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Arsenal Christmas Ratings (Part 1 of 2)

Christmas is upon us and naturally, Arsenal are doing everything within their power to ruin it for us. As if our league position, injuries and the fact we are level on points with Tottenham wasn’t bad enough, our last game before the big event happened to end with a Martin Skrtel 96th minute equaliser.

Put simply, it’s been a very underwhelming campaign so far. 12 wins, 8 draws and 6 losses. Hardly the ‘season when it all changed’ that we were promised.

So, who’s to blame, who has shone amongst the mediocrity and who has just sort of been… there. Here is a short assessment of all our players’ seasons so far. For obvious reasons I have omitted the likes of Rosicky, Joel Campbell and David Ospina… as I would struggle to muster 10 words to say about them.

Wojcech Szczesny

Rating: 4/10

I was one of Szczesny’s admirers last season. I thought he was assured, mature and fully deserving of his Golden Glove award. But this season, old habits have crept back into his game. Perhaps it is without Lukasz Fabianski pushing him that complacency has returned, but he has made a few errors – and it is threatening to prove costly. There is certainly room for improvement, so much so that young Emiliano Martinez has attracted some calls to be instated as first choice, an extreme but not unimaginable move.

Kieran Gibbs

Rating: 7/10

Gibbs divides opinions amongst the fans, some think he hasn’t progressed in the last 5 years – others fancy him as England’s best left back. I am firmly on the side of the latter. The thing is with Gibbs, whilst he might not contribute a huge amount of goals or assists - unlike Leighton Baines – defensively he is solid, try and remember a high profile mistake he’s made in the last 2 years, I think you’ll struggle. For me, one we can rely on and this season has been more of the same, it’s a dreadful shame that injuries still threaten to curtail him at any moment.

Nacho Monreal

Rating: 5/10

It’s strange with Nacho, he’s had a few very good games, notably Burnley at home, and has done ok when forced to play centre back due to squad deficiencies – but I just don’t feel safe with him there. It feels like at any given moment his lack of pace is going to be cruelly exposed and I have noticed teams targeting the left side when he’s playing. That said, he has been far from our worst player this season.

Laurent Koscielny

Rating: 7/10

In games where Laurent Koscielny has played, Arsenal have had a 42% clean sheet rate – without, 23%. He is now, for me, the best player at our club but this season has been a bit of a non starter for him due to injuries. The only thing I can really say about him is that he must’ve been good when he’s played, as it’s been so damn obvious when he’s not.

Per Mertesacker

Rating: 2/10

What a poor season it’s been for the German. Coming back from winning the World Cup (but incidentally, being dropped by Joachim Low after the quarter final) even Mertesacker himself has admitted to a lack of motivation and it has really showed. Sunday’s ‘ducking gate’ might have been over egged by a few people, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that Per has been a liability this season and has made Wenger look quite wise in not giving him the captaincy – otherwise soon we could have had another Vermealen on our hands. Hopefully having his best friend Laurent Koscielny back next to him will help, otherwise he really can’t have much of a first team future left.

Calum Chambers

Rating: 5/10

It all started so well for the young Englishman. A string of man of the match performances, including the Community Shield final and a tough trip away at Beskitas inevitably led to ridiculous Twitter comparisons to Tony Adams but since then, these have certainly ebbed. His inexperience has led to him picking up an almost impressive 7 yellow and 1 red card in his 15 premier league games. It has been a promising start nonetheless, just a bit of a ‘back to earth’ after the initial euphoria over his early season form. To be honest, it’ll probably be good for him in the long run.

Mathieu Debuchy

Rating: 8/10

It’s becoming a common theme here, the players with the highest ratings are the ones who’ve missed several games through injury. That suggests two things, these players’ injuries have been at least partly responsible for our poor results, or they have just been ‘lucky’ to avoid the poorest games we’ve played in. I suspect the former. Debuchy was incredible when he first came in, a real breath of fresh air, then a stupidly unfortunate injury forced him to miss about 3 months, but he’s come back into the team recently with his first Gunners goal. The success of his signing has been a real plus point for the defence, at least it’s one position which seems in good hands.

Hector Bellerin

Rating: 7/10

Bellerin really couldn't have had more of a baptism of fire. Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park for his debut, and then Stoke for his first Premier League away game – the less said about that, the better. But he has showed real promise in the games against Newcastle, Hull and Galatasaray, with the assist against Newcastle being a particular high point for him. Certainly one for the future and it'll be very interesting seeing how he develops over the course of this season and the next.

Next... midfield and attack. Merry Christmas.

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