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Arsenal player ratings: Arteta makes Smith Rowe error, Elneny and Xhaka swamped

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Arsenal player ratings: Arteta makes Smith Rowe error, Elneny and Xhaka swamped

A

rsenal’s top-four hopes all-but unravelled as they were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle at St. James’ Park.

Mikel Arteta welcomed Ben White and Gabriel back to his starting XI but it was the England defender who put through his own net early in the second-half.

Bruno Guimaraes doubled the Magpies’ advantage on 85 minutes to leave Arsenal two points off Spurs ahead of the final game of the season, with worse goal difference to boot.

Here’s how Malik Ouzia rated Arteta’s side rated at St. James’ Park…

Aaron Ramsdale – 5

Distribution, so central to Arsenal’s build-from-the-back philosophy, was shocking in first-half. Made some decent saves in the second.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 5

Forced off injured before half-time as defensive injury curse struck again. Was a blessing, because he could not lay a glove on Saint-Maximin.

Ben White – 6

Booked early on but defended with composure thereafter until being unfortunate to turn cross into his own net. Probably Arsenal’s best player.

Gabriel – 6

Like White, short of fitness but wheeled out for the cause and battled every bit as hard.

Nuno Tavares – 5

Was generally more defensively solid than of late but foul throw that immediately preceded the opener proved so costly.

Granit Xhaka – 5

Little chance of getting on the ball in deep positions against high Newcastle press.

Mohamed Elneny – 4

Another who couldn’t provide the control needed as Newcastle swamped Arsenal’s midfield.

Martin Odegaard – 5

Struggled to conduct Arsenal’s play as he was closed down ferociously by Bruno Guimaraes. One of his poorest games of the season.

Bukayo Saka – 6

The one player to give Arsenal some thrust as they were dominated in the first-half but this was another frustrating night when he was on the end of another kicking. Must be knackered.

Emile Smith Rowe – 4

Preferred to Gabriel Martinelli but the Brazilian’s pace on the break would have been more useful. Not his night and Arteta corrected selection error early in second-half.

Eddie Nketiah – 5

Followed everywhere by the giant Dan Burn and found the going understandably tough.

Substitutes

Cedric Soares (Tomiyasu 39’) – 6

Did okay against Saint-Maximin, who had tormented Tomiyasu.

Gabriel Martinelli (Smith Rowe 53’) – 6

In hindsight, should’ve started and looked as likely as anyone to drag Gunners back into it.

Alexandre Lacazette (Tavares 62’) – N/A

Sent on to find a goal but has scored just one in the league since New Year’s Day, so quest went to form.

Nicolas Pepe (Gabriel 73’) – N/A

Like Lacazette, had no recent form to speak of. The last time he’s seen in an Arsenal shirt?

Subs unused: Leno, Lokonga, Swanson, Patino, Oulad M’Hand,

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