Football Features

“The supreme marksman” – Player ratings as Arsenal’s Young Gunners shoot Spurs out of the sky in devastating derby win

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 19:09, 26 September 2021

In a one-sided evening of football, Arsenal smashed Spurs in the North London derby to rise into the top half of the table.

The win was the Gunners’ third in a row, but also Spurs’ third loss in a row. It also marks the first time Arsenal have won two consecutive NLD’s since September 2013. Yes, it’s been that long!

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates Stadium:

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Aaron Ramsdale – 7 – Many were perplexed when Arsenal spent £30m to sign a back-up goalkeeper. Turns out they were signing the starter and in that role Ramsdale excels. A talented stopper with a big personality, he dominated his area and drew the love of the crowd, especially for his stoppage time save from Lucas. His devastated reaction upon conceding says everything about his mentality.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 8 – Not as assured in possession as he could have been and got cut up for the Spurs goal, but this was a mostly positive display from the new Arsenal man. Won the ball back a team-high 8 times and his responsibility, whereby he always follows in anticipating a rebound when opponents shoot at his goal, shows a much-needed maturity for the Gunners back-line.

Tony Adams was effusive in praise for Tomiyasu’s positioning after the game, which is about as high praise as you can get for an Arsenal defender. And Tomiyasu is a huge help at the back.

Ben White – 7 – Looked solid with Gabriel by his side, albeit he was lucky to not concede a penalty for his foul on Kane.

Gabriel – 8 – Arsenal’s best defender (team-high 5 clearances) and so important for the club in the build-up phase.

Kieran Tierney – 7 – A ferocious presence up and down the left, getting stuck in to Spurs.

Granit Xhaka – 8 – Solid in the middle of the park, playing a huge role in the first goal with a deft touch to accellerate the move. And he was at it again for the second goal with a delightful turn (which may have been a foul, depending on how you look at it) that unlocked Arsenal’s whole counter-attack.

Thomas Partey – 7 – Somewhere near his imposing best as he devoured the Spurs midfield. His only real error was fouling Lucas Moura so he fell into Xhaka, injuring him.

Martin Odegaard – 8 – Odegaard ran the show at the Emirates. No Arsenal player attempted more passs (49) and he completed more than anyone as well with 43 (31 of which in Spus’ half, a game-high). Played small but key roles in the build-up of Arsenal’s first and third goals; a really impressive performance from Arsenal’s new no. 8.

Bukayo Saka – 8 – A mesmeric performance from Arsenal’s no. 7. Created the opener with a lovely cross, scored the third with a great run that saw him almost literally drive through a supine Harry Kane to slap the ball home with his weak foot. Arsenal’s Young Gunners shot Spurs out of the sky and Bukayo Saka was the supreme marksman on the day.

Emile Smith Rowe – 8 – The Croydon De Bruyne was back in business yet again. Smith Rowe opened the scoring with a well-timed run off the left and a neat finish. He showed a ridiculous burst of pace and eye for a pass as he set-up the Gunners’ second goal. Smith Rowe also played the big pass to get the ball to Saka ahead of the third. Involved in everything for his team, just brimming with confidence. He later said this was the best day of his life, and could you doubt him?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7 – Led the line well, scoring Arsenal’s second goal after making a deliciously deft touch in the build-up as well. He even threw in Thierry Henry’s legendary NLD celebration for added flavour.


Sambi Lokonga (for Xhaka 82′) – 6 – Came on to see the game out and instantly got stuck in.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (for Saka 87′) – n/a – Came on late.

Nuno Tavares (for Smith Rowe 88′) – n/a – Came on late.

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Hugo Lloris – 6 – Made some big saves but in general couldn’t do too much against the tides of red pressure.

Japhet Tanganga – 4 – Came into the side to replace Emerson and didn’t cope well at all with the Gunners. Got ripped to bits on two of the goals and you can argue he should have followed Smith Rowe on the opener too. Unsurprisingly subbed off at half-time.

Davinson Sanchez – 5 – The best Spurs defender, but that’s not saying much.

Eric Dier – 5 – Didn’t really impact the game much at all. Somehow didn’t record a single tackle or clearance.

Sergio Reguilon – 7 – The one Spurs defender who doesn’t need to be embarrassed. Provided width and attacking insight. Created the consolation effort for Son with a great cross.

Pierre Emile Hojbjerg – 4 – Put up decent numbers, but his complete inability to control or shield the middle of the park ceded total control to the Gunners. Arsenal repeatedly raided into space that he should have been guarding.

Dele Alli – 3 – Just awful.

Tanguy Ndombele – 4 – Miserable. Couldn’t get it going.

Lucas Moura – 6 – Very sharp, very smart. Always battled and ran hard.

Heung-min Son – 7 – Scored Spurs’ only goal of the game with a sharp finish and created the most chances for the club too.

Harry Kane – 3 – Oh goodness gracious. Kane was horrible today, offering no outlet, no presence in attack. About the only thing he did of note was get fouled possibly in the box. Arsenal’s third goal, in particular, was just a compendium of misery for Kane. He gives the ball away with a stupid attempt to dribble, and after admirably getting back to confront Saka, he falls over and allows the youngster to waltz through and bury Spurs. After such a struggle summer it’s quite clear that Kane doesn’t want to be at Spurs, and right now can you really blame him?


Oliver Skipp (for Dele 46′) – 6 – Really bright and energetic. Helped to stiifle Arsenal in the second-half.

Emerson (for Tanganga 46′) – 6 – Helped to beef Spurs up.

Bryan Gil (for Ndombele 70′) – 6 – Tried to push things foward in attack and did a decent job.


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