Premier League 2010-11 review

Player Ratings: Arsenal

May 25, 2011
By Kevin Palmer
(Archive)

After threatening to win three competitions this term, Arsenal eventually ended their sixth season without a trophy. Kevin Palmer runs the rule over Arsene Wenger's squad.

Robin van Persie: 9

Robin van Persie: Arsenal's star performer
GettyImagesRobin van Persie: Arsenal's star performer

An impressive goals-per-game ratio confirms Van Persie merits the top spot in the Arsenal ratings this season, though his absence through the injuries he seems unable to avoid were a concern once more. While he needs to reset the radar on his woefully directed free-kicks, the Dutchman can take credit for being one of the few who rose above the frustrating mediocrity in the final few weeks of the season.

Jack Wilshere: 8

This was a breakthrough campaign for this youngster who has confirmed he will make the grade for Arsenal and England in the next few years. However, the tail off in his form in the last couple of months confirms the physical demands placed on him this season have the potential to come back to haunt him. Arsenal have to hope injuries do not affect this likely replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

Wojciech Szczesny: 7.5

His horror story moment in the final seconds of Carling Cup Final in February proved to be the turning point of Arsenal's season, yet this impressive young stopper should not be condemned for one high profile faux pas. Szczesny proved to be a vast improvement on the accident obsessed keepers Arsene Wenger has relied on in recent seasons and he has the potential to be an Arsenal No.1 for years to come.

Samir Nasri: 7

Nasri may have been the outstanding performer in the first half of the Premier League season, yet a dramatic dip in form saw his goals dry up and he scored just once in the crucial final quarter of the campaign. Whether this gifted Frenchman has the energy or strength to carry his match winning form through a full season remains to be seen.

Aaron Ramsey: 6.5

The return of Ramsey was a shimmering shaft of light amid the relentless despair that was the final six weeks of the season for Arsenal, with his fine winning goal against Manchester United on May 1 offering a glimpse of what may be ahead for this talented Welshman. To use a well-worn Arsene Wenger catchphrase, 'this boy could be great next season'.

Bacary Sagna: 6.5

It's hard to absolve any of the Arsenal back-four of blame for their continuing inability to avert danger from set-plays and their determination to seek out trouble, but Sagna is less culpable than some of his wayward colleagues. A threat when he gets into attacking positions, this full-back admits Arsenal were 'too nice' to win trophies this season.

Theo Walcott: 6

His improved goal return and healthy number of games played suggests this has been a better season for Theo, yet his final delivery into the box is still often sub-standard and he rarely turns on the style in the games that really matter. Top quality defenders seem to be able to nullify his threat with comfort and he still only produces the goods in short bursts during games, which must be a concern for Arsene Wenger.

Cesc Fabregas: 6

The Arsenal skipper suffered hamstring problems aplenty once more and his absences were a major blow to his side's hopes of gathering some late season momentum. However, the truth is the quality midfield general rarely performed to his own stunningly high standards this season and there is a growing feeling among the Emirates Stadium faithful that the time may have come for their darling to flee the Arsenal nest.

Kieran Gibbs: 6

The Arsenal coaching staff are convinced they have a gem in the making in 21-year-old Gibbs and he certainly shows signs that he will not let Arsene Wenger down, like so many of the kids he has put his own reputation on the line for. However, fitness issues are a concern for this talented full-back who is already in danger of slipping into the 'injury prone' category.

Jens Lehmann: 5.5

Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann came out of retirement to join Arsenal
GettyImagesJens Lehmann came out of retirement

Arsene Wenger's move to lure Lehmann out of retirement as his keeper injury list reached crisis levels in March confirmed suspicions that he is reluctant to allow 'outsiders' into his dressing room and Lehmann did a decent job in his solitary performance at Blackpool. It said much about the lack of faith he had in his other stoppers that he preferred this 41-year-old to his long-standing custodians.

Thomas Vermaelen: 5

Many Arsenal fans firmly believe their story could have been different this season were it not for the ongoing injury to this centre-back, yet such tales have also be spun when the likes of Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas have been sidelined in previous years. Vermaelen needs to step up to the plate next season and he is good enough to do just that.

Alex Song: 5

Accused by many Arsenal followers of failing to rise to the challenge when the going gets tough, Arsene Wenger may have to accept that the midfielder he hoped would develop into his new enforcer is not up to the job. His army of critics have grown in number this season, with his poor displays in the defeats against Aston Villa and Stoke in the final month of the season doing little to raise hope for the future.

Laurent Koscielny: 5

Arsene Wenger's obsession with buying French players saw him ignore the credentials of several proven Premier League performers and instead spend close to £9 million to sign this centre-back last summer, but he has not solved Arsenal's long standing chasm at the heart of their defence. His performance in the first leg of the Champions League clash with Barcelona was a rare high point.

Sebastien Squillaci: 5

Like compatriot Koscielny, this French defender failed to deliver in his first season as a Premier League player. Johan Djourou was generally preferred as a central defensive first choice by Arsene Wenger as it became clear that Squillaci was more effective trying to score goals from set-pieces than in his primary task of keeping them out at the other end.

Johan Djourou: 5

Djourou's importance to the Arsenal side appeared to grow as he spent many a long week in the treatment room, yet he hit a run of woeful form after making a surprisingly swift return from a shoulder injury at the back end of the season, which left plenty of questions over whether he can shine at the heart of the Gunners defence.

Abou Diaby: 5

Another of the 'youngsters' who have failed to live up to the expectations Arsene Wenger has created around them, any hope that this 25-year-old would develop into a successor to Patrick Vieira in the midfield have long since evaporated. His red card at Newcastle proved crucial in helping Alan Pardew's men secure a draw after being 4-0 down at half-time.

Andrey Arshavin: 5

Andrey Arshavin wasn't fully focused this season
GettyImagesAndrey Arshavin has struggled to win over the fans.

The negative body language oozing from this Russian infuriated Arsenal fans as much as his inconsistent performances. His look of resignation seconds before Liverpool fired home their late penalty at the Emirates Stadium last month and his regular media snipes suggested he does not believe in his team's winning credentials and, in the end, his pessimism was shown to be accurate once again. Arshavin's winning goal against Barcelona was rare high point.

Lukasz Fabianski: 4.5

Arsene Wenger insists he retains faith in Fabianski, but few Arsenal fans share that backing after another error-strewn season. His glaring weakness in dealing with high balls allowed Andy Carroll to head Newcastle's winner against the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium in November. However, he did turn in decent displays in the away wins against Manchester City and Everton.

Tomas Rosicky: 4.5

The Czech Republic captain appears to have been injured for the best part of three seasons and when he does make fleeting appearances, the creative 'Little Maestro' of old is nowhere to be seen. Rosicky was one of the senior players Arsene Wenger needed when his season fell apart, but Rosicky could not answer the call.

Emmanuel Eboue: 4.5

This target of the boo-boys at the Emirates Stadium committed another suicidal moment as he barged into the back of Liverpool midfielder Lucas to concede a penalty 12 minutes into injury time of a game that crushed Arsenal's title dream in April. Arsene Wenger may have lost faith with one of his original young guns.

Denilson: 4

Much maligned by Arsenal supporters, this Brazilian is accused of hampering the speedy midfield bursts Arsene Wenger insists upon and Denilson's recent media comments suggesting he is eager to leave north London means his days at the club are numbered. His claims that he decided to leave Arsenal 'eight months ago' will do little to dispel the notion that his heart has not been in the job this season.

Nicklas Bendtner: 3

This Danish striker has long been something of a comedy figure thanks to his lavish self confidence and blatant inability to live up to his own lofty billing. Once again, Bendtner was exposed as being second rate as he strived in vain to confirm his worth at Arsenal, with his failure to take a late chance against Barcelona denying his side a chance to transform their season in the Champions League last-16 tie.

Marouane Chamakh: 3

Even though it may be hasty to write off this striker after just one season at Arsenal, there can be no denying he was a major disappointment since his arrival from Bordeaux. Arsene Wenger believed Chamakh would offer a different dimension to his attacking options this season, but he failed to add the missing ingredients to the Gunners attacking play.

Manuel Almunia: 2

This Spanish flapper has played his last game for Arsenal and it was a tragedy that he had to step into the spotlight just as his side's season began to crumble. His horrendous performance in the 2-2 draw at West Brom in March was another entry onto the lengthy list of Almunia horror stories. He is not good enough to play at the highest level.