Arsenal player ratings as Mesut Ozil disappoints at Everton in rare start for an away game

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Arsenal’s poor away form continued after they returned empty handed from Goodison Park, with the score-line reading 1-0 in Everton’s favour.

A goal from Phil Jagielka in the early stages of the game meant that the hosts were saved from ruing all the easy chances that they missed in the second half.

Although Arsenal won’t have to face a top-six side for the remainder of the campaign, performances like these won’t do much good to their chances of finishing in the Champions League places.

We take a look at how the players fared in their defeat.

Bernd Leno 5: Could have done better with the goal he conceded. Denied Bernard in a one-on-one, but it was the winger who was at fault for not doing better with his finish.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles 4: Set Bernard through on goal with a mistake and could easily have been the culprit had Arsenal conceded the second.

Shkodran Mustafi 6: Best player in Arsenal’s back-line, kept a check on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and limited damage.

Sokratis 6: Had a tough time keeping up with Richarlison, but he put on a decent shift.

Nacho Monreal 6: Was tasked to provide aid to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and keep a check on Seamus Coleman. Did well to keep the opposition right-back from creating much of a threat.

Matteo Guendouzi 4: Arsenal’s worst player on the pitch, was properly dominated in the midfield.

Mohamed Elneny 5: The experiment of fielding Elneny and Guendouzi together clearly did not work out and the Egyptian was ejected at half-time.

Sead Kolasinac 5: Another player removed at half-time after a dismal first-half.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan 7: Probably the best player in Arsenal’s front-line, created a couple of chances and completed three dribbles.

Mesut Ozil 4: First start in an away game after more than three months and the German showed exactly why he was not preferred. Laid back performance, not many positives to talk about.

Alexandre Lacazette 6: Did well to play on Phil Jagielka’s shoulder and press the Everton back-line. A good run of form hit a roadblock, but it was not like the Frenchman was at the end of good service.

Substitutes:

Aaron Ramsey 7: Came on at half-time and showed Arsenal what they missed. Drove the midfield well, but was terrible with his shots.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 5: Came on at half-time, but provided nothing significant whatsoever.

Alex Iwobi 5: Stepped in for Ozil, but failed to provide anything the German didn’t and that’s saying something.

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Unai Emery says Arsenal duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang among the best he has worked with

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Lacazette and Aubameyang - a deadly duo.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery claims strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are among the finest he has worked with.

Emery built and nurtured his reputation at Valencia, Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, where David Villa, Fernando Morientes, Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar were established among Europe’s leading forwards.

Although inheriting an uncertain defence at Arsenal, in Lacazette and Aubameyang he has been working with two prolific goalscorers whose understanding is improving by the week.

Their combined 37 goals have the Gunners on course for a return to the Champions League, with victory at Everton on Sunday moving the club a step closer to an ambition that at the season’s start perhaps looked beyond them.

Discussing the talented strikers he has worked with – although neglecting to mention Neymar with whom he had a strained relationship at PSG – Emery said: “I had at Valencia, Villa and Morientes; (Roberto) Soldado and (Aritz) Aduriz.

“I had at Sevilla (Kevin) Gameiro and (Carlos) Bacca. I had at Paris Saint-Germain, Cavani and Mbappe. Here I have Aubameyang and ‘Laca’. It’s perfect.

“Each striker has his qualities and characteristics but one is similar. They are strikers and score a lot of goals. All of them.

Emery has worked with some big names over the years.

Emery has worked with some big names over the years.

“That’s Villa, (Alvaro) Negredo, Carlos Bacca, Gameiro, Cavani, Morientes, and Soldado, and now here, Lacazette and Aubameyang. It’s the same.

“We need a lot of good passes, good crosses, to give them the best option to score in the box. We can be proud that both are with us.”

Explaining the choices open to him, he added; “Sometimes you need to play both, with two strikers, and sometimes you can play with one player wide, and sometimes you can play with another on the bench.

“Aubameyang and Lacazette, I am very happy with them. They are scoring, they are playing both (roles).

“In training, I said to them, ‘When I have one ball, I imagine you’ll score one goal, every time. Score, score, score’. That’s my mentality. I push them with this. That’s the best development for them and for the team.”

Aaron Ramsey is expected to start at Goodison Park following his return to training after a groin injury, strengthening Emery’s options as Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka are facing late fitness tests.

Asked about Ramsey’s summer transfer to Juventus, after their forward Moise Kean was racially abused by Cagliari supporters and initially not supported by team-mate Leonardo Bonucci, the 47-year-old replied: “I’m against racism.

“Aaron Ramsey is a professional, he’s also against racism. He can play here, he can play in Italy, he can play for Juventus.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Maurizio Sarri does not doubt Roman Abramovich's commitment to Chelsea

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Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Maurizio Sarri believes Roman Abramovich is still committed to Chelsea.

Chelsea’s billionaire owner has opted not to pay up front for a corporate hospitality box at Stamford Bridge, as revealed in accounts lodged with Companies House.

Abramovich has taken Israeli citizenship which means he can visit the UK visa-free for up to six months at a time, but cannot work in the country.

The 52-year-old has owned Chelsea since 2003 but recent issues with his UK visa had led to speculation he would seek to sell the club – though head coach Sarri insists Abramovich retains a hands-on role at Stamford Bridge.

“He has some problems now, but he is involved with the club, with the team,” said Sarri.

“He is the owner, and so he is able to influence the technical staff, the club, the players, everything I think.

“Also in Naples (Sarri’s former club), the president Aurelio (De Laurentiis) wasn’t in the training ground every day. He was in the training ground once a month, no more. So it’s really very similar.”

Sarri revealed his assistant Gianfranco Zola speaks more regularly to Abramovich, given the ex-Chelsea forward’s superior English.

Asked how much contact he has with the club’s owner, Sarri said: “More Zola than me. Because Zola speaks English better than me, of course.”

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea will host West Ham on Monday night as their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League intensifies.

Academy graduates Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are expected to play a key part between now and the end of the campaign.

Both young English talents shone in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Brighton in midweek, but Sarri rejected suggestions he had been urged by club bosses to hand both men more playing time.

Asked if he was under pressure to select Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek, Sarri replied: “No. It’s up to the players, they are improving.

“In this moment of the season, they are fresh. So I think that, in this moment, they are really very important for us.

“But at the beginning of the season, Odoi had a very great potential but wasn’t ready to play in the Premier League.

“Loftus the same. He had only to adapt to my football, to improve tactically for my football.

“Then he had a lot of problems with his back, and so we had to wait for him. But now they are fresh; they are ready.”

Sarri also confirmed he wants to see France striker Olivier Giroud stay at Chelsea beyond the summer.

The World Cup winner’s contract expires at the end of the season, though Chelsea have the option to extend that deal for another year.

Asked if he wants to hold on to Giroud, Sarri said: “Yes, of course. I know the club have an option for another season, so I think he will remain.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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