It might not have been easy but we showed that we at least have the cojonas to beat Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade. There was a lot of talk before the game about whether the players would be able to handle the atmosphere in their third Europa League group game, well here’s how they got on.
Petr Cech – 7.7
As usual in 1-0 wins, it’s essential that the goalkeeper has a good day and thankfully that was the case yesterday. Coming in for his first Europa League game for us Cech made a few very important saves to make it three wins from three games in the competition.
Mathieu Debuchy – 7.1
Making his return to first team action, Debuchy had a decent night playing on the right of the back three, making four tackles and winning five headers to help us top group H.
Mohamed Elneny – 6.5
Fast becoming the utility man in the squad Elneny was tested at centre back like he was for much of pre-season. He didn’t put in an amazing display but did well enough to keep a clean sheet.
Rob Holding – 6.0
Playing on the left of the three, Holding was probably the least comfortable as he committed a couple of fouls but then again, he didn’t concede.
Reiss Nelson – 7.6
The kid just doesn’t stop impressing. Again, playing at right wing-back, Nelson was able to carry the job out fully as he managed to get a few shots off, take players on and even block a shot. Hopefully, he keeps this form up.
Francis Coquelin – 6.5
Returning to the midfield, Coquelin did his job in shutting off any attacks but that’s all there really was to it.
Joe Willock – 7.5
Like against BATE, Willock showed that he’s able to scrap in midfield as well as play the Arsenal way, making four tackles and completing 93% of his passes in a very confident fashion.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7.5
Again, Ainsley shone but again, Ainsley was played out of position. He’s been doing well at left wing back as he becomes accustomed to what’s expected of him there as he made five tackles yesterday but I’m still waiting for him to get his string of games in central midfield.
Theo Walcott – 6.9
For Theo it was quite the typical day, ghost past players for fun, miss a one-on-one but in the end contribute to a goal as he helped the ball on for Giroud’s beauty.
Jack Wilshere – 8.3
I think it’s fair to say we’re all happy to see Jack back doing his thing. Yesterday he continued his good run of form as he turned the game from a disappointing 0-0 to a well-worked 1-0 victory. He played a bit further forward than usual but we still saw a signature Jack Wilshere who skipped past players and with five minutes to go after some brilliant skill and link up play Giroud stuck the winner.
Olivier Giroud – 7.7
Why couldn’t that have been his 100th goal!? He might not have been doing the most for the majority of the game but when he was needed Giroud delivered. Who knows maybe his overhead kick will get nominated for the Puskas Award next year.
Marcus McGuane – N/A
Ben Sheaf – N/A
Between them, the youngsters only played for a couple of minutes but it was good to see another debut handed to Ben Sheaf who is highly regarded in the academy.