Bernd Leno was the shootout hero for Arsenal as they progressed to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Liverpool on Thursday.
The two teams were meeting for a second time this week, but Arsenal were much more resilient this time around. While chances came few and far between, Liverpool were the more dominant side and created the better of the opportunities, with Bernd Leno keeping Arsenal in the game throughout.
On the opposite end, the Gunners did test Adrian on occasion, with the Spaniard equal to whatever was thrown at him. The game eventually went to penalties after a goalless draw, Leno saving two spot-kicks to send Liverpool crashing and Arsenal into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Mikel Arteta’s men.
Bernd Leno: 10/10
The star of the show on Thursday, Leno was the difference between progression to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals and another embarrassing defeat. Over the course of the game, the German keeper made as many as 7 saves, with the one from Marko Grujic standing out. Two outstanding stops to deny Divock Origi and Harry Wilson in the shootout ensured the win. A gem at Arteta’s disposal.
Man of the Match: @Bernd_Leno ?
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— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 2, 2020
Cedric Soares: 7/10
A tricky game for Cedric, who had the tireless Diogo Jota to deal with on Thursday. The Portuguese full-back, though, did fairly well in his first game of the season, making 3 successful tackles and winning 5 duels. Could have been more astute when stringing together passes, but made no error in converting his spot-kick during the shootout.
Rob Holding: 7/10
With Arteta reverting to a 4-3-3 formation, Holding got the chance to start in a system that suits him best. The change did work to a great extent as the Englishman was much improved off the ball, making 3 clearances, blocking a shot and completing 2 tackles while also winning 4 duels. Ought to have done better on the opposite end with a headed effort, however.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 7/10
Back into the side after missing out the previous game against Liverpool, Gabriel brought a sense of calm, which was more evident in the first half than the second. 4 clearances, 1 block, 2 interceptions and 2 tackles make for a fine reading for the night, with the Brazilian also winning each of his duels. Needs to be starting more at the heart of the Arsenal defence.
Sead Kolasinac: 5/10
After starting the game strongly, Kolasinac suffered a few lapses in concentration; moments that could have cost Arsenal dearly if they did not have the brilliant Bernd Leno in goal. Needs to do a lot better, although his chances could be running out.
Dani Ceballos: 6.5/10
Ceballos was one of the better players for Arsenal against Liverpool earlier this week despite only being a substitute. This time around, the Spaniard showed that he needs to be starting more games than not, although there were a few sloppy moments that saw him being outclassed by Liverpool’s standout performer Marko Grujic. Still, he is Arsenal’s best in midfield.
Granit Xhaka: 6.5/10
Arsenal’s skipper on the night, Xhaka conducted play well when given the chance and was a solid customer off the ball. In all, the Swiss midfielder won 5 duels, made 4 clearances, blocked a couple of shots and completed 1 interception. Was a little off, at times, when linking up with the front men.
Joe Willock: 6.5/10
The match winner for Arsenal with the final penalty of the game. That is precisely the reason Joe Willock has his rating being bumped up slightly as otherwise, he did not really do much. Finding himself at the periphery of the game several times, the youngster attempted just 15 passes all game, misplacing 6 of them. Delivered when it mattered the most, though.
Nicolas Pepe: 7/10
Pepe, too, converted from the spot during the shootout. But, he also had his fair share of positive moments over the course of the regulation ninety. The Ivorian played in 1 key pass, misplacing just 2 passes all game. He also came close with an effort, before getting the job done with his spot-kick.
Eddie Nketiah: 5/10
Nketiah had a fantastic chance to seal the game for Arsenal in regulation time. However, the young striker overcomplicated matters for himself, attempting to round off Adrian when a first-time shot could have earned him a goal. Taken off for Lacazette.
Bukayo Saka: 7/10
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) October 1, 2020
Another brilliant performance by Saka, who just continues to grow in an Arsenal shirt. Fresh off his receiving his first call-up to the English national squad, the prodigious midfielder was everywhere on the pitch against Liverpool, winning as many as 11 duels while also successfully completing 6 tackles. A brilliant asset.
Mohamed Elneny: 5/10
On for Ceballos midway through the second half, Elneny kept things simple as the game ended goalless. The Egyptian, though, missed his penalty to pile on the pressure on Leno, who saved his blushes with his heroic performance.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7/10
Lacazette replaced Nketiah but hardly saw the ball before full-time. Earns his rating points for finishing his penalty.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 7/10
Like Lacazette, Maitland-Niles was late introduction who is given the rating points for being cool as a cucumber when taking his spot-kick.