Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Are these Arsenal’s top five players of the season?

By 1970’s Gooner

What a strange season we’ve had. When Thierry Henry departed for what he thought pastures new no one gave us a cat’s chance of achieving anything.

Well we didn’t but we got mighty close, leading the Premiership for the most part of the season until our thin squad was brutally exposed as our luck run out on the injury front.

All players contributed but there were some that really stood out. The five players that I consider as the best performers of the season are listed below in descending order:

5. Emmanuel Adebayor

Judging by the vast amount of comments left on this site Adebayor has had his critics as well as his admirers.

The critics voicing their opinions about his profligacy in front of goal, his constant napping in the attacking positions which ended up with 65 off sides given against him (probably a record in the Premiership) and his ball control skills.

His admirers point out his 24 goals (and still going) which make him the second top scorer in the league behind Ronaldo.

They also point out his heading ability, which was badly missing in previous campaigns and his capacity to lead the line on his own enabling the use of a Plan B that has also been missing from Wenger’s previous Arsenal versions.

I personally feel he will improve further next season as he has shown that he is capable of taking on board lessons learned as he has done since his arrival at Arsenal.

He will also benefit a great deal from having another forward next to him like Robin van Persie or Eduardo (who is expected back in September).

Adebayor stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 35

Attempts at goal 103
Attempts on target 52

Goals 24
Goal to attempts ratio 50 %
Goal to games ratio 68 %

Assists 4

Total passes 1202
Accurate passes 845
Passes successful 70 %

Tacles 15
Tackles won 11
Tackle success 73 %

4. Bacary Sagna

Since he first arrived at Arsenal, Bacary Sagna has carried with him his trademark colourful hair locks!

His performances have also been excellent from the off and his introduction into the team seemed to have been made almost effortlessly.

He looked right from the beginning as a typical Wenger player excelling in that position and rightly picked in the Premier League’s best 11.

Strong and tenacious in the tackle but more importantly with excellent positional awareness.

He will be Arsenal’s right back for years to come.

Sagna stats (for all games so far)

Appearances 29

Tacles 56
Tackles won 39
Tackle success 70 %

Total passes 1298
Accurate passes 1123
Passes successful 87 %

Assists 4
Goals 1
Attempts at goal 6
Attempts on target 1

3. Gael Clichy

Clichy is a young gun but he keeps putting in performances like a wise old head. A consistent performer at the top of his game putting in top quality defending coupled with offensive forays and penetration on the wing.

He plays well with either Hleb or Rosicky on the wing as they tend to come infield to join the midfield thus allowing more space for the young defender to surge forward.

What a find by Wenger. I have said it before: Ashley Cole, thanks for leaving Arsenal mate….

Clichy stats (for all games so far)

Appearances 37

Tacles 149
Tackles won 120
Tackle success 80 %

Total passes 1918
Accurate passes 1566
Passes successful 82 %

Assists 5
Attempts at goal 9
Attempts on target 3

2. Mathieu Flamini

He's not just been amazingly awesome; he's been Arsenal’s most consistent player and hasn't had a single bad game all year.

When he didn’t play the midfield always seemed to look weak. We gave away more cheap goals, seemed to lack pace and there was no bite in midfield.

Not only has he been defensively brilliant this year, he seemed to be much sharper and quicker on the ball and a technically more skillful player.

He ran a thousand miles more than his colleagues, swept up in front of the defence at dangerous moments and also went forward when required.

Pity he will be doing it for AC Milan next season….

Flamini stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 30

Total passes 1710
Accurate passes 1474
Passes successful 86 %

Assists 2

Attempts at goal 30
Attempts on target 15
Goals 3
Goal to attempts ratio 10 %

Tacles 84
Tackles won 56
Tackle success 67 %

1. Cesc Fabregas

Because they occupy the most influential parts of the pitch, midfielders are more likely to influence the outcome of a match than other positions, especially if they have vision for a good pass or ability to score.

It is generally accepted that outstanding midfielders need to posses a number of attributes on top of fitness: technique, ball skills, tackling, retaining possession, distribution, shooting and scoring as well.

Fabregas has displayed all the above in abundance this season; his best ever for Arsenal…so far and that is why I vote for him as Arsenal’s player of the season.

Fabregas stats (for all league games so far)

Appearances 32

Total passes 2318
Accurate passes 1823
Passes successful 78 %

Assists 17

Attempts at goal 95
Attempts on target 27
Goals 7
Goal to attempts ratio 7 %

Tacles 89
Tackles won 67
Tackle success 75 %

Choosing between these five has been very difficult. Clichy and Sagna have been quite impressive in defence and Adebayor has really come on.

But for me the real difficulty was choosing between Flamini’s all powerful box to box performances and Fabregas’s majestic performances.

A very difficult choice indeed.

You can “voice” your opinion by leaving a comment and also vote on the poll we have set up on the matter.


Anonymous said...

Very good points. I agree with all the final analysis of the players and I'm glad you are levelheaded when it comes to deciding hwo important Flamini was this season. I just think it should have been between Clichy and Cesc for top spot though...

Anonymous said...

I would not put Flamini at number 2. Most of his passes were sideways to Cesc and his tackle success rate is not that much better than our 'creative' midfielder.

Anonymous said...

Bacary Sagna without question. I hope people vote in their masses for this guy. Without doubt the best right back in the league and without him the defence would be totally shit. And I mean it.

FredIsDead said...

Im with you on the top five, and its great to see how your poll bears you out.
Much as I hate to admit it, for me the Flamster has been our player of the year.
Cesc was brilliant in the beginning of the year, Ade I believe has been very luck and will only get 15 next year (which means he will miss tons more).
Walcott has been the comeback of the year — he looked like a petrified pussycat all season but has had a terrific last few weeks.
Eboue takes the stink-pot of the year. I cant stand his attitude.

Anonymous said...

U are right with everything, there is none better than Fabrigas, the guy is a genius(spelling), Flamini came close indeed, but don't u think Wenger should start promoting the english lads who are good to the first team, at least when we have about 3 in the first team, people will shut their mouths, we don't also know when Blatter will be coming with his quest. the earlier the better, imo.

Anonymous said...

Cant agree with u more ! Cesc is the man tho sagna should b 2nd ! Gunner4lyf

Anonymous said...

Fabregas was hit and miss. Flamini and Clichy have been our best and most consistent players this season, both have been excellent all season. Sagna would make number 3, and Fabregas as number 4.
We all love Fabregas at Arsenal but let's not kid ourselves, he's not been our best player. Was our best player for the first 12 games or so.

Anonymous said...

Ade lostit whenhe is hair, it took him time to settle into it. lol.

All these playrs have played realy good this season, I would also add Hleb at 6, wha do u guys think?

rené said...

I picked the same top five before I looked at yours. However, as someone above made the point, Cesc was the best for only the first part of the season (arguably the best player in the world over those few months). I would rank 1. Clichy 2. Flamini 3. Adebayor 4. Sagna 5. Cesc. Sagna is further down due to injury.

Anonymous said...

Sagna for me. Flamini did well but was running out of inspiration prior to the injury. Cesc is untouchable but wasn't able to maintain his form through mid-season but he will as he gets older. Clichy is terrific but has to maintain concentration (Man City and Birmingham). Adebayor is a great athlete and an awful footballer and Hleb would never have kicked another ball for Arsenal if it had been up to me when he refused to win the game against Liverpool at home in the league in the 95th minute. There is no future in forwards who do not want to score.-Ramgun

Anonymous said...

For me, without any doubt, It has to be Bacary Sagna.Not only is he a brilliant right back, this guy has great character.

Anonymous said...

Hleb has been better than Adebayor. Don't look at the goals but how they both played and I think you'll agree.

Adebayor is effective due to his physique and ferocious athleticism, and the Premier League is extremely forgiving with regards to a lack of quality as long as you have 80kg of lean muscle strapped to your skeleton.

I really want to see Adebayor plying his trade at a different club so I can assess him better...and consequently, not have to see him doing the exact same skill just outside the box and feebly striking the ball straight at the goalkeeper for Arsenal.

He is sooooo boring, it's a shame he's occasionally so effective.

Other than that I am in complete agreement with your choices and assessments. Another good post.

Anonymous said...

Sagna for the player of the year. Last year, I thought we had a top 3 RB in the world, but now I am convinced we have the best RB in the world. You hardly can fault Sagna for his defense and his attack contribution. Sagna is immense.

Although many will point to Clichy, however Sagna committed less mistakes than Clichy. Therefore Sagna all the way.

Anonymous said...

Sagna is my No. 1: playing with an expiry in his immediate family and not capitulating, and solid in every FUKCKING game he played.

If we had 10 other players like Sagna (we don't) we will win plenty next year.

Wrighty7 said...

My order






Anonymous said...

CLICHY all the way

Anonymous said...

1. Clichy
2. Hleb
3. Sagna
4. Flamini
5. Adebayor

Worst - Senderos/Hoyte to think they are in the squad??

Embarrasing when you look at Manure/Chelski bench

Anonymous said...

great article I think I will have to subscribe to the feeds here ...I think Flamini has done well for us this season but then you know the end..I will go for Fabragas, Sagna , Flamini and that order....any soccer lover who will like to interact with other fans and dicuss any soccer related issues should check out Soccer fan base dot com it is free to join.

Anonymous said...

I Guess when adebabayor cut off his hair,thats when he lost it,and we started struggling as a club,u remember samson in the bible?? when he allowed his hair to be cut off, he lost his magic Anyway back to the point,my best player last year was sagna,that boy is a warrior,not faut in his game!followed by clichy,cesc,flamin and helb.

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