Player

Player Ratings v Brighton

Author: . Published: at 9:22pm

Written by: @georgelewiss97

Lukasz Fabianski: Possibly the keeper’s first shaky appearance between the sticks, as his distribution rarely hit the mark, and was almost left embarrassed when coming out with the ball before clearing into the stands. He was blameless for the goal and also made a great reaction stop when the ball came through a crowd of bodies, so it wasn’t all bad for the Poland international, but this was the first occasion where his high standards have slipped. 6/10

Pablo Zabaleta: After a couple of stellar displays against illustrious opposition, Zabaleta has emerged as the first choice right-back, and he was again one of the better performers on Friday night. After a tricky opening in which Beram Kayal was causing him all sorts of problems, Zabaleta warmed to the task and made several excellent runs that ultimately led to nothing. 6/10

Fabian Balbuena: Though he was relatively average for most of the game, the two most telling contributions from the Paraguayan were both negative. His headed miss from a few yards out was Yarmolenko-esque, and his positioning for the goal, though not all his fault, was strange. His reading of the game remains good, but he was one member of a backline who struggled to deal with the physicality of Glenn Murray. 5/10

Issa Diop: He had the thankless task of marshalling Masuaku, but despite his size, he too struggled to compete aerially with Murray. As Brighton began to retreat, the bulk of his game was spent on distributing the ball, and he did this efficiently, so he gets the edge over his centre-back partner. 6/10

Arthur Masuaku: Should changes be made for the Tottenham game, you’d think Cresswell would be replacing the Frenchman on the basis of not just this performance, but the majority of the season. He was typically brainless in defence, missing tackles and lazily challenging for headers, but he doesn’t even offer the attacking impetus that often compensated for his lack of defensive ability. His slow distribution to Anderson meant the Brazilian was rarely in a position to test the 38-year-old Bruno, for the opposition had already regrouped and set themselves. When opposite full-back Zabelata is offering more in attack, surely Masuaku’s time is up. 3/10

Declan Rice: Another solid display from the man who we think is now English, as he scrapped in the middle of the park to try and wrestle control. When being swarmed by the Seagulls early on, Rice was one of the few who were noticeably stemming the tide, and his passing was efficient again. 7/10

Mark Noble: After an outstanding display last week, the skipper found it tough today. He put Yarmolenko in a perilous position for the goal, but he improved in the second half, with a few lofted balls being inches away from finding Arnautovic. A frustrating night, but one thinks he’ll be on the money against Tottenham. 5/10

Pedro Obiang: The Spaniard’s movement was largely decent, but his touch let him down on a couple of occasions when in good positions. At this present time, Obiang seems to either be superb or anonymous, and Friday night was unfortunately the latter. 5/10

Andriy Yarmolenko: A poor night for the Ukranian, who was the main victim of Noble’s suicide pass, but he offered very little in attack. Though he tried playing some defence-splitting passes, they simply weren’t coming off and it meant our attacks were largely concentrated on the opposite side. 4/10

Felipe Anderson: Though he should’ve exposed Bruno’s lack of mobility often, he was rarely afforded the time to do this as Masuaku’s distribution to the winger was so slow it allowed Brighton to double up. His crossing was largely decent overall, and he looked dangerous when running with the ball. Given his ability when afforded space, the next game is a perfect game for him to shine. 6/10

Marko Arnautovic: On the surface, it seems like a lukewarm performance from the Austrian, but when watching in close detail, one realises how close he was to hauling his team back into the game. Though he came a little too deep to get the ball, his link-up play was good throughout and on numerous occasions it was only the final hurdle that proved to be an obstacle. One prime example of this is when he nutmegged Dunk brilliantly before failing to find Antonio, with his missed chance at the end being unfortunate. The very nature of football means Arnautovic will at some point play worse than he did on Friday night but score a goal, and he was truly unlucky tonight. 6/10

SUBS:

Michail Antonio: The scapegoat for the season thus far has often come in for some unfair criticism, but any negative comments on this performance will be fully justified. From the outset of his introduction he looked off the pace, with his decision-making regularly being found on numerous occasions; a left-footed cross whilst off-balance sailed into the stands, but it was his shot from the 30 yards, ignoring a well-placed Noble in the process, that really emphasised this point. In eight games, it’s hard to see how he fits into Pellegrini’s system when not playing up front. 2/10

Lucas Perez: A decent cameo appearance from the Spaniard, with his link-up play creating a few opportunities in the later stages. His one-two with Rice and subsequent pass to Arnautovic deserved a goal, and he looked efficient in possession, but he doesn’t have the unknown factor or physical qualities that can really change the game. Despite this, his movement and passing was a factor in our late spell of dominance, and it was his best performance in the league to date. 6/10

Robert Snodgrass: N/A

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