UEFA Europa League 2017/18: Arsenal 3-1 FC Koln: Player Ratings
Arsenal got their UEFA Europa League campaign off to an excellent start with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Koln.
It was not comfortable initially, as Arsenal conceded an early goal to Koln when Jhon Cordoba struck from 35 yards out, within the first 10 minutes, with David Ospina stuck off his line. They were then able to comfortably see the game till halftime, keeping the score at 0-1.
However, as the second half began, the Gunners moved into another gear, with substitute Sead Kolasinac scoring an emphatic volley to get Arsenal on level terms. Maitland-Niles then came close to snatching the lead, but to no avail, before a magnificent goal from Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead.
The game then opened for Arsenal and lots of chances came and went before Hector Bellerin slid in one to make it 3-1 and seal the game.
Here we look at the player ratings from tonight’s match:
David Ospina: 4/10
His weak clearance gifted Koln the ball in Arsenal’s half before Cordoba looped the ball over him into an empty net. The Colombian looked extremely nervous given his lack of game time.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
The Spaniard looks to be a different Bellerin to the one of two years ago, finds himself cutting back very often and struggling to put in any good deliveries. However, he came more into the game as Koln opened up and scored the third for the Gunners.
Rob Holding: 3/10
A terrible start saw him take down Bittencourt twice, before numerous marauding runs forward ended badly. No surprise to see him taken off at half time after a dreadful first half performance.
Per Mertesacker: 5/10
Mertesacker looked very shaky in defence and despite Arsenal’s pressure in the second half he still looked poor and slow.
Nacho Monreal: 6/10
By far the best centre back of the three in the first half and still defended okay throughout the second half. Certainly better suited to the three in central defence.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
He was a bright spark at times, going forward, looking very comfortable on the ball, and defending well. He got even better as he moved into central midfield and nearly gave Arsenal the lead at 1-1. Impressive performance for a young player.
Mohamed Elneny: 5/10
Playing as a lone centre midfielder proved to be difficult in the first half, struggled to move the ball efficiently or forward much. His job was made easier when he was joined by Maitland-Niles in midfield but he was still not that impressive.
Alex Iwobi: 5/10
Iwobi seemed unsure of his actual position with Arsenal playing three at the back. He had a very free role and had an important part in Arsenal’s best chances but lost the ball on lots of occasions.
Theo Walcott: 7/10
Walcott was by far the most energetic of all Arsenal players at the beginning of the match but found himself offside on many occasions. The one time he remained on, it set up Arsenal’s equaliser and he practically set up Bellerin’s goal late on.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
The Chilean found it very tough for the most part, often coming deep and misplacing passes. However, a world class player produces even on his bad days, and he did just that. Going nowhere he pulled off an incredible curling effort which made it 2-1 to the Gunners.
Olivier Giroud: 5/10
In what was a good second half performance from the Gunners, Giroud was not really involved. It was one of the Frenchman’s poorest performances as the other Arsenal attackers bypassed him.
Sead Kolasinac: 8/10
The Bosnian had an immediate impact as his fantastic strike gave Arsenal their desperately needed equaliser. He performed well from then on as his confidence took a huge boost, defending and attacking well.
Jack Wilshere: 7/10
A great dummy led to the third goal and he looked extremely comfortable going forward late in the game, picking the ball up in good areas. Arsenal fans will be pleased to see him back.
Reiss Nelson: N/A
With little time to make an impact, Nelson could not do much. Arsenal will hope to see more of him in this competition in the future.