Arsenal had a season with many ups and downs. It was a poor start to the campaign for Arsenal as they were 17th in the table during mid September. An 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford and a 4-3 defeat at Blackburn left Arsenal just above the relegation zone. Things started to get better as Arsenal picked up form during the Christmas period after a good spell and Van Persie finding the back of the net quite a times. The form dropped yet again at the start of the year with losing three games in a row – Swansea, Fulham and Man Utd. Arsenal then had a absolute turn around with 9 wins in 10 matches. In the last five games, things got worse again with the Gunners finding the three points just once in five matches.
Anyway, Arsenal managed the finish third in the league with 70 points. They finished just a point above Arsenal with Newcastle five behind the Gunners. Third place means Arsenal have secured automatic qualification for Champions League which means the Gunners would be heading for the group stages directly in the Europe’s top flight competition next season.
Here are the Gunners’ ratings throughout the season.
1. Szczesny 7.5- Has been amazing this season and consistent. Played in all 38 matches in the PL despite an injury for the past five weeks. It finally looked that Arsenal have a proper shot stopper between the sticks. The Poland international has played a massive role in the Arsenal goal this season.
2. Fabianski 4- Didn’t really have many appearances this season for Arsenal with Szczesny being consistent. Performed fine in goal when he got the opportunity.
1. Koscielny 8- He starred in his second season with Arsenal. He was consistent and was solid at the back. He looked good in his tackling and was brilliant. He scored a very crucial goal against West Brom to get all the three points and cement third place.
2. Vermaelen 8- Showed his strength at the back and was solid. Scored 6 goals this season, which is marvellous for a defender. Was fabulous at the back with having a few bad games towards the end of the season. He and Koscielny built a fantastic partnership between themselves. They performed like one of the top pair of centre halves in Europe, for example Puyol and Piqué, or Lescott and Kompany.
3. Mertesacker 7- People criticised him for his slow pace and that he isn’t a Premier League kind of player. Despite that, he grew in confidence later and produced some fine performances. He got a bad injury in February, which ruled him out for the whole season. He still has to find the back of the net for Arsenal. He would be a strong contender for a starting XI spot with Verminator and Koscielny making a strong partnership at the back and it would be interesting to see who Wenger plays.
4. Djourou 5.5- Was used mostly as a right back. Didn’t have the speed and quality to go up front. Disappointed mainly but did well in some matches.
5. Squillaci 2- Played a just two games I think and was just sloppy. He is no ones favourite and no Arsenal fan would be surprised to see him leave the Emirates.
1. Sagna 7.5- Despite a horrible injury, he was strong and good at the back. He was always good gong forward and delivered teasing crosses in. Provided assists this season and scored a massive goal against Tottenham. He has suffered another injury now to the same leg and has been ruled out of Euros. You can expect him to be out for a lot of time.
2. Gibbs 6.5- Was injured most of the season. The positive was that he was amazing going forward and scored 2 goals this season. The negative was that he was caught up front and the right winger in the opposition team went past him. But the thing to remember is his last minute tackle which if not made would have costed Arsenal third place.
3. Santos 6.5- It was a strong competition between him and Gibbs for a starting place and both of them played quite a good amount of games. Santos was injured for three months but has scored some important goals this season – his goal against Olympiakos, equaliser against Chelsea and WBA were all very important. He would come back ore strong next season.
4. Jenkinson 6- His first season with Arsenal and he did quite well. He was a perfect replacement in case Sagna was injured and delivered brilliant crosses in. He didn’t have much games but would look to play at the start of the season due to Sagna being injured.
So that’s it for the Defence. My next post will have the rankings of the Midfield players.