An Arsenal game wouldn’t quite be an Arsenal game if Arsenal didn’t do something really Arsenaly. That may seem like gibberish to outside readers, but it makes perfect sense to faithful Gooners around the world. Considering how the Champions League games went this weak, and with Arsenal’s tendencies to wet the bed at the worst possible time, it was a nervy start for the Gunners. A 4-1 lead was reduced to 4-3 within 50 minutes, and it could’ve been worse. Thankfully, Danny Welbeck magically turned into Thierry Henry for just enough time to score a beautiful late goal off of a great move. Ramsey supplied the dagger with a stoppage-time goal to secure Arsenal’s spot in the Europa League semi-finals. So, here’s how all of the players did…
Petr Cech – 5
He had two good saves, unfortunately, the first one rebounded back into play for CSKA Moscow’s first goal. The second good save certainly stopped what would’ve been Golovin’s second free-kick goal of the series. But the perry on his 3rd save was pitiful and once again was put away by another Moscow player.
Hector Bellerin – 5.5
He was troubled more defensively in this second leg. He got forward well at times, and actually completed 2 dribbles! Please, Bellerin, take more players on.
Nacho Monreal – 5
Certainly not a great performance from Nacho today. He totally misjudged the ball on the first goal, missing the header. He only completed 35 out of 48 passes (73%).
Shkodran Mustafi – 6
Both goals came off of rebounds so it’s sort of hard to lay the blame on the defence. It’s much easier to react to a loose ball when you’re an attacker facing the goal. With the numerous chances that Moscow had, the centre-backs did well to just get the ball out of there many times. Mustafi recorded 8 clearances, 7 aerials won, 3 interceptions, and 2 tackles.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Going off of what I mentioned above, but instead, Koscielny had 11 clearances, 6 aerials won, 5 interceptions, and 1 tackle. Plus, he had a higher pass completion rate than any other Arsenal defender on the day (88%).
Mohamed Elneny – 8
He started off a little slow along with the rest of the team, playing it really conservative in the first half. However, when Jack was taken off, it was Elneny that was then tasked with being the midfield focal point, and he didn’t shy away from it. The club’s play instantly improved with the extra stability at the back and he went on to assist two late goals. He had the most touches on the team and a fantastic 94% pass completion rate. He also pressed like a madman on defence, which I loved.
Jack Wilshere – 5
I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but this was just another poor performance from Wilshere. His liveliness was welcome in the first half but he just couldn’t provide enough in the final third to create a breakthrough. In the second half, his liveliness just turned into unproductive turnovers. By the time he came off in the 69th minute he looked like I do after 20 minutes on the Stairmaster. And that’s without even pressing hard on defence. He needs a break.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.5
No Arsenal player looked ready to score in the first half, including Ramsey. But, later on, as the game became stretched, Ramsey continued to look for the ball in the final third. It finally paid off in stoppage time as he calmly finished Elneny’s through ball past the keeper. Not to mention that this was after he received several stitches in the locker room for a gnarly gash on his leg. Give this man what he wants!
Mesut Ozil – 7
Ozil actually has some defensive stats next to his name and it’s not a typo! Yes, he actually did the dirty work and made some good defensive plays this game (probably to make up for Jack’s laziness). Oh, and of course he also had 4 key passes which could’ve resulted in at least one assist if our finishing was better on the day.
Danny Welbeck – 8
Dat Guy totally redeemed himself after an abysmal first leg against CSKA Moscow. He worked hard all game long and (unlike usual), when a chance finally came his way, he slotted it home with ease. The layoff to Elneny, turn, and shot were all worked to perfection.
Alexandre Lacazette – 6
He had a chance early on where the defender was sliding through for a block, and I just wish he would’ve processed it quicker to pull the ball back and try for an open shot. Besides that early chance, he didn’t see too much of the ball all night, not ever touching it inside the box again. He was mad to come off but the width that Iwobi provides was needed at that point.
Calum Chambers – 6
After he came on CSKA didn’t score anymore so that’s good enough for me.
Alex Iwobi – 5
When you blow a chance THAT BIG, by THAT MUCH…there’s just not much to say. His miss was literally about as bad as I scuff the ball with my left foot too.