In yesterday’s post I ran through Part 1 of the Arsenal mid-term report card, focusing on the performances of the Arsenal defenders and midfielders so far this season. Today the midfielders and forwards go under the microscope as I wrap up Part 2 of the report. Enjoy.
In my opinion, the standout performer in the Arsenal team this season. Has put in the hard work to go from third or four-choice at the end of last season to becoming arguably the most important member of the midfield. Flamini’s energy and workrate has been phenomenal, his partnership with Fabregas vital, and he has not played poorly once thus far. Irreplaceable. (A+)
The little Spaniard’s form has dipped a little of late but his contribution in the first third of the season has been vital. When on song Fabregas has regularly been a match-winner, scoring goals at crucial times. His fitness, ball control and excellent passing has allowed him to dictate the play on many occasions. (A)
Like Fabregas, has been a bit quiet lately, but Hleb’s sharp control and creativity has at times been unstoppable. Ended last season under pressure and performing poorly but has improved out of sight, becoming a dangerous weapon for Arsenal for the first time in his career. (A-)
Has looked great at times, average at others and gets injured a little too often. Does not have the ability to run the show like Fabregas or Flamini but when he is absent it often shows. There is certainly room for improvement though, Rosicky does not score enough important goals for a man with such an excellent shot. (B)
A bit up and down. When playing well he can dribble past anyone but his reluctance to use his left foot is frustrating. Wenger seems determined to continue using Diaby on the left and in all honesty he is doing well, establishing himself as an important first-team member. (B)
Cops a lot of flak from a lot of supporters but on the whole this season Eboue has done OK. The histronics he displays are exceptionally frustrating for a lot of Arsenal fans but the Ivorian has been energetic and exciting as a right-winger. Unfortunately lacks polish when in the final third, resulting in an unacceptable tally of zero goals this season. (C+)
Consistently seems off the pace, but this may be more down to a lack of first-team football than a lack of ability. If injury presents Gilberto with the chance to play some consistent football I wouldn’t bet against him doing well, but it seems his plodding sort of style has little place in an Arsenal midfield that relies heavily on energy and movement. (C-)
In my eyes, the biggest disappointment of the season so far. Although Denilson has time on his side he is one of the few players who seems to have taken a step backwards this campaign. His control and distribution has been below par but more importantly he does not appear to think quickly enough in possession. Will improve in time, but this season has not gone how I imagine Wenger thought it might have for the Brazilian. (C-)
A decent player for Arsenal but his character was badly shown up during the move to Portsmouth. (D)
The first-choice midfield is unquestioned; Flamini and Fabregas in the middle, flanked by Rosicky and Hleb. The rise of Flamini has been the highlight of the season in my eyes and his partnership with Fabregas has been the major factor in Arsenal’s title charge. The only worry is that there seems to be a little divide forming between the first-team and reserves, with Eboue and Diaby lacking consistency and Gilberto and Denilson looking a little off the pace.
Like most of the Arsenal first team, has improved out of sight this season. Adebayor’s energy and enthusiasm has always been present but the Togolese striker has found his finishing boots to devastating effect. There are not many strikers going around who get so involved in a football match and full credit has to go to Adebayor for the impact he is having in Henry’s absence this season. (A)
Eduardo da Silva
Understandably took a little while to get going as an Arsenal player, but in recent times has looked sharp. Has consistently looked dangerous when as one of front pair and displayed his precise finishing on a regular basis. Has had to step up in van Persie’s absence and done so admirably. (B+)
Was a valuable substitute early, his intimidating presence often paving the way for others to score late goals. Has great confidence in his ability and will continue to have an impact as the season rolls on. (B)
Robin van Persie
Great when he’s been fit, which unfortunately has been a rare occurrence. Indeed, his consistent injuries have been one of the most diappointing aspects of this season for Arsenal fans. When he plays van Persie adds a certain quality to the attack that no other striker does. Fortunately there are enough big games still remaining in the season for the Dutchman to make more of a mark. (B)
His development has gone a little slower than many people expected this season and often looks a little lost out on the pitch. However he has still made progress, scoring his first goal for the club and doing well on a number of occasions as an impact substitute. Still looks an exciting prospect, despite what the media say. (C+)
Most fans would suggest that when van Persie returns from injury he should slot straight back into the team, but I’m not so sure. Eduardo has done superbly alongside the exceptional Adebayor and there is nothing that suggests the Croatian-Togo front pairing does not have the quality to lead Arsenal to silverware this season. In my opinion Bendtner is the best fourth-choice striker going around and Walcott needs to be cut some slack, he’s still only 19 after all.
Well, that’s the end of that. I’m sure a couple of those ratings will cause a little bit of controversy and as with yesterday’s post I’d love to hear what you think.
Have your say on the midfielders and forwards by leaving a comment.