As we head into the summer, it’s time to look at how the players rated over the course of the season. In a series which will look at three main areas of the pitch, we start with the defence.
Wojciech Szczesny – 6.5/10
While he didn’t make any jaw-droppingly awful gaffs, the younger of the Poles got a touch complacent and was summarily dropped for Lukasz Fabianski. When Fabianski’s injury opened the door for him, he returned a much more focused and solid player.
Highlight of the season: Two massive saves against QPR and Wigan kept the late trajectory of Arsenal’s season going
Lowlight of the season: Having to distance himself from his father’s remarks when he was dropped by Arsene Wenger. It was a situation he dealt with well, however, and came out of it with a lot of credit.
Season trivia: 87% of his kicks went straight out for opposition throw-ins.
Next season: Must build on the end of season performances and set those as the standard below which he can’t fall. Needs to work on his distribution.
Vito Mannone – 6/10
The Italian made 13 appearances in the first part of the season, filling in when Szczesny had an ankle injury. It can’t have been easy playing with a defence that wasn’t as switched on as it was in the latter stages of the campaign, but even still he didn’t do enough to convince that he’s got a long-term future at the club
Highlight of the season: A clean sheet, and a solid performance, away at Stoke, a place which has tested many more seasoned keepers.
Lowlight of the season: A poor save at Norwich allowed some great big fat bloke to score the winning goal for the home team.
Season trivia: Enraged environmentalists by punching an endangered owl in the face. Club kept the story under wraps.
Next season: Likely to be somewhere else as he wants to play first team football and it won’t be at Arsenal.
Lukasz Fabianski – 7/10
Ok, so 5 appearances isn’t a great deal to make a judgement on, but to say he was out in the cold was an understatement. He was frozen out like Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back. Arsene Wenger cut open the weird tundra camel thing and used its guts to warm him up, the Pole played well, kept some clean sheets, didn’t lose a game and provided Szczesny with some healthy competition.
Highlight of the season: Brought back into a team which was demoralised, he kept a clean sheet at the Allianz Arena as Arsenal became the first side to beat them there all season. Or something.
Lowlight of the season: None really, but getting injured again having played so well must have been a frustration.
Season trivia: Was granted a licence to punch the faces of anyone who calls him ‘Flappyhandski’.
Next season: He wants to play first team football and Szczesny’s revival, and the pressure Wenger is under to buy a keeper this summer, might mean he moves on.
Nacho Monreal – 7/10
Encouraging first four months in England after signing from Malaga in January. Thrown straight in the deep end against Stoke on his debut, the Spanish international has since taken everything in his stride and provided much needed competition for Kieran Gibbs after the loan exit of Andre Santos.
Highlight of the season: His 74th minute strike away at Swansea helped kick-start the great end of season run in the Premier League.
Lowlight of the season: Possibly the miscommunication with Thomas Vermaelen at White Hart Lane. Also watching former club Malaga get dramatically knocked out of the Champions League in the dying seconds against Dortmund.
Season trivia: Currently in an on-off relationship with Penelope Cruz’s younger sister, Esmerelda Montse Cruz, who had her left leg bitten off by a shark in 2003.
Next season: Having sat out three of the final four games he knows he has it all to do if he’s to usurp Kieran Gibbs next term. Definitely has the quality to do so but could improve in the final third.
Kieran Gibbs – 7.5/10
His best season at Arsenal to date with 34 appearances in all competitions including 23 starts in the league. Still plagued by niggly injuries but put worst of his fitness problems behind him to kill off Santos’ claims for the left-back spot. Faces real tussle with Monreal but arguably the better of the two going forward.
Highlight of the season: Smashing volley away at Swansea highlighted his past as a winger. Hailed by Wenger as one of England’s top three left-backs after notching his 100th appearance for the Gunners vs Reading.
Lowlight of the season: Thigh injury sustained in January kept him out for six-weeks forcing Arsene to buy Nacho.
Season trivia: The only man to pick up a ‘cold’ after partying on a yacht in Dubai. Ooooh suspicious.
Next season: A real fight on his hands to keep Monreal out of the team but shouldn’t be scared of the challenge with Wenger happy to pick him for big games at tail end of this season.
Carl Jenkinson – 7/10
Arguably the Gunners most improved player this season, he manfully stepped up to cover for the injured Sagna at the start of the season and firmly established himself as a first team squad member.
Highlight of the season: That equaliser to cap the miraculous recovery against Reading in the COC was pretty sweet (even if it was later awarded to Walcott) and so too was signing a new deal at the Emirates, but has to be debut for England capping amazing journey from non-league football to international in space of two years.
Lowlight of the season: An awful slip against Swansea in the 2-0 defeat at home and the red card in a rusty performance away at Sunderland underlined impetuosity of youth.
Season trivia: His dad is a well known…(you know the score by now)
Next season: He’s already made clear he wants to takeover from Bacary Sagna should the Frenchman leave, nothing to suggest Arsene won’t give him the chance.
Bacary Sagna – 6/10
Started with a whinge in the French press, has admitted his future at Arsenal is unclear, but still a dependable figure (for the most part) when he’s on the pitch. There’s no hiding though that this was far from his best season at the Emirates.
Highlight of the season: Shifted to centre-back against Sunderland he was a defensive colossus alongside Per Mertesacker after Jenkinson’s red card.
Lowlight of the season: Got taken to the cleaners by Gabriel Obertan in the 7-3 win over Newcastle and the 148 crosses which hit the first man and bounced for a throw-in. UPDATE – we forgot the 7 seconds of madness vs United which culminated in RVP winning a penalty.
Season trivia: Driven to dance when he cleans his Range Rover. And what moves he has.
Next season: Strutting his stuff in front of a partisan 10,000 capacity crowd at Monaco’s car park stadium. Possibly.
Andre Santos – 5/10
There aren’t many players with whom Arsene Wenger has lost patience as quickly as Santos. He made six starts and six sub appearances before the boss was forced to give up his smiley, stabby-tackling ways in January. Hasn’t done too badly at Gremio since and even got a re-call to the Brazil squad.
Highlight of the season: His goodbye message to the Arsenal support was a nice touch.
Lowlight of the season: Getting arrested in August for driving at 300mph to training set the tone of things to come. Oh, and something about a shirt, we can’t remember the details.
Season trivia: Appears to have signed sponsorship agreement with a possible pyramid selling scam.
Next season: He’ll be hoping to stay in Brazil although whether that’s on loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen.
Thomas Vermaelen – 6/10
Made captain when van Persie left, and it seemed the obvious choice. The Belgian would likely be the first to admit his performances have fallen below the standards he’s set, and found himself benched for the run-in.
Highlight of the season: Proudly leading the team out on the opening day of the season
Lowlight of the season: The assist for van Persie at Old Trafford in the third minute of the game.
Season trivia: Recorded a Flemish language rap album with local hip-hop star Pugnacious D
Next season: It’s a big test of character now. Does he stay and fight for his place or look to move on having fallen down the pecking order. Let’s hope it’s the former.
Per Mertesacker – 8/10
The most consistent of our central-defenders this season. Adds calm and assurance and wonderful reading of the game. Pace can be an issue at times but has become hugely important.
Highlight of the season: That ‘Oh not you don’t’ goal to equalise against Sp*rs, what a header.
Lowlight of the season: The sending off at West Brom put the team under huge pressure, but thankfully it didn’t prove too costly.
Season trivia: Websites and blogs ran out of ‘Per’ related puns for their headlines. It’s imperative they find more.
Next season: More of the same, please.
Laurent Koscielny – 7.5/10
The end of season form masks the fact that he did struggle in the early part of the season, picked up a silly red card against Man City, as well as picking up some ill-timed injuries. Came back to show his stuff though, and for the second year running got the winner on the final day.
Highlight of the season: The goal mentioned above, and all those acrobatic clearances he makes.
Lowlight of the season: A really poor display against Chelsea early in the season contributed to his benching.
Season trivia: Discretely attended Whitney Houston’s funeral
Next season: See Mertesacker.
Johan Djourou – 4/10
Hardly played, just two Capital One Cup appearances, then shipped out on loan to Germany where he’s done ok.
Highlight of the season: Not having to do the ‘We’ll pick it up in the next game’ videos for arsenal.com – he must have been so relieved.
Lowlight of the season: Struggling in the bonkers Reading game which saw us go 4-0 down in the first half.
Season trivia: Is the best in the squad at Angry Birds
Next season: A loan move could turn permanent as Arsene Wenger looks to strengthen this summer.
Sebastian Squillaci – 0/10
Made one appearance in a Champions League dead rubber.
Highlight of the season: Hahaha
Lowlight of the season: Made one appearance in a Champions League dead rubber.
Season trivia: Spent his free time trying to invent a mind-control toilet flush app for Blackberry phones
Next season: He’s out of contract so wherever it is, it’s not with us.
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.