Bukayo Saka was slated as the worst Arsenal player in the FA Cup defeat to Man City, while Liverpool new boy Cody Gakpo joins him in the front line after another goalless, assist-less and shot-less performance.
Here’s the weekend’s worst XI, chosen from Premier League players involved in the FA Cup fourth round, according to WhoScored ratings…
David De Gea – 6.18
The Manchester United goalkeeper probably suffers for his inactivity in Saturday night’s win over Reading. He made a decent block to get Tyrell Malacia out of the sh*t just before half-time and the goal he conceded, a header from a set-piece, was more of a defensive screw-up, even if you could question whether De Gea might have come for the corner. He probably could but his defenders know by now that their keeper’s feet are nailed to his line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.51
Had a face like a slapped arse when he was hooked before the hour mark after being given the runaround by Kaoru Mitoma. Jurgen Klopp defended Alexander-Arnold, saying “he didn’t get the support” he needed but the England international would have hoped to impress having been left on the bench against Chelsea last week.
10 – Kaoru Mitoma has completed 10 dribbles against Liverpool in all competitions this season, the most of any player, with half of those coming directly against Trent Alexander-Arnold. Ragged. pic.twitter.com/bLVxyPMgOo
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 29, 2023
Adam Webster – 6.17
The Brighton centre-back has struggled for fitness and had played only 10 minutes since November 9 prior to starting against Liverpool. He looked rusty, especially with his positioning, before being replaced at half-time by Roberto De Zerbi.
Issa Diop – 5.98
Marco Silva has recently urged Diop to have more belief in himself, but a little more caution was needed when he was being closed down by Jack Clarke in the early stages of Fulham’s draw with Sunderland. Diop tried to take on the Black Cats winger, lost possession and the Cottagers were behind.
Kieran Tierney – 5.82
The Arsenal left-back kept Riyad Mahrez on a leash but Tierney struggled going forward. Lost possession 15 times in 66 minutes before being replaced by Oleksandar Zinchenko as the Gunners chased the game.
Fabio Vieira – 6.11
Similar to Tierney, Vieira did little wrong but suffered in comparison to the man he was standing in for, with Arsenal missing Martin Odegaard. Mustered only one key pass in 90 minutes, failed with both dribbles and mis-hit a volley wide as Arsenal sought a leveller.
Naby Keita – 6.20
The Liverpool midfielder chased Brighton for the hour Klopp allowed him but the midfielder offered little in possession, giving it to Brighton 10 times before being replaced by Jordan Henderson.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6.20
It’s a toss-up between De Bruyne and Mahrez with both City attackers earning the same rating. The Belgian had more minutes – 75 compared to Mahrez’s 58 – to influence but failed to do so, with no key passes, accurate crosses or long passes that found a City team-mate. De Bruyne also lost all three of his duels on an off-night.
Bukayo Saka – 5.63
Saka too had an off-night at the Etihad, where he managed a 100% pass accuracy rate – but there were only 10 in total. No key passes or accurate crosses and he lost possession almost as often (nine times). Saka was also second best in all but one of his eight duels.
Eddie Nketiah – 5.90
Perhaps Saka and Vieira’s struggles against City were a factor in Nketiah’s poor showing. The Arsenal centre-forward got into decent areas in the box but seemed unsure of his touch. Denied a tap-in by Aymeric Laporte but his only effort on goal was off-target when he arguably went with the wrong foot to turn in Leandro Trossard’s cross.
Cody Gakpo – 6.36
It hasn’t helped Gakpo that he’s come into a Liverpool side amid a collective crisis at Anfield but, after his fifth consecutive start, he’s still without his first goal or assist. Against Brighton, playing through the middle even after Darwin Nunez came off the bench, Gakpo managed not a shot on the Seagulls’ goal, nor a key pass or a cross.
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