Player Ratings: RC Lens 1-1 Arsenal

With a number of Arsenal’s big hitters unavailable for the club’s first game of pre-season, which players were able to step up and make a case for themselves in their absence?

Match Report: RC Lens 1-1 Arsenal

Emiliano MARTINEZ: 6

The Argentinian stopper was back in the Arsenal net after spending last season on loan at Wolves and found himself relatively untested in the 45 minutes he was afforded here. Ironically, his best moment of the game came in the lead up the Lens’ goal, as it was his reflex save that unfortunately allowed the ball to fall into the path of Matias Autret for the opener. He won’t be discouraged though.

Mathieu DEBUCHY: 7

The forgotten man of Arsenal’s defence was arguably the best player for the away side in the first half, as his consistent desire to get forward and play well-timed passes to Theo Walcott down the right flank was about as dangerous as any Arsenal player looked during the first 45. It remains to be seen whether or not he will still be at the club come August but he at least reminded some that he’s still here for the time being.


Arsenal’s new skipper for the upcoming season had a relatively quiet game and enjoyed a characteristically low-key performance. That said, on more than one occasion his famed lack of pace was exposed and a quicker player might have been able to do more to prevent the Lens goal.


After two seasons of struggling to make an impression on the first-team Chambers will be desperate to do so in 2016/17, but today was not a good start for the young man. He looked shaky alongside Mertesacker at centre-back and was easily turned by a Lens attacker in the first half before a mistimed header allowed the opposition to score later on. To his credit, he recovered well in the second half after being moved to the right-back position.

Nacho MONREAL: 6

The Spaniard has made a reputation for himself as one of the most consistent players in the Arsenal defence and he had a solid first half here, although on occasion he did find himself out of position and he struggled to match Debuchy’s attacking prowess on the opposite flank.

Francis COQUELIN: 7

Having been left out of France’s squad for Euro 2016, Francis Coquelin seems to have made the most of his summer by maintaining his fitness level as he looked like one of the best players out there for Arsenal today. Despite this only being a friendly he covered a lot of ground and made a number of the tough tackles that have made him such a fan favourite.

Mohamad ELNENY: 6

A pretty standard day at the office for the Egyptian midfielder who played the quiet and tidy game that he so often does although he certainly has some way to go before approaching match fitness.


With Danny Welbeck out injured for the foreseeable future, Olivier Giroud recovering from the Euros and no new striker looking to be arriving any time soon, there’s a strong chance that Theo Walcott will be starting up front against Liverpool on the opening day of the new season. He looked poor in this game though, with some poor touches on the right-flank making him ineffective in the first half and in the second he was marked out of the game when played through the middle.

Alex IWOBI: 6

The Nigerian enjoyed the central position he occupied on more than one occasion in the absence of Mesut Ozil and showed glimpses of why Arsene Wenger put so much faith in him last season, although some nice touches aside he struggled to make a real impact when attacking the Lens defence.


The man affectionally known as “The Jeff” was given a starting berth against the club he signed from last summer, and came the closest to scoring out of any Arsenal player in the first half when he cut inside and bent his shot just wide of the post after linking well to Iwobi. A tight Lens defence kept him quiet for the most part though and he’ll need to show more in future friendlies if he’s to break into the first-team picture next season.

Chuba AKPOM: 5

After a mixed spell on loan at Hull City last season, Chuba Akpom returns to Arsenal once more to make him claim in pre-season matches but he looked badly off the pace here for the most part. He hit a tame shot at the goalkeeper in the opening few minutes and then struggled to do anything of note for the rest of the half, although the service into him left a lot to be desired. Not the impact he’ll have wanted to have made.


Matt MACEY (on 45): 6

Had barely anything to do but did make one great reflex save from a powerful volley sent his way from outside of the box.

Krystian BIELIK (on 45): 6

The midfielder-come-defender was given a chance at the back and looked relatively tidy for the most part, although Lens barely troubled the defence in the second half.

Kieran GIBBS (on 45): 7

Did well in the second half after replacing Monreal at half-time, offering more attacking impetus down the left flank.


Undoubtedly Arsenal’s man-of-the-match with an energised and lively second-half display culminating in the deftest of chips to earn his side a draw. It was clear today that he feels like he has something to prove this season and he couldn’t have asked for a better start.

Serge GNABRY (on 45): 7

The German playmaker has had a tough couple of seasons with injuries and disappointing loan spells, but he made a decent case for himself here with a tidy display that ended in a nice assist for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal.

Joel CAMPBELL (on 45): 6

Despite rumours linking him with a move away from the club the Costa Rican has said he is determined to stay and fight for his place, although he will be disappointed with his display here that saw him misplace a number of passes and struggle to make an impact.

Gedion ZELALEM (on 78): N/A

After a loan spell at Rangers this season Zelelam will likely go out again for the upcoming season and was given little chance to show off his skills here, although he did make a couple of well-executed through balls.

Chris WILLOCK (on 78): N/A

One of the youth team’s brightest stars was given a brief run out here and even with little time to demonstrate his potential he did what was asked of him well with some nice touches and good running.

Callum Perritt

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