MARTIN ODEGAARD was a bright spark for Arsenal despite their defeat to Aston Villa.
John McGinn’s solo goal means that Arsenal stay second in the Premier League after Liverpool went top with their win over Crystal Palace.
Arsenal were frustrated in their defeat to Aston VillaCredit: Getty
Martin Odegaard was the best of a bad bunchCredit: Getty
Mikel Arteta had to watch his players from the director’s box after picking up a suspension following his wild celebrations against Luton Town.
The Spaniard would have felt helpless as he was unable to coach the team from the sidelines as they struggled to dominate against Villa.
Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz both had goals ruled out as the Gunners failed to replicate their heroics from the mid-week win.
SunSport’s Graeme Bryce has given his ratings of the Arsenal team.
DAVID RAYA – 6
Helpless to prevent McGinn’s goal. Targeted by Villa at set pieces, who looked to expose his uncertainty dealing with crosses. Little to do overall but made saves to deny Digne and Watkins.
BEN WHITE – 5
Half a yard off McGinn at Villa’s opener but small margins matter at this level. Tried to get forward more after the break but failed to really trouble Villa as he lacked a cutting edge
WILLIAM SALIBA – 7
Calm and authoritative in the heart of defence – although he did concede a needless corner with one stray pass before half-time. Otherwise sound and did a solid job marking Ollie Watkins.
GABRIEL – 7
Solid performance. Won everything in the air and dealt with everything Villa threw at him. Handled Bailey and then Diaby whenever they ventured inside and made a crucial stop to deny McGinn near the end.
OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO – 5
Oleksandr Zinchenko struggled to deal with Villa’s wingersCredit: PA
Given an absolute roasting as Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans tag-teamed him. Booked for pulling Tielemans’ shirt. Uncomfortable afternoon.
MARTIN ODEGAARD – 8
Pulled the strings for Arsenal. Hit the side netting and forced a great save from Martinez before the break. Missed a snip early in the second half but generally provided Arsenal’s greatest threat and was their driving force.
DECLAN RICE – 7
Cool, calm and collected in his usual holding midfield role. Smashed one second half free kick into the Villa wall. Performed his defensive duties well and surged forward towards the end to create one final chance for Nketiah.
KAI HAVERTZ – 6
Started brightly but faded. Created one gilt-edged chance for Odegaard in the second half but overall flattered to deceive. Failed to provide a scoring threat until stoppage time when he pounced at the backpost to force the ball over the line – only to be penalised for handball.
BUKAYO SAKA – 6
Bukayo Sako had a goal ruled outCredit: EPA
Fluffed an early chance to give Arsenal the lead, then denied by a super save from Martinez. Thought he had equalised after rounding Martinez to net, but caught out by Villa’s offside trap. Workrate couldn’t be faulted but overall a frustrating afternoon.
GABRIEL JESUS – 6
A disappointing afternoon for the striker who worked hard but got little change from Diego Carlos and Pau Torres. Had a penalty claim turned down by VAR following a challenge from Douglas Luiz. Fed off scraps.
GABRIEL MARTINELLI – 6
Looked dangerous when he was on the ball and provided a couple of searching early crosses but Arsenal failed to feed him often enough and gradually faded from sight. Replaced by Trossard 20 minutes from the end.
LEANDRO TROSSARD – 5
Leandro Trossard took a heavy tackle from Matty CashCredit: Reuters
Replaced an out of touch Martinelli after 70 minutes. But copped a sore knock following a Matty Cash tackle.
EDDIE NKETIAH – 6
Came on for Jesus for the final eight minutes plus stoppage time. Smashed by Diego Carlos who was booked. Eventful ending as he battled with Havertz to prod the ball over the line – only for the potential equaliser to be disallowed for handball. Late header from a Rice cross flew over.
REISS NELSON – 5
Replaced Zinchenko deep in stoppage time.