Arsenal played with 3 up front this season. This meant that no wingers but three strikers. The Gunners played with a proper 4-3-3. Here are the season ratings for the strikers:
1. Theo Walcott 7- The England international had a mixed season. He was criticised for not having a footballing brain. His decision making was poor and messed up his finishing. He was poor and frustrating some times and very skilful and enjoyable some times. He scored 11 goals this season in all competitions and provided with 8 assists. The day to remember for him probably was the 5-2 crushing of Tottenham when he won the fans’ hearts after scoring a brace in five minutes making the scoreline read Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham. He had a difficult season but improved in his finishing and crossing. Without any doubt, his goal to remember would be his howler against Chelsea in the 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge.
2. Yao Gervinho 6.5- Had a brilliant start to his Arsenal career, scoring a handful of goals in pre-season. The former LOSC Lille man managed just four goals in the premier league that to without any goals in 2012. The Ivorian did show his pace and trickery but lacked the final touch. Gervinho faded after returning from the African cup of nations and lost his first team spot. He would surely look forward to the next season, hoping to reach double figures.
3. Oxlade-Chamberlain 6- Everyone seemed to question Wenger after signing this 18 year old for 15 million pounds. Signed from Southampton, everyone started comparing him to Theo Walcott. More questions were raised after him not playing much in the first half of the season. He gave the fans something to thing about after scoring two goals – against Shrewsbury and Olympiakos (on his European debut). The fans got their answers after an impressive performance in the 2-1 defeat against Manchester United with providing a super assist. If there were any doubts, they were definitely cleared after an amazing performance in the 7-1 mauling of Blackburn at the Emirates where he bagged a wonderful brace. He was already regarded as a world class player. He is now in Hodgson’s 23 man squad for the Euro 12 where he would be looking to shine as well.
4. Andrey Arshavin 5.5- the little Russian did not have such a good season managing an upsetting 2 goals. He showed his ability some times; one of them, the brilliant assist for Thierry Henry in the 90th minute against Sunderland. He was loaned out till the end of the season to his former club Zenit where he enjoyed a good spell. His future is still undecided and hopefully will be sorted out this summer.
5. Yossi Benayoun 6.5- the Israeli joined Arsenal on a season long loan from London rivals Chelsea on the deadline day of the transfer window scoring 6 goals in the process. He was mostly used as an impact substitute in the first half of the season. He scored a late winner coming of the bench against Aston Villa. After the turn of the year, Benayoun found himself starting most of the games on the left hand side of the attack. He contributed well to the attack and Arsène Wenger may as well sign him from Chelsea if the 32 year old decides to stay at the Emirates.
Robin Van Persie 9.5- “He scores when he wants, He scores when he wants, Robin Van Persie, He scores when he wants.”
The Dutchman was handed captaincy after the departure of Cesc Fabregas. He enjoyed his first injury free season at Arsenal, scoring an amazing 37 times this season and winning the Golden boot with 30 goals in the Premier League. He was in the top three goal scorers in Europe behind Messi and Ronaldo. The 28 year old led Arsenal to third place – fans started to put up posters, “we don’t need Batman, we’ve got Robin” – after a dreadful start to the campaign. His future lies in his hands after stalling a £130,000 per week in a 3 year contract offer. If he decides to leave, his most likely destination is the blue half of Manchester where he would earning at least £200k a week. There is certainly no doubt on his ratings after this was a season to remember for him.
Maroune Chamakh 4- The Moroccan had a dreadful season with the Gunners scoring just once, definitely wanting to go out of the Emirates now. The ex Bordeaux player enjoyed a good first season netting 12 times but after the return of Van Persie, he found himself nowhere else, but the Arsenal bench. He would surely look for a move out of the Emirates.
Park 3.5- Ju Young Park was one of the deadline day signings made by Arsenal. Signed from AS Monaco, the South Korean was supposed to be a competitor for Van Persie but featured just 6 times in Arsenal red and white. Despite his fabulous goal against Bolton in the 2-1 win in Carling Cup, he was rather not preferred by Wenger. He is certainly a curious signing and Wenger only knows what will happen with him.
Season ratings over. My next post would be about the top 10 matches of the season.