Arsenal player ratings: Declan Rice lives up to £105m price tag to help Gunners survive Tomiyasu red card


ARSENAL maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a gritty 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

The Gunners were forced to wait until the 53rd minute for the breakthrough at Selhurst Park.

Martin Odegaard broke the deadlock for Arsenal at Crystal PalaceRichard Pelham / The Sun

Eddie Nketiah was brought down by Sam Johnstone after a quick free-kick from Gabriel Martinelli – and Martin Odegaard did the business from the spot.

Arsenal, though, went down to ten men when Takehiro Tomiyasu picked up two soft yellow cards within seven minutes midway through the second half but the Gunners held on for an important and hard-earned three points.

Here’s how SunSport’s Joshua Jones rated Mikel Arteta’s men at Selhurst Park…

Aaron Ramsdale – 6

Still got the nod ahead of new loanee David Raya who took his place on the bench and watched the Englishman kept busy in the opening exchanges with a couple of routine saves and a fair share of touches with his feet.

But he was not really threatened by the Palace attackers, even when he lost Tomiyasu in front of him.

Breathed a huge sigh of relief when he allowed the ball to fall for Tyrick Mitchell in the 95th minute… but the Palace left-back blasted just over the top before Ramsdale made a pivotal late catch.

Thomas Partey – 7

Deployed at right-back again – moving infield when Arsenal had the ball to form a pairing with Declan Rice in front of a back three.

Passing a little sloppy early on then squandered a good chance with his head but grew into the game and produced a sublime ball down the channel for Bukayo Saka to get into the Palace box.

Nervy moment when Eberechi Eze went down when he left a trailing leg but not enough for a penalty – and the Ghanian got away with waving an imaginary card.


Ben White – 7

Kept his place as the right centre-back with Gabriel on the bench and demonstrated his classy ability in both directions.

Very rarely gets flustered and always looks in total control – tonight was no different with Odsonne Edouard not getting a sniff out of the ex-Brighton man.

William Saliba – 6

The main man and leader at the heart of this Arsenal defence and his positioning was perfect to thwart a promising Palace attack.

Then a rare mistake threatened to allow Jordan Ayew in but he made a fantastic sliding recovery tackle and the penalty appeals were ignored.

Defended resolutely with White and sub Gabriel following the red card as Palace pressed for an equaliser, roared on by their passionate supporters – but Saliba and Co stood firm.

ReutersAaron Ramsdale and his defenders kept a crucial clean sheet[/caption]

GettyWilliam Saliba made a superb recovery tackle on Jordan Ayew[/caption]

Takehiro Tomiyasu saw red for two quickfire yellow cardsRichard Pelham / The Sun

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 4

Jurrien Timber’s injury and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s lack of match fitness meant maybe a chance for Kieran Tierney – but the Scot did not even make the matchday squad as Tomiyasu got the nod. Time over for Tierney?

As for the versatile Japanese defender, a steady enough display at left-back and then sliding into left centre-back at times for the first 60 minutes.

But then it unravelled quicky… he was then booked for taking eight seconds over a throw-in on the hour mark and seven minutes later given his marching orders for a second yellow when Ayew went down – there was no pull on the shirt and that seemed a little harsh in truth but another left-back option unavailable next time out.

Declan Rice – 8

On the pitch, his most notable action in the first half was brilliant sliding in Eddie Nketiah for a glorious chance – off it, he needed medical help to get a contact lens sorted out.

A superb performance in the middle of the park, running the show for large parts from a slightly deeper position but making lots of well-timed runs forward.

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It will take a long time and plenty of silverware to repay his £105million price tag – but more showings like this one in South London will certainly go a long way to doing exactly that.

ReutersThomas Partey and Declan Rice linked up to identify a problematic contact lens[/caption]

GettyRice bossed the midfield and played very well throughout[/caption]

Odegaard slotted his penalty into the bottom cornerRichard Pelham / The Sun

Martin Odegaard – 7

Kept things ticking over and carried the ball effortlessly through midfield and stung Sam Johnstone’s palm just before the break with a rasping effort from range.

Stepped up from 12 yards and confidently rolled the penalty into the bottom corner with ease, cool finish indeed.

A potential boobytrap successfully navigated – led by their terrific captain for 89 minutes.

Kai Havertz – 7

Made a bright start in the left No8 role, pushing on to try and support Nketiah.

Still finding his feet and his role in this Gunners side, though, and not massively involved, although did flash a nice volley just wide.

Moved into the centre-forward role when Nketiah went off and picked up a yellow for kicking the ball away in injury time.

Bukayo Saka – 5

Tyrick Mitchell knew he was in for a battle from the first whistle with one of the Prem’s top stars – but he was not at his electric best.

Looked a potential threat throughout but did not get the chance to break the deadlock with the England man taken off penalties following misses against West Ham and Barcelona.

Moved across to his original left wing-back position in the closing stages as the Gunners held on with ten men but in the end replaced.

Eddie Nketiah – 7

Looked to have followed up his goal against Forest with a sublime solo run but struck the base of the post – desperately unlucky.

And then really should have buried another glorious chance but dinked over needlessly from six yards.

Showed good pace and intent to win the spot-kick as Johnstone brought him down – had everything in this cracking centre-forward game except a goal.

AFPEddie Nketiah saw some huge chances go begging[/caption]

Sam Johnstone took down Nketiah for the penaltyRichard Pelham / The Sun

Gabriel Martinelli – 6

Could, maybe should, have given Arsenal the perfect start inside two minutes but dithered for a fraction too long.

His other key involvement in the first half saw him send a sweetly-struck volley off target as the Brazilian was unusually quiet.

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But it was his quick thinking that saw him take a quick free-kick for Nketiah to win the penalty and that appeared to get him going… until he was frustrated to be the one sacrificed after the red card.


Gabriel (for Martinelli, 70 mins) – 6

Jorginho (for Nketiah, 79 mins) – 6

Oleksandr Zinchenko (for Odegaard, 89 mins) – N/A

Jakub Kiwior (for Saka, 89 mins) – N/A

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