Rating the Arsenal Players in Their 2-1 Loss Against Tottenham

Matthew Celentano@@Gunner_NYCFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal is closed down by Jan Vertonghen (L) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (R) of Spurs during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at White Hart Lane on March 3, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

As Arsenal crumbled to a 2-1 loss to Spurs at White Hart Lane, things felt all too familiar for the fans of the away side. Despite being the better team in the first half hour, Arsenal went down 2-0 before half time after some shocking defending saw Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon score practically the same goal. 

A second-half "rally," if you want to call it that, saw Per Mertesacker get one back for the Gunners as there were murmurs of a second-half comeback—but that was it. Not only was there no second or third goal (or fourth or fifth, as we saw last season), but Arsenal barely even threatened Hugo Lloris in the second half.

How many times do Arsenal have to concede early goals and end up chasing the game to figure out how to properly start, and play, football matches? The same exact thing happened at Chelsea, against Bayern Munich (in fairness, the Bavarians are a class above everyone at the moment), and at home to Manchester City.

Now seven points behind their North London rivals and five points off the top four, Arsenal cannot afford to put in any more lackluster performances in their final 10 games of the season if they want to avoid losing out on Champions League football for the first time in Arsene Wenger's reign. 

The rant could go on and on, so here are ratings out of 10 for the Arsenal players in their North London derby loss. 


Wojciech Szczesny: 5

He was exposed by his defense on both of Tottenham's goals, but he had a few Almunia moments as he inexplicably came off his line to create problems that could've been avoided.

Struggling for form recently, the young Pole definitely needs to step it up in the final stretch of the season if Arsenal are to get into the top four, and if he wants to keep his spot as No. 1 at the Emirates amid speculation of Wenger bringing in a new keeper this summer. 


Carl Jenkinson: 6.5

Although he was part of the defense that fell asleep on both of Spurs' goals, Carl Jenkinson did surprisingly well filling in for Bacary Sagna at right-back. The 21-year-old has a tendency to play a bit nervously, but he rose to the occasion of the North London derby, marauding forward and putting crosses in the box—unfortunately, nobody was able to connect with any of them.

Jenkinson is an Arsenal supporter himself, and his passionate performance in the derby showed it. 


Per Mertesacker: 6

To be honest, Mertesacker would have been a five if he hadn't scored Arsenal's only goal. He didn't cover himself in glory on either goal and was brutally exposed by the pace of Bale and Lennon—in my opinion, the pacier Laurent Koscielny should have been selected over Mertesacker against Spurs.

The big German had a very solid start to the season, but it's taken a turn for the worst in recent weeks. 


Thomas Vermaelen: 5

As the captain of the team and leader of the defense, Thomas Vermaelen should be commanding his back four to step up and play Bale offsides, tell someone to put a tackle in, or just put a tackle in himself. Well, he didn't really do any of those—instead, the Arsenal defense half-heartedly rose their hands to suggest that Bale/Lennon were offsides, and the rest is history.

It's a shame that Vermaelen's worst season has come when he's been made captain, and Arsenal supporters can only hope that he takes responsibility, steps up his performances and gives everything to get Gunners into the top four. 


Nacho Monreal: 6

Nacho Monreal looks like a good signing so far, and seemed to make an immediate impact as Arsenal kept clean sheets in their first two matches with the Spanish left-back in the side.

He looks very comfortable going forward and is definitely a capable crosser, but against Spurs, he was often caught out of position when dealing with the dangerous Lennon. 


Mikel Arteta: 6

At his best, Mikel Arteta is the hub of Arsenal's midfield, completing every single pass and distributing the ball all over the pitch, all while making tackles and interceptions.

Against Spurs, Arteta was inefficient and not attacking-minded enough, passing sideways and backwards far too much. I rarely criticize the Spaniard, but he's another player who must step it up in Arsenal's run-in. 


Jack Wilshere: 6.5

Jack Wilshere had an uncharacteristically quiet game, starting off strong with his usual driving runs forward, but fading out toward the end—still he was one of Arsenal's better players. Ten days' rest before the Gunners' next match, a seemingly impossible game at Bayern Munich, should serve the 21-year-old well. 


Aaron Ramsey: 6

The Welshman started the game off well in midfield, completing his passes and keeping the play going—somehow, courtesy of some head-scratching tactics from Wenger, Aaron Ramsey finished the game playing at right-back.

Apart from missing a good chance, Ramsey actually did fine at right-back, but one has to wonder what compelled Wenger to play a center midfielder at right-back in such an important match. 


Theo Walcott: 6

Besides assisting Mertesacker's goal with a tempting cross, Theo Walcott failed to threaten down the right wing in a game where he really could have grabbed a goal or two as he's done in the past.

The England international rarely got involved in Arsenal's attacks, completing just 12 passes in the 90 minutes (courtesy of WhoScored.com), and when he did get involved, his crosses were usually poor. 


Olivier Giroud: 5

Apart from a few flicks here and there, Olivier Giroud had a pretty dreadful game. The Frenchman took ambitious shots from too far out and blasted them harmlessly into the stands, as well as climbing on Tottenham players late on in the game to win headers, but instead conceding free kicks.

Despite 14 goals and 10 assists in his first season with Arsenal, Giroud is now yet to score since January, and it's becoming clear that he has an issue with consistency. Is he the right man to lead the line for Arsenal? 


Santi Cazorla: 6.5

Coming into this match on a run of three goals in two games, Santi Cazorla could have been a potential game changer for the Gunners, as he was in his Man of the Match display in Arsenal's 5-2 win over Spurs back in November. 

While Cazorla was one of Arsenal's better players, he lacked his usual creativity, and failed to even get a shot off (courtesy of WhoScored.com). In my opinion, Wenger needs to stop playing Cazorla on the left wing and get him back to the advanced playmaker position which suits the Spaniard best. 



Tomas Rosicky: 6.5

Wasn't able to get on the ball much, but when he did he played some incisive passes and looked like one of our more dangerous midfielders in the second half. I'd like to see him get more chances in the first team from now until the end of the season. 


Lukas Podolski: 6

Was brought on to add more directness to Arsenal's play, but failed to make an impact aside from a few deflected shots and a heavy touch from Giroud's tidy backheeled pass in the Spurs' penalty area.

Nonetheless, Lukas Podolski should be starting games. Am I the only one who wants to see him at striker?


What did you think of Arsenal's performance? What ratings would you give the players? Let us know in the comments section below.


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