Player ratings as the Gunners weather the blizzard to crush the Baggies
Arsenal weathered winter conditions to beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at the Hawthorns, as Mikel Arteta’s men continued their mini-resurgence.
The Gunners took the lead in the 22nd minute, when Kieran Tierney stepped in from the left flank and fired a magnificent shot into the top corner on his weaker right foot. The visitors doubled their advantage just minutes later, after Bukayo Saka returned home to complete a nice smooth team movement.
Arsenal killed the game on time, with Alexandre Lacazette stroking the ball past Sam Johnstone, after Semi Ajayi nearly turned a clearance into his own net. The Frenchman then pushed the game’s final goal over the line of a Tierney whipped cross to doom West Brom to yet another loss and continue the Gunners’ mini-revival.
Let’s take a look at the player ratings on a goal-filled night in the snow at the Hawthorns.
Sam Johnstone (GK) – 5/10 – Made an early backup to cleverly refuse Bellerin. There was nothing I could do to stop the Tierney Wonder Strike. Left completely blocked for second, third and fourth, too.
Darnell Furlong (RB) – 5/10 – Allowed Tierney on the inside to crack the net way too easily. Big Sam will be furious. Poor rear view.
Semi Ajayi (CB) – 5/10 – Couldn’t cope with Lacazette’s hunger, and left exposed by Furlong’s poor positioning on several occasions. Spared from scoring a hilarious own goal by hitting the post.
Branislav Ivanovic (CB) – 4/10 – I looked miles away from the beat and not up to the Baggies. There was no response to Arsenal’s fluid movement. Subbed by injury – a little pity.
Dara O’Shea (LB) – 5/10 – Bombarded on this left side by the Saka and Bellerin ruffles. Torn apart as the Gunners relentlessly targeted his flank. A difficult evening for the defender.
Romaine Sawyers (CM) – 5/10 – Didn’t score a hilarious self-defense goal this time around, immediately improving his last outing. Still, not sure he contributed anything positive to the performance.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 6/10 – Wanted to make a difference, but his talents were limited in such a rigid and uninspiring system. A 90-minute job.
Matt Phillips (CM) – 5/10 – Out of position, but used in the center for his energy and pressure. Had no impact. He’s a winger, after all.
Matheus Pereira (RW) – 5/10 – Anonymous, and cuts a very frustrated figure. Put to work in terms of racing, but not allowed to demonstrate what his game is.
Callum Robinson (ST) – 6/10 – Who wants to be a lone striker in an Allardyce football team? Jeez. So little to cry out for Robinson on Saturday, but not his fault at all. Had a goal disallowed for offside.
Grady Diangana (LW) – 4/10 – I don’t know if he touched the ball in the first half. Never entered the game, and the ball did not come in often enough to sniff. Subbed at halftime.
Charlie Austin (ST) – 5/10
Kyle Bartley (CB) – 6/10
Rakeem Harper (CM) – N / A
Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – Think of the coldest man in the Hawthorns. Nothing to do, and would have turned into a snowman if he hadn’t taken care of the individual warm-ups.
Hector Bellerin (RB) – 7/10 – Launched a quick shot towards the goal, but saw his effort saved. Much better than recent screens, and delivered in both halves of the field.
Rob Holding (CB) – 8/10 – Resolute and commanding in his duties, while posing a threat in the Baggies’ penalty area as well. Comfortable.
Pablo Mari (CB) – 7/10 – Coming out of defense with the ball well, given his lack of defensive work required. A quiet evening for the central defender.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – 8/10 – Arsenal missed the mark with a brilliant strike on their supposedly weaker foot, crushing the ball in the top corner. Never abandoned his offensive duties, providing the fourth with a large cross.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – 8/10 – Always looking to penetrate West Brom’s defense with direct, vertical passes, while also not lacking bite in the tackle.
Granite Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – Disciplined from the start, and showed no sign of Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll. Kept Arsenal running and smothered potential dangers – not that there were many.
Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 8/10 – I had a great run behind the West Brom defense to fully open them up for the second base, selflessly rolling the ball for Saka.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – 9/10 – Continued his good form, using his direct stroke to good effect and terrifying his marker. Home hit the second base – couldn’t miss from there. Shining again.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 9/10 – Produces a nice ball around the corner to send Smith Rowe for the second. Killed the game with two clinical goals in the second half.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (LW) – 7/10 – Drift into the field and create spaces on the left flank for Tierney to exploit. Still not in these goal positions.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (RB) – 7/10
Willian (RW) – 6/10
Joe Willock (CM) – 6/10