Thursday, June 23, 2011

Arsenal's full season players rating (defender)

3. Bacary Sagna (8)
He is the most consistent Arsenal's defender, one of the best right back in premier league. Very solid in defense and clever positioning have been showed by the French right back. His crossing isn't bad either, while his link up with Theo Walcott is worked well too. He also has showed professionalism, after dropped to the bench by Wenger, he still played well, and later, said he is "99% for Arsenal", denying any chance of leaving Emirates Stadium in this summer

5. Thomas Vermaelen (6.5)

He was very unfortunate to spend most of this season on the sidelines. Arsenal really miss his presence. He was solid before his injury, making 3 appearances, as well as after his injury. His performance against Aston Villa was great, even it was his first game after sidelined for almost more than 9 months.

6. Laurent Koscielny (6.5)
A mixed performance in his first season in premier league. Could be as strong as a rock - unbeatable by anyone, when Arsenal faced Barcelona on the first leg of Champions League, the likes of Lionel Messi and David Villa couldn't do much against Koscielny. But also could be the weak link of Arsenal's backfour, like in home game against Tottenham. His concentration is also not too good, giving away a "free goal" to Birmingham in the final of Carling Cup. His tackling was reckless, earning many cards last season

18. Sebastian Squillaci (5.5)
A hight expectation were on his shoulder, when he came to Arsenal, as he was the most senior defender on the squad. However, he failed to show his quality he had in Sevilla, and many considered him as the weak link of Arsenal's squad. He made 32 appearances this season, because of Vermaelen's long term injury as well as Djourou's short term injuries. He is not strong and fast enough to play in Premier League. Probably offloaded by Wenger this season

20. Johan Djourou (7)
Superb comeback showed by the Swiss central defender. Missing out the whole champaign last season, he showed his potential, and become Arsenal's most reliable center back on 2010/2011. Would be an ideal partner for Vermaelen, if the Belgian defender hadn't been injured. Rarely on the spotlight, but he is one of the unsung heroes Arsenal have

22. Gael Clichy (6.5)
Alike Laurent Koscielny, he had many ups and downs this season. He often broke Arsenal's offside trap due to his not-so-good positioning. David Villa was able to score in Emirates, because a failed offside trap caused by Clichy. Despite his crossing wasn't too good, his work rate is unquestionable. His speed also makes him recovers easily after a mistake. However, a good defender rarely makes defending mistakes. With his contract running out on 2012, he is probably sold this season.

27. Emmanuel Eboue (6.5)
His playing time is limited because of Sagna's good performance. Eboue actually always showed his best when he is trusted by Wenger. He is a very attacking full back, and sometimes played on the right wing, as Arsenal is holding the scoreline.
However, he DID make one fatal mistake, making Arsenal conceded a last minute penalty against Liverpool, which ended with 1-1

28. Kieran Gibbs (6.5)
Again, another good players Arsenal have disrupted by injury. Kieran Gibbs was Gael Clichy's backup for last three season, but he could broke to Arsenal's starting line up, should Clichy leave the club. He was originally a winger, so it's not surprising to see him having a good technique and crossing.

48. Ignasi Miquel (6)
Only made two appearances against Leeds United, following the injury of Djourou, Koscielny, and Vermaelen. He showed great composure, and next year might be his breakthrough season.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Arsenal's full season players rating (keeper)

1. Manuel Almunia (4.5)
Started the season as the number one keeper. He put a decent performance for few matches, but his horrible performance - even after saving a penalty - in the home match against West Brom - when Arsenal lost 2-3 - was likely to be the U turn of his career in Arsenal. He got injury at that match, and since then Lukasz Fabianski took the number one spot, and Almunia never reclaim that place again. Things got worser to Almunia, when Fabianski's deputy, Wojciech Szczesny played well when Fabianski injured. Despite several critics, he still played fairly well against Barcelona, coming in replacing Szczesny, who is injured. Almunia may not be the first team keeper next season, and probably he is going out this summer.

13. Jens Lehmann (6)
This veteran keeper only made one appearance, in the game against Blackpool. He became the oldest player represent Arsenal in league. His peformance against Blackpool wasn't too good, conceded once and could be sent off after a reckless challenge. Fortunately, Blackburn scored a goal after that, and the referee gave the goal and didn't punish Lehmann with any cards.

21. Lukasz Fabianski (7)
Unlike last year, he was solid this season. Many doubts were at him when Arsene Wenger trusted him to be no 1 keeper following Almunia's injury, but Fabianski coped with the pressure well. His positioning was better than before, and he wasn't Fabianski we know concede 5 against Tottenham anymore. He had produced strings of great performance, like against Everton, and he was likely to be number one next season. However, he got a shoulder injury that kept him on the sideline until the end of season.

53. Wojciech Szczesny (7)
No one would expected this Polish keeper to be no 1 keeper in the beginning of the season. He started the game against Manchester United as Fabianski injured, faulted for bad positioning on Park Ji Sung's goal, he made several good saves in that match, and keep the scoreline 1-0 for Arsenal's defeat. After Fabianski back, he back to the bench. However, he reclaimed his place on the starting line up, with Fabianski injured until the end of the season, and impressed with teriffic performances. He is the keeper who never afraid of anyone, his bravery is his strength. His performance on the first leg of champions league agaisnt Barca was the example of his bravery. Facing the like of Lionel Messi, the best player on the world, and David Villa, Spanish superstriker, Szczesny kept his head cool, and couldn't blame for the goal Villa scored. He denied Barca's chance, so that Arsenal only behind one goal, before van Persie and Arshavin netted for the Gunners' victory. However, he still need to improve his commanding ability. It was probably his main weakness. He was involved in giving goals for Obafemi Martins which resulted in Arsenal's 1-2 Carling Cup Final defeat. A finger injury hit Szczesny on the second leg of Champions League, and he was sidelined for six week. He made one penalty save on Arsenal's 1-2 defeat from Bolton. He has a good career prospect in Arsenal. He is still 21, and possibly Arsenal's next season no 1 keeper, competing with another polish Lukasz Fabianski

the young, promising keeper (photos from skysports)

Problems Arsenal should find the soulution for next season

1. Bad Defending
Arsenal's defence is the weakest point, no doubt about it. Some might argue Arsenal's weakness is in goal, but Wojciech Szczesny is good enough, he is just affected by Arsenal's lack of coordination on the backline. It's an irony. Arsenal was very popular of "Boring-boring 1-0 Arsenal" before Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal, and they had a very strong defence, but now Arsenal's defence is far from strong, and even the worst from the top 6 teams.

Thomas Vermaelen's absence might be the factor why the backline was very vulnerable. Vermaelen was really outstanding last season, and Arsenal really miss Vermaelen's presence on the backline.

Vermaelen was really missed on the backline

Koscielny could be a good player, but he is far from Vermaelen, lacking concentration, and still melts under the pressure. Squillaci is too fragile to deal with physically strong opponent, and also often makes silly mistakes. Djourou is good, but quite inconsistent.

Gael Clichy is lacking of coordination with his mates, and often, Arsenal concede from his "assist", breaking the offside trap. Bacary Sagna stands to be Arsenal's best defender last season, very consistent throughout season.

Arsenal might need to buy one world class central defender, a commanding central back, to pair with Thomas Vermaelen.

2. Giving Away a Victory
If one match only lasted for 80 minutes, Arsenal might have won the EPL. Arsenal usually took lead before equalized, or even lost. 4-4 against Newcastle and also Tottenham. 1-1 against Liverpool, and Sunderland. 1-2 against Bolton, 2-3 against arch-rival Tottenham. At least 12 points is wasted because of the late goals Arsenal concede, and Arsenal only at least got 5 points saved from scoring at final minutes. Lack of oncentration, and also composure, could be said like that. Again, the mentality is playing. This is the matter of mentality, you have to hold on if you have a lead, not giving away cheap goals!

3. Winning Mentality
Nah, it's something Arsenal don't have, they just don't show the real character a winner should have. Look at Barcelona, after they lost at Copa Del Rey final against Real Madrid, their mentality didn't drop. They even play better than before, and it's known that Barcelona beat Madrid in the semifinal of Champions League. They weren't too downhearted with the defeat in Copa Del Rey. However, Arsenal didn't show their mentality. After losing against Birmingham in the League Cup final, they just fell down, and tragically finished fourth at Premier League. Again, I emphasize the urgent of buying world class player(s) for Arsenal. One or two players could bring in the winning mentality for the young, potential players, that still need tutor from the more experienced players.

4. Second Half Season Poor Form
This has been Arsenal's chronic illness since the last 4 years, since 2007/2008, where they were leading 5 points ahead Manchester United and unbelievably they keep being held and losing, then the result was third place, losing the title painfully. Then 2008/2009, they still plays quite well, until mid-february if i'm not mistaken, and they fell down again. Last year was no different. English Premier League had a three horse race between the Gunners, MU, and also Chelsea, but after Fabregas was sidelined because of injury, everything went wrong. So did this season. Even mathematically they were on pole position following Manchester United two loss in a row, but they held by Blackburn and Sunderland, instead of winning to take the 1st position, and several draws and losses, then 4th place, Arsenal's second place was taken by Chelsea, and even Man City overtake the 3rd place, which means Arsenal need to start from qualifying of Champions League, not the automatic spot. The squad is a little bit lack of depth, with the bench players don't have same quality as the first team. Time to sign someone else, or at least rotating players more.