Another international week is upon us and that means little to no Arsenal news. As such, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take some time and reflect on the first half of the season. Today’s post will look at the goalkeepers and defenders in the Arsenal squad and their overall contribution to the club’s excellent performances thus far.
Has taken the chance given to him by Lehmann’s early-season errors with open arms. Looks calm, mentally strong and has made very few errors. A great season so far from a personal perspective. (A-)
The German’s season is likely to be remembered for two early gaffes against Fulham and Blackburn. Did not display the right attitude after being displaced by Almunia, bickering and complaining to anyone and everyone. Has shown admirable courage to remain with the club but is unlikely to feature much more this season. (D+)
Has only played in the Carling Cup games, but nevertheless shown a lot of promise. Looks strong in the air and a confident shot-stopper. Will only improve with experience. (B)
Almunia is the undisputed number one in my eyes and should remain in that position for the remainder of the season. With Fabianski showing good signs in the Carling Cup and Lehmann arguably the best number two in the Premiership there’s no real reason why Arsene Wenger needs to worry about reinforcing this position in the off-season, given the German remains with the club.
In a word, exhilarating. The French left-back has built on a solid campaign last time around and become one of the most important players in the squad. Full of energy, loves to get forward and crucially has improved defensively. Has rightly been rewarded with a spot in the French national team and has been one of the players of the season. (A)
Arguably the best buy in the Premiership this season. Slotted into right back like he’d been there for years and has impressed with his speed, tackling and all-round quality on the ball. Has been less spectacular than opposite full-back Clichy but equally as effective. (A-)
Since being named captain Gallas has lifted his game. Has been an intimidating presence at the back and has rarely put a foot wrong. The Frenchman has also contributed with big goals in crucial matches and already looks a more influential captain than Thierry Henry ever was. (A-)
Has maintained the consistent standard that he has set in previous seasons. Toure has been a little overshadowed by the emergence of Gallas’ strong performances but like his defensive partner, rarely makes mistakes. The only criticism that could be made is that he occasionally lets his emotions get the better of him in the heat of battle. (B+)
Suprisingly effective during the Carling Cup run as a central-defender. Remains composed with the ball at his feet and has improved since returning from his loan spell with Charlton to become a useful squad player. (B)
Has not had many chances this season, but has done reasonably well primarily at right-back. Still lacks the confidence and pace to bomb forward like Clichy or Sagna but has improved since last season. (B-)
Woeful early on, but has lifted in recent weeks. Senderos’ distribution and lack of pace are still his biggest weaknesses but the last few games have shown he may finally be moving in the right direction. (C+)
A little disappointing so far. Still exceptionally young but has not improved on his promising showings in last season’s Carling Cup. Undoubtedly possesses the attributes to become a world-class left-back but still looks undercooked. (C+)
Has only played 45 minutes thus far and looked a little shabby after returning from his loan spell at Birmingham. In my opinion is still a better overall player than Senderos but looks unlikely to get another decent chance this season. (N/A)
Once Toure returns from international duty he should regain his place alongside Gallas in the centre of the defence. If Clichy and Sagna continue their excellent form and the central pair pick up where they left of then the defence have the quality to take Arsenal to the title.
So there you have it. Tomorrow’s post will focus on the midfielders and forwards but in the meantime, I encourage you to let me know what you think.
Have your say on the goalkeepers and defenders ratings by leaving a comment.