Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ratings of the season – part 1: Defence

As we head into the summer, it’s time to look at how the players rated over the course of the season. In a series which will look at three main areas of the pitch, we start with the defence.

Wojciech Szczesny6.5/10

While he didn’t make any jaw-droppingly awful gaffs, the younger of the Poles got a touch complacent and was summarily dropped for Lukasz Fabianski. When Fabianski’s injury opened the door for him, he returned a much more focused and solid player.

Highlight of the season: Two massive saves against QPR and Wigan kept the late trajectory of Arsenal’s season going

Lowlight of the season: Having to distance himself from his father’s remarks when he was dropped by Arsene Wenger. It was a situation he dealt with well, however, and came out of it with a lot of credit.

Season trivia: 87% of his kicks went straight out for opposition throw-ins.

Next season: Must build on the end of season performances and set those as the standard below which he can’t fall. Needs to work on his distribution.

Vito Mannone 6/10

The Italian made 13 appearances in the first part of the season, filling in when Szczesny had an ankle injury. It can’t have been easy playing with a defence that wasn’t as switched on as it was in the latter stages of the campaign, but even still he didn’t do enough to convince that he’s got a long-term future at the club

Highlight of the season: A clean sheet, and a solid performance, away at Stoke, a place which has tested many more seasoned keepers.

Lowlight of the season: A poor save at Norwich allowed some great big fat bloke to score the winning goal for the home team.

Season trivia: Enraged environmentalists by punching an endangered owl in the face. Club kept the story under wraps.

Next season: Likely to be somewhere else as he wants to play first team football and it won’t be at Arsenal.

Lukasz Fabianski7/10

Ok, so 5 appearances isn’t a great deal to make a judgement on, but to say he was out in the cold was an understatement. He was frozen out like Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back. Arsene Wenger cut open the weird tundra camel thing and used its guts to warm him up, the Pole played well, kept some clean sheets, didn’t lose a game and provided Szczesny with some healthy competition.

Highlight of the season: Brought back into a team which was demoralised, he kept a clean sheet at the Allianz Arena as Arsenal became the first side to beat them there all season. Or something.

Lowlight of the season: None really, but getting injured again having played so well must have been a frustration.

Season trivia: Was granted a licence to punch the faces of anyone who calls him ‘Flappyhandski’.

Next season: He wants to play first team football and Szczesny’s revival, and the pressure Wenger is under to buy a keeper this summer, might mean he moves on.

Nacho Monreal – 7/10

Encouraging first four months in England after signing from Malaga in January. Thrown straight in the deep end against Stoke on his debut, the Spanish international has since taken everything in his stride and provided much needed competition for Kieran Gibbs after the loan exit of Andre Santos.

Highlight of the season: His 74th minute strike away at Swansea helped kick-start the great end of season run in the Premier League.

Lowlight of the season: Possibly the miscommunication with Thomas Vermaelen at White Hart Lane. Also watching former club Malaga get dramatically knocked out of the Champions League in the dying seconds against Dortmund.

Season trivia: Currently in an on-off relationship with Penelope Cruz’s younger sister, Esmerelda Montse Cruz, who had her left leg bitten off by a shark in 2003.

Next season: Having sat out three of the final four games he knows he has it all to do if he’s to usurp Kieran Gibbs next term. Definitely has the quality to do so but could improve in the final third.

Kieran Gibbs – 7.5/10

His best season at Arsenal to date with 34 appearances in all competitions including 23 starts in the league. Still plagued by niggly injuries but put worst of his fitness problems behind him to kill off Santos’ claims for the left-back spot. Faces real tussle with Monreal but arguably the better of the two going forward.

Highlight of the season: Smashing volley away at Swansea highlighted his past as a winger. Hailed by Wenger as one of England’s top three left-backs after notching his 100th appearance for the Gunners vs Reading.

Lowlight of the season: Thigh injury sustained in January kept him out for six-weeks forcing Arsene to buy Nacho.

Season trivia: The only man to pick up a ‘cold’ after partying on a yacht in Dubai. Ooooh suspicious.

Next season: A real fight on his hands to keep Monreal out of the team but shouldn’t be scared of the challenge with Wenger happy to pick him for big games at tail end of this season.

Carl Jenkinson – 7/10

Arguably the Gunners most improved player this season, he manfully stepped up to cover for the injured Sagna at the start of the season and firmly established himself as a first team squad member.

Highlight of the season: That equaliser to cap the miraculous recovery against Reading in the COC was pretty sweet (even if it was later awarded to Walcott) and so too was signing a new deal at the Emirates, but has to be debut for England capping amazing journey from non-league football to international in space of two years.

Lowlight of the season: An awful slip against Swansea in the 2-0 defeat at home and the red card in a rusty performance away at Sunderland underlined impetuosity of youth.

Season trivia: His dad is a well known…(you know the score by now)

Next season: He’s already made clear he wants to takeover from Bacary Sagna should the Frenchman leave, nothing to suggest Arsene won’t give him the chance.

Bacary Sagna – 6/10

Started with a whinge in the French press, has admitted his future at Arsenal is unclear, but still a dependable figure (for the most part) when he’s on the pitch. There’s no hiding though that this was far from his best season at the Emirates.

Highlight of the season: Shifted to centre-back against Sunderland he was a defensive colossus alongside Per Mertesacker after Jenkinson’s red card.

Lowlight of the season: Got taken to the cleaners by Gabriel Obertan in the 7-3 win over Newcastle and the 148 crosses which hit the first man and bounced for a throw-in. UPDATE – we forgot the 7 seconds of madness vs United which culminated in RVP winning a penalty.

Season trivia: Driven to dance when he cleans his Range Rover. And what moves he has.

Next season: Strutting his stuff in front of a partisan 10,000 capacity crowd at Monaco’s car park stadium. Possibly.

Andre Santos – 5/10

There aren’t many players with whom Arsene Wenger has lost patience as quickly as Santos. He made six starts and six sub appearances before the boss was forced to give up his smiley, stabby-tackling ways in January.  Hasn’t done too badly at Gremio since and even got a re-call to the Brazil squad.

Highlight of the season: His goodbye message to the Arsenal support was a nice touch.

Lowlight of the season: Getting arrested in August for driving at 300mph to training set the tone of things to come. Oh, and something about a shirt, we can’t remember the details.

Season trivia: Appears to have signed sponsorship agreement with a possible pyramid selling scam.

Next season: He’ll be hoping to stay in Brazil although whether that’s on loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen.

Thomas Vermaelen6/10

Made captain when van Persie left, and it seemed the obvious choice. The Belgian would likely be the first to admit his performances have fallen below the standards he’s set, and found himself benched for the run-in.

Highlight of the season: Proudly leading the team out on the opening day of the season

Lowlight of the season: The assist for van Persie at Old Trafford in the third minute of the game.

Season trivia: Recorded a Flemish language rap album with local hip-hop star Pugnacious D

Next season: It’s a big test of character now. Does he stay and fight for his place or look to move on having fallen down the pecking order. Let’s hope it’s the former.

Per Mertesacker8/10

The most consistent of our central-defenders this season. Adds calm and assurance and wonderful reading of the game. Pace can be an issue at times but has become hugely important.

Highlight of the season: That ‘Oh not you don’t’ goal to equalise against Sp*rs, what a header.

Lowlight of the season: The sending off at West Brom put the team under huge pressure, but thankfully it didn’t prove too costly.

Season trivia: Websites and blogs ran out of ‘Per’ related puns for their headlines. It’s imperative they find more.

Next season: More of the same, please.

Laurent Koscielny7.5/10

The end of season form masks the fact that he did struggle in the early part of the season, picked up a silly red card against Man City, as well as picking up some ill-timed injuries. Came back to show his stuff though, and for the second year running got the winner on the final day.

Highlight of the season: The goal mentioned above, and all those acrobatic clearances he makes.

Lowlight of the season: A really poor display against Chelsea early in the season contributed to his benching.

Season trivia: Discretely attended Whitney Houston’s funeral

Next season: See Mertesacker.

Johan Djourou4/10

Hardly played, just two Capital One Cup appearances, then shipped out on loan to Germany where he’s done ok.

Highlight of the season: Not having to do the ‘We’ll pick it up in the next game’ videos for arsenal.com – he must have been so relieved.

Lowlight of the season: Struggling in the bonkers Reading game which saw us go 4-0 down in the first half.

Season trivia: Is the best in the squad at Angry Birds

Next season: A loan move could turn permanent as Arsene Wenger looks to strengthen this summer.

Sebastian Squillaci0/10

Made one appearance in a Champions League dead rubber.

Highlight of the season: Hahaha

Lowlight of the season: Made one appearance in a Champions League dead rubber.

Season trivia: Spent his free time trying to invent a mind-control toilet flush app for Blackberry phones

Next season: He’s out of contract so wherever it is, it’s not with us.

Please note: Ratings as provided by Arseblog and the Arseblog News Hound are based on our overall feeling, rather than an aggregate of their scores in the post-match ratings articles.

Tomorrow: midfield.

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PerFect and Bosscielny to lift the PL Trophy next May!


who reads an arsenal blog and thumbs this down? “Agh how dare a comment mention us having a successful season?!”


Someone who loathes puns. Max one PER post.


I don’t want to be a dampener, but I would like us to reach the 80 points mark in the league next season, I don’t think we’ve got there since 2008, that would be a sign of progress, anything higher would be a bonus to be honest and maybe a cup.

Fat Walrus

I’ve lost some of my sympathy for Santos. I’ve lived in South America (no, not in Portugal) for some time now, and Gremio played a local team for the Champion’s League equivalent and he kept playing really, really dirty and just generally acting like a cunt. It was hard to believe it was the same person. ANYhow, let’s hope for more of the same from Kos and Per, and better form for the captain (will he still be captain next season?) And if Sagna does leave, I’m excited to see who we’ll bring in to replace him, since the Corporal… Read more »

Gunner From Another Mother

Wouldn’t mind seeing someone bought to compete/rotate with Jenkinson the way Monreal and Gibbs have been


How did santos get a 5? The fat ignoramus deserves nothing more that a 0 unless the corresponding number is also the weight of his late night take aways, in stone. Fat cunt.

Merde Bag

hes not fat


He is quite fat.

Nin Mung

He’s big Boned!


Hes not a cunt! although his lowlight was actually his shirt swaping with THE cunt >:(


Its arseblog’s opinion of how he played overall and you’re entitled to disagree but there is no need to get abusive . . . yer twat

Mikel Artekkers

Need we bring this out again? Fine, if we must, but only because you’re so special.


Doesn’t look so fat there does he?

Gunner From Another Mother

Jesus Christ someone needs to chill out

A N Other

Vermalen and Djorou may leave so we would need backups for Mert and Kos.


I’m afraid that Herr Per is not a reliable defender. At least 4 times on sunday he exposed his defense & thats just 1 game. Arsenal will never compete for silverware with him in defence. I will never be convinced otherwise.


Well done Squilacci, well done Djourou we need you guys no more


“He was frozen like Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back”

*shakes head*

5/10 for you blogs.


Oh no, wait. Ahem, my mistake. 4/10 for me.


I thought the same thing, but thankfully i kept reading before going to comment

You mean Han Solo was frozen, not Luke Skywalker!


while i can see that lying in the freshly opened guts of the weird tundra camel thing would provide a momentary increase in temperature, that surely wouldn’t last for more than an hour at best, and then you would be in an even worse position covered in all that wet, sticky goop


i will, and don’t get me started on those ewoks …. you are building a £trillion-squillion death star and you have the forcefield protecting it being operated from a shitty little garden shed with 5 shitty guards who are shit?



Fun fact of the day: The weird snow camels are called tauntauns. Did I say fun? More an indictment of my tragic existence that I know such shit… fact of the day.

Oh you mean the cold planet thing okay I forgive you. Anyways, FUCK SPURS!!!!!!!!


Bossciely should be 8, he was okayish at the start sometimes but he was WAAAAY more brilliant towards the end and the most important reason for our amazing finish.


Agree. He injured in the preseason and suddenly the second best player from last year found himself on the bench beacuse we luckily managed to play some 0:0s. Of course he was rusty and low in self-confidence when called upon. For me he is 8, and Mert is 7,5. Though the German Hairbag is good and reliable but his nervy play often get unnoticed. Yesterday he was shaking in the first half and Kos saved his ass numerous times. And that wasn’t the first time.
Their partnership is titleworthy though, so as Blogs said, more of the same, please.

arsene's coat
Red Cannon

Wow. That’s embarrassing!

Donut Maestro

Ouch. That’s gotta leave you with a red face.

gooner odst

like when that hot girl you fancy gestures in your direction and you only realise that she wants to give the guy behind you a ‘trouser arouser’, anyone ever get that too? Looks like Song has. 😀


It took a while to realize that you made up the Season Trivia. Agree with all your votes though.


some of the trivia is true


Have to admit he looks better/cooler with the Afro than his real hairstyle.


That “downward spiral” goal yesterday is enough to give The Kos 10/10 in my ratings


Great article but one stupid question in all seriousness. Did Don Vito really punch an owl in the face?

I think Vito is alright man, and Fabianski too. I think goalkeeping department we’re fine, is it just me? Can’t we just keep them all?

Merlin's Panini

I agree. I don’t understand where all this shit about needing a new keeper is coming from. Szczesny is very good. Fabianski is good enough to keep him on his toes and fill in. Mannone is a very able third choice, though I do expect him to leave.
I would much rather see an extra centre back and a top striker come in this summer, and possibly one more central midfielder, than a goalkeeper.

[…] the season and the summer ahead. He makes a tremendous point about Fabianski. Check out his end-of-season report on the defence […]


Fair assessment. The defense have had an equal amount embarrassment and positives this season for me. Watching the TEAM play better defensively of late has been the best thing that has happened to our defenders and GK’s. They have laid a respectable foundation for themselves now, not conceding more than one goal in a match over the last 10 games is amazing for an Arsenal team lately so, we can’t let our big three CB’s go at all, we need to add another in the mould of Mertersaker and find a suitable replacement for Sagna – both these signings need… Read more »


Sagna’s lowlight was surely the 10 seconds of madness against Man U a month or so ago. Passing straight to the Dutch fanny and then inexplicably chopping him down in the box cost us 2 points.. so unlike Bac, and it had to be that 2 faced egomaniac too. (If he was going to chop him he should have done it properly! )


“Websites and blogs ran out of ‘Per’ related puns for their headlines. It’s imperative they find more.”

That imPERative was totally on purpose, right?


Of course, they are all for pretty ladies like you to perceive. 🙂


I know its not about Transfers about right now, but does any one think if Sagna doesn’t sign up, we should keep him? My view is we should get Lowton from Villa and send him back to Villa on loan and keep Sagna for this season. That way next we shall have two PL experienced CBs.


Could’ve sworn Ignasi Miquel played a few games more than Squilacci and yet no mention Blogs?

Rad Carrot

Heh. Great article, thanks 🙂

Definitely agree with the ratings, think Per has been great all season. What about Miquel though, didn’t he get a run out or two?

Little bit disappointed with Verm, he really could do better. I’m not sure he’ll be with us next season, which would mean we’d need to get a decent replacement. If we could, I’d get Kompany, but likely going to be some French kid who we haven’t heard of.

Would like to see more of Miquel and Jenks next season, too.


Feeling very chipper for some reason today. Heard loads of transfer rumours and not bored of it all yet.

And I work with 6 Spuds (employed deliberately so I can poke them with a shitty stick come May), so all’s well.

Love the trivia items on these ratings. Having read the 1st one for SZCZ, it was only when I got to The Don that I fell in. Sharp as a bowling ball.

Fine work Blogs. 10/10 yourself for the season.


Good read, cheers. Allow me to add a few interesting points to the review of the defence:

– Arsenal only conceded more than 2 goals on four occasions all season (Reading (7-5), Fulham (3-3), Newcastle (7-3) and Bayern München (1-3)).

– Arsenal only lost by more than one goal on four occasions all season (Schalke, Swansea, City (all 0-2) and Bayern München (1-3)).

– In their final 11 games of the season, Arsenal only conceded one goal from open play (Reading (H)).

Mikel Artekkers

All very nice, but here’s the unfortunate fact of the matter.

-Arsenal finished 4th (fourth). The Scum finished 1st (fuck them). Let’s not let this happen again.

Merlin's Panini

the scum finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th.


I dont mind Southamton…

Indian Gooner

Hey Blogs,

I think Per’s back tackle deserves a mention. Very impressive improvisation.

And oh, Bac gifting THAT penalty to THAT cunt was his lowlight this season.


Sagna deserves at least 7

Merlin's Panini

He really doesn’t. He had one really great game this season and that was out of position! The rest of the time he fluctuated between average, good and awful.
I do love the guy for every other season he’s been with us but I think two broken legs in a year have caught up with him. He seems to have lost his spark a bit.


“Season trivia: Discretely attended Whitney Houston’s funeral”

she dead last season not this and why would he go to her funeral he’s not a family member of hers



I believe that was the sound of the joke going straight over your head


The “weird tundra camel thing” in the Empire Strikes Back is a tauntaun. You’re welcome.

Glad the defense has found a template for next season. Now, on to better things, like silverware.


Expect to see every single “season trivia” as an EXCLUSIVE news story tomorrow morning!


“Sebastien Squilaci

Highlight of the season: Hahaha”

That cracked me up.


I think everyone was too quick to write off Koscielny after that horrorshow of a performance at Chelsea. Everyone has bad days. He was our best defender last season. I think if Wenger made that Vermaelen-Koscielny switch earlier in the season we would’ve had many more points and got further in competitions.


Think blogs is pretty spot on really, and although i think 7.5 is the correct score for Gibbs i don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. When fit (Yes i know!!) Gibbs should be the first choice left back, the team flows a lot better with him in the side and his last ditch covering tackles (One of which Kos got the praise for making y’day) are sensational at times! Also would love to see TV5 stay and fight for his place but guttingly don’t think that will happen with him firmly established as third choice now!


I agree Bloggs has assessed the defence very well. Despite our great end of season run Bloggs has taken the season as a whole into account. He has shown considerable mental strength in remaining calm despite several wild challenges. In fact I have decided to extend Bloggs’s contract untill December the 15th , 2013 before reviewing his progress.


Our two left backs are good quality. Centre backs when in form are good quality but we need a fourth player, not Djourou. Sags has been great but is nearing the end now . If Sags is only average these days why did Jenkinson not replace him? A concern. Like the whole team the defence totally froze against Chelsea, Man City at home, Bradford, Blackburn and Bayern 1 .Only when all hope of trophies was gone did we settle down. Playing for fourth place and competing with the likes of Spurs and Everton seems to be our level.


Nacho Cruz… I’m hungry

Kosh for captain?

Ugandan Gooner

The whole bit about Squid is possibly the funniest shit ever. Real cracked me up. Otherwise nice preview Blogs.


Instead of investing in another CB, I think we should try to keep Sagna here, and move him into the centre. He was exceptional in the Sunderland match when he played there, and I think it would fit him because it won’t be as demanding physically when playing as a full-back. Plus, knowing how injuries tend to affect Arsenal, he could also play as a RB whenever the situation may arise. However, the only problem I see with this is finding another quality RB on the market that is willing to move. But, I have a strong feeling Wenger will… Read more »


Sagna will move on. Hope we can sign a player like Zabaleta(Age and Quality-wise) so Jenkinson can continue to develop.


Anyone else think squillaci’s been slightly overrated

[…] go. If you want to have a look at the ones on Arseblog News, they’re here in parts 1 – defence, 2 – midfield and 3 – attack. Ratings are, of course, subjective and not meant to be […]




Think Sagna had a solid season, nothing too bad nothing too great. How can he get the same rating as Vermaelen? Vermaelen was undoubtedly worse than Sagna. I think everyone is being a bit harsh on him because of his previous season performances were so great and that it’s seems clear he wants to leave


Clearly got Jenkinson’s highlight of the season wrong, this was it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMnA2RQn7FY

[…] 来源:[Arseblog News] […]

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