Thursday, June 01, 2006

End of season player ratings.

So, in the style of a secondary school teacher, here is my Arsenal squad, end-of-term report card….

Jens, 9.5. Player of the season. When he got sent off in Paris I said to my mate: ‘this is Jens sacrifice’. It was not to be, but I don’t hold it against him: I only said it in the first place due to his heroics throughout the rest of the season. He got us to the final with: 1) the greatest save I’ve seen in my 16 years as a football fan – vs. Raul against Real 2) that penalty save. In the premiership he was by far our most consistent performer, and more than anyone he drove the team to fourth. Heving another leader at the back surely helped Tel settle into his captaincy. And so many comedy moments – remember Bolton at home, pushing over Jansen; or screaming at Nedved in Turin. Ah, memories. Hero, and, I hope, now an Arsenal legend. If only he was younger…

Almunia, 6. Not much to do this year. Played his best in the final, and made a superb stop, but, overall, showed why he is not a serious candidate for first choice keeper.

Mart Poom, n/a. Maybe next year?

Sol, 6. Unless we can’t find a replacement to cover Senderos, needs to be shipped out. Not quick enough any more, prone to error, and the West Ham ‘incident’ says it all. Would have been lower but for the towering effort in Paris.

Kolo, 8. Quietly – well not for us because we know how good he is – has shown that he is clearly one of the best c/bs in the premiership, if not Europe. Has always been a warrior, but his technical performances now truly match his effort. Great season, and his absence in the African nations hit us hard.

‘Big’ Phil Senderos, 7. Harshly dropped after the first Chelsea game, has worked hard to win his place back. Still a little accident prone, but really developing into a great player. His dominance in the air is crucial, and him and kolo are a real partnership. Hopefully no dip in form next year.

Ash, 6. Hmm. Earned no favours to himself with all the ridiculous court cases he’s pursued. The length of his injury also means, through no fault to himself, that he’s struggled a little this year. We missed him though, and I hope he stays.

Lauren, 6.5. Solid, yet unspectacular. Will struggle to return to the first team.

Eboué, 7. Prone to the odd lapses of defensive concentration, as in the final when, to be fair, he was exhausted. Came back from the ACON a new player. Now offers us a genuine threat on the right going forward. Very much a Wenger player, who will stake his place definitively next year.

Kerry Gilbert, 6.5. Only played a handful of games, but looked very promising. Great to have three genuinely talented right-backs. May mean bye-bye Hoyte.

Djourou, 6.5. I’ve liked when I’ve seen him. Struggled at r-b, but good at centre. Should certainly be pushing for 3rd choice c-b.

Cygan, 5. As Colonel Kurtz once said: ‘The horror. The horror.’ Actually not as awful as previous years, but the bell tolls for thee my son.

Clichy, 6.5. Did well, but suffered heavily from injury problems. Could definitely step up if Ash goes; to have Gael as a back up would be a real statement about the great depth of our squad.

The Flamster, 7.5. Uninspiring in midfield; wonderful at left-back. Unfortunately, may now be shuttled round the team as he can play almost everywhere. Incredible performances in the second half of the season.

Fabregas, 8. Poor start to the season, as struggled to get use to Paddy’s absence. Entrenched himself as one of the great players, not prospects, in European football, with his performances against Real and Juve. Shaping up to be a one in a generation player.

Giberto, 7. Really struggled in Paddy’s absence, but eventually stepped up. Clearly preferred playing in a five man midfield. His passing has been dreadful at times, but any player who can take Riqueleme and, to all intent and purposes, Ronaldinhio out the game, gets my approval. Will be better next year.

Freddie, 6.5. With Bergkamp in decline, and no goals, Freddie could have become brutally expendable in the second half of the season. His lack of goals hit us particularly hard. Yet he battled, battled and battled, and justified his place through sheer perspiration. Next season will determine his Arsenal future.

Jose, 7. Infuriatingly inconsistent. Runs rings round Real [alliteration time!] yet doesn’t turn up against Blackburn. Has the highest number of assists in the premiership, yet hasn’t got the strike rate we bought him for. Next season will be crucial to Jose. Either he gets used to the fact the sun goes down at 3 pm in England in the winter, or heads back to Spain.

Alex Hleb, 7.5. Harshly barracked by Arsenal fans in late winter time. Yet 1) It takes players like him time to adapt to the Premiership – remember bobby, tel, Bergy. 2) He had a pretty serious injury in the first half of the season. 3) he was being retrained to play as a winger. = 4) he’s been good, if slightly enigmatic at times this year. Will be superb next year. Wonderful technical skills, and final balls which tear defences apart. Henry likes him. Also, we now actually have a right-flank thanks to him and Eboue.

Bobby, 6.5. Only did enough to justify a one year deal. Some crucial goals, yet not as many as previous years. Still no replacement for him, in terms of a high-goalscoring midfielder which is a worry. All the best.

Song, 5. Oh dear, if not as awful as some have made out.

Diaby, 6. Much promise, if fewer run-abouts than I expected. Hopefully he’ll be all better soon after his appalling injury. Him and Fabregas could run the premiership’s midfields very soon.

Dennis, 6. Slightly generous: he deserves it for his dedication to Arsenal over the years. Peripheral season for a player of such a calibre. Fine goals against West Brom and Thun mean were a fitting send off. He deserved the CL with us though.

Adebayor, 6.5. Could go either way. A great partner for Henry: remember flick ons against Villa, and the superb pass against Spurs? And scrappy headed goals against Villa, and Birmingham. Brings an extra dimension to the team, but must improve finishing.

Van Persie, 7. Fine first half of the season with some stunning goals. Never recovered from his series of injuries mid-season. Either has to turn into a 20goals a season striker, or improve his general team play if he wants a long term future at the club.

Henry, 9. His goal against Madrid. Ye gods. An incredible goal scoring record continues, and superlatives almost fail. Suffice to say, forget buck toothed boy, Tel is the best player in the world. Highest marks not awarded only due to his slight performance problems due to injury during the mid-season, his struggle to become a decent captain, and the comparison with Jens. Signing his new contract was the best piece of end of season news, but he did take his time in deciding to sign, which may have destabilised the team somewhat.

So there you have it. Discuss!


Anonymous said...

how can you Gilbert 6.5 and eboue 7

jobby said...

tough thing to do, goonerboy, leaving yourself open to attack but i think you have been overly generous with a few of those ratings.
All in all though at least it was an arsenal piece to read about instead of constant WC news i dont care about.
Also, Lehmanns save V Real was excellant but nothing compared to Seamans against Sheff Utd in the cup semi a few years ago.

Kristoffer said...

A good sumary...

Jens, a player of the season. Stunning save against Real Madrid, and superb penalty save against Villareal.

Eboue deserves a little more... He is a young player who took the right back spot and kept it his during Laurens injury. He is a hard working player and has made up our right with Hleb.

Fabrergas 9, at least in my eyes. Played in the midfield with autority, Marvelous passes, and a fighter. Young promissing player, can't wait untill the next season to se him evolve even more.

Bobby, a 7 or maybe 7.5. He comes in, and scores a lot of vital goals. He is a turning point of the match sometimes. I would like to see him at Ashburton next season, but unfortunatly I won't. Wish you good luck in Spain...

Henry, like Jens, a player of the season. Can't make up my mind. Jens or Henry, player of the season. Henry, top goalscorer. With Thierry out, the other players don't play with the confidense that they normally have. Suddenly, everyone loses their patience, and the ball.

Neil said...

Agree with most of what you said especially with Jens being player if the season,but would add the following:

1) Kolo, started the season not so great but after the ACON was performing superhuman heroics and must now be best CB in Europe

2) Gilberto - Couldn't find an Arsenal player with a pass before Christmas, okay afterwards until Real Madrid, which seemed to galvanise him into great performances from then on.

3) Cesc - not as bad early on as many people make out. He just was not as good as last term. We must expect dips in performance from youngsters like him and Phil Senderos, which is why a bigger squad is a necessity.

4) Bobby P - Didn't performn at all until he was playing for a two year contract.

5) Lauren - though first half of our season when things were not going well, was one of the few who kept his performance level high - may find himself in central midfield next year with emergence of both Eboue and Gilbert.

Ambrose said...

i have to say, great article, i agree with your scores, apart from 1

i would give Senderos a 8.
my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

Pretty good summation Goonerboy.

Goonerboy said...

I think i was a bit generous, but it was a tough season so i thought they could use some cheering up.

Despite rather harshly calling me a 'twat' Anon. 10.51 does raise a good point: Gilbert, Eboue or Lauren at r-b next year?

Also, what are we going to do with Flamini?

Nick said...

Bit harsh with the TWAT statement, you really should learn how to string English sentences together as well.

All in all I agree with Goonerboy, although I think Eboue maybe should have been given a 8 as he adds a new attacking dimension and flare to the team. Giberto is good at shielding the defence but how many times does he give the ball away!

Great job!

Anonymous said...

Fair review, thought some ratings were a bit harsh. Eboue deserved at least and 8, thought Hleb was fantastic especially for a first seasoner worth an 8, Senderos was very solid despite very few dark patches worth a 7.5-8, Alexander Song was not that bad, one of his few performances, the match against Portsmouth was pretty decent remembering he is only 17.

Jersey said...

A little generous in places, Goonerboy, except for Ralphie, who before his injury, was our most consistent performer, along with Kolo and Jens.
He just get's on with his job, irrespective if we're breaking unbeaten records, or losing at places like West Brom.
Top Man and I'd start him at RB next season, Eboue still has a way to go, defensively, but is not a million miles away.

Anonymous said...

Tremendous article. Ratings I think were almost spot on and having been home and away all season, I agree with your statements too. Brilliant writing.

Anonymous said...

I would rate Reyes as 5.5. Toure at 9 as well as henry and lehman. Giberto 6, his passing is really bad.

JK said...

Can't really disagree too much with the scores expect for Kolo (who's got to be a 9), but do disagree with you hoping Cole stays. I can't forgive him for meeting Chelski, as well as his attitude since - and want him OUT!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with jk re Ashley Cole, I hope he fucks off to the highest bidder.

As far as your ratings go I'd agree with pretty much all but for Eboue, the season could have been dead if it wasn't for him and Flamini.

Anonymous said...

song is the worst player ever. hes useless and although only17 has got the turning circle of a tank and the speed of a lepar. we badly need a better cm. spot on comments but surely th14 deserves a 10 the mans like jesus it wouldnt suprise me if he started walking on water.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Djourou to Senderos - did you see him against Italy yesterday evening? Problem is, he's a right-sided centreback which means, unless Toure is injured, he's not going to get much time in his proper position. Could he play on the left? At the moment I doubt it, which means we badly need cover for Senderos. (Yeah, I know, there's Cygan.)

How about playing Eboue in midfield when Freddie has a migraine, or a foot or an ankle or whatever? I still prefer Lauren at rightback, and Eboue's pace could be fearsome in midfield.

And talking about right midfield, a very nice-seeming kid who lives in the next street from me has just knocked on the door collecting money for Childline. He's taking part in the charity penalty thing at Highbury, is right-sided midfielder and he's getting a contract! Wow! Who says Arsenal don't foster local talent. His name's Sean something or other - didn't catch the surname - and he looks a bit like Sean Wright-Phillips - very wiry and slight. It's really made my afternoon. I've never had a real conversation with a real Arsenal player before!

Anonymous said...

To go back to the previous subject - our unethical behaviour in the transfer market - it looks like we could be in bad trouble for our dealings with Beveren. Can anyone supply full and accurate details?

Goonerboy said...

No, nobody can at the mo.

Lots of speculation though. I hope nothing comes of it. Bloody Beveren.

Anonymous said...

How could a million dollar interest-free loan not influence the way Beveren does business?

Arsenal's probably too clever to get caught, but it's still dodgy.

Incidentally, what happened to us trying to sign Kalou? It wasn't like Chelsea paid that much for him, and he sounds like a really good player.

Anonymous said...

You should give Freddy 2 marks. One for his non-performances on the right where he wasn't contributing anything really. 4 is generous.
The other when he went to left mid field and performed out of his socks. Had he played there the whole season, who knows, maybe our player of the season? Def a 9

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