It has been a rollercoaster year, to say the very least, but as an Arsenal fan, can you really expect any different? After seeing our title hopes fade away, the Wenger out brigade will be quietly murmuring away somewhere and those who want us to become the biggest spenders in the league will be trying to make themselves heard. However, my view remains the same as many in that Wenger should stay, and we should spend around 20-25million on a few top class players with the experince needed to help us clinch the league title. Anyway, I’m going off topic. The point of this post is to highlight the positives of what has ended up a disappointing season in many ways by looking at our star players. I’ll ask for your responses to the candidates on twitter and then hopefully reveal who you believe has been the Arsenal player of the season.
1. Samir Nasri
The young Frenchman had never really got going since his big money move a few years ago to Arsenal but once he did this season, there was no stopping him. He was in fine form in the early parts of the season and performances that stood out amongst many were those vs Fulham, Manchester City and West Brom, despite the loss. He has beaten his career best goal tally for a season with 15 goals and also gained himself 4 assists, with one coming against a certain Barcelona, heard of them? Despite his flourishing start to the season, the Frenchman (like the team!) has tailed off in the latter parts of the season but he still managed to be the runner-up in the PFA player of the year awards behind Garath Bale (I won’t go into that, we all know he shouldn’t have won it). There’s no doubt in saying Nasri has become an integral part of this Arsenal side.
2. Jack Wilshere
What can you say about Jack Wilshere? The boy has been a breakthrough this year playing 44 games so far and in doing so, he has become one of the most exciting English talents in years. From being loaned out to Bolton to gain experince last season, Wilshere has now become a regular on the Arsenal team sheet and has scored two goals. Jack has been heavily praised for his pin-point passing, willingness to get stuck in and most importantly, his passion. He is one of the few players that always gives 100% for the team and without him, the title challenge may have ended a lot sooner for Arsenal. He won the PFA Young Player of the year award and deservedly so. In the future, you have to think there are bigger prizes to come for the midfielder.
3. Robin Van Persie
Van Persie sums up Arsenal in many ways. When he’s fit and on form, he is one of the best in the world. Sadly though, that’s not very often. However the Dutch striker has stayed fit for more of this season than we would probably have expected and in doing so, he has proved why teams fear him so much. He has been in clinical form scoring 17 goals in 29 games this season and he set a new record when he become the first ever player to score in seven successive away games against Bolton (sorry, still a bit of a tender subject). He has scored some exquisite goals with the pick being against Birmingham in the carling cup final (again, sorry), Wolves in the premiership and Barcelona in the Champions League. None would argue that this has been his most devastating season for the gunners and if he stays fit for the majority of next (a big if), we’ll be a much more scarier prospect.
4. Johan Djourou
At last! Johan Djourou has shown this season why Wenger was so confident he’d make it at Arsenal and boy has he done so. With TV5 abducted by the physio table and Wenger’s reluctance to buy another CB this season, Djourou has more than been up to the seemingly impossible task of partnering Kolscieny in defence (I joke, sort of). He has been a rock for more or less every game he has played in this season and without him, well, you know what I’m going to say. Don’t really fancy a permanent Kos-Squill CB pairing myself. I think Djourou will continue to flourish next season even if we do buy another CB and that we can expect even greater things from the Swiss international in the future.
5. Anyone Else
I got various different responses when I asked for candidates for this post on twitter so I’m going to let you pick your personal 5th candidate. I personally would have gone for Szczesny as he has greatly eased our goalkeeping troubles but many other players hold a case. Walcott, Song, Sagna and even Fabregas to some extent. In reflection, we were so good at the beginning of the season that more or less every player could have a claim to this 5th spot. (Well maybe not Almunia. Or Denilson. Or Squillaci. Or .., well you get my point)
So, that’s my review on player of the year done. Get back to me on twitter (@Tilley_96) with your vote for player of the year or leave it in a comment and hopefully I can announce the winner in a future blog post. For now, hope you enjoyed the read and, let’s thrash United on Sunday
Come on you gunners