Saturday, September 23, 2023

Watford 2-3 Arsenal – player ratings

Arsenal scored three fantastic goals at Vicarage Road today to secure a 3-2 win and a place – for now – in the top four.

It might have been more tense than it needed to be because of a late goal from Sissoko to make it 3-2, but the quality of the strikes from Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli were more than good enough to deserve the three points.

Here’s how the players rated this afternoon.

Read the Watford 2-3 Arsenal report and see the goals here

Watford 2-3 Arsenal – Player Ratings

The ratings are 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 Aaron Ramsdale. Also, please give the ratings a few seconds to load.

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10/10 Arteta for the throw in assist

A Different George

On the feed I watched, the commentator said it was Arteta’s first assist in eight years.

Jeremy DG

Really enjoyed artetas honesty too. Some good attacking moments but the organisation wasn’t quite there.

Find Pete!

10/10 for Arteta’s pre-assist


0/10 for the Fourth official, though.
They wanted to add a bit of spice to the game with that unnecessary 5 extra minutes at the end. That was crazy for a game that had flowed end-to-end. We won, but it’s hard to understand why these guys are trying their hardest to sabotage us every week.

Crash Fistfight

It was complete bull shit. Was there a single injury in the 2nd half?


Cedric did go down with cramp to be fair

Crash Fistfight

That was during stoppage time and resulted in another 90 seconds being added on!


None. No VAR stoppage, too. It was just so random…


Before the board went up with 5mins. The commentators on my feed were saying there shouldn’t be anymore than 2-3mins because the game had so few stoppages.I really do think the PGMOL don’t like us


There were six substitutions. 30 seconds each added on?



Cliff Bastin

I think a combination of Cedric playing and Xhaka being more advanced keeps Tierney pegged back a bit.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

Good point, that makes sense.


Makes me wonder if Xhaka playing further forward also means that Arteta is slowly preparing this team for transition from 4-2-3-1 into his favourite 4-3-3 formation?


With Emile Smith Rowe replacing Xhaka


I’d say we’re playing 4-3-3 now, which has helped us in attack but we look a little shakier at the back. Xhaka has done ok at 8 but it’s clear he’s not nearly as comfortable there as Ødegaard is on the other side. A new 8 should be priority after we sort out CF.

...and really bad eggs

Exactly. I think we’re already close to a 4-3-3 right now with Xhaka and Odegaard playing and 2 8s, Ode on the right, Xhaka on the left. That’s why you don’t see Tierny bombing down the lane as often as before.


We have our 8 – ESR!


ESR may be better utilised further forward. When ESR plays at 8, he reminds me a bit of a young Ramsey, very good going forward but not the best positionally. If he’s to play as an 8, he will have to learn to let the game come to him more. At any rate, we don’t have enough strength in depth in that position, may as well go for a top quality player and let ESR compete with him and Ødegaard

Alan Sunderland

Would you have Ramsey back? I don’t think it would be the worst move to make. Juventus are supposedly going to release him. No transfer fee, renegotiate his wages and there could be worse moves we could make.


He could be a very savvy pick up, strengthening the squad while also giving ESR the room to grow into a top class CM.

Alan Sunderland

We’re short on numbers that’s for sure, he was similar to lacazette in his last 6 months. He played flat out even though he had the contract from Juventus.

The Arsenal

Whats Ramsey been like for Rangers…Haven’t seen them outside the Dortmund matches.

Crash Fistfight

Injured, mostly.


I really don’t think Arteta wants a box-to-box dribbling type at 8. He wants someone who will help Odergaard control the game.

A Different George

Picture Declan Rice in the Xhaka role. Not sure how many are out there like that, but that’s the model.


Would love Rice! Tielemans would be class there too, more affordable and would arguably be more of an “Arteta player”. Picking him up and someone else, like Sanches, would be a powerful play.

Exit the Lemming

Rice is brilliant but he’s off to Chelsea next I fear


Arteta will want another really good ball-playing middie (basically a clone of Odergaard on the other side) to give us balance and control (Arteta’s favourite word). That’s why I loved the idea of Arthur, alas.


Come in Renato… your spot is waiting.


Agree, though I also think we need Ødergaard cover more generally, don’t really have another player like him in the squad and he’s so important for us.


We haven’t been playing a 4231 the last few games.

Today it was obvious that we lined up in a 4-1-4-1.


Defs – and it ain’t working for me: Tierney carries a lot more attacking threat than Xhaka in that more forward role. Granit just seems to clog up the final third and get in the way a bit!


I think that has a lot to do with Tierney being more defensive because tomi isn’t fit. I wonder if we will go forward more when we have tomi back


Yeah, that makes sense. Tomi tends to stay back deeper, so Tierney will be able to go forward more. ALthough, I do see Tierney (in previous matches) out left on his own and open adn the team don’t pass it to him that often. He was great at driving forwards and getting beyond players, but ESR does that so much better, and I like ESR a little deeper, because he can beat a player and force opposition to reorganize their defense. Very valuable that way.

Bleeding gums murphy

Xhaka failed to track sissoko and it was him who gave ball away with incredible stupid attempt to cross from one side of pitch to the other when it clearly wasn’t on and we were in total control


And watch the first goal. Tierney has a man, Martinelli has a man, Xhaka is simply standing in the area in space contributing nothing but putting up the appearance of being there. He should either follow the run of the third man coming in or engage the player in possession and leave Tierney free. He is far too often a passenger.

The Arsenal

Tierney has been poor since Xhaxa’s return to the team. Xhaxa himself has been good though, today was one of his weaker games since Everton away but don’t think he was bad. Just need a better player there. I keep getting misty eyed thinking what a prime Cazorla could do in this team next to Partey,


Why can’t ESR play that position?


In fairness to tierney, he’s being forced into a more subdued role since Xhaka is further forward. And it doesn’t work – still trying to work out what Xhaka can/does offer in that no 8 role – he’s not quick enough to get back to cover, his feet aren’t fast enough to trouble defences when he does get the ball on the edge of their box… and he seems to get in the way of wider passes to the flanks!

Would far rather see him hanging back to let KT make those marauding runs around Gabi.

Exit the Lemming

KT hasn’t been at his best for a while but I suspect he’s not 100% fit (which begs the question why is Arteta not allowing him to regain full fitness by resting him?)


Yes also saw that!
Cant wait for arteta to try TP5 and sambi partnership sooner rather than later

Morrisey fan #1

Agreed, Xhaka continues to make some maddening decisions.

And he will never change.
The countdown is on until his next foolish red card and/or penalty. He is about due for one.


That’s the thing… there’s always the next brain-fart lurking, you feel.

Martin R

What maddening decisions. Since his return from injury the team has improved considerably and the improvement in Partey is discernible. Still he will somehow be scapegoated totally unfairly. Thank heavens Arteta realises hkw crucial Xhaka is.


Well, he gets treated unfairly – I 100% agree. Thing is, he will CONTINUE to be treated unfairly. It’s like it’s a thing now. Also, ESR, Martinelli, and Tierney working together on that left hand side would be very nice to see indeed. I think ESR is just as solid as Xhaka defensively and much more of an attacking threat. He can also beat a man, so driving from deep would be great to see. Gives us a new option.


So here’s the thing: if you can name ANY other Arsenal player in this current squad who has single-handedly cost us as many points;
who has flung the captain’s band to the dirt;
who has publicly abused the fans who pay his wages;
who has repeatedly dropped his entire team (and club) in the poo, having to soldier on a man short simply because of an uncontrollable ego….

Then I will whole-heartedly agree that Xhaka gets a bad rap on here.

The man is a liability… and it is simply a matter of time until he proves it once again.

The Arsenal

I think you miss the point completely on Xhaxa. I think most rationale fans can see his importance, i daresay he is the most important player in terms of leadership and how the team is structured. But that has been the problem since he has been here. HE shouldn’t be our heartbeat and most crucial player. Imagine a better player in his position and what it does for the whole team.


Happy for martineli. Very good goal. He really needs to improve on his positioning and decision making. He can be very frustrating to watch


There was hardly any traffic on his side…he is a wide forward not a tactical playermaker


He should be doing exactly what Salah does on the other side or atleast something close to that. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have that effectiveness and it creates pressure for the rest of the team.


I think Salah plays for the Scouse mate!


Yes and Mbappe, Messi and Pele. I can’t understand why he’s not as effective as them! I mean one goal pfft

Mesut Ö’Neill

None of the back 5 should get higher than a 6. Cedric was poor, a few easy passes to an open Saka doesn’t warrant a 7.

But each person views things in their own way.

Odegaard & Saka are the only players who played well today. Martinelli scored a nice goal but overall was an average performance from him.

Jeremy DG

I think you can add partey and lacazette to your list of players who played well


Partey was excellent in midfield


Smith Rowe needs to return and own that left wing. Alot of the Watford attacks were on that wing and it mostly down to martinelis inability to apply positive pressure on their defense

Luzhny-jerk reaction

I agree about Gabriel, White, and Tierney. However, I think Cedric, despite a poor no-look pass that could have cost us, was by far the strongest link in our back four. He whips his crosses in, overlaps well, and despite being burned for pace late on, was positionally adept and deadly with things well in general.

For what it’s worth, I think when he plays he should be our first choice corner taker. Much better delivery than anyone else, and it frees up the others to make things happen in and around the box.

Luzhny-jerk reaction

I’m pretty sure I meant to say, “and tracks back well in general” rather than whatever the fuck Google decided it should come out as.

Man Manny

Really? How about Partey? He looked quite good to me.

Bill Hall

The fans are so fickle, when 3:1 up everyone is singing the teams praises, suddenly Watford get a late second goal and most of the team are *poor or average* 😉


Partey was excellent in the middle, Lacazette got two assists and was his usual busy self, so a few good performances.

Zadok the Regular Priest

If my peace of mind took on a corporeal form it would look like Rob Holding ambling off the bench with a big grin on his face ready to absolutely obliterate Watford’s chances of getting anything from the match. Easy 10/10 performance from me, I don’t care how long he was on for.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

Agree, he seems to relish being the no nonsense english defender. Can also totally picture him in a yellow JVC 90s kit with baggy muddy shorts, so he fits that role well.

Funsho Patrick

Great 3points! We struggled to control the game at times and the defence was uncharacteristically lax too…one game at a time… well done lads! Lacazette’s hold up play is special…wish he had more goals

Luzhny-jerk reaction

Thought Laca was brilliant in general, but his shot from the Ødegaard layoff had me laughing. He’s quite likeable in his grumpy old man role.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

Lol couldn’t have described his current state any better.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

And I agree I’m liking it. 🙂


Martin Ødegaard man of the match. Easy.


He’s been steadily improving over the last 6 months, wonder where he will stop considering he’s just 23.


I’ll say it again… next Arsenal captain… next Arsenal legend.

Rafer Austin

Nah , that goes to Bukky Saka, easy

David C

Pretty generous for Soares. I thought his passing was poor for much of the match. Hopefully Tomi back soon.

3 points! We march on. Time to cheer for Citeh.


Partey deserves even higher imo. He was an absolute lion in the middle of the pitch. It’s great to finally see the level he’s capable of at peak fitness.




I love it when he ridicule the opposition player’s attempt to tackle and steal the ball with that simple turn.


Totally agree. His ball retention was almost faultless. Took up the right positions both in defensive and attacking phases. Chose the right pass again and again, delivered with purpose and pace. 8/10 for me.

William Nillian

Saka And Odegaard sublime today


In the post-match here in India, Paul Scholes had the gall to say he didn’t think Odegaard meant the flick for the first goal.

Such shade on our players; I’m hoping Man Utd get clobbered tonight.

Derek Whitcher

He’s a tosser, we know that.

Mike Adams

Really. Scholes was being miserable there then.
Looked deliberate to me.

William Nillian

Shades of Townsend on Berkamp

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

Paul Scholes is easily, no hyperbole, the worst pundit I’ve ever heard in my life. It seems to revolve around barely audible mumbling self promotion of his distant playing days and being a grouchy tosser who shows surprisingly little knowledge about tactics for a former player of his standing. How he and Rio Ferdinand somehow get paid for this drivel I’ll never know.

Tomaury Bischfeld

I accompanied a friend to Old Trafford for a Europa league game (it was a once in a life time thing for him so I grinned and bore it). Paul Scholes was in the TV box and I waved at him, he looked at me like I was shit on his shoe. A wonderful, wonderful moment .

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

What a guy


You’ve not heard Michael Owen then? Or even worse – Danny Morgan?

God those guys hate us.

Exit the Lemming

Lay off the guy. He needs the money to pay for his FA gambling fines. As far as worst pundits go the competition is pretty stiff: Michael Owen, Roy Keane, Darren Bent, Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Craig Burley, Frank LeBoeuf, Steve Nicoll, Steve McManaman, Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Savage, Chris Sutton, Ally McCoist, Tim Sherwood, Jamie Redkanapp (the list goes on…) Throw two great players and Arsenal legends but clueless analysts into the mix: Paul Merson, Thierry Hendry


Never mind – he’ll be crying into his ginger beer tonight.

Utd a point behind us, having played three games more.

Love it. 😊


You got your wish!

Challah Baker Soldier Spy


Aleksander Włodarz

Thanks God the Gunners brought the bullets today 🤠

Finsbury Park Gooner

For the first 15mins I thought we looked a bit flat-footed, but we grew into it and dominated. Loving this new ability we’re developing to control games!

Thought Xhaka was poor today and was at fault for their 2nd. I like that he gives us a kind of stability, but I’d love to see us upgrade in that position.


Right. That’s about to happen. Fabian Ruiz…


Martin Odegaard is such a joy to watch.

Derek Whitcher

I’ve never been a fan of Xhaka but credit where credit’s due, in a 4-2-31 he can do a steady enough job.
In this fast-moving 4-3-3 he looks 💯 what he is, a pedestrian defensive midfielder.
I’ve wanted him shifted for at least 3 years, he surely has to be replaced in the summer.
I do wonder if, were The Croydon De Bruyne had been fit, he might have played rather than the Swiss today. He’d be a much better fit for that role.


Croydon de Bruyne? I say Man City are fortunate to have a Belgian Smith Rowe.


Saka played at another level today, he was absolutely magnificent

Rafer Austin

He is only 20 and when he hits 24, he will be better than Arjen Robben was


not very difficult… 😑


Does anybody feel like Ramsdale has been having too many iffy moments lately. Think if it continues, a game or two on the bench should make him realise he can’t get too comfortable, his back up aint just any ordinary keeper.




Well, any player can have a bad game. He attempts passes, and he has pulled of some outragious passes in his Arsenal career (the one to Saka in today’s game for example). I think that’s one of the main reasons why we bought him. I find him as accurate as Ederson when it comes to passing. Ederson makes mistakes too. Part of the game and leave it at that. When he was performing without any errors at the beginning, we all were well aware that he will inevitably have a few bad games along the way. Well, this was one… Read more »

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

I’ve thought that yes. I don’t think it’s yet enough to drop him but I’d like him to be a bit cooler and less of the showman until after the whistle, I think it’s kind of distracting. I do like him and he’s a good keeper, I’m sure he’ll settle but maybe expecting him to come to the ball less often under pressure might help, although he generally is pretty good at that.


Got away with a clumsy defensive performance based on the brilliance of our two youngsters (Saka and Odegard) and a rather poor Watford side. A quality side would have punished us badly today. We gave away the ball way too many times and felt some of the boys were not focused enough especially at the back. Badly missing Tomiyasu at RB watching Cedric. Thought Gabriel had a poor game. Tierny was getting passed easily but needs more support from Martinelli.


After the dismal start to the year, stalwart defence has largely carried to team while the offence has had trouble finishing. Today, Ramsdale & Co were shaky but the front four on form. Saka and Odegaard suberb, although Lacazette didn’t score he leads by example and made some key passes. Martinelli was not at his best but did score the winning goal. Partey is rounding into form to the point that his shots are getting close to the target. End result a critical win.


Come on gunners! Now over to Man City to gift another rival some points. So so annoying…

Morrisey fan #1

Very kind to Cedric and Xhaka. All
I can think about how dominant Arsenal could be with a good second CM. But great win and the front 4 were brill.


Why are Saka and Odegaard’s ratings reversed Blogs? This is why stats are bull, Odegaard had the game of his life, he had everything on strings along with a crazy work rate


Our frontline is slowly matching lfc’s style and hopefully efficiency.
Laca is the firmino of 2yrs ago.
Saka is developing into salah.
And martinelli has the grit of mane and could still become better!
We do need a plan B though!


ESR and Pepe says hi ..


Esr for sure in the long run.
Pepe seems more like a bye.

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

We need top, top quality

Exit the Lemming

the only thing Firminho and Laca have in common is they’re both mammals and they miss big chances

Challah Baker Soldier Spy

Three good goals, good games from Ødegaard and Saka. I’m not crazy with the way we, and especially Ramsdale wastes time so early on recently , as it seems so obvious and seems to spur teams late to aggressively pressure in the last 15 minutes. Some side are good at eating up minutes subtly but it’s so blatant and with so much time left it seems unnecessary to me. Pleased with the 3 points though and good attacking play from the lads.


I am eager to see the Tactics Column on this game. Both sides were doing things that were unexpected and which changed during the game. For example, it appeared that Watford were totally prepared for our patterns. How many times did a defender who was ostensibly sitting back jump our passing lanes and start a break for them? I was also puzzled when they seemed to be tiring to isolate Tierney one on one with a rangy fast wing player and try to set him loose with long diagonals from right to left. He’s not the guy I would have… Read more »


Looked like part of the plan was for Cedric to play further forward to link with and provide space for Saka, and have White move right to cover for him. We do that anyway but today it looked like we did it more frequently.

And don’t disrespect Roy.


Holding gets a 10/10 for the hair. Looking good.

Exit the Lemming

It just might be Arteta’s crowning achievement


Saka is such a joy to watch. Cedric is not as rubbish as people make him out to be. Xhaka a liability as always.

A Gunner

I cannot believe some of the guys down in the comments, keep slagging off Xhaka. Give it a rest. HE IS NOT A FORWARD MIDFIELDER, HE IS NOT A LEFT BACK, Or A CENTRE BACK, but I don’t see anyone else asked to help the same way when needed. The guy is one of the most versatile players we have and in his position he’s good and way better than what we have. I don’t think I am the smartest out there, but did we ever think about why every manager plays him constantly and why other managers praise him?… Read more »


He is not anything really (a football player included).

Viju Jacob

You should have also said, he can’t play at this level.

Exit the Lemming

He’s a decent squad player with organizational skills and a fantastic work ethic but also a propensity for indiscipline and costly defensive errors which no Arsenal manager to date has been able to eliminate from his game


I think there is a good chance that we’ll still fuck this up.

Thierry Eboue



Surely no more doubts about what Laca brings to our frontline – it ain’t goals but it’s pretty much everything else. He just ‘glues’ everything together… and if he does manage to find his shooting boots again, we’ll be styling! Worried about White and Gabriel – recent matches have seen a disturbing tendency to switch off or just show the odd lazy moment. Hernandez should never had the space to score that blinder – they were both standing watching… And White’s Mustafi-move late on for their 3rd was a shocker. Also too much ticky-tacky squaring of the ball in our… Read more »

Great Kalu

Truly enjoyed our forward play today.


0/10 commentators saying the flick wasn’t deliberate. You probably said that about bergkamp too.

Grumbling Gooner

3 points in the bag! our normal now so good that we win even when we carry a few players


Moments of brilliance resulting in three WELL CRAFTED goals plus a lot of sloppy play in between and a lack of sensibility to close out the game at the end. 1) Ramsdale – Somewhat sloppy today with a couple of off distribution. Came out to take charge well during crosses. 2) Cedric – Started off well with a number of good link ups on the right and good balls in. Legs look to tire later (perhaps Arteta could have put on Tomiyasu for the remainder) One poor touch later in second half almost played them in for a goal. 3)… Read more »


Gabriel deserves another point for being so polite when the ref blew the whistle for a soft foul. He’s learning.


I’d say Laca was at least an 8. In addition to his usual work rate he provided exactly what we have begged from him. A perfect shield and layoff on Gabe’s goal.


Nketiah’s 3 silly fouls put us under unnecessary pressure in the final few minutes.

Exit the Lemming

Careless defending from White for their 2nd goal made this seem a lot closer than Watford ever had cause to believe in a game we bossed throughout. Ramsdale’s distribution was as poor as I’ve ever seen it but no real failures in what was a quality away day win that moves us into 4th. Not sure why the ref allowed Arteta to assist in the ‘quick throw’ while he was outside his technical area unless he was trying to ‘out-sting’ Harry the Hornet. Who cares if Odegaard’s sublime flick was deliberate or not?: why were we in red shorts ffs?… Read more »

Olufemi Odusola

I have just watched the game on Match of the Day & our boys were excellent,but the Goal Keeper one of the best players on that day.

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