Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Arsenal: Arsenal player ratings
Olivier Giroud's sending off in the first half meant that 10-men Arsenal slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb. Playing away from home in Croatia, Arsenal started the game on a high, dominating possession and creating attacks after attacks.
But the Gunners were unable to make the most their opportunities, and as a result, the pain of the loss was inflicted on them by the Croatian champions. Before being sent off, Giroud did manage to have two attempts on target but was denied by Dinamo's goalkeeper, Eduardo. Arsene Wenger will be hoping that the defeat will not cost his side a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Dinamo played well and attacked the London club on the counter. Not since a 3-0 victory over Sturm Graz in September 1999 had the Croatian outfit tasted success at this stage, but an own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Junior Fernandes' decisive header was enough to see off the threat of Arsene Wenger's side in Group F.
Arsenal's attempts to find a way back into the clash brought a consolation from Theo Walcott, but Dinamo clung on to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 42 matches.
Let's analyse and rate the Arsenal players' performance in the game:
David Ospina – 5/10
The Colombian international had no real chance of saving both the goals that Dinamo netted. He was upto all the chances that Dinamo players threw at him but lacked match fitness at times. He gave a little too much space at the near post on the second goal but with either defender actually doing anything, it was tough for Ospina to keep out a header that powerful and precise.
The Arsenal second choice keeper replaced Petr Cech for the Champions League clash and was seen making a couple of good saves from close range. But with Cech having kept two clean sheets in a row, Ospina is expected to be replaced by the new Arsenal signing for the clash against his old side.
Kieran Gibbs – 4.5/10
The Englishman replaced Nacho Monreal in the Arsenal team and did not offer much as an outlet going forward down the left flank. When defending, the England international was unable to get tight enough to his wide man.
The defending for the second goal was also poor as he did not go for the ball and was caught ball-watching. Gibbs has been out of the starting eleven for quite some time now and he was expected to put in a good effort to challenge Monreal for the spot in the starting line-up. But he failed. However, as the game progressed, Gibbs was seen attacking the Dinamo defense and assisting Ozil and Sanchez in attack.
He was substituted and replaced by Joel Campbell after the hour mark, as Arsenal let in a second goal. Wenger decided to take off the defender and bring Campbell on.
Laurent Koscielny – 6/10
He was again, along with Gabriel, the best defensive performer of the game. Several of Dinamo’s attacks were met by Laurent Koscielny, who dealt effectively with everything they had to throw at him. He made almost no errors in the game and showed why he has been one of the best central defenders in Europe, according to his manager Arsene Wenger.
At times, he showed great anticipation stepping out of the backline when needed to intercept or make a foray forward. He also tried making the runs into the midfield to assist the forward line. However, he did not get tight enough to Fernandes when he scored with a header.
Gabriel Paulista – 7/10 (Man of the match)
The Brazilian was the best player on the pitch for Arsenal, keeping out crosses from time to time. He made some sensational last-ditch tackles which saved Arsenal from letting it more goals. He was fast and seems to have formed a good understanding with Koscielny.
However, the player is not very effective when it comes to attacking as his heading accuracy still lags behind. But Arsenal fans can be happy that Mertesacker has been replaced with a good quality defender who is strong and can win important tackles.
Mathieu Debuchy – 4.5/10
The former Newcastle United right-back did not produce a pleasing display on the night. He defended and intercepted well in phases but was not very effective in attack, creating less chances than Hector Bellerin creates. But Debuchy will be pleased he finally made a full game appearance.
He did bring in the physicality required, which Bellerin lacks, but he seemed slow and could not cut the through balls played in behind him. He did not look convincing at the back and also in attack. He was also seen tucking too far inside for the first goal. He should have stopped that run.
Mikel Arteta – 5/10
A solid, calm presence on a night where Arsenal could have conceded a few more. His distribution from deep showed us why Wenger has extended his contract, but there was no major impact that he made in the game as he usually does with his dynamic interceptions and simple passing.
He was not well into the game and he sat in front of the back four most of the time even when Arsenal were on the attack. What was visible is that he lacks pace and therefore, he was replaced by Francis Coquelin in the second half.
Santi Cazorla – 6/10
The Spanish midfielder looked impressive as always. But the criticism of Cazorla is that he does not score many goals for Arsenal. He created chance after chance as he linked up well with Ozil, Sanchez and Giroud in the first half. But it wasn't enough for his side.
He was delightful, neat and tidy in possession, like always. However, he was unable to carve a pass for his teammates to rip open the congested Dinamo defense. He kept Arsenal’s pressure in the first half, but to no effect. The Spaniard was fluent with his forward runs and wide range of passing, even though he was marked well by Dinamo.
Alexis Sanchez – 6/10
Though his eagerness to pass rather than shoot did not get Arsenal any goals, it also made the attacker a touch too predictable with Dinamo marking him well and not giving him space in shooting positions. Sanchez was good on the night, but you still sense he could have been better with more goalscoring drive.
The Chilean, however, did add to his assist tally, as his long through ball was met by Walcott for Arsenal's consolation goal. Sanchez had an impressive run-out but failed to convert opportunities and score.
While he showed the desire and grit that set him apart in previous appearances, he was always a part of the Arsenal attack. He created a goal for Walcott and turned out to be the brightest of Arsenal midfielders, but without the finishing product.
Mesut Ozil – 6.5/10
The German international was not at his usual best. He was unable to make the unique passes and clever through balls for his teammates to chase. He was also caught offside on multiple occasions, otherwise he would have had a goal to his name.
Things would have been different had the Gunners made the most of the opportunities created by the German Maestro in the first half. However, there was not much Ozil could do after Giroud was sent off, and like Sanchez, he was playing well, but it didn't help the team get a result.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5/10
The England international was good on the attack down the right wing early on in the game. He produced opportunities for Giroud in the first half. He showed energy with his runs down the right flank but failed to convert them into any real opportunities for his side.
His poor defending lead to the midfielder adding an own goal to his tally in the first half. Chamberlain worked hard in the hour he played but the execution wasn't quite right. He was later replaced by Theo Walcott.
Olivier Giroud – 3/10
Giroud had an awful game against Dinamo. He did get a header on target early in the first half which should have gone in but was saved by the Dinamo keeper, Eduardo. Moments later, he hit the post and the rebound was again saved by Eduardo.
However, Giroud’s worst moment came late in the first half, where firstly he was booked for showing dissent, and moments later he was shown a second yellow for a tap on DInamo’s player, resulting in a red card. It left Arsenal with 10 men on the field and put pressure on the Gunners.
Francis Coquelin – 5/10
All the three substitutions were made at the same time by Arsene Wenger. He brought on Francis Coquelin in place of Mikel Arteta. Coquelin, being a regular in the team since last season, commanded the midfield and looked to add more fight to the side. He maintained the midfield hub and placed his authority on the proceedings. The Frenchman added a bit more attitude and belief to the team.
Theo Walcott – 6.5/10
Theo Walcott came into the game at the hour mark when he replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was bright after he came on. But wasted the few opportunities that came his way by getting caught offside on too many occasions. He did manage to score a goal as he placed a neat finish past Eduardo to give Arsenal a slight hope of a comeback but that wasn't to be, as Arsenal fell behind.
Joel Campbell – 4/10
Joel Campbell replaced Kieran Gibbs on the right flank. The Costa Rican made his first appearance for the Gunners this season and he did not disappoint his manager. He was bright after coming on, creating a few opportunities for Walcott upfront.
But his first touch let him down and he gave away silly free kicks, earning himself a yellow card late in the game. However, the player would be hoping he will be given more opportunities to showcase his talent.