Football News

Man City 1-1 Arsenal: Player ratings as Gunners lay down an early marker

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:20, 6 August 2023

Arsenal lifted the first piece of silverware this season after beating Manchester City in their FA Community Shield showdown at Wembley this Saturday afternoon.

The official curtain-raiser ended in a 1-1 stalemate with second-half substitute Cole Palmer spectacularly giving the English champions an early lead which Leandro Trossard cancelled out very late into the game.

With no extra time, the contest swiftly moved to a dreaded shootout which saw Mikel Arteta’s men come out on top winning 4-1. Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri missed their spot-kicks.

As the dust begins to settle, here are how the players rated at the home of English football:

Manchester City

Stefan Ortega – 6 – Made two regulation saves to deny compatriot Havertz in the opening half. He was unfortunately wrong-footed as Trossard netted a 101st-minute equaliser.

Kyle Walker – 6.5 – Speculation about his future persists but for now Walker remains a Manchester City player. The full-back wasn’t his usual explosive self down City’s right flank as Martinelli kept him honest throughout.

John Stones – 7.5 – Now an integral part of Guardiola’s team, Stones picked up where he left off last season. As good as he is going forward, and contributing to City’s attack, the defender-cum-midfielder is ever-reliable on the backfoot. 

Rúben Dias – 6 – Produced another challenge Arsenal were not happy with. Just before the hour mark Saka nipped in to win possession from Dias, who followed through with his studs landing on the Arsenal winger’s boots. Free-kick conceded but no further punishment for the nominally resolute Dias.

Manuel Akanji – 6 – Heading into his second full campaign with City the Swiss central defender was a rock at the back before unluckily deflecting the ball into his own net.

Rodri – 7 – Came really close to breaking the deadlock. His effort in the 14th minute flicked off Rice and flashed wide of Ramsdale’s upright. As the match grew Rodri was retaining and recycling possession with ease.

Mateo Kovačić – 5 – It might take a while before Kovačić is fully assimilated into this machine-like City team, on debut the former Chelsea man rarely showed glimpses of promise.

Bernardo Silva – 5 – Nothing spectacular from the Portuguese playmaker who continually looked at ease in possession.

Jack Grealish – 4 – Not his best showing in a Manchester City jersey. Quiet for much of the time he was on the pitch. Hooked off before the hour mark.

Julián Álvarez – 5.5 – Penalised for dissent after kicking the ball away. Put that behind him but rarely got himself into the game despite one really good run that could have ended in a goalscoring opportunity.

Erling Haaland – 4.5 – It’s now six appearances since he last scored for Manchester City, unthinkable only a few months ago.

Substitutes:

Phil Foden (for Grealish 58) – 5 – Came on to add some oomph to City’s attack and subsequently played a key role in City’s go-ahead goal.

Cole Palmer (for Haaland 64) – 6.5 – Wow. A sumptuous finish to break the deadlock with less than 15 minutes left in the game. Riyad Mahrez’s departure should mean even more playing time for Palmer this forthcoming season.

Kevin De Bruyne (for Kovačić 64) – 5.5 – His mere presence kept the Gunners alert while opening up space for his teammates to attack.


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Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 5 – Had a heart-in-mouth moment when his touch to control a back pass wasn’t the best. The ball came agonisingly close to the goal line with Haaland charging at him, but the England goalkeeper cleared just at the crucial moment. Also nearly beaten from the halfway line by Rodri before the break. Nothing he could do to stop Palmer’s stunning long-range goal. 

Ben White – 5 – Started promising before fading away, though was in the right place at the right time in the lead-up to Arsenal’s late equaliser.

William Saliba – 8 – How the Gunners missed his presence at the backend of last season. If he stays healthy then Arsenal will be contenders again.

Gabriel – 5.5 – Booked after getting in the way of Ortega as he looked to take a quick free-kick.

Jurriën Timber – 7.5 – Although guilty of conceding possession, and playing in an unfamiliar left-back role, this was a positive debut outing for the Dutch defender who made a series of crucial interventions before coming off.

Thomas Partey – 6.5 – Had a few minutes to forget in the opening half, first a needless booking and then a poor pass for Rice which allowed Haaland to tee up Rodri. He did recover with some intelligent forward runs following the regaining of possession.

Declan Rice – 6 – The former West Ham skipper wants to be judged on performances and not the sum Arsenal paid for his services. On today’s showing, Rice could end up becoming a priceless acquisition, especially when he can be utilised as the Gunners‘ third centre-back.

Martin Odegaard – 7 – As usual, when he’s on song Arsenal play their best football. Odegaard was at his fleet-footed best and everything Arteta’s side did positively came through him.

Bukayo Saka – 6 – There were glimpses of Saka’s brilliant wing play, but the England international was unable to be a consistent threat.

Kai Havertz – 5.5 – Entered the referee’s book on debut for a trip on Stones, before that had an effort on goal but his shot lacked power. Before the interval found himself in a brilliant position but his shot was straight at Ortega, who made a smart block. He can still be encouraged by this outing.

Gabriel Martinelli – 5 – Saw an effort in the 25th minute blocked by Stones who threw himself in the way to make a crucial block.

Substitutes:

Leandro Trossard (for Martinelli 75) – 6.5 – Done well to set himself up to score Arsenal’s equaliser despite it taking a wicked deflection.

Kieran Tierney (for Timber 75) – N/A – A late sub.

Eddie Nketiah (for Rice 80) – N/A – A late sub.

Fabio Vieira (for Havertz 87) -N/A – A late sub.

Emile Smith Rowe (for Gabriel 87) – N/A – A late sub.

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