Dan’s Arsenal Player Ratings out of 10 – Pick your season ratings below
It’s that time of the year where from now to August I get accused of being negative. Like I said 12 months ago …. of course I’m negative. How can you not be negative about two consecutive 8th places?
I believe in not just saying we have problems – but suggesting a solution.
My only issue being that I don’t believe under the current ownership that a solution is realistic.
If you count how many points, we are behind the Manchester Clubs and even Chelsea, then consider that one might buy a Kane and the other Haaland, even if the Kroenke Family had a change of heart and wanted to invest, it’s too late.
It would take 150 -200 million to improve our squad. That just isn’t going to happen I’m afraid.
It’s why I’d rather be in the UEFA Conference League than nothing, because it’s our most realistic route of qualifying for the Europa compared to this group finishing in the top 5.
When I hear gooners say being out of Europe will give Arteta more time on the training pitch, who cares if there’s nothing to play for in the League.
Rewind back to January when the only thing that kept our campaign alive or gave us hope was being in Europe. So get to the New Year, if we are 8th-10th, then we may just as well have been in the Conference League than nothing.
It’s up to you what criteria you want to follow, but let me clarify the word ‘great’ is over used.
It’s hard to be described that when you played in one of the worst Arsenal team in 25 years.
Dias, Foden is great, Fernandes is great, Mount is great, etc, so let’s just have some perspective while we are grading our players out of 10.
Leno (GK) – 4
It has taken some a while to notice, but the German makes too many mistakes to be at the level we want to be at.
He took a while to regain confidence after his return from injury and we missed competition from Martinez. Mistakes against Wolves, Everton, West Ham, Vienna, Leicester, while his passing often forced errors out of others.
Runarsson (GK) – 2
Feel bad judging him as the real guilty party is whoever recommended someone so out of his depth.
Mistakes in the League Cup against Man City were so bad it could ruin his gunners career before it even begun. What Arteta does too much is he’s quick to give up on talent.
Matt Ryan (GK) – 5
Standard 5 as only played a few games. Got an assist against Fulham when he went up for a corner.
Tierney (LB) – 8
My Gooner of the season. Only issue is he still can’t get through a whole campaign without injuries, which was an issue even at Celtic.
From December to Feb he became one of our main attacking outlets with a quality delivery. He just can’t stay fit and tactically it’s noticeable when he’s not playing.
Probably a future Arsenal captain.
Bellerin (RB) – 5
To me some gooners have an agenda, hence why some have to mock him for growing trees.
He actually started the season okay, to the point he got recalled by Spain. Then went through a phase where he couldn’t take a throw in.
He hasn’t been as bad as others, but I think his manager has accepted after serious injuries over the years, he’s never going to refind the pace he was famous for.
It is hard to be a modern-day fullback without pace and naturally the right flank will be compared to what happens on the left. It will likely suit both parties to get a fresh move as he’s stagnated.
Chambers (RB) – 6
Hasn’t played enough to rate him dramatically either way.
He had an incredible second half at West Ham where his delivery was fantastic but he didn’t repeat that.
Having bulked up, he now takes control in air.
Before serious injury Emery was playing him and now so is Arteta so managers rate him. I think with his ability on the ball he could do what David Luiz does for us.
Again though, can he stay fit for a whole season?
Cedric (RB) -5
Doesn’t do anything good, doesn’t do anything bad. Just a squad player to fill in when needed.
Dropped down the pecking order in the run in though, which suggests he’s not adapting to Arteta’s ethos?
Rob Holding (CB)- 7
In December/January Arsenal kept 5 consecutive clean sheets for the first time in over a decade with Holding instrumental in that feat. In fact of the 11 clean sheets Arsenal kept, Holding played in 10 of them.
He still has moments where he needs to be more aware of the opposition’s positioning, but is at an age where he will only get better.
You can see by how he orders others around that he’s growing into a leader.
Luiz (CB) -7
Our best centreback this season. The Brazilian was exceptional over the New Year particularly at home to Man United.
Tactically crucial to Arteta’s system as he’s the one defender confident to step into midfield and pick out a pass.
He won over a lot of gooners with how he spoke about the club and you can tell that he was popular in the dressing room.
One of the few leaders on the training pitch, Arsenal wanted to keep the Brazilian but transition him into a coaching role.
Gabriel (CB)- 6
Summed up the mindset of our fan base. After a couple of decent performances, they tried to convince themselves that we had made a world class signing and almost wouldn’t allow themselves to acknowledge when he went off the boil.
His confidence suffered in early November when we went on a losing streak, showing our lack of leaders as the youngster needed direction.
He played like he was hurting but became rash and lacked composure, culminating in two yellow cards against Southampton. Then it took our manager too long to take the 23-year-old out of the firing line.
Mari (CB)- 6
When he has played he has looked decent.
The key word is ‘when’ as he has always picked up niggling injuries since being in North London.
The closest thing we have to David Luiz in terms of being comfortable on the ball and attempting a long-range pass. He was let down by management as he would play well and then dropped for the next game, when in reality he and Holding were our best defensive partnership with Luiz injured.
Maitland Niles (full back) – 5 (based on with us)
Started season at left back which got him his first England Cap.
Didn’t do anything wrong in the position, it’s as simple as the player wanting to play further forward. When Arteta gave him that opportunity in the Europa League group stage, he simply didn’t stand out.
Chose to play in midfield and get relegated with West Brom instead of playing first team football for Arsenal at full back. Even Big Sam has warned he needs to add goals and assists if he wants to be the midfielder he views himself as.
Willock (CM) -5 (based with us)
Didn’t start many in the Prem (2) with Arteta clearly feeling he’s not ready.
Many Gooners campaigned for him to get more of a chance when he scored three goals in the Europa group stage When he got that chance failed to take it, subbed after an hour at Leeds and ineffective in our home loss to Wolves.
Scored 8 on loan at Newcastle, but does that mean he can handle the pressure of playing for us?
Reiss Nelson (RM) – 2
Like other youngsters there was a campaign for him to start in the Prem based on what he did in the group stage of the Europa League, even though the level of teams were Dundalk.
When rewarded with his only start in the Prem, he was taken off at half time and hasn’t started since, only playing 25 mins.
He should have been loaned out in January.
Xhaka (CM)- 7
Ironically without fans in the stadium I sense that Xhaka has won over a section of our Fan base (although good job they were not in attendance when he got sent off against Burnley).
He never shies away even when he makes mistakes. My biggest compliment is when he’s not there, you notice tactically what he offers to our midfield.
Elneny (CM) – 5
Work rate can never be questioned. Was outstanding in the Community Shield and at Old Trafford.
A decent squad player but not as good as Guendouzi or Torreira.
Ceballos (CM)- 3
After a Man of The Match display in last year’s Cup Final many gooners were delighted that Real Madrid agreed to a second-year loan. Now we are simply relieved that we didn’t pay a transfer fee. Hopefully we will remember that when thinking about Odegaard’s future.
Ceballos is simply too lightweight for English Football and takes too long on the ball.
He did his very best to cost us the Europa League with mistakes against Benfica, Olympiakos and then a red card at Villarreal. It’s hard to think of one great game he’s had this season.
Thomas Partey (CM)- 4
This year’s version of Pepe, the big signing who gooners made numerous excuses for. Imagine if it were Ozil who tried to walk off the pitch while Spurs were hitting us on the counter attack?
Like Pepe the hope is that he will be better in his second season.
The benefit of the doubt is he never had a proper run in the team due to injuries. Even when playing he didn’t appear to be 100 percent fit as he would tire easily.
He will hopefully benefit from a proper pre season.
Smith Rowe (AM) – 7
Due to injury, he did not get a proper run in the team till Dec/January.
His emergence was the only justification for Ozil not being registered for the squad as he (before we loaned Ceballos) is the only creative talent we have who can travel with the ball and play around in tight spaces.
He can equally pick out a pass when teams are parking the bus. That responsibility can’t be put solely on him though.
Credit to the club for teaching their ethos to all under age groups, meaning they produce youngsters with great technique. In his first proper season with the first team shows great empowerment.
His next challenge will be staying level headed and not getting carried away with being over hyped. That will entail having a decent support team off the pitch to keep him grounded.
Saka (Wing) – 8
Played more minutes than any other Gunner. At 19 has shown great temperament and has never shied away.
The older he gets will improve in the final third as well as putting on more muscle. My only fear is that Gooners are so keen for ‘one of their own’ to succeed they are over-exaggerating how good he is. For example, I know some who have put him in their team of the year.
He’s not that good yet, but could be if he keeps his feet on the ground. That comes down to having the right people around him.
Due to his versatility he should go to the Euros.
Pepe (wing) -7
Sums up the team in the fact that he played his best when the pressure was off.
Breaking down his 16 goals, 6 came in the Europa League, 8 Prem goals came after December. 2 League goals came in the first half of the season.
We didn’t pay 72 million for him to only deliver when the pressures off – but when the stakes are high.
The danger is that Gooners will put too much emphasis on how he ended the season, convincing the club not to buy a Zaha, at which point the Ivorian will again disappoint us in the next campaign in the big games.
Willian (Winger)- 2
He gets one mark for his debut at Fulham and another for his free kick against West Brom. His free transfer just hasn’t worked out.
It would be unfair to question his professionalism as there was nothing at Chelsea to suggest that. It could simply be a loss of confidence or walking into an Arsenal dressing room with such strong Chelsea colours.
Maybe he’s been let down by working with a group of winners at the Bridge to now playing with a squad who have zero ambition.
Odegaard – 6
For the third consecutive January we were told the club could only afford loans as the priority was to slash the wage bill.
Fans were excited to watch Odegaard because for the first half of our campaign we lacked any kind of creativity. The Norwegian’s performance in the North London Derby and at West Ham had some gooners prematurely asking for Arsenal to find the 30 million that Madrid want to make the deal permanent.
An injury though meant his momentum stalled and, in the end, Ozil’s replacement ending up with statistics that fans would have bemoaned if it were the German, namely 1 Prem goal and 1 assist.
Only way he should stay if he we can get a second loan deal done. That might depend on if Zidane is still at Madrid.
Aubameyang (Striker)- 4
Context is key.
Has had a tough year off the pitch with his mum being seriously ill, and then diagnosed with Malaria (which can be in your system a while before it’s apparent.)
Even the likes of Tuchel have defended our striker stressing what a winning personality he has. How he responds next season will be crucial with fans likely to be less forgiving if his current form continues.
In 2021 a striker needs to more than just being impactful in the penalty area. He doesn’t hold up the ball and link up with others, and his work rate is not what it was when Arteta first took over.
Equally the manager needs to find a system which sees more service given to his attackers.
Lacazette (Striker) -6
Was in danger of becoming a scapegoat to some gooners when he missed huge chances in important games.
The difference between him and Aubameyang though is even if Laca is not scoring he offers something. In an era where the high press is constant Laca’s work rate is crucial.
But he is another attacking player who’s been let down by Arteta’s failure to get the best out of all his offensive talent. It’s strange because in Arteta’s first season he had his two main strikers linking up well but now struggles to get the best out of both.
I think he deserves a new contract.
Eddie Nketiah (Striker)- 3
On a few occasions he has shown he is a decent finisher in the penalty area. The problem is Arsenal are no longer a team who make lots of chances.
Back when we used to be looking for a ‘fox in the box’ Eddie would have been perfect, but in 2021 a striker needs to do more than just wait for the ball to fall for him in the six-yard box.
When we have been chasing a goal, bringing on Eddie is like being down to 10 men due to his teammates inability to get the ball into the mix.
Martinelli (Striker)- 5
Can’t rate him higher because he was only asked to start 6 League games.
Due to a long-term injury, Arteta didn’t want to overplay the youngster when he returned over the Xmas period.
Another injury in January saw the Brazilian not start till April.At which point he offered something our others strikers didn’t, not afraid to take on his man.
Wherever it’s not trusting him to start 2 games a week or just not rating him, Arteta would not give Martinelli a run in the team.
If he wants to keep his job, Arteta needs to find a way in the next campaign to include the 19-year-old.
Put your player ratings in the comments
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