Arsenal got the roaring 20s off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Man Utd at the Emirates on Wednesday evening.

First half goals from Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis were enough to give Mikel Arteta his first win as manager, and it came off the back of another display full of commitment, energy and work-rate.

The three points were well overdue and hopefully this is something we can build on.

Read the Arsenal 2-0 Man Utd report and see the goals here

Here’s how the players rated this evening.

Ratings

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 Bernd Leno. Also, give the ratings a few seconds to load.

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Forest gooner
Forest gooner

Cheers!

Mintoes
Mintoes

Cheers to you too! Great first half from the lads. Fell asleep after the break for 25 mins but came back into it at the end and fully deserved the win. Arteta put out a good formation I thought and his tactics were on point.

Feels good to win again! HNY to all gooners!

Chris
Chris

You love to see it.

Coquelins 3rd leg
Coquelins 3rd leg

Beating United … it’s fuckin excellent

Saffi
Saffi

Ozil ????

Ice
Ice

Read somewhere he had 10 ball recoveries(highest) and ran further than he has in 2 years!

MikelMikelMikel
MikelMikelMikel

Arteta is showing my biggest complaint about the Emery hire… The first question has to be, “How do you plan to use Mesut? We just signed him up for the next 3 years”… Put your best players in position to play their best, crazy smart!

Nas
Nas

Yesss

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all
Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

Tonight I think that the individual player ratings are irrelevant. We played as a team, we played for each other, we played for the manager and we played for the fans.
We have our arsenal back, long may it continue!

Mike
Mike

I gave all the players 10. They deserve it so much. happy new year

jack jack jack
jack jack jack

Arse!

Akbar
Akbar

Are you watching Barcelona?!!! Ok too soon, sorry.

Ourchildrensworld

This has to be the benchmark now.

They already seem more confident in this system than any style in the Emery era.

For the first time, we look like we have a well rounded squad.

Lacazette’s confidence issues aside, it’s good to see everyone step their game up.

Excited for the first time in ages.

Andre Santos' car keys
Andre Santos' car keys

Even Laca looked better today, finishing aside. He was huffing and puffing away from the penalty area, and it was producing things instead of just producing a warm poo.

DLDC
DLDC

Laca really needs a goal. He’s trying real hard but sometimes too hard. Seems frustrated.

sam
sam

He munched that giant battle ork with great strength

Glasgow_Gooner
Glasgow_Gooner

Enjoyable football…It’s great

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

I’ll be honest, I privately disliked Ozil. I thought he was creative and inventive, but unfocused and unwilling to put top effort in. Mikel has given him new breath. I don’t know what kind of black magic Mikel is using, but I never thought I’d see the day where Ozil is pressing and coming back to defend and even putting a foot in. He was world class today and has looked like a different footballer altogether under Mikel.

Yankee Gooner
Yankee Gooner

He even tried to win a defensive header in our box, too

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

He just put Ozil is in the positions from where he can be dangerous and made sure he gets the ball in those positions. I would love to see the heat map to compare. Under Emery he was mostly operating on the wings to create space for full backs.

Defensive wise we now play in a formation 442 (which is for me the best defensive formation). Ozil is on the top together with Laca. Under Emery we defended 4321 and he was mostly on the wing where is tougher to defend. He also put him in the center of the action when defending set-pieces. Which is the biggest of all the nonsenses Emery did imo.

Overall, he was not lazy under Emery but he became frustrated and we all know that frustrated Ozil is not great Ozil. But when he had to he was pressing and he has always been tracking back. He being covering a lot of distances, making sprints and recovering balls is not new (especially the first two mentioned) but he was on another level today.

Arteta did this to all of the players. He made sure that they are in the positions where they feel the most comfortable. It is hard to find any player who was comfortable under Emery.

MikelMikelMikel
MikelMikelMikel

Well said

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

I definitely agree that Arteta has put him in the positions where he can receive the ball and thrive. He ran further than he has ran in over 2 (two!) years. He has always ran a fair distance, but the difference was the quality of his running. Under Emery, he was running up to the midline just to have a chance to receive the ball. Now, with Arteta’s new positioning and overall team shape, he isn’t having to trot up to the midline to receive the ball. Instead the distance he is covering is to help defend. I even saw the man in a full back’s spot making a tackle today! It’s incredible and I am giddy about Mikky.

Duno
Duno

Yes yes and even Auba seems happy to play on the wings! What black magic!!!

Amusa
Amusa

Fuck United.

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

Yes, FU. Well, not you per se. But, you get the point.

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

Sorry, I’ll grab my coat. That’s how you Brits say it, right?

sam
sam

Yes and dont forget your pocket watch, pipe and extremely expensive umbrella

bob
bob

Let’s pray that Ole stays United manager for as long as SAF did.

Magic City Gooner
Magic City Gooner

No downvotes there. Ever.

Lula
Lula

And the referee who was as bad as Pawson in the Chelsea game.

Duno
Duno

Maybe not exactly as bad cos that would mean a sending off for Kola! But the referring against us of recent has been pretty diabolical !

arsepedant
arsepedant

Kavanaugh was far worse than Pawson. Pawson only made one mistake, really – failing to send off Jorginho. But Kavanaugh was both inconsistent and one-sided from beginning to end. If Kolasinac’s foul in the second minute warranted a yellow card, then Man Ure should have had three in the first half for identical fouls.

sam
sam

Every time one of our players went down he immediately pointed at them to leave the pitch…weird.

Blackadder
Blackadder

More of this please. Arteta is pep mk2 ?

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I can’t wait for us to play Man City at the Etihad…Pep joked that he would beat Mikel when they meet…I wonder how confident he will really be by the time that game comes round?
Pep wanted Mikel at City for a reason, but for too long I’ve heard people say that he was only there putting out the cones!
To be able to get our bunch of under performers playing so well in such a short space of time makes me think that Mikel will end up being a world class manager and we are lucky that he loves Arsenal so much.

Anon
Anon

Let’s not get ahead of us here.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

Right. He should be Pep Wenger 3.0

BleedRed
BleedRed

Finally excited to watch the team again!!!! Torreira is the FCKIN man!!!!! He played his heart out and gives 200% every game. Him and Xhaka play well together and I hope their partnership continues to grow. Credit to Arteta for bringing back the Arsenal way. Ozil, Laca, Kolasinac, AMN, pretty much everyone. Great lineup. Really hoping Laca can get back to scoring Pepe got a goal and I hope he continues to improve. Excited for 2020

Charlie George
Charlie George

I don’t think Mesut has played that well for 95 minutes since he was at Madrid. Wouldn’t we love to know how Arteta has transformed him from a sad and lackadaisical figure into an all-action player covering every inch of the pitch: running, tackling, passing – even fighting for headers.

Perhaps he just needed a manager who believes in him and allows him to express himself. He was just sensational tonight. Easily his best performance in an Arsenal shirt and, without being unkind, he put in more work tonight than he has in the past year.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

He set the team up to play to his strengths. Then Ozil did what Ozil does.

Worked his ass off too.

Kinda making it look like Emery didn’t know what he was doing.

PeteyB
PeteyB

“Kinda making it look like Emery didn’t know what he was doing.”
I think part of the problem was simply that Emery doesn’t like, and doesn’t use well, traditional number 10s in any of his many formations.

MikelMikelMikel
MikelMikelMikel

To great success obviously.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

My biggest defence of Emery was that he didn’t understand how the Premier League worked, but I’ve started to suspect that actually he just didn’t understand how Arsenal worked.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Wrong kind of manager for us I think to be fair.

Martin
Martin

You must have a very short memory. He had many games like this in the early years and remember how we started winning trophies after he joined. However this is the best run of matches he’s had in recent years. Looking like the world class player who Arsene Wenger signed

Mintoes
Mintoes

Let’s calm down a bit on the Ozil hype train maybe…Arteta is putting an arm around his shoulder to cajole him into what should otherwise be baseline performances for a 350k/wk “star”…that’s fine but Kevin de bruyne he’s not…we’ve seen these fleeting in and out performances before, many times…let’s see if he’s up for it full 90 mins in shit January weather up in Newcastle etc…

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

Arteta’s last role as a player was to enable Ozil into working his magic. Now, he’s doing it as a manager. You stone-hearted twinkle-toes have a heart.

A Different George
A Different George

Ozil working with Alexis Sanchez was about as brilliant as you can get.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

I think Aubameyang is better than Sanchez. Their partnership really flourished beyond the ‘norm’ of top-flight.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

did not really*

Matt P
Matt P

Great performance and win. Pepe showed some real potential.

Huss
Huss

So many things to like about this game.

-Torreira’s performance should be memorialized in a youtube video on how to properly play as a #6. He was exceptional. 10/10 performance for me. Wish he were able to score that goal after the nice move he made.
-Laca bossed up Ol Blockhead all night. Instrumental in helping us build our attack throughout.
-The amount of tactical fouling done by CHE/MU tells you all you need to know about the success Arteta’s had in getting the lads to play his way. They look sharp in possession, while our pressing and positioning constantly has us set up to go on the counter. That’s all Arteta. Also loved way we played our way out of trouble in tight spaces near the sideline. These are the exact same players who looked lost and skittish in possession all season. Again, all Arteta.

I don’t want to overstate it, but we probably found the best manager of all time and we will never lose another game again.
#COYG

Dave
Dave

3rd of March. The day that the student shall become the master.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I can’t wait…a win at the Eithad would be a perfect birthday present for my son who’s a massive Gooner!

Magic City Gooner
Magic City Gooner

He’s lifted their fear of playing the ball forward. The next step is to get them fit to play that style the whole 90 without wheezing through the last half hour.

BuckNasty
BuckNasty

I actually wanted to come on here and post this. They looked so confident playing the ball out of the back even under the opposition press that it made me wonder what exactly Emery was teaching them. Was he ever even teaching them how to play out of the back ?? This and the many other almost immediate changes to the emotion and confidence of the squad makes me scratch my head about the last 18 months. Anyway, super pumped for the future!

Liam
Liam

Only one I was abit annoyed with was Maitland-Niles, he was better than normal, but the constant backwards passing and being breezed by 3 times from martial lowers his rating in my eyes.
Brilliant performance though.

ArseneIntelligence
ArseneIntelligence

I thought he’s backpassing was part of the tactical arrangement to get Utd to increase the press on our right and free up Xhaka and Luiz for those passes along the line to Auba and Kolasinac and crossfeild to Pepe.

Bonkers
Bonkers

The amount of running Auba put into this game was intense. He is incredibly, ridiculously fit to have played 90 minutes like this, three times in a week. Can’t explain how pleasing it is to see that kind of effort

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

I thought for sure he was going to pull a hammy at the end of the match due to fatigue! Impressive indeed! And at 30 years old!

The One
The One

I shall sleep happy and drunkenly tonight.

MAMAGA(M.A.MakeArs.GreatAgain)
MAMAGA(M.A.MakeArs.GreatAgain)

Arteta has our Arsenal! !
“Give us our Arsenal back you!!…you little Lego Terminator!!”

Upandatthemecano
Upandatthemecano

Sleep it off, mate.

MAMAGA(M.A.MakeArs.GreatAgain)
MAMAGA(M.A.MakeArs.GreatAgain)

10/10 little terrier Torreira doing a Popeye when he was out and double timing it to the end!

NorCal Gunner
NorCal Gunner

Wow! What a difference a manager can make! And this was only the 3rd game! I am amazed and so proud of all of our players and fans for backing up the new boss.
Did anyone even notice that Lingard actually started this game? He was in Torreira’s back pocket all night. I hate that prick.

Wilsheres Middle Finger
Wilsheres Middle Finger

Arteta has the psychology of modern day football figured out. Everything he says is either inspiring or enlightening.
He is exactly what we have being crying out for in the post Wenger era. Someone to gel the club and help us forge a new identity.
We have fallen on our feet bigtime by appointing him as manager. I’m genuinely optimistic for what the future holds.

Greg in Seattle
Greg in Seattle

It’s beyond that…he’s got the psychology of modern leadership down, football or otherwise. He would be a shining light in corporate. Culture, inspiration, and motivation are the great differentiators. I’m amazed at what appears to be a truly gifted leader…and if he has the tactical acumen to match? Look out.

Tommmy
Tommmy

Can we play again tomorrow please!!! I can’t get enough of this new team and how we play… finally!

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

I am so happy that we finally won. The players worked so hard for it and they deserved it. In the past month we weren’t at our best but we were also very unlucky. The Godess Fortuna was just not on our side. But now we need to build on this. The hard work has only begun.

I am always optimistic when it comes to Arsenal. I believe we can still make it to finish in the top 4. We should expect nothing less from the players and Arteta (in a healthy way, not toxic). I still think that one of the biggest mistakes in the Unai era was that most of the fanbase were fine with not finishing in the top 4. Consequently the coach, players and the board also became too complacent. I still can’t believe how one man convinced most that playing attacking/creative players make us unbalanced and leaky.

I love that Luiz is finally acting like a leader in this team. This is probably the one thing we expected from him when he came.

Simon
Simon

Undersold that bonus rating… winning a game, playing well, and a clean sheet has got to be a we-rate-dogs 12/10 at minimum

Londoncalling12
Londoncalling12

We played as a Team who likes the Manager ⚪️?

Arseteta
Arseteta

Football feels good again after that win. And to think Emery was going to be offered a new contract!

Rich
Rich

Generally….
Lacazette always works hard
Aubameyang drifts in and out, but he’s deadly
Ozil’s mainly a passenger
Pepe has looked dangerous on the ball, but off the ball a liability

I’ve had grave concerns about whether or not we could get OPAL functioning together, but if Arteta can get them working like that every game? Then we’ll have a chance, there’s no doubt they have the talent, it’s just getting them to repeat that level of drive and focus consistently.

Thought Xhaka was good tonight, Arteta says he thinks he’ll stay, which is good news, he’s our best centre mid.

Didn’t hold much hope going into tonight, delighted we won, and showed some fight in the process.

NigelTufnel
NigelTufnel

Loading up the front with Auba, Laca, Pepe and Ozil while keeping Lucas deep to cover for our banged up defense seemed like the sensible set up. Thankfully it worked. Didn’t hurt that United looked awful.

Make Arsenal Great Again
Make Arsenal Great Again

Best performance in years. I’m waiting to see if the media narrative around Ozil will change.

Arsene Wenger's Secret Lovechild
Arsene Wenger's Secret Lovechild

Well, considering my stream (Lee Dixon) criticised Ozil three times when they were trying to be complimentary regarding his work rate, I don’t think it’s likely the narrative will change.

Michael Bendel
Michael Bendel

You never go full Sanogo!

David Hilliers Arm Cast
David Hilliers Arm Cast

I can’t get over the difference in today’s game from Emery’s last game. The whole game it was like watching a different player in every position.

COYG!

Godfrey Twatsloch
Godfrey Twatsloch

Exactly what my wife said. She’s suffered through many Arsenal games with me and today she uttered the following words: “This is like watching a whole new team”. And she stayed interested to the end. That hasn’t happened in a while.

A Different George
A Different George

Mikel Arteta has saved your marriage!

Fuhgedaboudit
Fuhgedaboudit

No matter what, there is no question that Arteta has brought a new style and formation to the team. I absolutely love the pressing as soon as the opposing team gets the ball, no more falling back and let them charge into our zone. Reminds me so much of how Klopp likes his teams to play. He did it at Borussia Dortmund and does it with Liverpool. By pressing so hard in midfield, it strengthens our defense immensely. Damn, it is so enjoyable to watch. I was so upset last year when we signed Emery over Arteta, and now we finally got it right.

Tommmy
Tommmy

I honestly believe it’s a blessing we didn’t appoint Arteta straight after Wenger. We were always going to have a slight setback and at least Emery was the fall guy and now Arteta will have the backing of fans desperate to see him succeed, buying into his vision and style rather than judging too quickly.

Shaun
Shaun

My view exactly Tommmy, Emery has made it easier for us to galvanise our support behind Arteta

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

A good solid performance, but I’m not getting too excited.

Let’s be honest: United were piss poor in that first half and we should have scored more than two goals. I think that they expected to turn up and roll us over like City did. Apparently, OGS tore into his players at half-time and we saw the difference. They were the better team after the break.

In many ways I was more impressed by our performance in the second period. How many times in the recent past have we let leads slip by poor defending and a lack of commitment? This time we worked our socks off and stayed disciplined and so never looked like throwing it away. It reminded my of the great George Graham years where we would get our noses in front and then frustrate the opposition. Everybody was fully committed in holding on to the win. Good.

Fourth place is well gone but if we can replicate this form in the cups we might be able to secure a place in Europe next season via that route. But the truth about today’s game was that it was a tough battle between two mid-table teams that are both struggling to make an impression on the PL this season. We are both still a long way off the quality of the big boys at the top. But a nice win anyway.

Now we just have to keep it up.

A Different George
A Different George

Don’t think so. Yes, United were poor in the first half–but a good deal of the reason was the way we played. Their resurgence in the second period had much more to do with our fatigue–both Arteta and the players have openly said how they are not yet physically able to play 90 minutes that way. The plan is to play that way a whole match–Pep, not George Graham.

A Different George
A Different George

As for “two mid-table sides.” Well, we are nowhere near the quality of Liverpool and Man City. Leicester? Yeah, I think we are, once Arteta has us playing the way he wants. Chelsea and Spurs? Absolutely we are as good as them.

Mark
Mark

Man does it feel good to be excited about Arsenal again.

Balu Vijay
Balu Vijay

When Bellerin and Tierney return from injury, Our attack will be ??

Flavoured Rice

I saw an interesting interview with good old David Dein who was speaking about how he wanted Arsene Wenger to replace George Graham but instead appointed Bruce Rioch due to the other board not sharing in Dein’s faith in Wenger. The following year we got our man and the rest is history.

You can draw parallels to the Arteta situation now. We wanted him the first year post Wenger but elected for the safer option in Emery. Didn’t work out and now we have our man. The “gamble” the “risk” the “inexperienced one”. Well, blow me away if he hasn’t impressed me hugely since the first day he walked in the door.

We were unlucky not to win st Chelsea despite clear encouraging signs. Arteta has that rare quality that has long surpassed the experienced and well trodden Ancelotti and Mourinho. In a word, potential. Im very excited to see where he can take us.

Snc
Snc

This is what happens when you put players in their right position and play to their strength. Also tactical it works. Can’t believe it took us so long to replace tt Joker. Finally Batman Arteta is slowly clearing up all the mess and make fans and players align together again. Big hope for 2020! Coyg

Venga Bus

I’m in love again

Merlin’s Panini
Merlin’s Panini

Always feels good to beat United even if it’s not the big game it used to be.
Loving the attitude of the players who are really working hard. This is the sort of football I was expecting under Emery when he spoke about being protagonists. The only worry is the form of Lacazette in recent games who is missing a lot of chances he would normally put away with his eyes closed. It seems like there’s something seriously wrong with him at the moment. Other than that we’re looking good and top four doesn’t feel as out of reach as it was despite us being nine points off!

Aleksander Włodarz
Aleksander Włodarz

Arteta oh you betta oh you win, win, win… Arteta oh you betta oh you win, win, win… Win.,Win, Win ??? courtesy of Fame /Price

Bydeen
Bydeen

So these set of players can play from the back under press without shitting their pants or giving supports heart attacks every seconds of a football match? Good to see that good coaching still matters in football.

What a waste of the previous 18 months in the club era!

Fart Overjars
Fart Overjars

Lacazette has to be one of the best CF. dribblers around. Not just the range of movement and finesse he has to beat players but the sheer bloody mindness to win a duel at all costs and find the space required.

Santori
Santori

Game of two halves. Good effort first half again not able to have sustained in second.

Slightly fortuitous result but made more firm by a second goal first half. Still riding our luck too much and we need to work on control, sustaining energy levels.

1) Leno- Shook off the clanger last game and had a decent game today. Several timely blocks show he is anticipating the danger rather than reacting to them. Kept us in it again a number of times.

2) AMN – If I have to hear another asinine comment about him not being in a ‘natural position’…when he has been playing at fullback for more than 3 seasons now! One errant pass early on but got his range thereafter and played well today. He’s been fairly decent overall over 3 games with Arteta in charge. I hope he keeps it up. Fortuitous injuries to Bellerin and Chambers have given him a second chance.

3) Sokratis – Was just berating him in first half for losing discipline and bombing forward. BUT nothing wrong with quick reaction for his goal (Surely he could not miss but you’ve seen defenders finish with clearances instead). I think he’s about the most consistent we have at the moment at the back. We will benefit IMO from not making too many changes in the Cback positions.

4) Luiz – not too bad today. Defense looked committed to having a shut out and they got their reward. Luiz looks to be taking charge of chaperoning the younger players as well and has been decent over last two matches IMO.

5) Kolasinac – A real difference for us. Still you see the odd silly voice suggesting Saka is a better option, something about a non existent Tierney ‘masterclass’. Some people do not live in the real world. Kolasinac put in a solid performance today and gave us a lot going forward on the left first half. Looked spent second half and one of the reasons they got more joy. I hope we did not gamble too much bc we should have taken him off slightly earlier given injury he is nursing still. We WILL need him for the remainder of the campaign upcoming, he will be a massive influence.

6) Granit – Nothing spectacular but nothing too wrong today. One of two poor decisions but otherwise covered well and kept us ticking. Again too many bias opinions against him when in reality he does a lot of the unseen work moving us efficiently like Swiss clock work. I think Arteta can have a massive and positive influence on him particularly as they have similar styles as players in the same position. he would be foolish to leave to Herthe if the current boss correctly sees the potential he is not living up to but can bring it out of him.

7) Torreira – Some good work again from the dimunitive Uruguayan who has flourished in a more defined role. One great moment first half where he waltzed and turned in the box, almost got a goal narrowly wide. BUT just to put perspectives, he is not without faults either with two very poor passes putting us under instant duress and some poor decisions as well, one of which instead of laying off to Granit just next to him he tried to punt forward but to their player. BOTH mids have their weakness, both have different assets to bring. We will need a table pairing in midfield as much as possible to engender as much intuition between them as possible.

8) Ozil – Improved under Arteta and seems like he is enjoying himself more. Great first half, his mobility (a free role almost) helps us. BUT at the moment his problem is sustaining it beyond 50 minutes. This is not a new problem, Wenger use to sub him out regularly as well. BC when his out put invariably falls (And I’m not saying he isn’t trying), then the team becomes out of sync. Add say Pepe and a tiring Kolasinac as well, and we hand over initiative to the other side, drop deeper, ask for trouble. Until he can sustain effort, he needs to be subbed when necessary.

As I mentioned before, Arteta must tell everyone they are on the pitch chiefly for off ball work output. The moment anyone drops, they will get hauled off. Simple. OTOH not to get too harsh with him, he was grafting to the end for us when Laca got subbed and Ozil had to keep to the end. So plenty of positives overall.

9) Pepe – Had a good first half. very bright movement in the right place for the goal, hit the bar. Off ball work OK. But second half different story. Poor off ball ethic again. Hands in the air. Ambling back. I would have hauled him off earlier at 55 minutes in.
Fans OVER generous. Sure he got the goal but his off ball output needs better. And he needs to back this up with a repeat performance over forthcoming games otherwise as they say a swallow does not a summer make.

There’s definitely something in him to unearth but there is also some discipline that needs to be instilled in him. he seems to think he’s arrived but as Gnabry mentioned when at Bayern, he learnt a lot from Riberry and Robben chiefly bc they emphasised that they challenged themselves to do the things they were uncomfortable with improving their defensive work when off ball. I don’t see that attitude from Pepe at the moment.

10) Auba – he’s responded to Pepe and put in a shift on left side. Again improvement is in off ball work. On the ball when on the break, he rushes things when passes are not there. He needs to take the ball wide on his own at times if he feels he needs to wait for (slow) support but then cut in from the wide area much like how Pires and Henry use to do it.

11) Laca – Always like him in the starting line up. He is a real combative type and we need that the fox to mix it up in the box. Still something off about his game but superb turn on Maguire then scuffed the shot, some other good moments but seemingly still a half second off pace. Still very critical we continue to use him because he really mixes it up for us provides bearing for the wide players and Ozil. Looked very tight at the end. Wonder about this whole fitness issue raised by Pep, if these players are not getting sufficient help still with fitness levels.

12) Nelson – Came on if 5 minutes too late for Pepe. not entirely effective going forward but will need time as on learning curve. off ball work better than Pepe but just shows we do not have the best choices out wide on the right at the moment. Both of course can improve but until then, maybe when Martinelli comes in and if Kolasinac can slot back into fullback/wingback, Saka can also be an option on the left allowing Martinelli employment on right.

13) Guendouzi – Correctly employed and should be preferred ahead of Willock. Put him up top in lieu of Ozil IMO and let him harry higher up second half when the German drops on level. Other option is returning Cebellos. BUT good energetic performance, always willing to carry the ball for us.

14) Saka – On for Kolasinca…hopefully we did not risk taking the Bosnian off too late. Saka has done well NOT in “natural position” but clearly the Bosnian the more effective by a country mile. Where we want to see Saka is higher up. But still had an excellent run across the midfield from the back to almost set himself up for a goal but for a weak shot as he ran out of steam. Such a talent.

Gaffer – He’s still to solve our energy levels IMO. Good critical win and clean sheet to build on but same problems still persist with two halves and players dropping levels. Will need to sub on quicker (have Freddy actually know what he is looking out for up in the posh seats). Could have taken Pepe off minute 55, Ozil very soon after. Got the team working in closer proximity, playing Granit AND Torreira (without too much changes if necessary) a good thing. Jury still out if he has had any effect but next couple of games if we continue upwards, I’d say he is getting through.