Every Arsenal fan drew a massive sigh of relief after the full-whistle was blown against West Bromwich. Then afterwards, the thoughts moved towards the top of the league table. 19(!) points off the top. Are City and United really 19 points better than us? Well, the table never lies.
This season started after a massive roller-coaster of a summer. Fabregas was staying, he was leaving, he was staying, he was leaving and then Nasri was going to sign a new contract and then he was not. Meanwhile, Arsene signed Gervinho. But at the end of August, and with the start of the season, the pain started. Fabregas left, Nasri was set to leave and we looked we would be lucky to finish in the Europa League, let alone the Champion’s League. After winning over Udinese (two hard-fought matches) and drawing Newcastle and suffering a defeat to Liverpool, things were looking very glum. There weren’t many Arsenal fans who were happy about us having to go to Old Trafford so early in the season and their fears were justified. 8-2 against what used to be one of our fierciest rivals was not something that tasted well. We signed Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Park-Chu Young(why?) and Mikel Arteta. Following what could only be described as a few days of madness, we were facing Swansea at home. A very dull 1-0 win from a goalkeeper error which the sneaky Russian tsar capitalised on. And this was to be our season defined: highs (5-3 vs Chelsea, 5-2 vs Tottenham, 1-0 at home v City, 7-1 at home to Blackburn, 2-1 away to Pool) and lows (8-2 vs Man United, 2-1 vs Tottenham, 2-0 vs Liverpool, 2-1 vs Manchester United, 4-0 vs Milan and countless other needless draws and losses.)
It was quite clear that something has not been right at Arsenal this season but one can only hope that Wenger does not make the same mistake again as he did with Nasri and Fabregas. Sign Robin van Persie up immediately and rumour has it that talks are to be held on Thursday at Wenger’s own house. Give him whatever he wants, he is vital. Next season, we must be challenging for honours. It is vital that we do. One thing is for sure, our rivals will be strengthening but only one of Tottenham and Chelsea will be able to attract the top notch players that are needed to win trophies next year. Manchester United will not sit passively and let City run away with it again and City will become stronger.
Ratings for this season(1-10)
- Szczezny: 7 overall. Whilst we all know that Szczesny is the next big thing and will become one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he is still prone to the occasional error which he will need to stamp out of his game to reach new heights.
- Sagna: 7. Whenever he plays, we are a better team. It is clear that it is vital that he stays fit.
- Jenkinson: 6. As a back-up RB, he is fine yet, he is also very error-prone but he has great crossing and speed and if he works on his positioning over the summer, he can eventually challenge Sagna.
- Mertesacker: 7. A very successful first season in a new country and team. He is very slow indeed, but so was Tony Adams and just like the good old captain, Per makes up for it with great positioning. The only question is how someone so tall can be so abysmal at heading?
- Koscielny: 8. Most improved player this season? A beast. He will only get better.
- Vermaelen: 6. A lot of errors this season yet he scores a lot of important goals. He is one of the best defenders in the league and he can put any striker in his pocket on his day. He just needs to step it up against the “lesser” teams.
- Djourou: 4. Sell him now. I’m what happened, but beginning of last season he looked like an absolute beast at the back and now he is just obsolete.
- Gibbs: 5. It is clear that he has massive potential(don’t we always produce good left-backs?) but he is also error-prone and strays a bit too far up the pitch at times. I would like for him to learn from Sagna – defend first, attack second.
- Andre Santos: 5. He is slow but he smart. However, it has been difficult for him to adjust to an entirely different playing style where a left-back actually defends instead of just attacking.
- Squillaci: Sell him now.
- Diaby: 4. Has barely played, whenever he has played, he’s been alright but too injury-prone. He is one of the players that need to be let go.
- Tomas Rosicky: 6. Had a great string of games around February/March but since then has dosed off a bit. Needs to play like that all season.
- Mikel Arteta: 7. It’s been clear to anyone following Arsenal this season that whenever Arteta has been missing, our creativity has been lacking. A great first season at Arsenal and will be a superb back-up if another creative midfielder comes in this summer.
- Aaron Ramsey: 6. Barring killing a celebrity or two, he’s been average. He needs to step up his game or he will be left behind.
- Alex Song: 6. Average. Needs to stop going forward too much(even if Wenger has given him a license to roam). If he is to play, he needs to protect the back four.
- Emmanuel Frimpong: 4. Big mouth. Strong body. Dench. Unfortunate injury. Very immature. Will have to learn alot more.
- Yossi Benayoun: 7. Great loan, whenever he has played he has given on an extra bit of energy, never given up and has been highly useful as an impact sub/second-string player.
- Francis Coquelin: 5. Not played as much as I would have liked to see him but has played superbly whenever he has gotten the chance.
Jack Wilshere: Injured.
- Robin van Persie; 10. Give him a blank paper and sign him up now.
- Theo Walcott: 7. Has a mental connection with van Persie similar to the Bergkamp-Henry story. He needs to become smarter as a footballer however and utilise his speed better against slower opponents.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7. The excitement for this kid is massive. I hope he will be picked for the Euros this summer and can show the rest of the world why we hype him up so much. He gets better by every game.
- Gervinho: 6. An average first season, started alright(barring the red card against Newcastle) and then faded after AFCON. Needs to stop thinking about that penalty miss in the final.
- Chamakh: Useless.
- Chu-Young Park: Useless