So our players
are headed to Jakarta to start our pre-season Asian Tour, so I thought this
would be a good time to introduce a feature I have wanted to run with for some
time – Power Rankings.
mainly an American concept but it’s spreading throughout football and it can be
quite interesting (I assure this is). The purpose it to rate a player or team
on their performance, some will use Opta stats, some will go on opinion of
writers. The latter will be the way we assess our squad’s rankings for 2012/13.
I was going to run with my own thoughts but I thought I’d call on fellow @GunnersTown writers, friends and the a couple of twitter users to give more evenly balance ranking system.
All 11 panellists ranked the current Arsenal squad from 1st (being the best) to 15th based on their performances last season. Their ranking would be based on a player’s average ranking and in the event of a tie (because there were two), the player who made more appearances would receive the higher ranking. A total of 19 players received votes, so for those players that received no votes, they would score 20 points for not receiving a mention.
So are you ready? Here we go.
Only one player field to receive a mention through and that honour lies with Abou Diaby. Injury wrecked his season but he is also inconsistent, I’m sure if there were a few more Anfield performances in his locker that he would have made it but sadly he didn’t and he won’t feature in these rankings for a while to come as he continues his rehabilitation.
The Not So Fabulous Four
As I mentioned earlier 19 players received votes so. They are:
Gervinho – He received only two votes and was ranked 15th on each occasion. @johnny_g86 stated “he got a couple of important goals for us but it wasn’t enough to convince many others.”
Thomas Vermaelen – As with Gervinho, TV5 only received two mentions. Quite a fall from grace from a player that took over the armband and as he misses the tour, you can only suspect he will be used sparingly in this forthcoming season. @smoggygooner points out that he “wasn’t he wasn’t the worst.”
Lukasz Fabianski – The heady heights of three votes for Lukasz, who made only five appearances last season but I gave him a vote because he was parked of our mini-revival and it instilled a bit of confidence in our back four.
Nacho Monreal – Nacho received the most votes out of the four and I’m sure this will be mainly down to his late introduction to the side but as @1MrT_AFC pointed out “he had a solid half season but didn’t get much chance to do much of note.” Sometimes just being solid is good enough.
So, without any further ado – Here is the top 15
15th – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
A new-found friend of Gunnerstown. The Ox didn’t convince the panel but even Alex knows he didn’t have the best of season but we’ve all seen the potential and know what damage her can create. @yorkshiregunner had this to say “Massive let down last season, needs to start dominating games and imposing himself on lesser players. Could be Young Player of the Season or could make 10 starts and drift through the season and still end up in Brazil for England.” It would appear that the only way is up for Alex and I’d expect a top 10 ranking next year.
14th – Carl Jenkinson
Another player that devoted time to @GunnersTown this week and Carl has certainly made an impression early in the season. He started like a house on fire but maybe Bacary Sagna’s return came at the right time as he seemed to be struggling but Bac knows there is competition for his place. @attwood10 hit the nail on the head “Limited involvement, but when called upon he showed that he’s greatly improved from the previous season, when he was unfairly rushed into the team. Did enough to convince that he can genuinely challenge Sagna.” So there’s clearly more to come from Carl
13th – Bacary Sagna
Bac actually received
more no votes than Jenkinson but he got some higher rankings mainly from
@GusContreras21 but @modgooner pinpointed “his performance at
Sunderland alone warranted a decent ranking” and in fairness Sagna did win a
lot of supporters back that day. He was a rock alongside Per Mertesacker but as
we stated before he has competition and he’s only one place ahead of Carl and
it’s a World Cup year, so he better be on his game.
12th – Wojciech
Szczesny (Tied with Sagna but made more appearances)
Szczesny had a rough
time of it last season, which resulted in him getting dropped after we lost at
the place where we’ve won the league twice. I think fans have grown tired of
silly errors and conceding goals like the one at home to Aston Villa and I
can’t help but agree with @yorkshiregunner who said “Has the
tools to be as good as anyone. Doesn’t use them enough though. Piss poor
distribution at times.” I’m
not disagreeing with that. Again it’s a World Cup year, so it’s a massive year
11th – Tomas Rosicky
Well, well, well
here’s good old Tomas, in my defence I actually voted him at 10th but he did
receive three no votes. You’ll all know my thoughts on Tomas, so I’ll let
@1MrT_AFC take the floor “Did his thing again post-Xmas after featuring
little beforehand. Experience was vital during tough games we had to squeeze
out, both in possession and the press. Was less creative than we’re used to,
but ran his socks off which compensated. Effort more than craft but it all
much deserved 11th for TR7.
The Top Ten
10th – Jack Wilshere
Ranked the same as
his squad number but another injury ravaged season for our future skipper and
we need him to stay fit first, that’s why he’s not rated that highly in these
rankings because he simply hasn’t featured enough. @GusContreras21 said “2013-14 will be an important season for Wilshere,
who is coming off a short season to injury. It will be vital to complete
preseason training and form a relationship with his midfield partners. The club
need Wilshere to remain healthy at his best to compete for trophies.” Pre-season is massive for Jack and any setback is likely to
result in a lengthy lay off.
I thought Oliver would
feature higher given how much we missed him whilst he was suspended, he had a
good first season, although he does split opinion but he’s a great option
for us. @johnny_g86 stated “he
didn’t have a bad season” and
@attwood10 has been a critic at times but he had this to say “I’m
overly harsh with Giroud. His numbers (17 goals, 11 assists) are reasonably
good, but his finishing at times was woeful, and so far below the standard I’ve
come to expect. His contribution was decent enough, but must improve his
finishing, as it really can be the difference at this level.” Will there be a new striker in
place come the start of the new season? Who knows, but he will be a valuable
member of the squad.
8th – Lukas Podolski
Such a strange end to the season for Lukas as he took a back seat in terms of
starts with rumours of an injury or a bust up with Arsene Wenger. However, it
very much looks like he’ll be with us next season and I can safely say I’m
delighted about that. He may be a bit of a flat track bully at home but he
scores and creates goals. I’d love to have seen more of the
Podolski-Giroud-Walcott frontline but it didn’t really get off the ground.
@GusContreras21 remarked “Let’s be honest, it was a bit of an up-and-down
year for the German striker, but he made 42 appearances and scored 16 goals in
all competitions. With a year under his belt, fans should expect Podolski to hit
the ground running after preseason training with the club.” Let’s not underestimate getting
that first season under his belt.
7th – Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs managed 29 starts last season, his most since becoming part of the first
team and it’s safe to say, the more we see him the better off we’ll be. He’s
had his ups and downs this season but he’s maturing and becoming and
integral part of our side. @johnny_g86 described his season as solid and I’d
tend to agree. The signing of Monreal gives us insurance there but
@smoggygooner hits the nail on the head “even
after a new signing he made left back his own.” It’s definitely his position to
6th – Aaron Ramsey
I’d imagine if I did these Power Rankings last summer, Ramsey would be nowhere
to be seen, which is testament to his attitude and Wenger’s belief in him. So
6th is a pretty good achievement for the Welshman. @1MrT_AFC was full of praise “An unsung hero and another I expect to make a
jump next year. Was admirably consistent through a series of injury layoffs and
started to show the confidence in possession that made him a star in his youth.
Combined well with Podolski and Santi Cazorla, was rarely caught short once the
whole team got their shape right.” Let’s hope he adds creativity to his
game and let’s see him really do some damage.
5th – Mikel Arteta
This will cause a stir and I’m sure I’ll get to see a copy of his passing stats
that were mentioned in the Michael Carrick article but his sacrifice for the
good of the team is probably reflected in the rankings of other players
later on. That said despite the relatively low finish the panel were still full
of praise. @yorkshiregunner said “Keeps things simple, some games he could play in
his slippers. Lack of pace becoming more apparent though. Should have been
bought years ago” and
@attwood10 who ranked him at #2 added “The
most consistent and underrated player in the squad in my opinion. A leader, a
model professional, and fantastically consistent throughout the season. tough
call between him and Santi for number 1.” Will he be captain for the forthcoming
season and I don’t just mean because Vermaelen’s absent?
4th – Theo Walcott
Another surprise for me, as I expected him in the top three but then I know
he’s not everybody’s cup of tea. I know he can be infuriating to watch but he
can make a difference, that cannot be questioned. He was also out top scorer
last season and he scored some pretty big goals in the run in. @modgooner
form before signing his contract was excellent. performances faded after Xmas
but scored important goals.” The
old contract conspiracy is still getting brandished around. @GusContreras21
summed his season up “Walcott
eclipsed the 20-plus goal mark in 2012-13 scoring 21 goals in all competitions
for the Gunners. The English speedster scored the winning goal against QPR in
the first 20 seconds of the match, which helped the club qualify for the
Champions League. Now that he’s surpassed the 20 goal-plus mark, Walcott has to
step up and take his career to the next level by being a force in more
things are expected of Theo next year, I wonder if we’ll see Theo keep his
place at Arsenal and see the Ox start ahead of him for England.
The Top Three
3rd – Laurent Koscielny
Koscielny was huge in the run in, he made the defence much more solid as he
proved to be the perfect partner for the BFG. He misses out on second due to
appearances but for the first time in a while we have a good partnership at the
centre of defence and that can only bode well for the future. He did get a
couple of lower ratings as mentioned by @1MrT_AFC “Was unlucky to start the season injured and
struggled for form early on hence the lower rating, but he grabbed his chance
at the 2nd time of asking and was the Kos we fell in love with last year. When
on form is one of the very best, but only managed it for half the season this
time.” It’s a fair comment as Kos did struggle early on
but aren’t we all glad he’s back on top of his game?
2nd – Per Mertesacker (Tied
with Koscielny but he made more appearances)
I have to say I didn’t expect to see the German
feature this high on the list but here he is. I started to think he was
getting found out, teams would isolate him and expose his lack of pace but then
how much of that was down to Vermaelen’s poor positional sense? He does read
the game better than anyone at the club and we just need to hope he stays
injury free. @seanattwood ranked him 3rd but said“Closely behind Arteta in the consistency stakes last season,
it’s clear that Per is our first choice defender. Organised the defence well
all season and stood out as a leader. “ and @yorkshiregunner summed it up “Best
Arsenal Centre Half. Him +1 in my eyes.” Very high praise indeed.
Top of the
1st – Santi Cazorla
The bloke is a joy to watch, he’s what we’ve been
missing and he’s key to all things good in our side. It still nags away at me
that he was shifted onto the wing but I hope he’s more central come the start
of the season. Here’s what the panel had to say
@johnny_g86 – very important goals scored handled
pressure well in absence if jack
@modgonner – superb
@yorkshiregunner – WC technique with loads of assists and
a fair whack of goals too. Be nice if he stepped up to the plate in the big
@seanattwood – I
haven’t enjoyed watching a player so much since Dennis Bergkamp. An absolute
magician, technically brilliant and a joy to watch on a weekly basis. Had an
incredible debut season.
@1MrT_AFC – Our bona-fide world class player. Took to our game like a duck to
water and was vital from the first minute of the season. 4 assists in 1 game,
12 Premier League goals and double figures goals/assists all competitions shows
his impact. Brilliant first season.
@smoggygooner – really good first
season and possibly should have got a few more goals
@GusContreras21 – The Spaniard impressed in his debut season at Arsenal showing
off his flair and two-footed ability that keeps the midfield ticking. Cazorla
made 47 appearances for the Gunners and knocked in 12 goals in the process. His
consistency will be vital to Arsenal’s trophy hopes.
So there you have it the Arsenal Player Power Rankings. I aim to review these
around Christmas time and I’ll be interesting to see if there are any new
entries (I really, really hope so), who has stepped up and who has gone off the
boil. I like to say a massive thank you to all of those who took the time to
email me their thoughts, I owe you all a pint as you’ve been of great help and
it’s contributed massively to an enjoyable blog.
If you want to analyse the exact rankings for each panellist, here’s my scoring
matrix, there are some shocks on there.
Until next Friday though, it’s goodbye from me.
I’m a 30 something year old Gateshead lad but thankfully my Dad is a cockney and he put me on the right path in life, taking me to my first Highbury game at the tender age of six.
Despite my obvious geographical disadvantage I am a season ticket holder and I attend quite a few away days as well.
I like to express my opinion which resulted in me starting a blog. I’m delighted to be part of the WTTGT team and you can read ’The Michael Jeffares Column’ every Friday without fail.