Arsenal-Man Utd player ratings: Sokratis shines

Sokratis and Nicolas Pepe were on target as Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium

Last Updated: 01/01/20 10:52pm

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Manchester Utd in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Manchester Utd in the Premier League

Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium to secure Mikel Arteta’s first win as head coach, but who were the top performers?

Arsenal player ratings

Bernd Leno – 8

His error proved costly against Chelsea on Sunday but he looked assured throughout on this occasion. He did not have a great deal to do in the first half, but helped to keep United at bay in the second, making one brave save from Marcus Rashford in the closing stages.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 8

Another encouraging showing from the 22-year-old, who generally dealt well with the threat of Anthony Martial on Arsenal’s right, making some important tackles and interceptions and also providing attacking support.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 9

Possibly his best performance for Arsenal. Took his goal well, thumping home from close range following a corner, but it was his defensive contribution that really stood out. He showed impressive alertness to mop up danger on a number of occasions and threw himself into tackles bravely.

David Luiz – 8

Another commanding display following his eye-catching showing against former club Chelsea on Sunday. Showed impressive leadership, cajoled the crowd and – like his centre-back partner – was instrumental in helping Arsenal keep only their third Premier League clean sheet of the season.

David Luiz shone against Manchester United
David Luiz shone against Manchester United

Sead Kolasinac – 8

Returned to the side ahead of schedule following an ankle injury. Had an awkward moment early on when he was booked for bringing down Daniel James, but recovered well. Played an important role in the opener and provided an important attacking outlet on the left before his substitution in the second half.

Granit Xhaka – 7

His future at the club is uncertain, with Hertha Berlin chasing his signature, but he did not appear in any way distracted on his return to the side. He used the ball well and also made some important defensive contributions.

Lucas Torreira – 8

A performance which raises serious questions of Unai Emery’s insistence on using him in an attacking midfield role. The Uruguayan was excellent at the base of midfield, snuffing out United attacks and soldiering on bravely after taking a knock in the closing stages.

Nicolas Pepe – 8

Could this performance prove to be a turning point for Arsenal’s record signing? Pepe took his goal superbly, controlling Kolasinac’s deflected cut-back and lashing his finish past David de Gea, and had plenty of other eye-catching moments before being withdrawn in the second half.

Nicolas Pepe scored Arsenal's opening goal
Nicolas Pepe scored Arsenal’s opening goal

Mesut Ozil – 8

The German looks a player transformed under Arteta. He did not excel in a creative sense – only fashioning one scoring opportunity over the course of the 90 minutes – but his new boss will be delighted by his work-rate. Ozil covered more ground than any other Arsenal player. Only Aubameyang made more high-intensity sprints.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7

A rare game without a goal for the Arsenal captain, but, like Ozil, he worked tirelessly for the team, helping Arsenal press from the front and also stretching United’s defence with his pace from Arsenal’s left flank.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vies with Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vies with Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Alexandre Lacazette – 7

Received a standing ovation when replaced by Matteo Guendouzi in the closing stages. The striker spurned a couple of half-chances and is still lacking a little cutting edge in and around the box, but he showed plenty of endeavour, repeatedly winning back possession high up the pitch.

Substitutes

Reiss Nelson – 6

Came on for Pepe midway through the second half. His pace caused some problems for United but he had some sloppy moments too.

Bukayo Saka – 7

Slotted in well at left-back, making one excellent challenge on Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the closing stages.

Matteo Guendouzi – 6

Thrown on in place of Lacazette but had little time to influence the game.

Manchester United player ratings

David de Gea – 6

Will be disappointed not to have parried Lacazette’s flick-on away from danger for Arsenal’s second but it came at him quickly and he could do little about the opener when he was left exposed.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 6

Unable to stop Kolasinac and Aubameyang doing damage down the left in the first half and Arsenal’s counters came down his side in the second – although he was an improved attacking force after the break. Rightly denied a penalty when he went down easily in the box.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka holds off Sead Kolasinac
Aaron Wan-Bissaka holds off Sead Kolasinac

Harry Maguire – 6

Turned by Lacazette in the area when Frenchman should have scored in the first half and then wasted a good chance at the other end just before half-time. Had less to do defensively in the second half but by then the damage was done.

Victor Lindelof – 6

Like Maguire, struggled to contain Arsenal’s vibrant attack in the first half before enjoying a quieter second 45 minutes.

Luke Shaw – 5

Tough night up against an in-form Pepe but, after the Arsenal man went off, Shaw was able to have more of the ball in the other half – although unable to have the attacking impact required.

Fred – 6

Over-run in the first half and, while he helped United gain more control in the second period and fired off three shots, he lacked the craft to open up the opposition.

Nemanja Matic – 6

A neat through ball for Andreas Pereira almost sparked Manchester United back into life but was off the pace in the first half when Arsenal made their dominance count.

Marcus Rashford – 6

Had an early sight at goal and showed his confidence with a shot from distance but was never afforded the space he loves to exploit.

Jesse Lingard – 5

An ineffective performance from Lingard who struggled to get on the ball and create the openings he was out there to. Hooked on 58 minutes.

Daniel James – 6

Like Lingard, taken off on 58 minutes after struggling to hurt Arsenal. James had warmed Leno’s hands with a snap-shot just before coming off but was not presented with the counter-attacking opportunities he is so dangerous from.

Anthony Martial – 6

Showed flashes, particularly in the second half, but, like Rashford, was never afforded the space required to hurt his opposition.

Anthony Martial runs at the Arsenal defence
Anthony Martial runs at the Arsenal defence

Substitutes

Andreas Pereira – 7

Instant impact, running on to Matic’s through-ball to slam the ball into the side-netting and tried to conduct United’s attacking play in the latter stages.

Mason Greenwood – 6

Was sent on to find United a way back into the game but unable to do so, managing just one blocked shot.

Juan Mata – 6

Perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have turned to the creative Spaniard a little earlier but he was unable to conjure much in the final nine minutes.

New Year, same Super 6!

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Source : Sky Sports