Arsenal player ratings in 1-0 defeat to Spurs as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores a 3 and Aubameyang gets a 5

Chris Bailey 10/02/2018
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Harry Kane proved to be the difference in the north London derby again as Tottenham recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.

A header from the England striker early in the second half was enough to earn Spurs all three points and move into third place in the Premier League with Liverpool and Chelsea playing on Sunday.

Here, we rate the performance of the Arsenal players.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1)

Petr Cech – This game could have been a rugby score, if not a cricket score, and Cech made several stunning saves – including an Eriksen free-kick that was heading for the top corner. An encouraging return to form. One positive for Arsenal? 8

Hector Bellerin – Remained diligent as Spurs tried to overload the left-hand side through the efforts of Son and Eriksen. Should not be sucked into the vortex of despair that was Arsenal’s centre-back partnership… 7

Shkrodan Mustafi – Impressive for nine minutes, in which he made a goal-saving interception. The other 80-minutes plus were not so hot. It’s almost as if he had only met Koscielny on the morning of the game. 5

Laurent Koscielny – That was no foul for the goal – he’s just desperately weak in the air. The rabbit to Kane’s headlights. Will make an excellent cover tackle here and there, but when is Wenger going to sign an authoritative figure at the back. 4

Nacho Monreal – Offered little going forward but he was defensively disciplined and did as much as he could to stop the inevitable rot. The full-backs aren’t the problem at Arsenal. 7

Granit Xhaka – Put into perspective just how badly Wenger whiffed on signing Xhaka when you put him on the same pitch as Moussa Dembele. A hard man in nothing but name. In fact, how dare he call himself Granit. 5

Mohamed Elneny – A genuine plus on a day full of minuses. Stemmed some of the flow that came his way and on the rare occasion Arsenal drove up field, he was usually the instigator. Should not be the man to drop out when Aaron Ramsey comes back. 7

Mesut Ozil – Ghosted about, looking kind of dangerous, but don’t forget that ghost – in theory – can’t affect the mortal realm. Materialised into a physical presence at times but the flashes were few and far between. 5

Jack Wilshere – Looked like the good old Jack of about six or seven years ago for about six or seven minutes. He cares and plays with his heart on his sleeve. But how much he still has up his sleeve is up for debate. 6

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – The Armenian has a fairly lofty ceiling, but his floor hits the basement and keeps on going. Hit a three iron into the stands at one point. As any Manchester United fan will tell you – this sort of performance is neither rare nor surprising. 3

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – #YoPierre, where on earth are you? In fairness it’s hard to apportion too much blame to the shiny new striker who suffered through an impossibly dull game from his perspective. Was wrongly flagged for offside in the first half and could have scored. How he’d have wished for that much drama in the second. 5

Mousa Dembele (L) holds off Henrikh Mkhitaryan (C)

Mousa Dembele (L) holds off Henrikh Mkhitaryan (C)

SUBSTITUTES:

Alexandre Lacazette – Strikers must strike and Lacazette, when he could have a snatched a fully undeserved point at the death, failed in his duties. 5

Alex Iwobi – He was on the pitch? 5

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Man City want retrospective action for rough challenges on stars Leroy Sane and Kevin de Bruyne

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Manchester City have written to the body in charge of professional referees to raise their concerns over a series of dangerous challenges suffered by their players, according to widespread reports on Saturday.

The BBC reported the Premier League leaders have cited nine challenges they feel have not been sufficiently punished by referees in recent months to Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

City would also like to see a change in Football Association rules that would allow incidents seen by referees on the field to be reviewed again retrospectively.

That could possibly mean yellow cards being upgraded to red if evidence was sufficient.

In one of the worst challenges a fortnight ago, winger Leroy Sane was ruled out for six weeks by ankle ligament damage suffered after being caught late by Cardiff’s Joe Bennett.

“I said many times the only thing they (referees) have to do is protect the players,” City boss Pep Guardiola said after his side’s 2-0 FA Cup fourth round win in the Welsh capital.

“For the football in general, and for the players who are the artists, they must do that. That’s why we are all here.”

Bennett received only a yellow card, as did West Brom’s Matt Phillips for a high tackle on Brahim Diaz three days later.

Other bad challenges which have sparked controversy include lunges on Kevin De Bruyne by Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon and Tottenham’s Dele Alli and James McClean of West Brom.

In a much-criticised move, Guardiola named only six substitutes for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Burnley claiming he had no more players left due to a spiralling injury crisis.

Provided by AFP Sport

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ready to be patient over Adam Lallana selection

Carl Markham 10/02/2018
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he is being cautious with Adam Lallana‘s return to the side after the midfielder’s short-lived comebacks so far.

The England international missed the opening four months of the campaign with a thigh injury sustained in pre-season and eventually made his first appearance on November 25.

He managed 221 minutes of action over seven matches as the problem flared up on two occasions but played just over an hour before getting sent off in the under-23s defeat to Tottenham on Monday.

Klopp is considering including him in the squad for Sunday’s trip to his former club Southampton but will not press the 29-year-old back into service too early.

“He is for sure an option for the squad, but an option for the first XI? I would think not in the moment,” he said.

“But maybe I can sleep twice before we play Southampton so maybe I will change my mind on this. We will see.

“He is in good shape, really quick, he looks fresh and looks good and you think ‘What can we do with him?’ but we did it twice now.

Jurgen Klopp 2

“I don’t think it was too early when we did it, but it happened twice so we need to settle a little and then use Adam.

“There are still, I don’t know, hopefully 18, 19, 20 games to go for us and that’s enough for him.”
One player expected to start on Sunday is Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The 19-year-old has been rotated at right-back with Joe Gomez this season but with the latter struggling to be fit from a knee injury the academy graduate is set for the nod again.

“We probably have the two youngest full-backs in the league pretty much and now Joe is out,” Klopp added.

“So it is really good that we have Trent. He developed a lot, like Joe did – different players obviously but both can play the position.

“It’s good for him that he doesn’t have to play every week. He is still a young boy. He improved a lot, especially in training, in the last few months.

“In the beginning he trained a little bit like a kid, ups and downs. (Now) it’s a consistent high level, good attitude and he can show his skills.

“The football part of the position seems to be pretty easy for him; he is really quick, he has a fantastic right foot, the left foot is not too bad, really good crosses, football smart, a good view for spaces. That’s all good.

“But (he has) a lot to learn of course. Hopefully he can deliver again.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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