Arsenal 17/18 season review
So we finished 6th.
Our most successful manager ever has left.
And we’ve got some world-class players in.
But how did we do?
And what areas need to be improved, or sustained?
Let’s see, shall we?
Cech – 4 – Has declined and made numerous mistakes. It was good to see him get 200 clean sheets in PL history, but then he’s not the Cech of old.
Ospina – 5 – Ospina is much maligned, but he’s been marginally better than Cech this season. He has also had some good games and saved us in plenty of games too. His long-term future is moot, though I don’t believe he is as bad as people make out.
Macey – 5 – He hasn’t featured enough, but then when he has come in he’s done OK.
Mertesacker – 4 – Has done poorly in his final season, though whilst not a legend of the club (in my own view, others will naturally differ….) he has been a valued player. However, he has admitted he is past it and made numerous mistakes this term.
Mustafi – 3 – I do believe with the proper coaching, he can improve. But then it has overall been a poor season for him.
Koscielny – 5 – His injury record has caught up with him, though he has made critical errors. I believe he is (and I don’t care who laughs at this..) he is one of the top 10 central defenders in our history, and I believe his injury at Atletico could be the end for his career.
Holding – 5 – Has looked good when he’s featured.
Chambers – 5 – Akin to Holding, he has looked good when he has featured.
Mavropanos – 5 – Like Holding and Chambers, he’s done OK when starting. The red card vs. Leicester is not terminal, as he has time to develop.
Kolasinac – 5 – Started off well, but he hasn’t sustained this. It could be due to injury, who knows?
Bellerin – 4 – Hasn’t sustained the pace and width he provided in his earlier tenure. Could he be better as a winger?
Monreal – 7 – Mr Consistent. He plays well in virtually every game. By far our best defender this season.
Debuchy – 6 – He has left the club, but I will add him nonetheless. He looked pretty good in the Europa League games, and it’s a shame he never really fulfilled what (bar injury) could have been a good career with us.
Ramsey – 8 – Very strong, in terms of goal-scoring. He has looked good in the Europa League and Premier League, and he seems to be getting close to his form in the 13/14 season. I believe the club needs to retain him, given his contract issues. Though in my mind, he is not a club legend, his FA Cup Final winning goals notwithstanding.
Wilshere – 5 – He has been mixed, and the disappointment of him not making the World Cup squad would hurt. But then for us, he’s been in fine in parts and has not sustained any major injuries.
Elneny – 7- He is unfairly maligned, and is the midfield equivalent of Monreal. He always plays well and provides a good balance and linking ability in the midfield.
Xhaka – 5 – The issue with Xhaka is that he is not utilised properly. He’s the Swiss Pirlo, in that his game is very similar to that of the Italian great. He is most adept at getting the ball from deep, and making long-range passes. We saw this in the Atletico home game, and his non-performances have come (in my view) from systemic issues. Will the new manager get the best out of him? Who knows? I think it’s wrong to write him off wholly. It’s also clear that he is not a DM. He was billed as thus, though per his own words, he’s a “false number 10”.
Maitland-Niles – 6 – He’s very good, and even got praise from Danny Murphy on Match of the Day. One for the future, definitely.
Willock – 5 – Hasn’t developed much, but then hasn’t had consistent game time. He is young and will improve.
Ozil – 6 – Our World Cup winning (and possibly soon retaining) midfielder has had a mixed season. I believe he has performed in some big games (Spurs at home) though faltered in others. The usual mantra of him not being consistent is telling here, but then it was welcome to see him stay and sign a new contract.
Iwobi – 3 – He has not progressed, and he needs to seriously consider his career and his development. Is it the Wenger effect? Possibly. But the great man has gone now. So we cannot blame his supposed non-coaching, it’s irrational and inaccurate. He is another player whom the next manager will examine, and look to develop
Mkhitaryan – 7 – He’s a different style to Ozil, in that he’s more forward and energetic. And he’s done well and provided a new dimension in attack.
Welbeck – 6 – Dat guy is a player I like. And he’s done well to get into the World Cup squad. His finishing is weak, but contrarily his work-rate and energy is a boon to the team.
Lacazette – 7 – Very good in his first season. He was seemingly playing with an injury, and after his recovery, he has done very well. We’ll see how well he can do next season, and I’m eagerly awaiting this.
Aubameyang – 8 – For a player who has only been here for half a season, and bar some missed penalties and chances, he could have scored more. He must be a serious contender for the Golden Boot next season.
Nketiah – 5 – Looked very capable vs. Norwich in the League Cup, but hasn’t had much time to prove himself. He is young, however, and can learn and develop.
League – 3/10. With the players we have, we seriously underachieved. The away form is elemental here since it’s clear that tactically we were not strong enough to succeed away.
League Cup – 6/10. Yes, we reached the final. However, we got battered by City. It was the worst final performance I can recall in a long time, possibly ever at Arsenal and given the number of major finals we’ve ever played (a LOT) that’s telling….
FA Cup – 1/10 – Yes, we won’t win the FA Cup every year. But then we lost to Forest, who aren’t even in our division. And we didn’t just lose but got battered by them.
Europa League – 8/10. This may seem like an odd rating, but it was our own issues that caused us to lose vs. Atletico. They showed us how to manage games like these, and it’s up to the new manager to rectify these defensive and mental slips.
We did well in the Charity Shield, but let’s be honest, it’s not even a major trophy. The fact I haven’t even referred to it by its official name (since 2002 no less…..) is very telling…
I’m going to be careful here. As it was Wenger’s last season, I do believe I should go easy. And whilst he didn’t end well, I still and always will hold respect for him.
That said, we should embrace the change, and see this season as a template not to emulate.
I won’t rate him, out of respect for the great man.
Player of the season
I’d go for Ramsey. He looked very good this season, and close to his 13/14 best.
3/10. The weak league form, especially away from home, was abominable.
The only way next season surely has to be up but for now we have the World Cup to look forward to……