Arsenal opened their Europa League account with a second half turnaround against German side, FC Koln. The Bundesliga strugglers managed to take an early lead, thanks to a ridiculous effort on goal from Jhon Cordoba after an untidy clearance from David Ospina. Second half goals from Kolasinac, Sanchez and Bellerin completed the turnaround as Arsenal begin their campaign with a well deserved victory.
Let’s take he Arsenal players’ ratings vs FC Koln:
David Ospina – 6/10
Apart from the poor clearance that lead to Cordoba’s screamer, the keeper was solid on the night. He made some key saves to prevent Koln with a chance of a comeback later on.
Rob Holding – 3/10
Another shambolic performance by the centre-back. Given Koln’s recent struggles in the Bundesliga, such matches should usually be easy for any defender, but Holding struggled to have any sort of impact. Brash and wayward passing and unnecessary fouls. He’s fallen way behind the pecking order with that performance.
Per Mertesacker – 7/10
Struggled in a back three due to his lack of pace and seemed more comfortable in the second half with a back 4. His return was a relief for Arsenal as their defensive problems fail to cease.
Nacho Monreal – 6.5/10
A decent outing for the Spaniard. Nothing flashy on the night, but resolute and solid in defense.
Hector Bellerin – 8/10
Another player who seemed to profit massively from the switch to a back-4. He found his mojo back while playing at RB. But then again, you expect Bellerin to perform against a team that’s rock-bottom in the Bundesliga. Helped himself to a goal later on. Overall, a solid performance.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6.5/10
Lacked any sort of intensity while playing down the wings, and was another in the bunch of players who had a greater impact with a switch in formation.
Alex Iwobi – 6.5/10
You cannot fault the guy, he was played in a position where he hardly belongs. It was almost as if Iwobi was employed as an attacking midfielder with Elneny playing just in front of the defense. Nonetheless, a solid performance which got better as Arsenal shifted to a 4-4-2.
Mohamed Elneny – 8/10
He did enough on the night to prove his worth to Arsene. He was there as a cover-up for Holding’s shambles at the back and made-up for the inability of Walcott in attack.
Theo Walcott – 2/10
Offside – The one word that makes up for Theo’s performance on the night. Bad finishing and poor dribbling, what a chaotic performance from Walcott. He clearly looks like a goner and will not feature in the squad anytime soon.
Alexis Sanchez – 8.5/10
Recovered well after a poor start to the night. But a change in formation was all that was needed for Sanchez to stamp his authority on the game. Half of his rating is credited to his impeccable goal. What a hit son, what a hit!
Olivier Giroud – 7.5/10
Trust Giroud to perform in any situation. Such was his attitude and work-rate on the night. In the first half, when nothing was really going Arsenal’s way, he looked to drop deep and keep the ball moving. A change in formation suited him too, but he just couldn’t score on the night.
Definitely an important player this season for Arsenal.
Sead Kolasinac – 9/10
Man of the Match. Absolute TANK. Game changer.
His substitution for Holding changed the dynamic of the game. Scored with his first touch and seemed to be the cohesive force that the team required.
Jack Wilshere – 6/10
Looked out of tune with the rest of the team, but will improve with time.
Reiss Nelson – N/A
While many expected Reiss Nelson to start, he got a few minutes of European action as a last minute substitute.