Player ratings such as the late Eddie Nketiah strike save the Gunners


Arsenal had young striker Eddie Nketiah to thank when he appeared with an equalizer to spare his side’s blushes in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Fulham.

The first half was played almost entirely at Arsenal’s pace. The Gunners dominated the possession but found clear chances hard to get past when Fulham sat deep and tried to absorb pressure. Dani Ceballos thought he had led Arsenal just before the break, only for VAR to intervene and rule it out for a narrow offside as Bukayo Saka is selfish and has tears.

The second half started with the same theme, but it was Fulham who drew the first blood after Josh Maja stepped up to shoot home a penalty that VAR awarded for a Gabriel foul on Mario Lemina. Arsenal pressed for an equalizer and saw a Nicolas Pepe nod cleared off the line, but they had to wait until the last minute for Nketiah to appear on the back post to hit an equalizer.

Ryan got the nod before Bernd Leno | IAN KINGTON / Getty Images

Mat Ryan (GK) – 6/10 – Not the busiest afternoon for Ryan, but there were some nervous moments, including watching a Maja shot trickle out.

Hector Bellerin (RB) – 5/10 – Had a hard time dealing with Lookman in defense and struggled to cope with Fulham’s low blocks in attack. Found no room, although he was lucky not to get a solid assist for Ceballo’s nod.

Rob Holding (CB) – 6/10 – Did everything he needed to do at the back but was clearly bored by lack of action and tried to channel his inner Pirlo with some long-distance passes … most of which were very bad.

Gabriel (CB) – 6/10 – Maja kept quiet for most of the game and was crucial to keep Arsenal ahead with an excellent pass. A little careless for the penalty decision but unlucky to see it go against him.Granit Xhaka (LB) – 7/10 – Definitely no left-back and missed some opportunities for overlap, but managed incredibly well with his marking and passing. Very composed for a player who has such a different job.

Ceballos thought he had scored his first goal of the season Julian Finney / Getty Images

Dani Ceballos (DM) – 8/10 – Outstanding as a defensive midfielder. Made plenty of tackles and hovered the possession well, but probably needed to show more in attack.

Mohamed Elneny (DM) – 4/10 – Although he was not under much pressure, Elneny seemed to make the wrong decision over and over again. Bellerin could be seen shouting at him to make a forward pass, but Elneny would turn back. Let Fulham settle too easily.

Bukayo Saka (RM) – 7/10 – Found space difficult to get past Fulham’s deep defense, but looked like the only player in red who actually wanted something to happen. Finished Arsenal’s only start in the first 45.

Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – 6/10 – Impressed by his movement but there was no end product at all. Could not find the defense-splitting passport needed.

Gabriel Martinelli (LM) – 6/10 – Found himself too isolated out, especially with Xhaka not overlapping. Saw a lot of the ball but had too much work to do each time.

Lacazette left the game with an injury | Pool / Getty Images

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 5/10 – Forced to drop a little too deep to try to find the ball, but left Arsenal without that focal point in attack at times. Left the game early with an injury.

Laca limps off …

? Nketiah↩️ Lacazette

? 0-1 ⚪️ (70) #ARSFUL

– Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 18, 2021

Thomas Partey – 6/10

Nicolas Pepe – 6/10

Eddie Nketiah – 7/10

Areola had a great game | Pool / Getty Images

Alphonse Areola (GK) – 7/10 – Must pay attention to a handful of decent Arsenal shots. Made an excellent save to deny Pepe but was not really tested other than that.

Ola Aina (RB) – 6/10 – Backed up against Martinelli, and while he did not always come out on top, Aina did more than enough to keep the Brazilian quiet.

Joachim Andersen (CB) – 7/10 – Glad to sit back and absorb Arsenal’s pressure. Pulled out some excellent challenges to keep his side in this game and showed why he is linked to some great teams.

Tosin Adarabioyo (CB) – 7/10 – An excellent screen from Adarabioyo. Saw calm and composed with all decisions and made it impossible for Arsenal’s strikers to find a place.

Antonee Robinson (LB) – 7/10 – Enjoyed his fight with Saka, who made sure Robinson had to work hard all afternoon. Was a regular attack because Fulham specifically targeted Bellerin.

Lookman was Fulham’s danger man Pool / Getty Images

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (DM) – 6/10 – Looked a bit shaky on the defensive but enjoyed his rare striker. Looked like Fulham’s most progressive player once again.

Mario Lemina (DM) – 7/10 – Looked pretty comfortable doing the dirty work for Zambo Anguissa. Shared Twitter with his theaters for the penalty, but at this point during the season, Scott Parker does not care.

Bobby Reid (RM) – 5/10 – Played in a strange secondary wing-back role which meant that he only hovered between defense and attack. Did not do much wrong, but did not do much at all.

Ivan Cavaleiro (AM) – 4/10 – Did nothing. Did literally nothing.

Ademola Lookman (LM) – 6/10 – It was easily Fulham’s most dangerous forward, Lookman liked to threaten Bellerin. Withdrew with 20 minutes left, perhaps to protect his condition after a recent injury to his hamstring.

Maja made no mistake from the site Julian Finney / Getty Images

Josh Maja (ST) – 6/10 – Found that he was a bit isolated in attack but took advantage of his opportunity from the penalty spot.

77 ‘Good shift, @joshmaja!

? 0-1? | #FULL

– Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) April 18, 2021

Harrison Reed – 6/10

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6/10

Joe Bryan – Not applicable

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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