Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time To Separate The Men From The Boys (Part 3)

Theo Walcott: Theo didn't play much at the start of the season due to injury. When he did play however his performances were very hot and cold. He'd have a good game here, then two or three mediocre games before he had another game where he was brilliant. Theo had his critics on his back but with arguably his best performance of the season coming against Burnley at home, they seemed to ease off and gained a little bit of patience, waiting to see how his season would pick up. Sadly, it didn't really change. Theo's inconsistency continued and after the loss to Tottenham his desire looked to be gone and all he seemed to care about was getting ready for the World Cup. Theo Walcott earns a 6/10 from me.

Eduardo: Eduardo had an absolutely terrible season. It begun mired in controversy because of what happened in the second leg of our Champions League qualifier against Celtic. He went after a 50/50 ball with Artur Boruc and went to ground after Boruc seemed to bring him down. We got a penalty and after the game Eduardo received a 3 match ban from UEFA for diving. It turned out in the end that he didn't dive and the decision to ban him was overturned. Eduardo was unfairly labeled a diver in the time that the fiasco happened. What really happened though was Eduardo expected the collision and in backing off lost his balance and fell to ground. There are some that say he was actually fouled but it's up for debate. Eduardo backed off because of that nasty challenge which injured him in February 08. It's given him a mental block and made him very timid when going into tackles. It is what affected him this season. With only 6 goals to his name he's no longer the player he was. In many games this season he's hardly had even 10 touches of the ball because he's too scared to get himself into a position where he'll be a threat to goal as he fears lightning striking him twice. Arsene Wenger seems to have lost faith in him too as he's left him out of the squad for many games towards the end of the season. It's sad to say it but Eduardo's now damaged goods and I believe it's in his best interest to start fresh in another league which is more technical and doesn't have the physicality of the Premiership. La Liga or Serie A would be better for him. Eduardo scores a 4.5/10.

Carlos Vela: He made most of his appearances this season in cameos off the bench. He had only 1 start in the Premiership which was in the penultimate game of the season away at Blackburn. A problem Vela faced was that he traveled across the pond a lot to play for Mexico and when he came back to London to get ready for Arsenal matches he had a problem with jet lag and missed many chances to stake a claim for a first team place. There was also the issue of the injuries he picked up in international matches. When he did play he showed flashes of brilliance but there were times when his work rate just wasn't high enough. I think we should probably cut our losses and sell him to a Spanish club this summer. Everyone wins that way. He clearly isn't adjusting to life and the climate in England and the pace of the game is too quick for him so perhaps a slower league like La Liga is more his cup of tea. He's already proven himself there with the time he spent on loan at Salamanca and Osasuna. 5/10.

Robin van Persie: Here's another player injury totally screwed over this season. He started the season a bit slower than the other attackers as he was still getting the hang of the new formation but when he started scoring he did it very consistently. Like Cesc, he put in game winning performances week in, week out. There's no doubt in my mind he would've had a 20 goal season if not for the wreckless challenge on him by Giorgio Chiellini in his international match for The Netherlands against Italy. Many people give van Persie stick for his injury record, saying he's always getting injured as if he has control over it. Really, if someone could determine when they're gonna get injured would they let it happen to them? What kind of masochist do they take him for? Robin van Persie is no doubt a world class striker. If he can stay fit he'll be up there with the best strikers in the world such as Ibrahimovic, Drogba, Rooney and even Messi. He can't however. He's always on the wrong end of really bad tackles. It comes with the territory though. He's such a good player that this is what his opponents resort to to take him off the ball. We had a lot of players out injured during the course of the season but we missed none like we missed van Persie. In his absence we had no out and out target man figure in attack. This was because Nicklas Bendtner was also out recovering from a groin surgery. It was left up to Andrey Arshavin to play the role of target man and his size left him disadvantaged. We struggled to find goals in many games and slipped behind Chelsea, who were leading the Premiership, by 11 points. Robin made his return to action late in the season in the loss to Tottenham but his brilliance shone through. He had an amazing performance and we looked a different team in the second half with him on the field. His performances thereafter were always high quality and he got himself 2 goals from the three games that followed. If he's not unlucky to have another bad injury like he did over the last few months, I can see him rivaling the likes of Rooney, Drogba and Torres (if he's still at Liverpool) next season for the golden boot. Robin gets an 8.5/10.

Nicklas Bendtner: There's no one in this Arsenal team that's as confident, and some would say narcissistic, as Nicklas Bendtner. For a couple of seasons I didn't like his attitude as I felt his bark was definitely bigger than his bite. He did a lot more to back up all his claims of how good he is this season by scoring 12 goals and assisting 7. You might say "Pfft 12's not that much" but live van Persie he spent a big chunk of the season out due to groin surgery. Something else about Bendtner is that in quite a few matches this season he's missed some glorious sitters that in seasons past would've pissed off the Arsenal fans but he made up for it with the goals he's scored. So many of his goals were crucial, many of them eventual  match winners as well. Who can forget his strike against Hull to essentially send Phil Brown to the unemployment office the following Monday or his last gasp header against Mick McCarthy's Wolves at home? He's done enough to earn my respect this season and I'm excited to see how he'll build on it next season. I give him 8.5/10.

And so we've come to the end of the individual player ratings. There'll be 1 more part to this review (I promise) sometime soon but before you go enjoy the video package down below and leave your comments on what I've said.
(Special thanks to RVPSSARS23 for the video)

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