Friday, June 21, 2024

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest – player ratings

After some iffy displays this season, it was Arsenal’s young guns who turned on the style at last, running out 5-0 winners over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup this evening.

Gabriel Martinelli scored twice; Reiss Nelson got his first ever Arsenal goal; Rob Holding scored on his comeback after 10 months out; Hector Bellerin got an assist in his first game since January; and Joe Willock grabbed another goal on top of an impressive midfield display. Not to mention a super debut from £25m signing Kieran Tierney.

It was fun. The only negative was an injury to Emile Smith Rowe but hopefully he’ll be ok.

Read the Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest report and see the goals here

Here’s how the players rated this evening.


The ratings are now hidden by default until you vote, but if you just want to view the ratings and the comments, flick the switch at the top above Emi Martinez. Also, give the ratings a few seconds to load.

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Hooray for real fullbacks! What in the world are we going to do in a few years when all these talented youngins mature??

Barry NoToes

We’ll have to play 2-2-6




Speaking of in a few years, this was the first time I’ve watched a home game on TV this year rather than at the stadium. Doesn’t Freddie look comfortable on that bench.. Something about him just screams future manager to me, moreso than any other assistant or any managers elsewhere right now.


Agreed. Thought it was fitting that he was the one giving Sako instructions before he came on. Shows the connection he has with the young players.

Tony Hall

Freddie is a legend …


That’s exactly right. Plus I read somewhere the other day that some of the players speak to him to get clarity around what Emery tells them so with him there is also no language barrier.


Ye he looks great there, not just because he’s a spectacularly handsome man, But it just suits him,

*more so than any other assistant or any managers elsewhere right now*

Not so sure about that, I think Arteta is going to be a top top manager, Hopefully Freddie too


Better looking than Arteta, too.


Can’t wait to see Hector, Tierney, Holding and Chambers on PL games. And the midfield+forward youngsters as well. They will be pushing for a place in the first team for sure! Hopefully Emery can make use of them, instead of sticking with the defensively disastrous current line up.

100 % Ambazonian

Sell them


Quick, mobile and defensively aware midfielders make a huge difference for the defence. It felt like seeing our best midfield combination of all season.

You could see it, feel it in the way we moved the ball and covered space.


That’s exactly the grouse many have with Xhaka. He is not mobile enough.

Torreira on the other hand adds a lot of bite and tenacity that is contagious.


Flys too low?

Dave M

Willock > xhaka
Torreira > xhaka


The only reason Xhaka remains in the team is because of the shape and structure that he provides. Yesterday when NF broke forward they would bypass our whole midfield within two passes because there was no shape of midfield.


I didn’t think that was happening much yesterday. On Sunday on the other hand? All. the. time. Thought the shape of midfield was miles improved yesterday.

Sean Strauss

I think he remains in the team because of his height, physicality and some type of leadership qualities. Him leaving the field against Villa saw David Luiz push up to win headers. If we were protagonists, I’d say fuck the opposition, play any two of Willock, Guendouzi and Torreira.


Didn’t that happen against Villa and Watford anyway?

Dave M

That is the exact opposite of what happened and what normally happens when Xhaka plays. We get smashed on the counter because as a deep lying player that gets drawn forward because he controls our tempo and slows our possession speed to more passing and control based game, when we lose the ball he doesn’t have the speed to recover. Yesterday NF tried to break and mount counters against us multiple times, but Willock and Torreira were always sprinting back and pressuring their midfield and breaking up the attacks. It was the same against Burnley. Yet at Watford we were… Read more »

Cultured Determination

guendouzi > xhaka
ceballos > xhaka
elneny > xhaka
Edu > xhaka
You > xhaka
Me > xhaka

Dave M

Yes this is spot on, the thing is if either (as well as Guendouzi) make a mistake causing a turn-over or close down to quickly and get turned they have the speed and stamina to recover, get back and break-up open play that starts to build-up in the midfield. Xhaka cannot and does not. That is SO SO critical with the speed the EPL is played at. It’s painful to watch because it is so god-dam obvious.


Yes, but it’s Nottingham Forest. You would expect we do that.

Kampala goober ?

Tell that to our neighbours. Couldn’t just ont past poor Colchester

Dave M

Just like Watford right?


And you don’t feel Watford was a disappointment?

Dave M



Villa were there last season, most of the comments about the midfield are spot on, if only Tor was 2 stone heavier and six inches taller, Willock in for Gun and Xhaka, Martinez for Leno .and job done.

Mesut O’Neill

Two Mustafi starts, two clean sheets

Coincidence? I think not ?


Mesut O’Neill you scamp.


And those two games we didn’t have Guendouzi on the field as well. I love Guendouzi on the ball. But without possession he is a defensive liability time and time again. People blame our midfield to be too porous. Then go on to blame it on Xhaka alone. It is never one man. Guendouzi, as good as he is on the ball and we love his spirit. He is just not defensively aware, watches the ball and not the man he is marking. With Guendouzi stock really high, I understand this is an unpopular take as the downvotes on this… Read more »

Reality check

Guendouzi lacks positional sense. He’s young and hungry, wants to do all by himself. A bit more experience and maturity should iron that out.


That’s exactly right. I want him on the pitch but I do get frustrated with him quite often for the reasons Prakhar listed but then I have to keep reminding myself that he is 12 years old. It would be useful however to have someone help him out every now and then, something I envisioned that Koz could do [because of where he was positioned behind Guendouzi, the fact that they speak the same language, and that I always saw him as the type who could be an on the pitch coach]


Couldn’t agree more. If people talk about not being able to accommodate Ozil due to his lack of defensive contribution (when he’s not even playing in a deeper role!), then they really need to look at the (lack of) intensity that Guendouzi shows off the ball. Far too casual for a player with his energy levels. Like you said, there’ll be people who’ll disagree on this, but I wouldn’t stop at dropping Xhaka. Guendouzi’s been every bit as culpable for how easily opposition teams drift through our midfield as Granit. It’s just much more fashionable to criticise one than the… Read more »


Yes, that’s our best XI right there. Our 4 wiz kids at the back, Torreira and Willock, Ozil or Ceballos, then PAL up front.


Surprise!!! No downvotes because you are correct. I absolutely love this young man. For him to take it to the next level, he must improve his situational/tactical awareness and concentration. I’m certain he will as well and he’ll be an absolute world beater for it. He is still very young!!


Guendouzi and Xhaka are both defensive liabilities. That’s why it never makes sense to keep stubbornly pairing them together. Why Unai Emery is dropping Torreira our most defensively sound midfielder remains a mystery.


@henkamp, exactly. Torreira needs to start if Xhaka is playing.

Also good to see some sensible perspective on guendouzi. Far too much hype for a player who has potential no doubt but is behind Willock imo in terms of all round capability. Willock should be starting ahead of guendouzi every time.

Dave M

I agree with this to a certain extent. But problem is emery is trying to turn guendouzi into a DM. He’s Improving in that end but he still makes mistakes. Nonetheless he is always there (just often missing the final runs) because he recovers quickly die to his speed and mobility. He is really suited to one of the other two CM roles and this game again showed the importance of torreira as the DM. Against manure i would be very tempted to play torreira, willock and guendouzi to give us a solid foundation and that drive in midfield to… Read more »


true…he is a liability in central midfield. His only good spells have come when he has been moved up with freedom to attack, and 2 of torreira/willock/xhaka covering him as CM. Maybe he can be developed as a CAM or Winger or impact sub for desperate situations.


3 starts for Chambers 3 clean sheets maybe we have discovered our centreback pairing


As I said earlier elsewhere, Chambers should start more matches. He’s our current lucky charm. The more he play, the more we win.


Except he didn’t play centre back. He was great going forward last night but unless you want your centre back bombing up the wing and whipping in crosses I don’t understand your logic.

Scott P

Mustafi was trying his best Giroud impression at those early set pieces with the flicks and headers haha. Wasn’t doing a bad job at it either, to be fair.

A Different George

He had a strong game, a lot of really good passes from the back. Though it helped that there was never any pressure on him. Defending, I thought neither he nor Holding had much to do.


I’m not saying it changes anything, he’s still not good enough, but I thought he was really excellent yesterday.

canon fodder

That is what we call an oxymoron in English…You say that Mustafi is not good enough but at the same time he was excellent!!!


An oxymoron is a single expression with ordinarily contradictory terms,
eg. ‘Yesterday mustafi was a faultless liability’

A Different George

He is often, even usually, very good. Just too many disastrous (almost always mental) mistakes; if you could take those out of his game (as I used to think was possible) he would be an elite centre half.


What a performance by our lads underlined by the Sp*rs lost! Made my day


Don’t forget the other knuckle draggers- Stoke!


I think Tierney, Bellerin and Holding should all start next Thursday against Liege.


They should all start at OT on Monday. Let Kola, AML, Luiz and Sokratis start against Liege.

Burn Baby Burn

Was Emery even there tonight? I only remembered seeing Ljungberg on the bench.


That game had an old French manager’s attacking DNA all over it! Has it been passed to Freddie, and now down to our young guns? Let us believe!


Man, these comments are just embarrassing. We play badly? “Emery out!” We played well? “Oh you know I think Freddie actually managed this one”. Let the manager have his day, Freddie being part of the set up is great and one day maybe who knows but these comments make us look like twats

Frank Bascombe

Nice one Dave.

David C

My wife was so happy to see Freddie too! She’s doesn’t even watch footie but remembers Freddie from the modelling days, haha.

Great win! Onwards!


So Ljunberg you saw on bench with other secondary coaches.. i wonder where Emery is in this scenario? I imagine not sitting on the bench but standing on the touchline. This gets 30 upvotes. Really desperate.

giovanni origi

it’s so obvious who our best midfielders are how much more fluid they look when xhaka isn’t eating up 90 minutes every game. holding and chambers could provide a nice break from having to watch sokratis/luiz.


I noticed Ozil enjoying himself and we don’t play again for ages, why sub him? Unai is a strange cat.


Also I note that Emery was doing his utmost to avoid Ozil when he came off the pitch. No handshake or pat on the back. Definitely some bad blood between them again. All looked on track again in pre season

Reality check

When AMN came off injured after the red, Emery didn’t even look at him let alone getting off his seat. One can draw many conclusion from his behaviour..


Most managers don’t do that when a player gets a red


Maybe it’s me but I think it’s bad form to give the armband to a player and then yank him off the way he did. I also heard it mentioned in the post match report show as well. Not sure who else he could have started the armband with though with all the young players in the side, perhaps Torreira? I thought he played well but I’m really happy the substitutions worked out.


Captains get sub’ed all the time. But i agree on Torreira.


The manager is trying to tell Ozil that he needs to leave. Which he does.


If that’s what he’s saying then his approach totally lacks class. He can just tell him straight.


Just get rid of Emery already. I was speaking to a Spanish friend of a friend – he indicated that he’s not very well regarded in Spain. I think the exact word he used for him was ‘retard’…


With our next game away up north he’s probably already got Mesut’s sick note in his pocket.

I get that people are hoping for the old Ozil back but he’s gone, there’s no evidence that he’s the drive for it anymore and Emery see’s it. We need to move on.

Fred Garvin

Rather, there’s no evidence for your claim that Mesut doesn’t have the drive for it anymore. Did you watch the game? He was enjoying himself and playing good football.


Against a div 2 side.


The only chance he’s being given. Should he play a shit game? Would that make you happier?

Matt P

Yep. When did he last deliver against a top 6 team?

Clock-End Mike

Agreed, Özil certainly seemed to be enjoying himself, and was having a very good game by anyone’s standards. It was hard to see why Ceballos needed to come on in place of anyone, let alone Özil, who was really influential, made a number of incisive trade-mark Özil passes, kept the attack moving, and was even to be seen doing his bit defending.

He’d been given the captain’s arm-band. Why sub him? Surely a perfect opportunity to boost his morale and his match-fitness? I’m confused.


I suspect your question answered itself. The point of the substitution is to deflate the player’s morale and ensure he is not match-fit.

Clock-End Mike

I really hope your cynical view is off the mark. I would expect an Arsenal manager to have more class than to behave so dishonestly. Arsène Wenger certainly would not.


But we are not talking about Wenger now, are we?


This is Unai Emery, he has previous


I’m trying to convince myself that Emery saw Özil playing really well and thinking “right, I can use him on monday! Let’s get him off, avoid any injury”.
But that might be hoping a bit too much..

A Different George

Yeah, hoping for too much–it’s hard to believe the extra twenty minutes on a Tuesday would affect his ability to start the next Monday. It absolutely looks like the purpose was to humiliate Ozil, to make the situation ever more untenable for him.


Alright guys, no fucks to give tonight, only praises.
Awesome performance from the lads. My eyes were teary seeing Tierney, beautiful Bellerin holding Holding in the Chambers of Martinelli.

Fuck shit, I’m no poet.
Good ebening Emery, don’t fucking contemplate starting your 3 musketeers anytime soon.


Soktatis, Luiz & Xhaka?


You’re a seer.?


Must be an echo in here. Thought I read this post elsewhere.


Happy for Reiss. He had seem to be fading into the background. Tonight he took responsibility (corner kicks, free kicks) and just seemed to enjoy himself.

Hope that goal boosts his confidence.

A Different George

He’s the only one of that young group who has regularly played against top-class opposition, in Germany. I think, despite how well Saka and Martinelli have done, he is the logical first back-up to the ALP starters.


Saka reminds me a bit of Alexis, mistakes don’t seem to bother him, he plays on the front front, and is always driving forward , he’s absolutely fearless.


And passes the ball.

Reality check

ESR’s defensive work rate is amazing, the kid just keeps going. Martinelli is also a handful.
Saka, ESR, and Martinelli will all be first team players soon no doubt. No to mention Willock, who is already a first team player for me. What a performance from him from deep midfield today, very disciplined and decent passing range too.. More players have broken through from our own academy then whole my Arsenal supporting Wenger era.. Wenger took his time restructuring but he has left us a world class academy. Credit also to Emery for blooding these youngsters in

Andre Santos' car keys

Auba, Laca, Saka, Nelson, Martinelli, Nketiah returning, John-Jules lurking. Who will get itchy feet first I wonder? A good problem to have. I too liked ESR’s movement. It stuck out to me. The way he got his concussion was a consequence of his bravery and willingness to put himself about. Credit indeed to both coaches and to Freddie whose idea the swap with Bould apparently was.


Chambers got 3 assists today. 3rd was the last goal though the goal was all martinelli it will still be an assist for chambers.

Reality check

That goal had “remember the name” written all over it. Just like Saka’s last week.


In the last two matches Chambers has a goal and five assists! And, bar one mistake, he’s been brilliant in defense. I don’t think he can be dropped.

My Cousin Vinai

“Won tackles”

When was the last time one of our deeper midfielders was described as such?


Play the kids!

The Swede

No Mustafi, no clean sheets.

Old Gooner 4 the Young Guns

Know Mustafi, know clean sheets

Monkey knees


Monkey knees

Martinelli looks special! Very exciting!


Been a while I genuinely enjoyed an arsenal game like tonight, no single slacker with everyone playing really good, amazing to have Tierney, can’t wait for him to be 100% match fit, his crosses are superb and defends well too. Great for Holding to have a goal on his return and almost teary seeing Bellerin get that assist with only his 3rd touch of the ball. I hope ESR’s injury is not serious. He’s a bit unlucky with these things. Emery should PLS play Torreira deep, his ability to read the attack of the opponents and break up play is… Read more »


I struggle to understand Emery’s decision making at times. Ozil, just as the game was opening up he gets subbed… he is at his super best in open games. Why The Fark you take him off at that point, let him shine, let him enjoy football again, let him get his way back to the Ozil we loved those first couple of seasons and let him just earn some of that wage he gets paid. I just dont understand it. Sure, the team went on to score heaps of goals, but it as always going to happen as Notts Forest… Read more »


I think he could very well play on the left at OT. Especially if Tierney is playing. Wan Bissaka is solid 1-1 and fancies himself against most dribbling wingers. Having Özil there would definitely be interesting.


Certainly something to consider!

Obama Young

We scored 4 goals in 20 minutes after that substitution, yet you’re unhappy with it? I’m more concerned with the success of the club than that of any one player.


We scored 4 of the 5 goals after Ozil was taken off but, ok, bash emery again it’s definitelt not boring.


I acknowledged the goals being scored.. my point was those goals were going to be scored anyways, NF had no hope containing Arsenal as the game opened up with them chasing a goal. Ozil would of been there contributing to those goals, building his confidence, getting back to where we fans want him to be. It was the exact type of scenario where he thrives. Ceballos didnt set the world on fire when he came on, I think Ozil would of got more value out of staying on the field. I stand by my observation, the decision to bring Ozil… Read more »

Fred Garvin

Is “an odd one” a more diplomatic way of saying “dick move”?

Obama Young

LOL, 4 goals in 20 minutes “were going to be scored anyway.” That’s priceless!

Frank Bascombe

Just so you know, it’s Nottingham Forest… What difference though eh?


Being at the match tonight ( tickets £10 on general sale) it was a great performance. We fielded a good team and it deserved the scoreline against forest. Very enjoyable. Can i just say well done to arsenal for selling these tickets for a tenner because it means the everyday fan can go along and watch the team they love at an affordable price. Now lets take this match and turn it into even better displays for the rest of the season!


What was the atmosphere like in the build up to the match? Most people seemed really frustrated about the Villa match [not the fact that we won with a great comeback but instead the starting XI, the lack of cohesion and direction, the fact that while the changes worked, Emery was forced into them because of the sending off, etc.] and I was wondering if it carried over to this evening.


To be honest there wasn’t a lot of talk about the villa game before the match.


thats pretty much all our forwards off the mark for the season now then, really impressed with martinelli he was getting shoved and kicked all game but his head didnt drop, he didnt do anything stupid, hes got a lot of potential


Yes I might be a bit of a cunt but I still want Pepe to score one from open play.


You remove AMN from right back and suddenly we are stable again. Add to that some good crossing by Chambers who used to play RB at Southampton. I don’t think AMN is ready yet and he needs to really improve the defensive side of his game and stop whining about he is not a RB and doing a job. He doesn’t get into the squad if he doesn’t like RB and with his attitude to just roam around anywhere on pitch lacks the discipline of a CM too. Goes into stupid challenges and always on backfoot. He needs to be… Read more »


So great to see Holding and Bellerin back as well as seeing the debut of Tierney. This is the first time in such a long time that these matches are not just opportunities for the U23s to get some playing time in first team matches, but also when we can actually expect these same players to have an impact in the squad this year (as some already have). Put Smith-Rowe in the attacking mid spot, bring Saka in to start and bring either AMN or Bellerin in for Mustafi and you’ve got a squad of all 24 year olds or… Read more »

Sagna's Braids

At the risk of running ahead of myself, it is nice to keep calm and think of the fact that we can field an entire team (+more!) with our talented young guns –

GK: Leno / Martinez (young by GK standards)
LWB: Tierney
CB: Saliba/Holding/Mavropanos
RWB: Bellerin
DM: Chambers/AMN
CM: Guendozi/Willock/Torreira
LW: Saka
AM: Smith Rowe
RW: Nelson
ST: Nketiah/Martinelli


The Swedish commentators kept pronouncing Tierny’s name ”Turney”. That’s my only complaint from this game.

And ESR getting concussed, of course. That could be nasty…


Chambers 3 assists


Twas in the windy, rainy month of September
That Colchester Utd had a night to remember.
They played Spurs in the Carabao Cup
And beat them on penalties all ends up.
After 90 minutes the score was nil – nil
But thereafter for Spurs it was all downhill.
Moura and Eriksen took theirs and missed.
I could have done better with a broken leg and half pissed.
Spurs’ trophy hopes this season now down the drain,
It’s more humiliation at White Hart Lane.

Heavy Gunner

Almost Shakespearian,John!

A Different George

“Down the drain at White Hart Lane.” Words to live by.

Flavoured Rice

Is it wrong to like this team more than our regular starting 11? Just add in Auba and Laca and we’ve got a winning formula it would seem. Wish the manager didn’t let his fear of losing in the premier league hold us back. We can clearly see how good we are when we play with confidence and without fear. Or as Leno would put it, a “Nothing to lose” mentality. I can’t help but feel Emery transmits his cautious and negative mindset deep into the players going into league games. I don’t know. Im no psychologist…. Nevertheless, a great… Read more »


maybe we should rotate manager for PL and other cups too.


What an amazing second goal for Martinelli! I’m so happy for him! So good to have Bellerin, Tierney and Holding back. They have been missed! Let’s continue this on monday, and hope for an even greater scoreline then! Come on you Gunners!!


am i dreaming…such high ratings for defenders/

Clueless Head Coach

Before we all get carried away, this win and the fabulous display was down to the Wenger (Freddy?) training the young lads have grown up with and nothing to do with the current manager. This was pure Wengerball on display! I really hope this is Unai’s last season in charge before he uneducates these young players with his catastrophic pragmatic philosophy. Also one wonders what Mesut Özil has to do to play a full 90 mins under Emery. Last night he was playing very well and in sync with the young attackers only to be withdrawn just when he was… Read more »

Billy Bob


Cultured Determination

time to change your pic for prince hector, blogs. he’s done away with the chops and looks muuuuuucccccch better now.


Martinelli reminds me on Sanchez in his prime…




i feel really bad for chambers. has shown hes got game, but the most he can probably hope for is nailing down the cb slot.
id love to see him as a DM for us, but i think the congestion will be his undoing in that position.

Drew Dewsall

Can we please see a centre back pairing of Chambers and Holding soon? A back four of Bellerin – Chambers – Holding and Tierney could be together for years. And it certainly looks good and more solid than what we’ve seen so far this season. Both Chambers and Holding are good in the air, good on the ball and most of all calm.

Sagna's Braids

At the risk of running ahead of myself, it is nice to keep calm and think of the fact that we can field an entire team (+more!) with our talented young guns –

GK: Leno / Martinez (young by GK standards)
LWB: Tierney
CB: Saliba/Holding/Mavropanos
RWB: Bellerin
DM: Chambers/AMN
CM: Guendozi/Willock/Torreira
LW: Saka
AM: Smith Rowe
RW: Nelson
ST: Nketiah/Martinelli

Dave M

With the addition of Pepe, Auba and Laca we could arguably field wclose to our strongest team:
Subs: Martinez, Mavra, AMN, Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli (Ozil would at least make the bench too).


I know it ain’t easy, but now that Hector has come to his senses coiffurially, perhaps you can remove the topknot from his image? Otherwise – all good.

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