Football Features

Arsenal 1-2 Man City: Player ratings as Mahrez & Rodri shoot down lively young Gunners and go 11 points clear

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 15:01, 1 January 2022

In a gripping afternoon of football, Manchester City came from behind to beat Arsenal 1-2 at the Emirates Stadium.

The win sends Pep Guardiola’s men 11 points clear atop the Premier League table, and although their rivals have games in-hand it is a formidable advantage for the defending Premier League champions.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates:

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Aaron Ramsdale – 7 – Did really well sweeping things up. His passing was exemplary as well. Helpless with the penalty.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 8 – Put Raheem Sterling in his back pocket and never let him out. Immense display. 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and 5 clearances. Especially good after Arsenal went down to 10.

Ben White – 7 – Not quite as good as his defensive partner, but then he didn’t get sent off, did he? Made key interventions to keep Arsenal stable but one cannot help but feel he should have done better on Rodri’s game-winner.

Gabriel – 3 – Defended supremely for an hour but then lost his head with two yellows in a five minute spell, leading to a red. The first yellow for scuffing the spot prior to Riyad Mahrez’s equalising penalty was particularly pointless and petulent.

Kieran Tierney – 6 – Wonderfully perceptive assist for Saka’s goal, but couldn’t really handle Riyad Mahrez.

Thomas Partey – 8 – Really impressive. A dominant display in the middle. This is the Thomas Partey that Arsenal fans have been dying to see and it’s shame for the club (but not for Thomas, obviously) that he’s now off to the African Cup of Nations.

Granit Xhaka – 5 – Stupid foul to concede the penalty. Actually fouled Bernardo once, then fouled him again as the Portuguese was diving. What’s ridiculous is besides that moment of madness he played really well and showed great leadership once Arsenal went down to 10 men, highlighted by a massive block 70 minutes in to stop Gundogan sweeping City into the lead. But that foul…

Martin Odegaard – 6 – Bright movement early. Linked play smartly. Sacrificed when Arsenal went down to 10.

Bukayo Saka – 7 – Bright. Opened the scoring with a nice clean finish and looked to trouble Ake whenever he ran at him first-half.

Gabriel Martinelli – 6 – Always a danger with his pace but actually did little with the ball. A shocking miss with an open goal after a City mix-up at the back turned the game on its head as from that goal-kick, City got Gabriel sent off.

Alexandre Lacazette – 7 – Linked play really well, threw a great screen for Saka’s goal.


Rob Holding (for Odegaard 63′) – 6 – Excellent block on De Bruyne minutes after coming on. Defended well but perhaps could have handled the City winner better.

Emile Smith Rowe (for Lacazette 71′) – 5 – Never really got involved.

Mohamed Elneny (for Saka 84′) – n/a – Came on late.

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Manchester City

Ederson – 7 – Lucky to not concede a penalty with a dicey tackle early on but besides that he was really solid both with saves and passes.

Joao Cancelo – 7 – Was understandably nowhere near his best given what happened during the week, but still shifted the ball around quite nicely and kept City ticking over.

Ruben Dias – 7 – Solid.

Aymeric Laporte – 7 – Pretty good mostly but a couple of very risky back-passes to Ederson that almost resulted for an own goal.

Nathan Ake – 7 – Struggled for the most part against Bukayo Saka but redeemed himself enormously with an amazing clearance off the line after Laporte’s ridiculous back-header. The moment that changed the game in City’s favour.

Rodri – 8 – Calm and composed. Kept things ticking for City. Won the game with a late stab after a courageous forward run.

Bernardo Silva – 8 – Everywhere, in a good way. A consistent force in the game even when City were waning.

Kevin De Bruyne – 7 – Tried several things but was always just moments away from making things happen. Still created three chances and his looping pass did result in City’s stoppage time winner.

Riyad Mahrez – 7 – Excellent penalty. Kept his focus during all the kerfuffle. Tormented Kieran Tierney too.

Raheem Sterling – 6 – Defended really well, working constantly at both ends, but got no change out of Tomiyasu.

Gabriel Jesus – 5 – Worked hard. Provoked the foul that got Gabriel sent off. Didn’t do much else.


Ilkay Gundogan (for Jesus 63′) – 7 – Gave City a much greater control of the ball, allowing them to own the last half hour despite their increasing levels of fatigue,