these…NOT

Black Hei

There is no Theo because he is generally extremely rubbish when Jenkinson is on the team. The 2 of them aren’t exactly great at retaining the ball on the right.


Oh shit, What will Wenger do now? He did not address these questions. And now Mr. Anonymous-on-an-internet forum is asking for him to get sacked. What on earth is Wenger going to do? Feel for him.


Jesus Christ. We must have some of the most whingiest whining fans on the planet. Criticism of the team and manager is fine, but all of a sudden after everything so far this season, the manager is shit, Ozil is shit, Arteta is shit and so on. Shit happens. We don’t have a god given right to win every game or even play well in every game. But we’re through to the next round, out of by far and away the toughest group. So we now get a tough draw. Preferable to going football on a fuckin Thursday night. So… Read more »


I salute this comment, mate. Glad there’s another sensible Gooner here


Absolutely correct but I think we all share a feeling that we have wasted a good chance to top the group last night and have made things more difficult for ourselves than need be.


I think it’s harsh to blame Wenger for not using Walcott. The man is just back from injury and has played a grand total of about 60 mins of football in the last couple of months. He would not have been completely sharp or up to speed which in turn would have hurt Arsenal while defending as you could clearly see Napoli were targeting Jenkinson. We may have to keep playing Rosicky on that flank against Manchester City because you can be sure Kolarov and Nasri/Milner will think Christmas came a couple of weeks early with the amount of joy… Read more »


Was that a 4-6-0 formation we were playing? Looks to me like they was no striker or was Giroud given a free role? Because he was everywhere…except were he was suppose to be


Arsene Wenger rating: -10


Koscielny what? 6? He was outstanding again. MOTM by far and where exactly was he “almost caught” in the second half? One miskick that Szczesny caught. That’s all. He was bossing the defence all night long. Didn’t have antything to say with Napoli goals. First were lack of midfielders in front of the back 4 and Mert’s permission for Higuain to shoot. Second were all cavarly. Why half of the team was up front when earlier we were defending 1-0 down? Tonight it was Mert who wasn’t ALMOST caught at times. Kos trying to mop his mess up in the… Read more »


You mean that header? The one after he tracked Callejon anyway and put him under pressure? If you watch it again you’ll see he had nothing else to do with this. The ball was placed in such way that he couldn’t get more power on the header. You pick this and still no one was around Callejon to challenge him. He was able to receive and sprint forward. If you call it a mess, then Kos cleaned it after himself


It’s an opinion batt18les all entitled to em mate! personally i agree with you thought kos was best on park by a mile but blogs is a perfectionist it would seem! either way each to their own cest la vie and all those other cliches.


Fin, Best player on the park, maybe but we lost so 6 is about fair 7 would mean a perfect game because you always have to knock a few off when you lose.
Win as a team, lose as a team.


Bit disappointed by missing the top spot,but people seems to forget this is a difficult group where top 3 teams finished by 12pts and winner and runner up from the group decided from the goals scored.Plus, Gary Neville did say Arteta is a bit unlucky as the ref seems to be influenced by the crowd.

This Arsenal team often bounce back well after a defeat, so let’s do that on saturday !


Fuck Gary Neville!


Seems to be a lot of people hanging our fullbacks but with a lack of pace infront of them then they are always going to be run at by two players. Need to think about Theo and Poldi having some game time now they are fit.


When I was watching the first half I thought I’m glad we didn’t sign Higuain. He was whining and bitching at this own players the whole time. But then he made that turn and buried it…all I could think then was Giroud wouldn’t have scored it. I am big Giroud fan and I think he has an incredible work rate but he wouldn’t have scored that. I can’t wait for Poldi and Ox to come back. Some added firepower we could use. Result not the end of the world by any means. We made it out of tough group and… Read more »


Should be happy because we qualified, but frankly we were crap tonight. And now we’ve missed out on the top spot AGAIN.


I feel that few lessons emerged from tonight’s game. Firstly, Arteta and Famini obviously cannot play together in a creative attacking system. Both of them are quite defensive minded and their performance tonight reminded me of the game with Manu when we became overawed by their constant attaching approach to the game. Ironically we lost the game as we were too involved defending and soaking the pressure with little or no treat coming from our attacking ability. The second lesson is , Carl Jekinson is not quite there yet to handle big games. Napoli tonight saw him as the weakest… Read more »


More 5’s and a few fours. We were dreadful


A loss. So what? If there’s one game they could pick to throw it away.. it’s this one. We still qualify for the knockout stage.


For the love of all things holy, there is no pleasing some people. We’ve just missed out on top spot of the group (correct me if I’m wrong) by three minutes, but we’re through nonetheless – ENJOY IT.


Well, Untold Arsenal called out the ref Kassai as being the c*nt he turned out to be before game, so top marks there!

No-one should underestimate what Bac brings to our team. New contract please.


Gibbs was piss poor, arteta and his sometimes stupid and needless fouls and he’s supposed to be ‘experienced’ huh?, mertesacker runs as fast as giroud, top striker needed then! walcott needed to play that game, can’t still believe he didn’t, don’t know what cazorla is all about this season.


You ARE joking, right?

Oh. Oooooooooh…


Arteta is no DM hes completely out of his depth an girould has no pace what’s so ever.

Derek McHugh

Kos saved gibbs on numerous occasions tonight. Jenkison is simpley not good enough and santi hasnt played well all season. And rhe rest of the team have to carry ozil most matches..
Pleaze please dont have wenger sign a new contract…


That is what most people said about Rambo last season (that he was crap). See where he is now. Fans are not as patient as Wenger, who is a an experienced manager. Jenkison is still raw material. Give him time please. By the way when we reached the final in 2006 we had beaten Real Madrid (which included Zedane, etc). So don’t stress too much about the draw.


I think it was always going to be difficult against Nipples and for most of the match, we kept them at bay. Yes we may have given Higuain a bit too much space but it was a brilliant finish. The 2nd goal should have been dealt with better, but was always difficult with 10 men. Surprised Walcott didnt play and even with the argument that he wasnt in tip-top condition and could have left Jenks exposed, we could have switched him to the left side, where we did expose their back line a few times positionally but due to a… Read more »


Jenkinson is seriously not good enough, he’s really energetic and thats about it. Shocking technically and going to really struggle with Silva and Samir on Saturday MORNING. Made Armero look like fucking Jordi Alba. Need Bacary back and should buy a new RB in January, Serge Aurier of Toulouse looks like a new Sagna to me. Get him in Arsene, or try Flamini at RB.

Not angry with the result, just frustrating how we cant have a chilled out last 16 game like Galatasaray.

Black Hei

C’mon, Gala isn’t a cake walk either. They just knocked Juventus into the Thursday nights with S*purs.


Gala has Drogba, enough said!!!


We would not have wanted him.


This might get some hate but fuck it, I’m not a fan of the Flamini-Arteta axis. In theory, you think it’d provide a solid base but it also has the potential to invite pressure. Neither carry the ball like Wilshere or Ramsey, both can hold onto the ball way too long and both potentially put defenders under pressure with sideways and backwards passing. I feel like we will only ever need one unless we’re really hanging on. Also, arguments for a real outlet on the flanks *cough*Walcott (and potential Podolski and Ox)*cough* are only going to get stronger with attacking… Read more »


flamini went forward plenty….just nobody followed him


its not the end of the world, but then i think monreal should be given the chance, with bendtner as well for this game.

Black Hei

C’mon guys the way we are moaning is lacking respect to our opponents.

This is THE group of death. We fought well over the entire course against 2 other great teams.

Less we forget, this Napoli side nicked 3 points off Dortmund too. They ain’t a rubbish side.

gunner get u

got out of a very difficult group….which everybody expected us to follow Marseille…well done to the boys….


I’m surprised there aren’t more “that ref was a cunt” comments.

Because he was.

Arsenal always end the group stage on a low note, at least they have for the last few years. But everybody said we wouldn’t get out, and we fucking did. And we’re still top of the league.

Andy In HK

Blimey I though I was on Le Grove by mistake from the negativity on here.
If Wenger had put Walcott on and they scored a third down our right then everybody would be calling for his head for some people he cannot win. We have qualified from the toughest group so despite a poor performance (I’m not denying that) we have progressed and avoided the worst case scenario of joing the spuds on a Thursday night.


That’s true about Walcott, but he should have been on at 0-0. At least, that’s my opinion

pascal cygan

The objective has been to qualify from an extremely difficult group which we’ve done. Yes tonight was poor but the group stages are full of banana skins as seen with chelsea and basel doesn’t make you a shit team and even playing completely useless we were still only 1-0 done in added on time and had done the job. Wenger made mistakes tonight like every person in every job however a vast majority of the team he’s spot on! Don’t just change your opinion on him all of a sudden when we are off form for two games while having… Read more »


I am not terribly surprised by the result as I feel this squad is much more focused on the league. We’ve done very well to go through the hardest group lets just be happy about that. Now we can focus on putting more space between us and the powder blue shite before the chavs. Just be happy we can’t win them all!


Do you mean, Just be happy, we can’t win them all? Because we are not going to be happy that we can’t win them all are we? Even if we can’t.


It was like blogs said. We seemed to be stuck in limbo regarding what to do. We weren’t focused in the second half which is hard to understand as we had a pretty good first half while rarely threatening to score. And also why Theo wasn’t brought on around the 70 minute mark is a mystery. We could have stretched it once Napoli started pushing up looking for a winner. And our fullbacks had a poor game I felt. They did this weird thing where they tucked in abandoning the flanks leaving our wide players ie. Santi,Ozil and to an… Read more »


Its been too long since we experienced the thrill of a UCL semi final. 6 years. Is there no one else who just wants that tension? We are out now when all we had to do was draw in naples. If we had played our natural game we would have beaten napoli in san paolo but for some strange reason we tried to defend. Now we’ll face bayern again. Goodluck keeping the faith there.


I seem to remember a couple of toughies in 2006……


I think it is important to put things a bit in perspective. To my mind we played very well for the first 70 minutes. I was particularly impressed by our defensive set up as Napoli was reduced to a few speculative chances.I agree we didnt have much of an outlet upfront although Giroud battled hard and the team in general played well. If the game had ended goaless i think the ratings would have been a bit different. i agree we lost it in the final 15 mins or so but overall i have renewed confidence that this team is… Read more »


I didn’t think we played that well.

We were fairly solid in defense but they were also wasteful.

We were timid with our approach at times and they piled on the pressure with our invite.

The Arteta card (harsh) did not help us at all of course.

But we should have tailored our set up to negate their pouring into our half in numbers.

Sometimes attack is the best form of defense.


Woefully exposed out on our right flank at times. jenkinson was understandably put under a lot of pressure. Wenger did not get his team right. Again, didn’t think we needed to over elaborate with both Flamini and Arteta starting the night. Would have preferred that as an option later on but someone more ‘creative next to either or at the start. Mentioned (before the Arteta sending off) that what we needed second half (and early on) was Walcott. Giroud was ponderous chasing after the ball. the man is great at holding the ball up but he is too slow. He… Read more »

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