Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time To Separate The Men From The Boys (Part 2)

Okay now where were we?

Abou Diaby: I've never really been a fan of Diaby and I always found it ridiculous to compare him to Patrick Vieira. That being said, I think he had patches this season where he showed improvement. He's gotten on the scoresheet a bit more and managed to stay fit for longer periods this season. However, he's had games where he seemed to just be getting in the way this season. The game at Old Trafford comes to mind when I say that. There are a few players in this Arsenal team who have been criticised for not putting out enough effort, especially towards the latter part of the season when our title chase fizzled out. Diaby is one of these players. He could be doing a lot better and I hope to see him with a better attitude next season. 5/10

Alex Song: Alex has developed tremendously over the season. His self confidence has risen and so have his performance levels. Alex was the ideal defensive midfielder for us. His positioning was excellent. He stayed back and made sure the defence line wasn't too pressured and in doing so he took a lot of pressure off his captain, Cesc Fabregas, to help out with defensive duties. I am of the view that if not for Song, Fabregas wouldn't have had 19 goals to his name this season. Many believe Alex is the most improved player over this campaign and it's a fair argument. Song scores an 8/10 for me.

Tomas Rosicky: There are a few who believe Thomas had a poor season but I disagree. Sure he had the niggling injury here and there but you have to remember that he was out of action for 18 months. I like the new role he has in the team playing as a wide striker. It suits him perfectly. He wasn't really among the goals or assists this season as he had 3 and 5 respectively but I commend him for the tenacity he showed in front of goal. Whenever he played he was a constant threat to goal, always shooting and always getting into dangerous positions. His work level was very high and I'd like to see him build on his performances in the coming season, scoring and assisting more goals. 7/10.

Samir Nasri: Samir's season started in October due to a broken leg he picked up in a collision in training with Abou Diaby in preseasons. He struggled at first to find form because he wasn't really used to the new 4-3-3 formation the team was playing though as the season progressed he started to find his footing. The injury to Cesc Fabregas meant Nasri found himself in a central midfield role which he is familiar with from his days at Olympic Marseille. In my opinion he played his best football here. One particular game where he shone in this position was our return leg in the Champions League against Porto where he scored arguably our best goal of the season with a remarkable solo effort. We went on to win that game 5-0. 7/10

Denilson: The Brazilian started the season promisingly with a stunning long range goal at Goodison Park in Arsenal's 6-1 opening day demolition of Everton. He found himself on the scoresheet 5 more times throughout the season with more goals from distance. He shooting from range has definitely improved but I'm not pleased with his performances in general. In the instances where Alex Song was missing from action due to the African Cup of Nations in January and injuries, Denilson was asked to deputise in the defensive midfield role and did a poor job. His performances were very lazy and he looked like he could've tried harder. He looked like he didn't really care to run hard to track his opponent when counter attacks were built against us. Two notable instances of this were in our FA Cup defeat to Stoke and the 3-1 home defeat in the Premiership at the hands of Manchester United. Denilson is one of the players I'd like to see on his way out during the summer. He scores a 5/10 for me.

Aaron Ramsey: One word comes to mind when trying to sum up Ramsey's season - tragic. Aaron had gotten off to a flying start. He found himself getting regular playing time, mostly off the bench and scoring three times in the Premiership. Two of those 3 goals came against Portsmouth in both fixtures. He also scored a vital FA Cup goal against West Ham at The Boleyn Ground. Then there was that infamous Stoke City game. That total neanderthal Ryan Shawcross, with the most wreckless of tackles you'll ever see, slid in on poor Aaron two footed and left his leg shattered and dangling. Season over for the young Welshman. A promising season comes to a horrific end. Ramsey had been getting his chances and started taking them and then that had to happen. The positive from it however was that it seemed to solidify the team and a siege mentality had developed in the club. It was a them vs. us attitude that developed that saw us push on in the title race til late March when we played Tottenham. The team wanted to win the title for Ramsey. There's no word yet on when he returns but I just hope the injury doesn't have the same effect on him as Eduardo's had on him. Ramsey gets a very deserving 8/10.

Cesc Fabregas: With 19 goals and 19 assists Cesc Fabregas' season speaks for itself. There was nothing more you could ask of the Spaniard this season. He was clearly one of the best players in the league and perhaps the way he played is responsible for the lack of effort and desire shown by some of his teammates. The way he picked the team up and carried them on his back seemed to make certain players rely on him to always deliver a performance. Cesc being so Cescy though never failed. What stood out to me most about him though was how determined he was to pull the team over the line to success this season. A 30 minute cameo at home against Aston Villa saw him return from injury to come off the bench and score two goals, one of which was a breath taking free kick, and had to be subbed off due to flaring up his hamstring injury while scoring the second goal. He also played with a broken leg and scored a penalty with said leg, just to keep us in the tie with Barcelona going into the second leg of the fixture. If there's one word to sum up his performances this season, it's 'heroic'. Cesc gets a 10/10 and who dares disagree?

Andrey Arshavin: I remember at the end of the 08/09 season Arshavin said that he had more to offer us than he did in his first six months at the club. He claimed that this is because he hadn't fully settled into London and was still adjusting to Arsene Wenger's training regimen. Unfortunately the pint sized Russian didn't live up to his words. He managed to bag 12 goals and 9 assists but many expected more of him. He had many games where he squandered a lot of chances but I believe criticism was unfairly levied at him as he spent the period of late October to early February as our target man. This was due to injuries to both Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner. His height (or lack thereof) worked to his disadvantage while he played this role. Journalists had a lot to do with the heavy criticism he came in for. He is known for his outspoken nature and journalists used interviews with him this season distastefully, rehashing old quotes from him at times in the season when things weren't going right. Hearing things said like he said [at a previous time] only stirred up bad reactions from fans. As such many felt he mouthed off too much and wasn't putting in the work to back it up. Anyway, I give Andrey a 6.5/10

Emmanuel Eboue: The man who used to put the boo in Eboue gets my vote for most improved player of the season. After that infamous Wigan game where he was booed off the pitch by his own fans many thought we wouldn't be seeing him in an Arsenal shirt this season. During last summer rumours strongly linked him with a move away to Fiorentina but he stayed and had become one of Arsenal's most consistent players this season. Eboue has been employed in a variety of roles. He's played at right back, right midfield, center midfield and even as a wide right forward in a couple games. He hasn't had a poor game this season in my opinion. He may not always give sterling performances like Cesc Fabregas does game after game but he has always been consistent. Kudos goes to him as well for the mental strength and character he showed to get over his depression after the Wigan game in 08 and to come back and show such fight and desire in his performances. He's now become a definite fan favourite at Arsenal Football Club. Eboue earns himself an 8/10 on this blog.

Fran Merida: Fran started the season with 2 appearances in the Carling Cup and he bagged a great goal against Liverpool there. He featured in the Premiership coming off the bench and he got 1 goal in 4 appearances there. The goal coming against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium. He also had an appearance a piece in the FA Cup against West Ham and in the Champions League away in Greece at Olympiakos. In these few games that he's played he's had decent performances and both of his goals this season were well taken. It's rumoured that he's rejected a contract renewal from us in favour of a move back to his homeland to play for Atletico Madrid. I hope we see him in an Arsenal shirt next season and I hope he features more too. 6/10.

Okay that's enough for now and Part 3 will be published sometime in the near future with my assessment of our attackers.

Have a look at some more key moments in our season:
(Special thanks to RVPSSARS23 for the video)

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section and click the follow button on the right if you haven't already done so. That's it for now. Dust!

1 comment:

  1. I agree about Rosicky.
    Underrated and has copped a lot of flak.
    I like him and see him as a good player.