Ozil 9/10, Mustafi 5/10 as Arsenal exit Carabao Cup on penalties
Arsenal were knocked out of the Carabao Cup, as they were beaten by Liverpool 5-4 on penalties at Anfield following a dramatic 5-5 game on Merseyside. Shkodran Mustafi's own goal gave the Reds an early lead, only for Arsenal to respond in style through Lucas Torreira and a Gabriel Martinelli brace.
Jurgen Klopp's men fired back courtesy of a James Milner penalty, only for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to restore the two-goal lead for Unai Emery's men. Two goals in a stunning five-minute span from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi brought Liverpool level, and though Joe Willock's subsequent screamer was good enough to win any game, Origi's second, in injury time, sent it to penalties, and Arsenal finally fell.
Arsenal were able to play some of their best attacking football of the season, stringing together some great passages of play that consistently cut the Reds open. They were committed to every ball and swarmed the hosts at every available opportunity, playing with the sort of quick, high tempo that always seems to bode well for them as a unit.
There were points when it was clear that Arsenal couldn't quite get to grips with the physicality of the game, which constantly saw them turn possession back over to Liverpool. They left gaps at the back far too often, and their complacency led to five conceded goals.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Unai Emery showed belief in his fringe players to put in a performance, and from an attacking sense, it worked wonders, as Arsenal were able to find success at will down the flanks. His decision to take off Mesut Ozil in the second half, however, after a good performance, caused a great deal of confusion and anger among the Gunners faithful.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Emiliano Martinez, 6 -- Was unlucky for the first two goals but could've done better for Liverpool's third and fourth. Couldn't quite make a save in the shootout.
DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- Created some nice opportunities when moving forward and largely kept his composure at the back. Fortunate not to give away a penalty just moments before Milner's spot kick but scored in the penalty shootout.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 5 -- Poor timing from the centre-back led to the own goal that opened the scoring. Continues to look off the pace and has too many lapses in judgement.
DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Looked by far the most assured member of the back four for Arsenal. Was beaten when Origi turned away from him for the goal but managed to clean up at the back on plenty of occasions.
DF Sead Kolasinac, 6 -- Always loves to get forward when he can but seems to struggle with the basics of defending at this level. Completely switched off for Liverpool's first of the night and was substituted in the 83rd minute.
MF Lucas Torreira, 7 -- Reacted well to score in the first half and combined well with Ozil moving forward time after time. Still serves as Arsenal's best out-and-out central midfielder but was replaced after 72 minutes.
MF Joe Willock, 7 -- Despite being a gritty force in the middle, he had poor awareness when on the ball. Made up for that and then some by smashing in Arsenal's fifth with a delightful strike.
MF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 7 -- Initially struggled to execute some good ideas but really came into the game as it went on. Ghosted past Origi for Arsenal's second and showed great urgency to help force in their fourth. Showed nerves of steel to score in the shootout.
MF Mesut Ozil, 9 -- Was pulling all of the strings from the first minute until he was subbed off just after the hour mark. Did well creatively for the Gunners' opener, won the ball back for their third and put together a brilliant assist for Maitland-Niles' tally. Made a strong case here.
MF Bukayo Saka, 6 -- Provided a nice assist for Martinelli's second of the evening and looked lively in and around the box.
FW Gabriel Martinelli, 8 -- Once again proved his goalscoring prowess with two at Anfield. Could've, and probably should've, had a hat trick with a few nice opportunities in the second half. Scored in the penalty shootout.
DF Kieran Tierney, N/R -- Was introduced into the chaos late in the game and never really seemed to adapt in the short time he was on.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, 5 -- Didn't contribute in a positive manner for his side and seemed to introduce a feeling of panic into the midfield. Did convert his attempt in the penalty shootout.
MF Dani Ceballos, N/R -- Lacked the usual creative spark we've seen from him and failed to unleash Arsenal's counterattacking unit late in the game. Missed the decisive penalty in the shootout.