After observing the first half of Arsenal’s season, it has become evident that there are some players within the team that are frankly, not good enough, yet others have stood out, producing real disparity. I have tried to provide an honest assessment-yet a probably subjective account, of the entire Arsenal squad (most of the reserves have been excluded).
Manuel Almunia– Currently injured, still probably wouldn’t make it into the Arsenal first team if he was fit. Had a decent start to his Arsenal career, until at the beginning of this season his credentials were called into question after a series of blunders. Rating 6/10
Lukasz Fabianski– Has become Arsenal’s number 1 since Almunia has been injured. Fairly unpopular with the Gunner’s fans last season and at the beginning of this season, proved himself to be a worthy keeper (not great) but able to make a save. He too is currently injured. Rating 6/10
Wojciech Szczesny– So far looks like a great prospect and is filling in for Fabianski while the Polish keeper recovers. Rating 7/10
Summary: Arsenal need a new goalkeeper- as Gunner’s fans have been saying for a few seasons now. Arsenal have not had a world class keeper since David Seamen retired. Jens Lehman was good (to an extent) but didn’t have a good last season at Arsenal. Without a world class keeper, can Arsenal win the Premier League…? Man United have Van der Sar & Chelsea Cech…both world class keepers, but where is Arsenal’s?
Bacary Sagna has made 154 appearances since he joined Arsenal and has been consistently in the first team. He is very attacking minded, and generally reliable, and proved he can shoot, as shown in today’s game against Leeds. Rating 7/10
Emmanuele Eboue– Has had a mixed career with Arsenal. Some game performances verging on disastrous, Arsenal fans even booed him when they played Wigan in 2008. However, he is quick, agile and sometimes produces sparks of genius (although it could be luck). Rating 6/10
Thomas Vermaelen– A great buy for Arsenal. He is dedicated and puts 100% in every game. He is strong, agile, and can tackle well. Rating 8/10
Laurent Koscielny– Has made a few mistakes in his brief time at Arsenal but generally looks consistent. He is pretty good in the air, but he sometimes loses concentration which is a terrible vice to have if your a defender. Rating 7/10
Johan Djourou– The Frenchman had people questioning whether he was good enough when he got an opportunity to play in the Arsenal first team, and he, along with Justin Hoyte (who later got sold) looked fragile and flimsy. However, after his come back from a long term injury, he has proved a formidable defender with a lot to offer in particular his pace and awareness. Rating 7/10
Sebastien Squillaci– Not particuarly a great buy from Arsene Wenger. He isn’t that quick, and can be outsmarted by talented strikers, he is prone to make fundamental mistakes. He is however, quite experienced, which is invaluable if you are a defender. Rating 6/10
Gael Clichy– After the departure of Ashley Cole, Clichy established himself as an Arsenal regular. He seems to have endless energy, he is quick and likes to attack. He never scores (although he tries to every game). He often, however, fails to step up the mark when playing against the bigger teams, and can get caught dwelling on the ball which often leads to him being dispossessed. Rating 7/10
Kieran Gibbs– Apart from his slip at the Emirates which allowed Man United to progress through further into the Champions League two seasons ago, Gibbs has been fairly consistent and has shown a lot of qualities. He impressed on his England debut and is a very similar player to Clichy. Rating 7/10
Summary: Most of the defenders are good individually, but for one reason or another, they fail to make a solid backline and are often exposed for their frailties. Arsenal need another centre back as good as Vermaelen.
Theo Walcott– Many Gunner’s fans weren’t too sure about the young Englishman when he first joined Arsenal, but has started to fulfill his potential this season. He has so far scored a modest 28 goals in 158 appearances. But undoubtedly will score many more in Arsenal colours. His pace is a concern for any defender and can change games on his day. Rating 7/10
Tomas Rosicky– Can play left or right midfield. A great talent, but has largely unfulfilled his potential. He has a lot to offer, including his quick passing (many coming from the outside of his foot), his ability to turn, and his understanding of the game. Rating 7/10
Cesc Fabregas– Arsenal’s captain and talisman. He still has a lot to offer, and hasn’t reached the finominal standard many expected him to reach by this stage in his career. Nevertheless, he is still one of the best midfielders in the Premier League without a doubt. Rating 9/10
Jack Wilshere– No doubt a great prospect for English football. He reads the game well, a good passer, and is also quite strong for somebody with a fairly small frame. Rating 8/10
Vassiriki Diaby– Tall, strong and powerful. The Frenchman can also run with the ball with his impressive dribbling ability. He has been compared with Patrick Viera- but is nowhere near that standard yet. He was unreliable when he first joined Arsenal but has improved a lot since. Rating 7/10
Samir Nasri– Is probably Arsenal’s best player at the moment. He won French player of the year, and won the golden boot for the month of December. He is quick, skillful, and scores goals. An all round football player. Rating 9/10
Aaron Ramsey– Another future talent, but his injury against Birmingham set him back. Did not have a great start to his Arsenal career in his first ten games or so, but right before his injury he proved he can score and fit into the Arsenal team. Rating 7/10
Alex Song– Very consistent, reads the game well, highly composed, strong and athletic. His role as protecting the defence has proved him to be one of the best at it in the Premier League. Ferdinand, however, isn’t sure about his matching hair and beard. Rating 8/10
Denilson– Nobody ever calls him by his first name ‘Neves’ but he ‘never’ seems to play the long ball nor does he pass the ball forward, but only seems to pass to his right or left. His pass rate is quite successful and also covers the defence. Rating 6/10
Summary: Midfield is Arsenal’s strongest area. No need for any reinforcements.
Robin Van Persie– The Dutchman is a world class striker on his day and is a threat to any defence. He has a lethal left foot, and a great touch. Rating 9/10
Andrey Arshavin– A huge disappointment this season, after showing teams like Liverpool how to play football in seasons gone by. He can dribble well and has got a good shot. But has been highly ineffective this season. Rating 7/10 (occasionally 8/10)
Carlos Vela– The Mexican is a great talent, but looks as if he will soon be loaned out to another club as he is now widely sought after. He certainly knows how to lob keepers, and where he may be lacking in pace, his sparks of genius make him a potentially a fantastic striker. Rating 7.5/10
Nicolas Bendtner– Not an Arsenal favourite, but still scores in important games. His first touch often lets him down and he can improve on his dribbling. Rating 7/10
Marouane Chamakh– Began his season with Arsenal scoring a few goals, but looked a little lacklustre after that. He is a good header (not something all Arsenal players can boast about) can hold the ball up, and interacts well with those playing behind him. Rating 7.5/10
Summary: Arsenal probably don’t need another striker this season, but if Van Persie who is highly injury prone gets injured, Arshavin continues to play poorly, Vela gets sold/loaned, and Bendtner does not chip in with enough goals, Arsenal will be left with no choice but to buy a player.
*Picture from sitevip.net