On we go...
Rosicky, 6.5, I questioned Rosicky's signing when it was announced and some of my fears have come to pass. He has been a useful addition to the squad, and has pulled out several excellent performances, but has not scored enough goals and looks wasted out on the left. He needs to play more centrally and my fear is that we may not see all he has to offer if stuck in his current position. Next year, needs more goals, but has played well enough to justify a starting position.
Hleb, 6.5, A few disjointed performances in the second half of the season don't remove the fact that Alex is a valuable and dangerous member of the squad. His goalscoring record is poor and looks unlikely to improve, but his role in the build up play to our goals is often critical. He's willing to run at defences and make things happen, which some of our other midfielders seem unwilling to do, and for that reason I'll give him more lee-way than most when it comes to losing the ball, especially as he does tackle back. Will want to improve next year, and I think he has it in him to do it.
Gilberto, 8, player of the season. More than anyone this year, Gilberto really stepped up and drove the team forward. Indeed, he's one of the few midfielders in our squad who can't be accused of not scoring enough goals. He set the tone for his season with the equaliser that he thrashed in during the opening game of the year, and rarely looked back afterwards. He's scored crucial penalties and captained the team excellently, perhaps better than the man he was standing in for. Having watched Mascherano sparkle for Liverpool, I still think that there are better holding midfielders available than Gilbs, but this should not detract from what has been an excellent season for him. A deserved player of the year if I ever saw one.
Fabregas, 7.5. Arsene asks so much of one so young, but he has already established himself as the lynch-pin of our team. He passes beautifully, can boss midfields, and always tries to win the ball if he can. His obvious deficiency is his goal tally, something which has given Gilberto the edge in my player of the season decision. He's obviously got it within himself to be a 10-15 goals a year player, and this needs to happen sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, when it does, the transfer speculation from Spain will become unbearable. Arsene should also consider whether playing him in every game is necessarily a good idea, as fatigue was obviously and understandably an issue for Cesc this year given the number of games he played. The team musn't become over-reliant on him. We need a squad that can win games in his absence, and I'm not sure that's the case at the moment.
Denilson, 5. Didn't really feature in the team heavily enough to warrant a higher score, even if he looked a very decent prospect when he did. Was understandably over-awed slightly in the bigger games he played - notably those against Chelsea - but generally held his own. Needs to develop into someone who can play effectively either with or instead of Cesc.
Diaby, 5.5. The boy has something to him, but has suffered from Arsene's desire to peddle him around the midfield. A combination of him and Cesc in central midfield would be interesting but would need time to develop. His technical skills and tackling have been, and I use this term sparingly, 'Vieira-esque' at times, although Paddy was much nearer the finished article at Abou's age. It will be interesting to see how his development progresses next year.
Freddie, 5.5. Very few goals, a lot of sitting on the ground complaining, and an inability to beat players through skill or pace should see the end of Freddie this summer. He's been a wonderful servant to the club, and he still always battles hard, but he's not cutting it anymore. Despite a few decent performances this year, he's been trading on former glories for some time.
Theo, 5. A wonderful start to the season, and a Carling Cup final goal, can't hide the fact he's looked a bit too much like a boy amongst men this year. Needs to vary how he tries to beat players, and needs more goals. Hopefully his shoulder op will see him fighting fit for what will be a very big season for him personally next year. Also, to the idiots that abuse him at The Emirates: shut up. Get behind and support a young lad with clear potential.
Flamini, 6. Quite high, I know, but I think the Flamster has been quite harshly done by. I can see his point about being dropped for finals, and he actually chipped in with quite a few goals this year. Ultimately, he's not good enough for the starting XI, but I think its a shame we'll be losing his work-rate and often tidy playing style.
Song, 4. Not as awful as everyone thinks, but not as good either. Has looked good for Charlton and may yet return to the club.
Our midfield remains our strongest area but it's still a bit of a mess. Not enough goals come from it, which has to be remedied; I would suggest this should occur via signings but also encouraging our existing squad just to have a bit more of a crack at goal. Hleb could have scored far more often this year if he knew the hairdryer treatment was waiting for him in the dressing room if he didn't. Also, Arsene'e propensity to play 4 central midfielders - two of which often no more than nominally out on the wings - has destroyed the advantage of having a wider pitch at the Grove. We need an out and out winger to come in this summer.
Still, the midfield looks more encouraging than the defence, and should only require a few new bodies, rather than major surgery.