Let’s rate the Arsenal squad to see who is dispensable

Given we’re in a transfer window, and everyone is debating what Arsenal should do, I thought I would have some fun with a quick squad rating, which is a useful tool when deciding who to sell.

Anyone below “Very good” is dispensable in my opinion. My criteria on judging was: Overall contribution for entirety of Arsenal career; Injury history; Potential; Attitude; Would I care if they were sold?; Should we cash in before it’s too late?; Would they get into the best teams in the world?

World Class
Aubameyang

Very good
Leno
Torreira
Martinelli

Average
Guendouzi
Luiz
Pepe
Lacazette
AMN
Saka
Smith-Rowe
Martinez
Nelson
Nketiah
Macey
Tierney

Poor
Sokratis
Chambers
Kolasinac
Bellerin
Xhaka
Ceballos
Holding

Very poor
Ozil
Mkhitaryan
Willock
Mustafi
Mavropanos
Elneny

Laca, and Pepe are two that will probably divide opinion, and see me battered in the comments section. This was a really tough call though, because I could easily have put them into the “Very good” category.

With Lacazette, it’s his lack of goals, and niggling injuries that concern me. His best league tally is 14 for a season, and he’s never broken 20 goals in all competitions for a season. Bergkamp also didn’t get a lot of goals, but his overall contribution was huge, and he was also pivotal for Wenger’s style of play. If it wasn’t for Auba, I would possibly keep Laca, but it’s painful seeing the best striker in the league in the LB position at times defending. It’s such a waste! Imagine Messi, and Ronaldo having to do that. Auba is a goal machine, and he shouldn’t be defending.

Pepe was another tough decision, but in truth, he hasn’t had many good games at all. Which is even more concerning when one considers his price tag. It’s not all his fault. He’s still adapting, he joined the club at a terrible time, and Emery didn’t use him properly, or at all on many occasions. Pepe definitely has the potential to be world class, but if his poor performances continue, do we risk a huge financial loss by keeping him another season, hoping he’ll improve? One of our major problems for over a decade, has been hanging on to players for too long. The club were never decisive, or ruthless enough. If we sold him this summer, we may be able to get our money back, or only make a small loss. On the flip side, we sell, then he possibly becomes world class, and it looks like a big mistake. I feel it’s on a knife edge. I love Pepe, but he needs to get some consistency, and the club does need to start learning from their mistakes in the transfer market.

Overall, none of us should worry too much about incoming players, because our squad is so poor. It’ll be very easy to improve on what we have. Our main concern should be about getting the masses of deadwood out of our club.

ThirdManJW

51 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Ozil is definitely awful, but he can never be sold and I don’t think Arteta would have the cojones to drop him at Stamford Bridge

    1. Goonerboy says:

      Gotanidea,

      I have always stated my position on Ozil on this platform.
      He is doing better under Arteta, but his skill set is too limited for me.
      He is all about the pass and his all round game is so predictable, no eye for goal, rarely scores, doesn’t run into the box.

      For me, he is part of the reason we are not scoring enough.
      Yesterday I said to myself, Martinelli replaced Aubameyang and scored, he scored exactly the kind of goal Auba would have scored, where was Ozil and Lacazette in that position???

      And that sums us up this season, Auba scores and that’s it, no one else scores.
      But overall, this team is not balanced in any way. We should have a fronn three of Martinelli, Auba and Pepe.

      Torreira and Ceballos behind Ozil and the available back four, maybe we can score more goals this way…

      1. Sean Williams says:

        There is something lot’s of people don’t take into account….’Mindfulness’. I have no idea why. If a player cannot concentrate or be mindful as opposed to mindless, then the results can be serious. Like Xhaka last season vs Brighton giving away the most stupid penalty I have seen. Xhaka has no mindfulness. Reality. He is not up to top four level.Fact.

    2. Igot350K4doingnothingandyou? says:

      Ozil has seen the backs of Arsene and Unai.Mikel has no guts to bench Ozil and if he did some “fans” would cross him.Win-win situation for Ozil and lose-lose situation for the coach.We have to live with this distraction till 2021, so I had written of this season it it has come true, I have written off the next till this phenomenal player leaves us.Accept mid to lower table till then and I am neither surprised nor angry nor devastated.Thanking those who made this situation for us

      1. SueP says:

        I only ask a question
        Without a fabulous new look Arsenal, who would you successfully replace him with? And I do think that this applies to a fair few of the team. Injuries have decimated what Arteta has to work with and this last weekend there was a last minute change with injury and illness.
        I think we have all written off this season. But the state we are in now has been brewing for a few years.

  2. Impenia says:

    Thank goodness your opinion is irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.

    1. GunnerSince2004 says:

      👍

    2. jon fox says:

      All “opinions on such a mere thing as football are also irrelevant in the larger scheme of things”, if you want true context. Football is only a sport despite the passion we all on here have for it. Most people worldwide care nothing for football. Fact! That may seen heresy to some but remains as true as it has always been!

  3. Reggie says:

    Im sorry but that is just an awful article and is about your opinion. Its not really relevant to anything. I get your beef but not your analysis.

    1. Bily Mills says:

      Agreed

  4. Eddie says:

    Good article, but you really can’t label Saka as Average.
    In a poor season, he’s been one of the newest revelation.
    Plus he hasn’t enough chances up front, but the fact is, LB, LW, when he plays he puts in a shift and is usually direct, I can’t label him very good yet, but the kid’s above average.
    Also you can’t judge Tierney like that when we’ve all seen what he does except that he’s been injured most of the time.

    Pepe is one I think a lot of people are being too harsh on, months ago people made different excuses for Emery and stood by him, but now everybody seems to be on Pepe’s neck, forgetting the fact that most players coming from outside the League usually need time to pick up pace.
    Hazard’s first season at Chelsea wasn’t any spectacular either, Di Maria with all his talents was very bad in his first season, eventually they sold him and people would’ve labelled him average, but since he left, no sane football fan would say Di Maria was an average player.
    The great Henry, Pires, were all given time and all the support they needed. Something Pepe would enjoy under Wenger. You don’t just keep writing him off because it took us a fortune to get him.
    His club demanded the money, he didn’t do it..
    If the board knew he wasn’t worth it or there’s nothing spectacular about him they wouldn’t pay such amount.
    It’s not even up to a year yet and we are calling Tierney and Pepe average.

    Even Lacazette ain’t an average player, forget the fact that I’ve been on his back lately. He’s not world class but he’s a very good player. It’s his lack of goals that’s getting everyone of us frustrated, we expect him to lift the burden off PEA at least. He’s been struggling to score, doesn’t make him an average player. Still he needs to be benched right now because of the situation we’re in till he finds his feet back

  5. Goonerboy says:

    In the average list, I only agree with the selection of Nelson, as I don’t believe he is Arsenal quality, Iwobi is far better and have the potential to improve more under Arteta.

    David Luiz is very good not average, he is easily our best defender, yes is rash and sometimes lacks concentration but he is a top defender in my opinion.

    Jury is obviously still out on Pepe and Tierney.
    Lacazette has been unlucky since he came to Arsenal, he was meant to be our number one striker, but the addition of Auba has denied him that status.
    Until Arteta came, he rarely plays 90 minutes, sometimes he even starts from the bench.
    We shouldn’t have both Laca and Auba in the same team to be honest, just imagine having Vardy and Lacazette, or Auba and Vardy in the same team.

    The other names on your average list are still young and can still be very good.

    For the poor list, Ceballos has not really got going, he should be on the average list as Pepe, they are both adapting to the league and he has been injured too. I won’t be sad to see him leave though.

    How many games has Holding played this season, we missed him so much when he got injured last season and that is a testament to how good he was. He is average not poor

    Xhaka is also average and not poor,in terms of fitness he is really dependable and he gives his all.

    Sokratis, I don’t even like him at all, terrible terrible player.

    I personally won’t miss Kolasinac at all, how can he be so injury prone as big as he is??

    I completely agree with the very poor list

    1. Eddie says:

      I wasn’t a big fan of his, but Iwobi seriously would’ve been a better player than he was if he was still here.
      Be careful how you compare Iwobi and Nelson.
      I can list up to ten names on hers who kept singing Nelson was a better player than Iwobi and would replace Iwobi because he was scoring while he was on loan.
      Though the good that came out of Iwobi leaving is Martinelli.
      I ain’t a big fan of Iwobi, and I’m not really writing Nelson off yet, I believe he can still reach the height people expect of him, but until he does that it’s criminal to compare Nelson to the Iwobi we had

      1. Goonerboy says:

        Chief Eddie,

        Nelson looks more like Walcott to me and that’s a disgrace to Walcott, when I see Nelson, my head screams headless chicken, I will eat my words if he eventually comes good, but I highly doubt it, and I really hope Arteta works with Martinelli more and forget about Nelson, Martinelli already has what it takes to become the next Mbappe/Sterling…

        1. Eddie says:

          Nelson was a very talented player for our U23, I watched him, I saw the talent and technical abilities way too much for a player his age… I have no idea where it went wrong for the boy.
          That was why I was insisting we send him on another loan to an EPL team.
          The boy right now, is what Gnabry was.
          He could still end up reaching his potential.
          That’s all I see

          1. jon fox says:

            Eddie, Have patience. He is still a very young player. It has not “gone wrong for the boy” as yet, but he was, as so many young players often are, overhyped by many who expected him to be a world beater. He is clearly a talent but who needs further development and to write him off, as you seem to be doing when you say “…it went wrong for the boy” seems to me to be way too premature. Had you been speaking of Ozil as to where it went wrong I could have agreed. But he is much older, and LAZY which explains where HE went wrong. I notice you also said he could still reach his potential and I much agree with that, though it rather contradicts your other sentence.

  6. Sue says:

    OT.. Bloody hell, the women are 3-0 down already 😳

  7. Eddie says:

    “Overall, none of us should worry too much about incoming players, because our squad is so poor. It’ll be very easy to improve on what we have. Our main concern should be about getting the masses of deadwood out of our club.”

    Also I’ll oppose that, we need a very good and established CB and one very good CM, alongside a RB.
    This squad ain’t useless as most people make it seems, I was saying this under Emery, now it’s becoming obvious.
    These guys were complete clowns under Emery, and they’re becoming something else under Arteta. The real problem so far has been lack of goals, let’s not kid ourselves, only we stop sleeping after going a goal up, and we kill games off, e everyone would be singing all sorts of superlatives. You’re ignoring the fact every player puts in a shift play very well now, even AMN who most of you insulted last season has become one of our best defenders under Arteta. Yet like some of us kept saying last season, they boy ain’t a bloody RB.
    You guys could pretend all you want and not admit it, Xhaka is doing a good job under Arteta. He’s been a very important player in front of the defense, I took my time to study him in his last three matches under Arteta. He’s actually doing his job but then again you guys won’t admit it because you keep pointing out he doesn’t score and he doesn’t assist.
    Hell I’ll gladly have Xhaka in this squad if he keeps playing this way under Arteta.
    When it comes t Ozil, people say stuffs such as it’s not all about scoring or creating assists, but won’t say the same for Xhaka. Xhaka so far under Arteta is what a proper DLP should do.
    It’s not just about booting the ball up into the pitch as a DLP.
    Our biggest problem right now is scoring goals, if we sort that, with the way our defense keeps playing we can survive till the summer when we get a new defender and midfielder

    1. ACE says:

      Eddie,

      As usual I find myself agreeing with
      the majority of your sentiments. I
      posted a response to a previous
      JA piece that highlights who I think
      AFC should aggresively pursue to
      address the glaring defincies at
      CM/B2B & CB. Here it is

      I happened to be channel surfing late
      night and stumbled upon a Bundesliga
      tussle between Schalke and Gladbach.

      Schalke was extremely impressive in
      dominating Marco Roses side 2-0 and
      two players in particuluar were men
      amongst boys for Wagners side in
      victory.

      #8 Suat Serder CM/B2B
      #4 Ozan Kabak CB

      Serder reminded me of young Gundoghan
      when he dominated the BL while
      starring for those amazing Dortmund
      teams a few years back. The young
      German was everywhere on the pitch,
      physically bossing the Gbach
      midfield, snapping into challenges
      and scoring a wonderous curler from
      20 yds out. An ABSOLUTE monster on
      the pitch and MOTM.

      Kabak, at a tender 19 years of age is
      easily one of the, if not the top
      young CB’s in world futbol. He was
      predictably outstanding against MGB,
      effortlessly controlling the likes
      of Thuram, Embole and Plea. His
      physicality, reading of the game and
      technical proficiency at such a young
      age is simply astounding. I rate him
      above Upamecano, who I LOVE as a
      player.

      These two young STUDS are the type of
      players that MA and company should be
      targetting in the summer window. Both
      would WALK into the starting 11 and
      bring a much needed passion and
      aggression that has been sadly
      missing at the club for YEARS.

      1. Eddie says:

        I don’t know about both but I’ll make my findings on both and see the type of players they are

    2. Nifty says:

      What baffles me also it’s the number of excuses that people give on his behalf. They expect Xhaka to mark, run, dribble, move the ball forward why Ozil should just stand at one place and lay the final passes. Truly he has improved under Arteta but his performances is still below average for an AM. When he was not playing he was seen as the Messiah to solve our lack of creativity in the final third but now it is Xhaka and Torriera who are not passing the ball to him even when he rarely makes himself available to receive those passes. Most interestingly is how people forget he is the oldest among the trio and should be taking more responsibilities and not hiding.

    3. gryphon3000 says:

      Please …..you “studied” Xhaka and you still came up with your opinion?…negates everything you say. Xhaka is a liability. in 90 mins, he may be average for 10 mins then goes back to being Xhaka…no footba sense, poor positioning, unable to tackle, unable to win uncontested headers let alone contested ones, his stats are good simply because of 2m back passes or passes to his teammates in a worse position than him, unable to win 50/50 balls, a coward…how many goals have been conceded by him turning ? And his silly fouls…

  8. McLovin says:

    Somethinf wrong about Artetas approach.

    Leading 1-0 against Sheffield and Chelsea with 10 minutes to go. No substitutes. It should be clear by now to him we’re not gonna score the 2nd.

    So why aren’t we defending the lead? Where are the defensive subs? Or defensive formation?

    Our attack is failing so defend the lead until the whistle blows ffs. Park the bus if you have to. We’ve lost 5 points because we didnt have defensive tactics for the last 10 minutes.

    1. Admin Pat says:

      All our defenders are in the treatment room!

    2. Eddie says:

      If anything, Arteta is even responsible for our improved defense. It’s not his fault our attackers and midfielders crawl back into their hole once we score a goal.
      A single goal lead each game should never be our target, so I really don’t get your point as he’s made the team solid defensively

      1. gryphon3000 says:

        unable to hold a lead?..Anyone remember the last 2 years of Wenger. A manager who at the end was devoid of any tactical sense? MA appears to be going down that path.I sincerely hope I will be proven wrong

  9. James says:

    Listen Thirdman Nico has been here for less than 10 months thats tooo harsh on him. New Players must be given time and support. Slating pepe and co like theyve been here for four seasons is unfair and you know that.

  10. Shakir says:

    I respect your opinion but i dont have to agree.You are being very harsh towards some players.

    And auba is not world class but is a very good striker and i will stop there…

  11. ACE says:

    Why are Arsenal fans so troubled with
    a team of average players when the
    Owner himself has publicly declared
    that the clubs ambitions arent to
    challenge for EPL or CL titles?

    With the final CL spot seemingly
    slipping away ($$$) why isnt the
    owner and board aggressively backing
    MA in the winter window to address
    the glaring issues at CB, B2B and
    RB? Why are they only pursuing loan
    deals for average players as bit
    time solutions?

    AFC are a midbtable club with mid
    table talent ATM. A sad but
    irrefutable truth. And for those
    shaking there heads at this statement
    ask yourself which of the following
    players would walk into a top 4 side.

    Socratis
    Holding
    Guendouzi
    Kola
    AMN
    Bellerin
    Xhaka
    Luis
    Ozil
    Torreria( rate the Uruguayan but
    stillwouldnt beat out Kante, Ndid,
    Rodri or Fabihno)
    Laca

    Pepe and Auba Laca are the only
    outliers.

    Im by no means being overly critical
    of our players but Arsenals current
    position in the table isn’t by
    accident but more an accurate
    assessment of the collective talent
    that MA has at his disposal.

  12. jon fox says:

    One or two very strange choices of category Third Man but by and large I agree in general that all bar a few are any good to us. Strongly disagree on Pepe, Saka and Laca though. Ceballos has not yet had a proper chance and I am more hopeful than you are on Guendouzi and Willock.

  13. Mogunna says:

    This is simply ridiculous useless article today! Who are you to state this, not like you made a study, then what is your point exactly? We have players rated world class for years, when then not performing as well, it doesn’t change.

    We simply do not have a team to compete, beside no balance at all which doesn’t allowed team to play forward if Torreira & Xhaka cover all defense weakness! Our game revolves playing backwards and defend, who makes transition to Ozil then? Often Luiz when he can get off pressure…Crazy!

    If middle can’t combine playing forward, attacking players constantly helping defense as well, it is less opportunity to attack and score then!

    Indeed Arteta has no money but takes no money to see that formation doesn’t work when it it fails over and over, a win in 5 games shows that it is not working as all season long! Our next to can easily make it 7, no progress in that sense!

    He must change formation on next 2 games coming up fast.

    Any of our CD pairs is insufficient, we need a top CB. Until then, we then must add a 3rd CB to sit infront of 2CB in order to lock that door! Then rest of the team can play forward!

    Luiz is perfect for that on 4-1 formation as he is great in playing ball forward and pushes team higher on pitch. Covered by 2CBs when does so.

    All over sudden it gives lots of options upon games, but Willock who g
    then very good for us, can score, pass, shoot, run forward as defend.
    Ozil can get more balls and combine in midfield, with Laca, Auba, feed attack, which is his role and made him world class! Just as Laca I read laim things about by same who were rating him as our best player, at some point last year!

    Beside this formation I hope he gets right asap, Arteta is a great coach, you can see him with his players and how he loves fans and club makes him perfect.

    He reflected as a player and captain when to pick one for Auba. Took it from Ozil to give it to Xhaka when it should have been Laca, then gave it to Auba to keep him in club!

    Arteta looked at leadership we all know in Laca and mainly he was there before Auba or Xhaka, that’s how clubs do in football. When politics comes in, it is a mess, no value!

    1. Jah son says:

      Brother you’re post gives a better read than the article which is just pure crap. Please continue to post your view as they reflect exactly what’s happening in our team. Our BIGGEST issue is transition and Xhaka dropping into left back just disrupts the formation with this overload crap. It’s just not working. Arteta NEEEEEDS to get a box to box player.

      1. Mogunna says:

        Exactly, thank you, need b2b as that koulibaROC…

        For now and 2 next games, we need to change formation as it simply doesnt work as we see all season long…

        Again, check that Frankfurt last Emery game. First quarter!

        We on that 4-1 with Luiz sitting infront of CB, he had the all team on other half, Willock B2B flying, forward, impressive speed and great to watch…Luiz got injured and it all went back to wrong formation.

        Hope Mikel gets on 4-1, twith all issues on flanks and transition allowing to play forward, this will help keep team higher up and our fullback wingers to put fire in their defense!

        We need to keep possession and play high on pitch, pressure them in their half. Then they can’t attack as.much, we doing it all game long.

        Anyway, Burnley look strong gome beating Leicester… We need that change for sure !

        Peace

  14. Sue says:

    OT.. Vardy just had his penalty saved! Oh, so they do award penalties… silly me, it’s at Turf Moor, not the Emirates 😜

    1. Shakir says:

      And burnley won!!!!
      And i very much enjoyed it

      1. Sue says:

        Some result for them! Sean Dyche isn’t sweating as much now… and Jamie Vardy (& Brenda) both had smacked arse looks on their faces!! 😀

  15. Soulece says:

    I confess I have a soft spot for Ozil, under Emery he hit bottom seldom used and sitting on the bench, almost shunned. I think he has improved in confidence under Arteta but will he be able to regain what he’s lost in ability it’s hard to say at this point. I think Pepe and Martinelli will continue to improve but overall if we don’t get more solid players we aren’t going to win many games. Hopefully under Arteta, Arsenal will once again regain their confidence, vision, and ability that made them a force to be reckoned with.

  16. Sue says:

    Oh great, Rashford didn’t make it… be an annihilation, normally I’d welcome that against the mancs, but bloody hell I just want someone to beat Liverpool… anybody…. please!!! 🙏

    1. I want Ole to eat 8!😈

      1. Sue says:

        Ha, are you just thinking of later on the stand?! 😂

        1. 😂 I love it when Mark Goldbridge is having a meltdown!

          1. Sue says:

            Well, surely you’ll be in luck later… better settle down with some popcorn, drink and tissues – to wipe away all those tears of laughter – 😀

    2. Shakir says:

      Interesting lineup from solksjaer though and i think he has covered the flanks for liverpool

    3. jon fox says:

      Reckon you’ll have a long wait then Sue! My last hope for them to lose a Prem game this season and so keep our record, is away at City. I will be rooting for City that day, unusually too, as unlike you, I cannot stand corruptly owned City. I like Pep but I mean the owner, who is dirt.

      1. Sue says:

        If I’m completely honest, I don’t think they’ll lose, or draw again Jon… what a bloody nightmare! It’s all I’ll hear about for the rest of my life ☹😭😩

  17. Sean Williams says:

    Roughly right. Ceballos you are being a bit harsh about but that’s fair enough. What I find strange is that most teams have a tall, energetic, athletic CB nowadays. When I see Socratis, Mustafi, Holding and Luiz as our CBs I think ‘how did we get to this’? I really don’t understand how my great team have got into this bizarre choice of CBs. Then the midfield????????????? The club need to go on life support. How????

  18. Nifty says:

    It is obvious people expect so much from some players but expect little or nothing from some. People are not observing the reason we are no longer conceding recklessly is because of the way AMN, Xhaka and Torriera are playing. They are instructed not to climb too much. Xhaka now plays almost like a third CB but somehow people expect him to also climb up and provide creativity. We have been poor in tracking back all season so it only make sense we don’t have so many players overlapping. It only sad that the only one left to be the link between our midfield and attack decides not to take more responsibilities.

  19. Mohsan says:

    How is Kola and chambers poor when AMN and Nelson are avg?? For me all four are poor. But Chambers is better then all the other 3.

  20. Grandad says:

    I really don’t see the point of the article as every Arsenal fan will have differing views on who is despensible and who is not.Arteta needs time to draw his own conclusions and I have every confidence in his judgement which is something I did not have during the latter years of Wengers reign nor in the case of Emery.

  21. I know you don t want me in your site but i love arsenal. And to be honest this is a poor article. It not a positive article.

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