Xhaka 5/10 as Arsenal lose again, pressure on Emery increases
Arsenal were booed off the pitch by a sparsely populated Emirates crowd after relinquishing a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand to tuck away a Gabriel Martinelli cross to put the Gunners ahead in first-half stoppage time, but two excellent Daichi Kamada goals in nine second-half minutes completed an excellent turnaround for the Germans.
It's difficult to pick something out in what was a poor Arsenal display, but Granit Xhaka's return to the first-team fold following his run-in with the Emirates crowd last month will give the midfield some form of closure.
Inconsistency reared its ugly head once again for Unai Emery's side in what was a real Jekyll & Hyde performance: A complete stroll in the park in the first half, followed by a feeble surrender in the second.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Emery can't buy a result at the moment, and the Spaniard was unable to muster a meaningful response to Frankfurt's fearless second-half fightback.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Emiliano Martinez, 6 -- A complete bystander in a first half that Arsenal dominated, but could do nothing about either of Kamada's precisely-arrowed strikes as the visitors rallied after the break.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- The German can't get a look-in on the Premier League scene, but comfortably looked the more assured of Arsenal's central defensive pairing. Booked for chopping down Eintracht striker Goncalo Paciencia, and will miss the away trip to Standard Liege in a fortnight.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 -- Caught defending too square against Frankfurt goal scorer Kamada, allowing the Japanese midfielder to work some space on the edge of the box and fire home an excellent equaliser.
DF Kieran Tierney, 6 -- The former Celtic man had a couple of nervy moments in the opening half-hour, but recovered to make some smart interceptions. Gunners fans would probably like to see more of the full-back going forward, though.
MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- It was a disappointing return to the side following a five-game hiatus, and it was a scruffy performance from the Swiss international, who looked a touch rusty. Booked in the closing stages for dissent.
MF Joe Willock, 5 -- If you're going to get in the way of Aubameyang as the striker looked set to head home, just make sure you score yourself. He didn't -- and that wasn't the only time he should've scored.
FW Gabriel Martinelli, 7 -- Fired an instinctive volley straight at goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow from six yards out after 15 minutes, before having a glancing header cleared off the line from the resulting corner. The Brazilian's drilled cross fell to Aubameyang to drill home the opener and he was replaced in the second half by Mesut Ozil.
FW Bukayo Saka, 6 -- Showed great pace to get on the end of an Aubameyang through ball just before the half-hour, but clipped his strike straight at Ronnow in the Eintracht goal. Started the move for Arsenal's opener with some neat footwork.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 -- Made no mistake with his only clear sight on goal in first-half stoppage time, with his shot carrying just about enough zip to beat Ronnow and cannon home off the crossbar.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, 6 -- Certainly gives the Arsenal midfield something extra, but will be disappointed he couldn't block Kamada's second. Booked late on for a mistimed tackle.
MF Mesut Ozil, 6 -- Didn't see enough of the ball to haul his side back into the game.
MF Lucas Torreira, N/R -- Came on for the final 15 minutes following an injury to Mustafi, but couldn't make an impact.