It’s time for part two of our Ratings of the Season pieces. After yesterday’s dissection of the defence, today we mull the midfield.
Abou Diaby – 4/10
Got a good pre-season under his belt, looked like he might just have cracked the whole fitness thing with 7 appearances before the end of September, and not only that, he was playing well. Then injured himself taking a shot against Chelsea and missed three months, before a stop-start return, and then a cruciate knee injury which will keep him out until 2014.
Highlight of the season: A performance at Liverpool which suggested he could be the perfect player to link the defensive and offensive parts of our midfield.
Lowlight of the season: The injuries. Plus ça change.
Season trivia: Even a trip to the US to visit renowned serious injury consultant Steve Austin couldn’t help him get through a season uninjured.
Next season: Like it or not he’s going to be around. We can’t simply ‘get rid’ of someone under contract and nobody is going to buy an injured player, but he’s been given enough chances, and it’s time for Arsene Wenger to accept we’re pissing in the wind with Diaby. It’s sad, but we must be pragmatic.
Mikel Arteta – 7.5/10
Mr Consistent at the base of Arsenal’s midfield, provided experience, leadership and quality from almost the first whistle until the last. Looked to fade a bit towards the end of the season, but given how much he played that’s understandable. Made more passes than any other player in the Premier League (and we think in any of the top leagues in Europe), and while some might scoff because they’re not 60 yard raking diagonals, keeping it simple is often the best tactic.
Highlight of the season: Holding his nerve time and again from the penalty spot.
Lowlight of the season: The one time he didn’t came late in the game against Fulham but it’s hard to blame him for the dropped points when Arsenal had turned a two goal lead into a one goal deficit before Giroud’s equaliser.
Season trivia: Lukasz Fabianski was set for a comeback in October but ruffled the skipper’s hair on a night out and snapped his wrist like a twig.
Next season: Clearly loves being at the club, might well be captain next season, and too often we’ve bemoaned the loss of players over 30. Might find his role somewhat lessened if signings are made but likely to be a very important part of the squad.
Aaron Ramsey – 7/10
A season of two halves for the Welshman. It’s fair to say the first wasn’t good. He struggled with form and being played out of position didn’t help, but it’s impossible to overlook his contribution to the run-in. He gave the team energy and hard work when it needed it, pitched in at full back a few times, and grew in confidence as time went on. Has definitely made progress.
Highlight of the season: Scored a brilliant early season goal in the Champions League but for me it was the 30 minutes at right back as we hung on against Sunderland which showed his selflessness and willingness to work for the team.
Lowlight of the season: The performances when deployed in the front three – while accepting that’s not his natural position, he could certainly have been better with the ball.
Season trivia: Always the first to training but the last to leave because people keep hiding his car.
Next season: From a point where he was being written off, he’s won people around, but needs to continue to develop. Every squad needs players like Ramsey, and if he can improve further then he’ll play a valuable role.
Francis Coquelin – 5/10
He’s tidy, efficient, combative, and energetic, but even with injuries to Wilshere and Diaby, wasn’t given a great deal of playing time by Arsene Wenger. From January to May, played just 60 minutes of Premier League football and rumours of his departure, in order to play more, seem credible.
Highlight of the season: Playing 120 enthralling minutes of the 7-5 Capital One Cup win over Reading.
Lowlight of the season: Not really to do with him, but being thrown on late in the game at Villa Park when Arsenal were drawing 0-0 provoked a negative reaction from fans. Especially as he replaced our only striker, Olivier Giroud.
Season trivia: Will spend the summer touring the nightspots of Greece with the DeBarge tribute band he plays in with his brothers Jaques and Long-Jean.
Next season: It’s hard to see how he can have a real future with us, especially if the talk of signing a player like Gonalons is accurate. This was the season for him to show he had it at this level, but didn’t catch the eye sufficiently. We suspect a transfer.
Tomas Rosicky: 7/10
Another long-term injury cast a shadow over the first half of Tomas Rosicky’s season but since starting the away game in Munich he’s battled back to some of his best form. He only made 7 Premier League starts in total but with six of those since the end of March he was an integral part of the midfield during the run in.
Highlight of the season: His match-winning brace in the 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion.
Lowlight of the season: Getting less than 90 minutes playing time between August and the start of January due to injury.
Season trivia: Tomas is so injury prone he’s actually had his tonsils removed three times in the last 2 years.
Next season: Challenging for a weekly starting berth, mentoring the next generation of midfield starlets and trying to stay fit.
Jack Wilshere: 7/10
After an interminable 15-month wait, he was given a start out of the blue against QPR in November and went from strength to strength until his ankle injury started troubling him in early March. Promising tiki-taka relationship building between him, Cazorla and Arteta which should be revisited next season.
Highlight of the season: The clinical edge-of-the-box strike which capped a man-of-the-match performance against Swansea in the FA Cup.
Lowlight of the season: Rustiness played a part in sending off at Old Trafford but probably the pain in his ankle which requires surgery to remove a screw this summer.
Season trivia: If his son Archie makes an Arsenal debut at the same age (16) as him, Jack will still only be 35 thus throwing up fun possibility of a father-son double act. Now that’s Arsenal DNA.
Next season: To storm back to form following rehab after ‘minor’ summer surgery, then to lead Arsenal to the treble and England to World Cup glory in Brazil. No pressure.
Santi Cazorla: 8.5 /10
Having failed to sign Cazorla in the wake of Cesc Fabregas’ departure Arsene finally got his man in August and the little Spaniard hasn’t disappointed. With 49 appearances to his name he played more games than anyone else and was the only squad member to feature in every Premier League fixture. 11 assists and 12 goals (all in the league) pay testament to a very slick debut season. A gem of a signing and there’s not been a Gooner who hasn’t been impressed.
Highlight of the season: The strike at West Ham was fantastic as was his tidy finish in the 5-2 drubbing of Spurs, but hard to overlook the hat-trick against Reading.
Lowlight of the season: Playing the full 120 minutes of the defeat to Bradford.
Season trivia: Was the hump in Per Mertesacker’s camel costume at the Arsenal Christmas party.
Next season: Well he can’t play anymore games in the league so we’ll just settle for more goals and more assists.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6.5/10
Having impressed at the tail end of last season, and at Euro 2012, the young England midfielder seemed to struggle with expectations before Christmas but proved himself a trusty squad member in the final months. Three assists and one goal in 25 Premier League appearances can be improved upon but he’s still only 19 and he’ll take a lot from this year.
Highlight of the season: Lovely strike in the 7-3 win over Newcastle United and getting his first England goal versus San Marino at Wembley back in October.
Lowlight of the season: Being sacrificed against Manchester City after 11 minutes after Laurent Koscielny’s sending off.
Season trivia: Nearly quit international football in the middle of Euro 2012 after being forced to room with Stuart Downing.
Next season: He has the physicality and technical quality to be a regular starter at Arsenal. Needs to play without fear and take games by the scruff of the neck, should look to follow lead of Walcott.
Please note: Ratings as provided by Arseblog and the Arseblog News Hound are based on our overall feeling, rather than an aggregate of their scores in the post-match ratings articles.
Tomorrow: attack.21,420 views