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Auba takes the headlines but Xhaka and Tierney also gave true Captain’s Performances – #Reviewandratings

 

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RIP Theo Foley.

 

This was a pleasing performance. It wasn’t a stellar one, but we were comfortable, didn’t really look troubled, and seemingly Herr Farke and his Norwich side are going back to the Championship.

The line-up seemed fair enough, though the inclusion of Luiz was for me a negative.

All the same, it was steady and we fully warranted the win. We’re currently in seventh, post-match at least, and if we continue this form we could be hearing the Europa League anthem regularly again next season. CL anthem would be better but this is a very tall order – albeit not impossible.

Xhaka

 

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His goal came from some good work on the left-hand side by Tierney and Auba, and he slotted in well from an angle to make it 2-0.

After the armband debacle, he has stepped up well and has been one of the most consistent players under Arteta.

Is he at the level to take us forward to the top four, the title or Champions League? I don’t think so.

But I do feel that with a proper structure around him, given his skill-set, he could add value to us. It seems that under Arteta he has found a new life, and so far so good, really.

However, once Auba came off, he got the armband. Now….this for me is interesting. I’d argue that if a person cannot handle a position of authority (captaincy) then even getting it as a deputy to his successor is questionable. Being back in the side as a regular is rehabilitation or forgiveness enough, IMHO. Maybe I’m looking into this too deeply, though it’s not a good look in my view. All the same, Xhaka has improved and enhanced to be fair lately.

Aubameyang

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With his brace and MOTM performance, Auba has now scored 50 goals in quicker time than Henry, Wright, Smith, Sanchez, and the other top forwards we’ve had in PL history.

People who doubt this man’s world-class status don’t get football. And he is in my view our best striker since Henry.

His first goal saw some able pressing to get the ball of Krul, and he was eager to pounce on the Norwich loose ball to score his second and our third.

Will Auba stay? I hope so. I feel blessed to have seen numerous top-level strikers at Arsenal. Even lesser liked ones like van Persie contributed, let’s be frank. The issue though I feel isn’t money – but then it’s more about ambition and can we compete. The last issue we had in this regard was Sanchez, which ironically led to Auba coming to us.

He could well get the Golden Boot, and I’d want him to stay as long as possible.

Tierney

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Just as Auba is the latest in a line of strong forwards, Tierney could well be the full-back equivalent.

Holistically, he is very strong. Defensively he’s on point and offensively he gets forward well and can get in pinpoint crosses.

Hopefully, his injuries can abate and he can contribute well enough for now.

Lacazette

Look, I like Laca. but he’s been very poor lately. I’m not sure what is causing this, but he needs to step up or we may need to make a change.

To be fair, he did hold the ball up well, but then as a striker he’s there to score goals.

Whatever the issue is, he needs to improve, and quick.

Martinez

 

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I’m impressed with his performances. He has looked assured and none of the goals we’ve conceded with him have been his fault really.

Norwich had a few long-range efforts, but then bar them hitting the post didn’t trouble him. Leno’s injury isn’t very severe seemingly, and we’re looking good with Martinez in his stead.

Nelson

I’m not sure what to think of him. He has potential, but then for me hasn’t really performed optimally. Saka, Nketiah, Willock, and Maitland-Niles look more able than him at this point, and I feel he needs to go back on loan.

He doesn’t look ready for this level yet, and despite our dominance he didn’t really impose himself on the game.

Bellerin/Soares

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Hector is an enigma now. I feel he may be on his last legs at the club.

He came in with a burst in 14/15 and 15/16, but since then he has not really kicked on. He had some very bad form in 16/17 and 17/18, and whilst he did get injured last season, he hasn’t really kicked on.

Moreover, he’s 25, and ordinarily, a player should be in his peak right now at that age.

In the game itself, he was OK at best. But then the introduction of the goal of Soares means he’s arguably on his last Arsenal legs.

Soares took his goal well – and granted he’s not in the side to score goals.

But his basic introduction and signing for a few years mean that Bellerin has pressure and competition and he needs to step it up. If not, it could be curtains for his Arsenal career.

Soares was reasonable at Soton but is a Portugal international and holds his own with Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. So we’ll see how well he can contribute defensively for us in the coming years.

Hector though, despite his initial promise a few years ago, needs to step up and soon.

Player ratings

Martinez 7 

Tierney 8

Mustafi 6 

Luiz 6

Kolasinac 5

Bellerin 5

Ceballos 7

Xhaka 8

Nelson 4

Lacazette 4

Aubameyang 9

Nketiah 5

Soares 7

Pepe 5

Holding 6

Arteta – 7 – The line-up had a good shape, albeit with questionable placements, but then the side contained Norwich well and we were dominant. Granted, it was only Norwich and they do look doomed. However, Mikel cannot be faulted for anything today and it was a job well done.

MOTM

 

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Our best striker since Henry, top of the Golden Boot race, and quicker to fifty goals than Wrighty and Henry. Our striker – our captain.

 

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