The Gunners scraped past to a 1-0 win against Newcastle United to go 2 points clear at the top as a resilient Bournemouth held Leicester. Here, we look at how the Gunners fared:
Petr Cech – 8.5/10: When John Terry said that Cech’s worth 12-15 points, he clearly meant it. The Czech International extended his clean sheet record to 171 by denying more than a handful opportunities that fell to the Magpies. Overall, a top performance that made a clear difference.
Hector Bellerin – 6.5/10: The Young Spaniard blazed past the first few minutes with attacking intent and almost certainly created a goal with a cross to Oxlade-Chamberlain. Settled into the game eventually and showed his awareness throughout the game. A misplaced back pass to Mitrovic in our half could have proven costly had the Serbian not taken too long to have a shot at goal.
Per Mertesacker – 6.5/10: At 6’5’’, you expect the German to handle aerial threats off crosses or corners into the box. Allowed their defender to receive a free header in our box, only for him to shoot over the bar. Apart from that, an okay performance from the BFG.
Laurent Koscielny – 7.5/10: Stepped up and scored the goal with an intent of a striker while he was at it. His goal made the difference on an otherwise disappointing outing for the Gunners. Guilty of losing possession a couple of times. Wasn’t at the top of his game, but an excellent performance nonetheless.
Nacho Monreal – 6.5/10: This isn’t the Nacho that we’ve seen this season. Couldn’t support in the attack, except for two instances; wasn’t at his best at the back. Hope this is just a New Year hangover and he’s back to his best for the Sunderland game.
Mathieu Flamini – 6.5/10: Back to the starting lineup after missing the last game, the Frenchman struggled to shield the back four at times along with his partner Aaron Ramsey. Received his customary yellow for a high boot challenge in the second half. Once again showed why he’s not the apt replacement for Coquelin.
Aaron Ramsey – 7/10: The Welshman disappointed in the first half due to his lack of command in the midfield region and him, along with Flamini were guilty of letting Newcastle onto us and not pressing them in the midfield. Had an improved second half and should have really scored from an attempt that reminded us of his goal against Norwich two seasons ago.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6/10: These are the chances given to him to prove why he deserves to start the games even when everybody is fit, and the Englishman failed at just that. Wasted a couple of chances of creating great impact. Just probed a one opening before being taken off for Joel Campbell with 20 minutes to go.
Theo Walcott – 6.5/10: Couldn’t establish himself in the game and played an anonymous role for the most parts. Even the change of wings couldn’t bring out the better of him. On the brighter side, he tried to put Giroud through a couple of times. It shows his willingness to play for the team.
Mesut Ozil – 7/10: Appears to be like fatigue could have played its part with the German. Couldn’t provide his usual assist/goal, but his corner lead to the goal. Kept the team ticking and dropped deep to pick the ball at times. Still managed to play some magnificent balls with his vision.
Olivier Giroud – 6.5/10: Couldn’t impose himself in the game like you would have expected him to. His desperation to keep the ball alive to Ozil’s corner is what helped Koscielny score the goal. Needs to get on the scorecard the next time.
Joel Campbell – 6/10: Played really well after coming on. It appears as if the team has a better balance when he’s playing instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Kieran Gibbs – N/A: Came on with ten minutes to go with a motive to shut out the game. Did just that.
Calum Chambers – N/A: Brought on for Giroud. Had one good tackle.