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Arsenal Player Ratings vs Aston Villa: Midfield Balance The Problem For Gunners

Arsenal drew 0-0 with Aston Villa on a wet and windy Saturday evening at Villa Park. Here are player ratings for Arsene Wenger’s men from ‘Lloyd the Gooner’.

Arsenal drew 0-0 with Aston Villa on a wet and windy Saturday evening at Villa Park. Here are player ratings for Arsene Wenger’s men from ‘Lloyd the Gooner’.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

The weather was awful. The playing conditions likewise. The team did not lack effort. That said the creativity was almost non-existent and the team always looked vulnerable. Why? The midfield balance is all wrong. Sort it Arsene! How could we let Song leave without an adequate replacement? Eyes on Charlton everyone to see how Manny Frimpong does. And on Wenger/Gazidis to see what happens in the January transfer window. Here are my ratings:

Arsenal player ratings

Szczesny 7. Decent game from the big man. Tipped one on to the bar and steady in very difficult conditions for keeping.

Jenkinson 6. Defended well but lacks a creative spark so needed in a modern full back. Good power in the difficult conditions though and that was needed yesterday.

Mertesacker 7. Up against the Villa strength i.e. their centre forward and Agbonlahor and did well overall.

Koscielny 7. Continued his good recent form. His runs from deep were a feature and arguably he could have done even more of it.

Gibbs 6. Decent enough return.You can see that he can really add something to the team. Lasted ok too considering his recent absence. Just stay fit Kieran.

Arteta 6. Usual story. The ultimate professional in the wrong position.

Ramsey 7. I thought he did well. One of the few that thrived in the difficult weather and pitch conditions. His work rate was very good and he did try to provide something going forward. But the midfield was one of the problem areas and he carries his some of the blame for that.

Cazorla 5. Needs a rest, simple as that. The conditions didn’t help the wee man either. Ponderous about the pitch and in his thinking.

Oxlade-Chamberlain 5. Hardly beat a man all evening. Reasonably lively at the start but quickly faded. In his defence he is not a winger. He also worked hard.

Giroud 7. He is like a pendulum. One good thing, one awful thing, one good… etc But most of the better stuff we played went through him. He needs the balance in our team to be right to be at his best and it clearly isn’t at the moment.

Podolski 5. He also is player waiting for a team. I wouldn’t be too critical until we get the balance right.


Gervinho. I didn’t see anything from him, did you?

Arshavin. One good cross that was it.

Coquelin. One bad cross that was it!

What were your ratings from the game? Leave your opinions in the comments section.



  1. Emmanuel

    November 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    i kept asking myself what arsenal players were doing.seriously,they have lost the tip tap kind of game.playing as though it were stoke vs Qpr.the ball hardly settled on the ground.jekinson did well but lacked sagna’s kind of creativity in crossing.good 3 points sliped off our hand.

  2. Stuart little

    November 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Have to admit still not convinced by giroud would much rather podolski be our lone striker, can link up and has pace to play off the shoulder. Ramsey I think needs a loan somewhere where the pressure is off so he can enjoy his football and gain some confidence. We need a DM (coquelin) to play along side arteta or wilshere while diaby is out which would allow cazorla to stay further up the pitch and not drop so deep. Our wide players should be picked from walcott chamberlain arshavin and gervinho depending on form.
    My team vs everton
    Sagna koscielny vermaelen gibbs
    Coquelin wilshere
    Walcott podolski chamberlain
    Mannone mertesacker jenkinson arteta ramsey arshavin giroud

    • young

      November 26, 2012 at 6:17 am

      where did u play u netball

  3. Elt

    November 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Is it only me? Or is it that too many clearances from defence go straight to opponents

  4. Ogejohns

    November 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Did someone say that sagna has creativity? Look sagna is the most ball playing backwards player in the squad. Most often very afraid to push forward for attack. I hope that is not creativity or is it.

  5. Rich

    November 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I agree with most of your ratings, but don’t think Cazorla was that bad (maybe a 6) and am constantly flummoxed by why so many Gooners seem to think Ramsey is playing well when he is so below par. To this game specifically: 1. He should have had at least one, if not two, goals. That would have given us three points. 2. While he completed 90% of his passes and had the second most touches, so much of his possession is wasted either by lateral or back passes or lateral, dribbling runs that rarely reap anything positive. Ramsey has real talent but he appears to be wasting it this season and we are clearly better when he is on the bench. Think about it — eight goals in two games and then this pathetic display against a bottom dweller that keeps shipping goals in the second half. I would have to check the stats, but am pretty sure we have a worse record when he starts. There was a spell early last season when he looked wonderful, but all those stupid back heels and unnecessary frills he adds to simple passes, together with a loss of confidence or faith in his own ability to be creative, has made him a real liability. Yes he had a decent run of two, but just doesn’t do enough to be anything but a sub right now. I’d actually rather see Eisfeld given a shot.

    • davi

      November 25, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      I agree basically with what you say except I don’t know where he SHOULD have scored 2 goals. He had a couple of 1/2 chances, but not ones he would be expected to score. The only one of those I saw from us was the Koscielny one. I don’t think Ramsey is wasting his talent, he’s still learning. What get’s me is why people should be so quicky to attack him when Oxlade were easily our worst player, and Podolski wasn’t far behind. At least Ramsey was making a real effort.
      That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Eisfeld getting a chance.

  6. Jacobs Femi

    November 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    People have failed to note the reason behind Arsenal woes. Each time Ramsey starts a march its usually difficult for Arsenal to win. It’s either draw or we lose. Learn to bring him at after half time. Ramsey is the reason and bad blood in the team.

    • davi

      November 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      At least he puts in the effort. The problem is with the wingers. When Theo has played this season we’ve had a constant outlet – not just because he is so fast, but because he makes runs behind the defence. But he’s the only one who does it consistently apart from Gervinho, who brings other problems to the table.

    • Goonerboyo

      November 26, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Rubbish. Lloyd is dead right. Ramsey stood out in a poor game and an anonymous team performance. He deserves his 7. You and others get off his back and behind the team.
      Ramsey is on his way back. Wait til he is played in the right position of advanced midfield alongside Cazorla. Players need to be rested, Ramsey will be needed. Get real.

    • young

      November 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

      spot on,ramsey is loved by wenger and tht love costs all of us,there is always nothing good u can point frm him

  7. Madu

    November 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Starting xi against everton. Sczseny sagna koscieny vermel gibbs coquelin wishere arshevin walcott giroud podoski

  8. Zak

    November 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I am always shocked by the good rating given to Araron Ramsey despite his suboptimal performances. The guy clearly slows arsenal’s pace, most his passes are sideways or backwards, he lacks creativity, sharpness, dribbling skills and cannot run. He is simply not good enough to play for ARSENAL

    • davi

      November 25, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Sure he slows the play at times but it’s not because he lacks quality. You could say he lacks creativity, but I don’t know why you fail to see his ability to run with the ball – it’s actually a major quality of his. His main problems are composure and his decision-making with the ball, and these can both get better with maturity.

  9. davi

    November 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    The problem was not midfield balance, it was that the wingers, once again, didn’t do enough to make space and chances for Giroud and others. When the wingers have played well, we’ve looked a quality side; when the wingers have taken the day off, we’ve looked a very poor one.

    Anyone saying that Podolski should be playing up front is nuts imo because he just doesn’t move enough. He DOESN’T make runs behind the defence – he could do that from his left wing position, and if he did we’d be laughing. He’s shown that he can be dangerous doing that for Germany, but most of the time he just looks lethargic playing for Arsenal. He’s been heavily reliant on his crossing and finishing alone in recent games, but sometimes he needs to work harder to find the space.

    Oxlade however was worse. He didn’t make any runs of note and was only able to beat his man once. How anyone can say “he’s not a winger” is amazing. On what basis could you say that? Because he played well in a central position once?! He’s played on the wing in nearly every game he’s every played, for us at least, and he’s well capable on his day. His excuse for this game is his youthful inexperience, and he should have come off at half time.

    I see no other reason for the poor performance than the wingers. The defenders all played pretty well, the midfield was decent and Giroud did the best he could with no service of note. The wingers had plenty of ball, but couldn’t do anything with it, and didn’t get into dangerous positions.

  10. Jay

    November 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Ramsey is exactly what torres is to chelsea. He always plays ok without any result. The difference is, ramsey neva keeps his teeth close,while torres really seriously wants to perform. Wilshire is far better than ramsey,any day any time

    • Goonerboyo

      November 26, 2012 at 12:19 am

      So it’s all pick on Ramsey week. Again. The poverty of your opinions is matched only by the pausity of your spelling, grammar and syntax. Back to year one all of you. Learn to express yourselves properly then you will earn the right to speak and to be heard.Ramsey is a Gooner, he’s our boy and he is on the up.

  11. Paul

    November 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

    The one player that we have missed the most this season is Rosicky. Hopefully, he’ll be back soon….if he can hit last season’s form, we’ll soon be flowing again, as long as he’s played as our attacking midfielder (with Cazorla, when rested, played wider).

  12. Ian

    November 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    The typical style of Arsenal football has gone with the creative players that have moved on. I find the current style of play laboured, slow and conservative in relation to the fast, incisive, dominant play that used to define our brand to the world. I miss the excitement factor that our games used to have, and honestly dont know how we will get it back…

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