Arsenal’s first Premier League game of the season ended in a frustrating 0-0 at the Emirates. Arsenal controlled the match but failed to take their chances, of which there were quite a few. Cazorla was the stand-out player, while Diaby and Gervinho also had decent games. Hopefully this will be a platform on which we can build in the next few games against difficult opposition, including Stoke, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City.
Szczesny 6 Very little to do bar a couple of simple saves in the first half. After just four minutes, McClean got through but Szczesny stayed tall and kept his legs together to block the shot. Think he touched the ball once in the second half.
Jenkinson 6.5 Supported attacks pretty well, providing a couple of dangerous crosses for Podolski and Giroud. His inexperience shone through at times with a few stray passes, but he didn’t have much defending to do. More tests will be needed to see whether or not he is an adequate back-up for Sagna.
Mertesacker 6 Again, not much to do, but whatever he did was good. He made a handful of decent interceptions and was dominant in the air. His aerial prowess actually created a chance for Walcott at the other end of the pitch. Perhaps was a bit flat-footed to allow McClean the one-on-one with Szczesny.
Vermaelen 6 Our new captain looked composed on the ball and had little to do defensively. Maybe his new responsibility stopped him from pushing up too much, because his positioning was sound.
Gibbs 6 Didn’t support Gervinho as much as Jenko did on the opposite side. His pace stopped a few of Sunderland’s attacks before they could develop.
Diaby 7 Passing was sharp and his driving runs were a joy to watch. Didn’t get injured, which is a positive.
Arteta 7 Typically quiet and kept the ball moving. Sat in the middle of the pitch pretty well and dictated the play alongside Santi. Him and his compatriot seemed to have a good understanding with plenty of fast passes between the two of them.
Cazorla 8 A good debut. His first touch is sublime, he has pace and his shot isn’t bad either. He attempted 77 passes, with 72 of them finding a teammate – 93.5% pass completion is very impressive for a player in such an attacking role behind the centre forward. He set up a superb chance for Giroud with a clever run and disguised pass. And the rumours are true; he is very short.
Walcott 5 Not particularly poor, but didn’t impose himself on the game. The few times he got the ball, he did fine. There were a couple of great runs, but he needs to do it more often if he wants regular game time ahead of Podolski, Gervinho, Arshavin and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Podolski 5.5 Like Theo, he didn’t get too involved in the game. He was often crowded out by Sunderland defenders and had to come deeper and deeper to receive the ball.
Gervinho 7 An interesting game from our winger. He was the most lively player on the pitch bar Cazorla, but his end product was lacking. He made mazy runs and often beat the full back, but then his pass or shot wasn’t always what he wanted. But I still believe he will be a key player this season – one of the few in the squad who can make things happen.
Giroud 6 A couple of opportunities but obviously everyone is talking about the big miss after Cazorla’s wonderful pass. It’s a shame because he could’ve made a name for himself in the first game as a super-sub.
Arshavin n/a A few nice touches and a few wayward passes – what we’ve come to expect from the Russian.
Ramsey n/a Not enough time to impact the match.