EFL Cup 2016/17 : Arsenal 2-0 Reading - Player Ratings
Arsenal's youngsters excelled in the EFL Cup yet again
Arsenal produced a typically assured performance in thhe Round-of-16 tie in the EFL cup, despite Arsene Wenger making 9 changes to his previous lineup and offering the Arsenal youngsters a run out. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the star of the night, opening the scoring in the 33rd minute and rounding things off with a deflected strike in the 78th minute.
Reading did threaten the Gunners a couple of times, but Arsenal held firm to make it to the quarterfinals.
Here is how the players from both sides rated:
Emi Martinez – 7/10
The Arsenal goalkeeper showed great alertness early on to deny Reading from countering with a headed clearance after charging out. He made assured saves from long distance shots as the game went on and looked every inch a top-level keeper.
Carl Jenkinson – 7/10
He nearly had a dream return after being denied twice in the box just 6 minutes into the match. The boyhood Arsenal fan put in a typically lung-bursting display although there were flashes of the rawness that he had as a youngster, occasionally being caught out of position.
Gabriel – 6/10
The Brazilian had the Emirates crowd wiping their eyes in disbelief with a stunning run into the box in the second half, but for the most part looked like the nervous centre-back he normally is, diving into a couple of rash challenges. He can thank his stars that a deflected effort that looped off him did not end up in the net.
Rob Holding – 7/10
The English youngster is comfortably Arsenal’s 3rd choice centre-back at the moment, putting in an assured display that will please Arsene Wenger greatly. He denied Reading from scoring a certain goal in the first half with a great sliding tackle as the Royals countered.
Kieran Gibbs – 6.5/10
Arsenal’s captain for the night, Kieran Gibbs put in an assured defensive performance, negating the threat of McCleary down Reading’s right wing. While the Englishman did overlap on a couple of occasions, he looked cautious in attack, instead of the gung-ho attacking fullback he usually is.
Mohamed Elneny – 6.5/10
The Egyptian was one of the main reasons why Arsenal executed control in the middle of the park, using his physique to shrug off challenges and burst up the pitch, including a stinging drive midway in the first half that called Al-Habsi into action.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles 7.5/10
Having previously appeared for the Gunners at right-back, Arsene Wenger’s insistence that the youngster is destined for a central midfield role was vindicated. The Englishman was full of running in the box-to-box role, getting forward with aplomb and testing Al-Habsi with a couple of long-range shots.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 9/10
Arsenal’s match winner on the night could have comfortably had more that his two goals, as he set up a couple of great chances for Lucas and Willock where they ought to have scored. His first goal was a superb solo effort that was indicative of his talent, while his second, though fortunate, was deserved.
Alex Iwobi – 7.5/10
Perhaps Arsenal’s most intelligent player on the pitch, Iwobi excelled in the central roll occupied by Mesut Ozil, using the space offered to him to stitch Arsenal’s attacks together and showboat on a few occasions as well.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide – 7/10
The Frenchman is arguably more technically gifted that teammate Alex Iwobi, leaving the Arsenal crowd gasping in awe at some of his turns and dribbles. However, he lacks the intelligence of his Nigerian teammate and showed why he has a fair way to go before breaking into the senior lineup.
Lucas Perez – 5/10
Arsenal’s only disappointment of the night, the Spaniard looked like a player still coming to terms with the English style of play. While he was full of purposeful running with some impressive movement, the final touch evaded him, most notably when he passed instead of shooting when the Ox sent him clean through on goal.
Olivier Giroud (66’) – 6.5/10
The Frenchman looked hugely motivated after coming on, trying to work his way back into Wenger’s plans. He nearly scored with a header only to be denied by a stunning save, while he could take solace in assisting Oxlade-Chamberlain’s second goal.
Chris Willock (72’) – 5/10
The English youngster had a great chance to score after the Ox’s blocked shot fell to him, but he spurned the opportunity.
Gedion Zelalem (80’) – N/A
Came on too late to meaningfully affect the game.