player ratings

Player Ratings v Burnley

Author: . Published: at 8:44pm

Written by : @georgelewiss97

Lukasz Fabianski: Despite conceding twice, this was a quiet afternoon for the Polish keeper, as he was helpless for both goals; first a deft finish by Gudmunsson and then a bullet header from Chris Wood. After Adrian’s nervy display in midweek, the new signing once again showed why he is far and away the best goalkeeper at the club. 6/10

Pablo Zabaleta: A rock at the back in recent weeks, the first half was a consummate performance from the Argentinian, as he swept up every overhit long ball from the opposition. He linked well with Diangana, and rendered Aaron Lennon ineffectual throughout. It was only Charlie Taylor who caused the stand-in skipper problems, cutting in far too easily late in the game, with one such move almost resulting in a third equaliser for the visitors. This was the first sign of Zabaleta’s stamina failing, but he was relatively assured for most of the game. 6/10

Fabian Balbuena: Though his defensive partner has gained all the plaudits in recent weeks, the Paraguayan has been equally excellent (though perhaps not as glamorous), and he was marginally the best defender for the Irons on Saturday. Though he was a little discombobulated for the opening goal, his most impressive aspect was his improved distribution; an excellent pass to Diangana led to the first goal, and these balls through the middle of the park were a feature of his play. Despite his smaller stature, he coped with Burnley’s aerial bombardment more effectively than Diop, but at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, there is still a collective vulnerability from set-pieces. 7/10

Issa Diop: A mixed performance from the Frenchman; on the rare occasions that Burnley kept the ball on the floor, Diop was as impeccable as always, intercepting regularly and using his body to shield the ball before releasing the ball. In the air, especially in the second half, it was a different story; despite his huge frame, Sam Vokes and then Ashley Barnes regularly got the better of him, with one missed header almost causing a breakaway. Admittedly, Diop will hardly face a more physical approach for the rest of the season, but he needs to find a more effective way of challenging aerially, for this isn’t the first time (think Brighton away) that he’s struggled a tad. 6/10

Aaron Cresswell: The left-back merry-go-round continues with the Englishman drafted back in to replace Masuaku, and whilst he didn’t grab his chance with both hands, he did enough to maintain a spot at Huddersfield. A solid first-half was followed by a messy start to the second period, in which he was beaten too easily, before he regrouped for the final portion of the match. His understanding with Anderson is far greater than that of Masuaku’s, and this partnership can be fine-tuned in the coming weeks. 6/10

Declan Rice: Seeing as Burnley routinely bypassed the midfield, you’d be forgiven for thinking Rice’s pivot role was less vital than in previous games, but two outstanding tackles led to both the second and fourth goals. Once Arnautovic moved to a deeper role, Rice’s effective passing helped the team to recover some urgency following a quieter start to the second half, and the bold attacking switch meant Rice could start attacks rather than merely give the ball to one of the other midfielders. 8/10

Robert Snodgrass: Perhaps the first time the Scotsman has been able to show his ability on the ball in the middle of the park, and he performed well, helping the team to maintain a healthy share of possession. His set-pieces were unsurprisingly on the money, and it’s a mystery how the team couldn’t create a clear chance from at least one of the ten corners we gained. 7/10

Pedro Obiang: After an anonymous display in midweek, the Spaniard was excellent in the opening period before fading a little after the break, and for this reason he was the right man to be brought off for Hernandez. The highlight was a lovely cross-field ball with his weaker foot to Cresswell, and hopefully he can maintain a level of consistency that has so far eluded him. 7/10

Grady Diangana: A bubbly display against Spurs in midweek was followed by a better one on Saturday, as he regularly beat his man on both the outside and inside. Were it not for a presumably blind referee, the youngster would’ve earned the team a penalty after being hacked down, and his assist for Anderson’s first goal was all the more impressive considering how he was clattered by Tarkowski. His link-up play with Arnautovic was superb throughout, and it looks like Yarmolenko’s injury won’t hinder our season too much given the youngster’s impressive form. 8/10

Felipe Anderson: After a difficult few weeks, the Brazilian responded emphatically; even before his two goals, he dictated the game, and if not for Ben Mee’s miraculous goal-line clearance, he would have opened his account sooner. His opener was taken brilliantly, and he was due a bit of luck for his second strike, but his work-rate was fantastic throughout. Though I’d personally like a tad more urgency at points, his vision and passing – epitomised by a sublime chipped ball to Zabaleta as well as the long diagonal to Antonio – meant we had a consistent attacking route for the whole game. In tandem with Diangana’s direct running and Arnautovic’s skill in the middle, this was perhaps the first time we had a three-pronged attack, and long may it continue. 8/10

Marko Arnautovic: Despite appearing to be hobbling, the Austrian was again the lynchpin of the team. His goal was down to sheer persistence, and he could’ve had another if it weren’t for Joe Hart’s decent save. After dropping a little deeper to accommodate Hernandez, Arnautovic looked more suited to the role, as it meant he could still pick the ball up and run whilst the team still had a focal point; for so often it seems he has to do everything himself, and we looked far more dangerous when there is movement ahead of him. If this is a half-fit Arnautovic, then we’re in for a treat once he is at 100%. 8/10

SUBS:

Javier Hernandez: If anything, Saturday’s game shows how potent the Mexican is when giving a striking partner. With Arnautovic dropping just a tad deeper, he has the strength to retain the ball and the speed to support Chicharito, and it was no surprise to see the latter flourish. His canny movement dragged defenders away, which resulted in both of Anderson’s goals, but his touch to bring Antonio’s pass down was sumptuous, flicking the ball up before bringing it down instantly, allowing him to rifle the ball home. After playing the lone role in midweek, a task that is so unsuited to the poacher that he can realistically be excused, it was heartening to see him prove his worth. 8/10

Michail Antonio: It’s funny how football works; after trying admirably in midweek, very little came off for the winger, but a simple chest-down resulted in an assist to Hernandez. Though I’m still yet to be convinced as to how he fits into Pellegrini’s style, his commitment is unfairly being questioned by some, and he is undoubtedly putting effort in. More worrying is his consistency, as he seems to either be terrible or effective, and hopefully this can be remedied. 6/10

Angelo Ogbonna: N/A

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