After just 35 minutes, the Gunners looked ready to head to the semi-finals of the Europa League. They easily could’ve gone into the half with 5 goals. They literally made the Russian giants look like a bad FIFA opponent. Kind of like when I play my little cousin in FIFA. I always know I’m going to beat him so once I get a decent enough lead, I just let my foot off the gas and hope I don’t embarrass him too much. Let’s see how each player performed…
Petr Cech – 7
Made 3 necessary saves to keep the score at 4-1. Don’t think anybody could’ve saved that free kick so I’ll let it slide.
Hector Bellerin – 6.5
Ozil playing wider finally gave Bellerin a partner down the side. While he still hesitates to take players on, he got an assist and had better distribution in the final third. He was caught out on an occasion or two but Xhaka or somebody else typically covered for him.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7
Minus a goof-up leading to the foul, which led to the goal, he was great once again. Mustafi had 4 tackles, 7 clearances, and 4 interceptions on the day. He’s the clear defensive leader going forward for Arsenal.
Laurent Koscielny – 6
Had a decent game overall but looked slow and made the silly foul leading to the goal. He still had 6 clearances and 5 interceptions.
Nacho Monreal – 7
A return to form for Nacho. He had space all day on his side of the final third and shut down his opposition. Almost had a goal too.
Aaron Ramsey – 9
Another miraculous performance from the Welshman. His first goal was due to his great positioning and his second was just a beautiful chip coming off of a perfectly timed burst into space. He found open space and made runs past Moscow’s old defenders all game long and could’ve had his 2nd hat trick of the season. He’s truly making a case for being given the captaincy and a big raise.
Granit Xhaka – 7
Not quite as influential with the ball as he usually his, but he took a more defensive role, opting for Ozil to be the main playmaker today. He covered well for each defender when they were caught further up-field, easily being one of the main reasons for Arsenal not conceding any goals from open play.
Jack Wilshere – 5
Jack still can’t quite get it together. He played a role in part of the buildups in the first half. But in the second half, he looked sluggish and only completed 8 out of 14 passes. Had it not been for Mkhitaryan’s knock, perhaps he would’ve been subbed out even earlier.
Mesut Ozil – 9
An absolute world-class performance from Ozil today (yes, I understand it was only CSKA Moscow, but still…). He passed it out to Bellerin, who assisted Ramsey for the first goal of the game, drew a penalty for Lacazette’s first, and then assisted both of the goalscorers’ second goals. If he keeps his form the rest of the season, we will win the Europa League.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6
Despite not seeing too much of the ball, he got into the box well and nearly opened the scoring and had 4 shots total. Perhaps on any other day, he could’ve put at least one of those into the back of the net. He went off after an hour due to a cynical foul, but I don’t think he’ll be out too long.
Alexandre Lacazette – 8.5
That’s now 3 goals for Lacazette in his first 2 games back from injury. I was very happy to see him return to the starting lineup in place of Welbeck and was not disappointed. Penalties, while easy, are not 100% ensured to become goals so it’s good to see him put 2 away in consecutive games. His second goal was a perfectly placed shot in the lower left corner. It was unfortunate he was subbed early, but it’s a smart move from Wenger because we all know we don’t want to risk having Welbeck be the starter again…
Alex Iwobi – 6.5
A much better performance than we’re used to seeing recently from the Nigerian. He caused trouble on the wing, completing 3 dribbles in just 30 minutes. Considering he passed up an easy shot on goal to try and give the ball to Lacazette, I think it’s fair to say his confidence is still low. If he could just get one goal in the Premier League, he could gain some confidence and wreak havoc on defenders late in the game in this tournament. We’ve been missing a winger that isn’t afraid to take someone on.
Mohamed Elneny – 6
Didn’t have much to do considering the game was done and dusted when he came on, but he completed 25 out of 27 passes and was looking to be part of the buildup to a 5th goal.
Danny Welbeck – 5.5
He came on and did some Welbeck stuff.