Anderlecht 1 Arsenal 2: Player ratings as Lukas Podolski nets winner

Player ratings as Arsenal come from a goal down to claim victory at Anderlecht in the Champions League

Harry Reardon
By Harry Reardon

Anderlecht

Silvio Proto Largely untroubled in first half, with his most significant moment a decisive punch from a threateningly deflected Cazorla free kick. He was right behind a free header from Sanchez after 50 minutes, and then down well to save from Cazorla a few minutes later. Helpless for both late goals. 6/10

Anthony Vanden Borre The former Portsmouth man was clumsy in the challenge to set up a dangerous free-kick from wide 15 minutes into the game, which ultimately came to nothing. Otherwise, he was neat and tidy without showing the forward-looking purpose of his full-back partner Acheampong, until a scuffed shot struck the post with a little over ten minutes to play. 6

Chancel Mbemba (man of the match) Made a series of fine challenges on Sanchez and Welbeck, and for so long, the Gunners could find no way past him. One double tackle just after the half hour was especially impressive, and the Congolese deserved far better than defeat. 9

Olivier Deschacht Covered well when called upon, and adventurous too – perhaps at a cost at times had it not been for the diligent covering of Defour in particular. Booked for a clumsy edge-of-the-box block with ten minutes to go. 7

Frank Acheampong A usually attacking player pushed to left back for this game, the Ghana international was occasionally a bit over-ambitious with his choice of passes. His attacking instincts shone through, though, as he constantly found space in behind Chambers. 7

Youri Tielemans The 17-year-old was far from overawed by his illustrious opponents, showing his confidence with a 35-yard shot in the first half hour which was deflected for a corner. Also demonstrated his match awareness when nipping a possible Arsenal counter-attack with a niggly foul high up the pitch later in the first half. Has a bright future if this game is anything to go by. 7

Steven Defour The Belgian international had a quietly effective first half and showed his experience to fill in defensively where necessary as his side gained in confidence going forward, but his dead ball delivery was relatively weak. 6

Andy Najar The 21-year-old Honduran was a lively presence throughout, with his clever footwork keeping the Arsenal defence honest. Found a good position in the box after 72 minutes, and his header was unerring to put his side in front. 7

Dennis Praet The young man, seen as a new bright spark of Belgian football, showed excellent touch, a low centre of gravity and a willingness to stay on his feet. Confident to take on shots from distance and contributed his share of pressing too, before claiming the assist his performance deserved with 20 minutes to go as composure and fine footwork led to a pinpoint cross for Najar to bury his header. 8

Ibrahima Conte After conceding a very dangerous early free kick, the Guinea international grew into the game, including having one low shot from inside the box deflected clear. A little indecisive at times, though, wasting a very promising attack by cutting back into trouble early in the second half. 6

Cyriac The Ivorian forward turned Chambers well to set up an early attack and set the tone for his team. Troubled the defence throughout without significantly threatening the goal. 6

Substitutes

Matias Suárez Replaced Cyriac in the final ten minutes, and wasted a late chance to put the game beyond doubt before the late turnaround. N/A

Leander Dendoncker On for Praet for the closing moments. N/A

Arsenal

Emiliano Martinez A quiet first half will have done much to calm the nerves for Arsenal’s third choice goalkeeper. Had little to do before fielding an unthreatening effort from Cyriac just before the hour mark, and nothing he could do about Najar’s header. 6

Calum Chambers As with Gibbs, too often found himself in no man’s land as Anderlecht gained in confidence. Lucky to escape a booking with a cynical pull-back when a counter-attack looked on. Set up the equaliser with a deep cross. 6

Per Mertesacker The big German started to push forward as the first half passed largely without incident, and snuffed out most of the Anderlecht threat when it came through the middle. Drawn out of position, though, in the build-up to Najar’s goal, when he would surely have beaten the Honduran to the header. 6

Nacho Monreal Playing out of position alongside Mertesacker, the Spaniard picked up an early booking after being outwitted by Cyriac in the first ten minutes but recovered his composure and managed to stay out of mischief as the game wore on. 6

Kieran Gibbs Maintained an attacking mindset throughout, culminating in his late goal, but too often neglected his defensive responsibilities when a higher degree of solidity at the back might have given the Gunners the confidence to push forward more decisively. 7

Mathieu Flamini Unable to command the midfield as he or Wenger would have liked in a disjointed performance, and too often found himself running in the wrong direction as he chased energetic Anderlecht runners. Replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain after Arsenal went behind. 6

Jack Wilshere Struggled to link up with his central midfield colleagues in the early stages, allowing Anderlecht to get a foothold in the game. Inches away from a number of decisive passes, but inches away is not good enough. 7

Aaron Ramsey Making first start since 27th September, the Welshman struggled to impose himself, with passes going astray and minor infringements being pulled up by the referee. Shot wide when found in space 12 yards out ten minutes into the second period. 6

Santi Cazorla Wasted an early free kick with a shot straight at the wall. His set pieces marginally improved over the first half but amounted to his main involvement; he has never scored in the Champions League, and ensured that run would continue when shooting too weakly at Proto just after the hour. 7

Alexis Sanchez Probably Arsenal’s best player, but inaccurate with both crosses and shots. Should have done better after 50 minutes, but somehow managed only to get his back on a free kick eight yards out from goal. It was his cross, though, which led to Podolski’s late winner. 7

Danny Welbeck Headed over an early slightly overhit cross from Sanchez and faded from then on. Booked for a clumsy manhandling challenge when tracking back after 65 minutes, which was probably his most visible involvement in the game up to that point. Substituted for Campbell with 15 minutes to go. 6

Substitutes

Joel Campbell On for Welbeck for the final quarter of an hour, and had little involvement. N/A

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Thrown on alongside Campbell as the Gunners looked to respond to Najar’s goal. N/A

Lukas Podolski On for Wilshere in the final ten minutes, and grabbed the win for the Gunners after the ball fell to him in the six yard box. 8

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