Reinvention of Ainsley Maitland-Niles symbolic of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

Reinvention of Ainsley Maitland-Niles symbolic of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal
Reinvention of Ainsley Maitland-Niles symbolic of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - ARSENAL RATINGS: Emiliano Martinez – 7, Stood up well to win a one-on-one with Sadio Mane to keep Arsenal ahead, and stopped the same player late on, too. AFP

Hector Bellerin – 6, He made an important block from a Andy Robertson cross in the first half, and just about survived the Scot’s frequent raids down his flank. AFP

David Luiz – 6, Often lax in possession, occasionally out of position, and generally appeared to earn little confidence from those around him. Struck his spot kick well, though. AFP

Rob Holding – 6, Perhaps no surprise that Sane would beat him in a foot race. The fact he did so in the air, too, might be cause for concern. AFP

Kieran Tierney – 7, Maybe not quite the impact of his compatriot Robertson on the other side of the field, but impressive enough. Reuters

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 8, Diligent in defence to stub out a number of Liverpool attacks, particularly when Mane was breaking. Coolness personified for his penalty. A decent way to celebrate his 23rd birthday. EPA

Mohamed Elneny – 6, Maybe surprising he is back in the Arsenal line up, but, whatever the future holds, he was happy to dig in for the team here. Reuters

Granit Xhaka – 6, Did an adequate enough job blunting Liverpool’s midfield, even if he offered little progressive. EPA

Bukayo Saka – 8, His crossfield pass freed Aubameyang for the opener, and he forged more openings for teammates in a bright first half display. AFP

Eddie Nketiah – 5, Blazed a good shooting chance over, and later suffered some rough treatment from Milner and Keita. Reuters

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7, Arrowed in a fine finish for his 12th minute goal, and the winning penalty was unstoppable. EPA

SUBS: Cedric (Bellerin, 52') – 5, Struggled when he came on, with a foul on Minamino and unable to clear for the equaliser, but he did his bit in the shoot out. Reuters

Joe Willock (Saka 82') – 5, Wasted a golden chance to win the game for the London side when he headed wide when unmarked. Reuters

Reiss Nelson (Nketiah 82') – 6, Little chance to impress in normal time, but confidently dispatched his penalty. EPA

Sead Kolasinac (Tierney 83') – NA, All he had time for was to get fouled, but at least he earned an appearance fee. Reuters

LIVERPOOL RATINGS: Alisson Becker – 6, Underemployed during the 90 minutes, other than a test at a corner, but did not get near any of Arsenal’s shots in the shoot out. EPA

Neco Williams – 5, The highly regarded young right-back was found out of position on occasion, which allowed Aubameyang to roam. AFP

Joe Gomez – 7, Had little to bother him after starting at centre-back, but was unable to provide much impetus when he was moved to right-back. EPA

Virgil van Dijk – 6, Had the ball in the net early on, but his goal was chalked off for offside at a free kick. Rusty in possession on occasion. EPA

Andy Robertson – 8, The most dynamic force on either side in the first half. Rained in crosses throughout, which Arsenal had to be at their best to repel. AFP

Fabinho – 6, Looked untroubled both when holding the midfield, or when he dropped back to centre-back in second phase, and netted his spot kick. EPA

James Milner – 5, The veteran wasted a good heading chance early in the piece. His second-half booking felt like it was a long-time in the making. EPA

Georginio Wijnaldum – 7, Tireless. Even raced off the field when subbed in injury time – no doubt delighted he had been spared the prospect of penalties. Reuters

Mohamed Salah – 6, Quiet, other than one exquisite pass to create a crossing chance for Robertson in the first half, and similar in the second. Made no mistake with his penalty. AFP

Sadio Mane – 7, The brightest of Liverpool’s front three. He spurned a good heading chance from an appetising Robertson cross early on. EPA

Roberto Firmino – 6, Remains goal shy, although he did go close with a shot from range in the second half. Looked brighter than he did at the end of last season. AFP

SUBS: Naby Keita (Milner 59') – 6, Hustled and bustled when he came on for Milner, without making any appreciable inroads. Reuters

Takumi Minamino (Williams 59') – 7, Looked eager to make an impact when he came on – and he did. Had a shot from range that did not trouble Martinez, then scored Liverpool’s leveller. AFP

Curtis Jones (Firmino 82') – NA, Had enough time to make a break down the right flank near the end, but opted against crossing when he had the chance. Scored his penalty. Reuters

Rhian Brewster (Wijnaldum 90+2') – NA, Brought on in injury time with penalties in mind, but crashed his shot over via the crossbar. AFP

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