Arsenal player ratings vs Sunderland as Nketiah and Holding impress but Balogun struggles

Bernd Leno: Was worked far more than Mikel Arteta would have liked on the night but looked focused and alert. Maybe could have been a little quicker off his line for the Sunderland goal but that really is nit picking. 7.

Cedric: The Portuguese was good in the final third on occasion grabbing an assist for Pepe’s goal, but defensively he was found wanting. Arsenal will hope Tomiyasu is fit for Norwich given the drop off on display this evening. 6.

Ben White: Some lovely pick outs when given time on the ball and generally pretty solid at the back. Demonstrated a lot of vocal leadership at the back too. 7.

Rob Holding: A real captain’s display from the man wearing the armband on the night. Played the offside trap well, marshalled his defence superbly and showed some great quality on the ball to pick out long passes from the back. Would be easy for the 25-year-old to look rusty with how little he’s played but he was sharp throughout. 8.

Nuno Tavares: On a few occasions his attacking runs meant that Arsenal found themselves exposed down the left but that may have been due to the formation. When he did get forward his directness was excellent, and that ability to cut back inside makes him so different to the other options the Gunners have. 7.

Mohamed Elneny: Steady enough in midfield without ever really being ambitious enough in possession. A standard Mo Elneny performance really. 6.

Emile Smith Rowe: Not his most influential game when asked to play in a slightly deeper role that doesn’t really suit him. Having been so excellent for most of the season we’ll forgive him for a quiet outing though. 6.

Martin Odegaard: The Norwegian continued his excellent run of form with a fine display. Pulled the strings from just behind the attacking line and looked confident enough to pull of some excellent passes. Growing as a leader now too in this side. 8.

Martin Odegaard had another good performance during Arsenal's 5-1 win over Sunderland in the Carabao Cup.(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Martin Odegaard had another good performance during Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Sunderland in the Carabao Cup. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicolas Pepe: Saw the best of the Ivorian who scored and provided an excellent assist that involved a piece of skill that only Pepe would ever really try. Still drew frustration from the sidelines though at how he can switch off at times when out of possession which is probably why he’s not in the side. 7.

Flo Balogun: A disappointing night for the Hale Ender who did have chances but couldn’t take them. Was pretty quiet aside from that and exposed Tavares behind him in a position that is not his regular one. The 20-year-old will come again though. 5.

Eddie Nketiah: Say what you like about the England under-21 striker he is an undoubted ‘fox in the box’. Three goals all inside the six yard box show what he can do, but you feel this is more an advert to other clubs than a sign of what’s to come for Arsenal. 9.

Substitutes –

Granit Xhaka: Shored up the midfield by switching to a double pivot after coming on and more or less silenced a Sunderland come back as a result. 7.

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Gabriel Martinelli: Was a nuisance after coming on. His inability to play less than 100% saw him almost get injured on more than one occasion, but that is why he’s such a fan favourite at the Emirates. 7.

Gabriel: Shared the game with Ben White in the absence of Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers who both have COVID. Nothing in this display to suggest he won’t start against Norwich on Boxing Day. 6.

Charlie Patino: Brought on to rapturous applause from an Emirates crowd who have heard how good he can one day be. The 18-year-old then added a debut goal to cap off the first of many excellent nights in an Arsenal shirt. 8.

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