Arsenal player ratings vs Villarreal: Pepe and Saka save Gunners on nightmare night for Ceballos and Partey

Simon Collings
·2-min read
<p>Dani Ceballos endured a nightmare game for Arsenal against Villarreal</p> (PA)

Dani Ceballos endured a nightmare game for Arsenal against Villarreal

(PA)

Nicolas Pepe scored a second-half penalty as Arsenal lost 2-1 to Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

Simon Collings ran the rule over Mikel Arteta’s side after a chaotic affair in Spain...

Bernd Leno 7

One of the very few to come out of the game with any credit. Made a brilliant save to deny Gerard Moreno and keep the tie alive.

Calum Chambers 6

Didn’t really put a foot wrong. Got forward a few times too and linked up well with Bukayo Saka when he could.

Rob Holding 5

Was not at it during the first half, but improved a bit after the break. Won’t be happy with the team’s sloppy marking for Villarreal’s second goal.

Pablo Mari 4

Not as good as he has been in recent weeks. Struggled to deal with the threat of Moreno during the first half.

Granit Xhaka 4

Feels like the experiment of him at left-back needs to end now. Skinned by Samuel Chukwueze for Villarreal’s opener. Needs to go back into central midfield.

Thomas Partey 3

Miles away from the level he can play at. In fairness, he wasn’t helped by the fact he seemed to be playing alone in central midfield. Passing was way off.

Dani Ceballos 2

Quite simply a nightmare night for the Spaniard. Sent off before the hour mark for two yellow cards. Was struggling before that, too.

Bukayo Saka 7

Not quite at the level we have come to expect from him, but better than many out there for Arsenal. Won the penalty with a good run.

Martin Odegaard 4

Not in the game at all really. Deployed as a No10 but, without an out-and-out striker ahead of him, couldn’t create anything.

Nicolas Pepe 7 | Star man

Arsenal’s best outfield player. Scored his penalty and had another ruled out due to VAR.

Emile Smith Rowe 4

The experiment of him as a false nine didn’t work. Couldn’t get into the game and make an impact on proceedings.

Substitutions

Gabriel Martinelli (Odegaard 63’) 5

Worked hard and gave the team an out ball, but was fairly quiet.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saka 85’) N/A

Mohamed Elneny (Smith Rowe 90’) N/A

Willian (Pepe 90’) N/A

Subs not used: Ryan, Okonkwo, Bellerin, Cedric, Gabriel, Luiz, Nelson, Nketiah.

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