Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Arsenal Power Rankings

Welcome to the 3rd edition of The Arsenal Power Rankings. This is the feature where players are rated purely on performance and not ability. It moves with the times and you don't get by on reputation alone. 

Previous power rankings have consisted of a top 15 but this time around it's been condensed to a top 10. Tougher choices and more players fail to make the grade.

So without any further ado, here is this the panel. 

@yorkshiregunner
@MadRuskiGunner
@attwood10
@modgooner
@addy_88
@YankeeGunner
@Alan_Alger_
@TheSquidBoyLike
@LucaHelvetica
@GiantGunner
And me, @mj_afc

Without anyone wanting to help out with this blog, you'd just be listening to my rambles. So thanks to everyone who has put their views across. 

The previous top 15 was:

15th - Carl Jenkinson
14th - Mikel Arteta
13th - Tomas Rosicky
12th - Jack Wilshere
11th - Santi Cazorla
10th - Theo Walcott
9th - Laurent Koscielny
8th - Bacary Sagna
7th - Wojciech Szczęsny
6th - Kieran Gibbs
5th - Per Mertesacker
4th - Mathieu Flamini
3rd - Mesut Özil
2nd - Olivier Giroud
1st - Aaron Ramsey

That was our top 15 as of mid-October. So a lot of time has passed, so it'll be interesting to see who's stepped up and who has ran out of steam. 

Before we commence with the top ten, a run down of those that didn't make the grade.

No Votes

If we were picking team in the park, this lot would have been left standing until the end:

Emiliano Vivano
Carl Jenkinson
Thomas Vermaelen
Nacho Monreal
Nicklas Bendtner
Yaya Sanogo
Ryo Miyachi
Lukas Podolski

No real surprise there given the lack of playing time for most. Maybe we could have expected to see more from Monreal who has been given has played more than anyone else listed above but he appears to have gone off the boil. Clearly from that list Sanogo may be a big mover next time. 

Missed The Cut

The biggest surprise has to be that despite ranking 4th in the previous power rankings, Mathieu Flamini has fallen out of the top ten. He received one solitary vote from @MadRuskiGunner. It's quite a turnaround in midfield actually. Given it was our earlier season strength, Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain all failed to make the top ten. I'm not sure if this raises the question that our midfield has been carried on the shoulders of Aaron Ramsey but we've certainly missed the goals of our dynamic Welshman. 

Only two other players failed to make the grade that received votes and they were Serge Gnabry and Lukasz Fabianski. 

The Top Ten

10th - Olivier Giroud (down 8 places)

It's been a tough few months for Giroud but there's still a decent striker in there. He certainly hasn't been helped with his recent off the field misdemeanours. His lack of goals at The Emirates is a concern but of late he has scored big goals at Newcastle, Villa & Southampton.  Lets hope when he returns to the side he's rejuevenated and ready to help is win some silverware. 

9th - Kieran Gibbs (down 3 places)

@attwood10 - arguably our most improved player. He's so reliable. He's cemented his first choice status & is fast developing into a key player for us. The fact you never hear a single story about him says a lot too. Top talent. 

It would appear there's no longer a battle for the left back spot. 

8th - Theo Walcott (up 2 places)

@Alan_Alger_ - I think it's fair to say I've been one of his harshest critics down the years. On one hand I feel he is paid far too much for his contribution to the cause, and often his inconsistencies can frustrate beyond rational explanation. He is of those players where you could form a YouTube compilation to make him look the best or worst in the world very easily. Overall though he does deliver and provides a good option for us. He certainly showed that before his injury and will no doubt to show that when he comes back - although overall I don't feel we get the maximum out of him aligned to his wages. Deserves a place in the top ten. 

If not for his injury, I'm sure Theo would have featured a little higher. 

7th - Aaron Ramsey (down 6 place)

@LucaHelvetica - The lynchpin of the team when fit, earns his place despite a month out injured due to his workrate, assists and vital goals against Liverpool and Dortmund. 

Our side is in need of those penetrating runs he makes and it's another option that is missing for our record signing. 

6th - Mesut Özil (down 3 places)

@YankeeGunner - Mesut Özil hasn't been the "supernova" we might've expected but for a first season player he's been excellent. He's a luxury player to be sure but he's great at keeping possession and has proven that he will create chances, as he leads the team in that crucial statistic. Özil doesn't race around the pitch which leads to accusations of laziness but he understands movement so well that he often doesn't need to. He will improve over the next few seasons to be a true success at Arsenal but he's been excellent for a first campaign. Of course he'll need to improve his penalties. 

A lot of sense spoken in the midst of mass hysteria. Özil is class - it's that simple. 

5th - Bacary Sagna (up 3 places)

@yorkshiregunner - I gave him plenty of stick last year (rightly so by the way) but he's the Bac of old this year. Solid, snaps into tackles & imperious in the air. Really hope he stays but if he doesn't he deserves to end his Arsenal career as a winner with a medal to show for years of good service. 

It'll certainly be a step back for the side if he leaves. We've been here before though haven't we?

4th - Santi Cazorla (up 7 places)

@GiantGooner - Santi suffered initially after returning from his ankle injury, but he returned to form in the Boxing Day win over West Ham and has been a solid performer since with four goals and two assists in 10 starts, including a brace in the 2-0 win over Fulham. When we look at players who can step up and lift the team during the murderers row of March matches, Cazorla should be near the top of the list.

He wasn't wrong. A more than credible 4th place for Santi. 

The Top Three

There was a popular trio that made up most of the the panels top 3 selections and you've probably guessed who they are but who takes over from Aaron Ramsey in first place? 

3rd - Wojciech Szczęsny (up 4 places)



@addy_88 - the goalkeeper I hoped Arsène would buy for many years. But his trust in the pole has paid off and now he is, in my opinion, the best goaly in the Premier League. He saves us many points over the course of time and is one of the leaders and the backbone of the 2nd best defence in the league.  Furthermore he is only 23 years old so he can still improve and, maybe, become one of the best in the world. Wojciech Szczęsny was always a confident lad but now he also shows his outstanding class! 

2nd - Laurent Koscielny (up 7 places)



@TheSquidBoyLike - Over the autumn and winter months it wasn't swashbuckling attacking football that kept us top of the league, but more an obstinate defence that amassed numerous clean sheets. Koscielny undoubtedly played a huge role in that. Mertesacker may be the brains of the back line, but Koscielny brings the brawn with his aggression and anticipation. Also possess an impressive and growing back-pocket of so-called 'world class' strikers. 

You can't disagree with that. It's like George Graham's Arsenal have been reborn. 

1st - Per Mertesacker (up 4 places)


@MadRuskiGunner - For me Per Mertesacker is the most consistent player at Arsenal at the moment. His duo with Koscielny has reached record heights and can without any modesty be called the best in the league. Our defensive statistics have been outstanding this season. A defeat to Bayern a couple of days ago was our first home loss in 14 games. We've kept 11 clean sheets at The Emirates. Impressive.

Large part of success is all due to Per's magnificent form. He oozes confidence, never shies away from any ball or tackle and despite his rather clumsy appearance he defends with such grace and technique.

Per strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn't like the buzz around his own personality much. He prefers to go out onto the pitch and prove his worth. 

Despite the above it's becoming more and more evident that Per is the soul if our squad. He is vocal, he is experienced and he takes no prisoners. Just the right person to find that balance between youth and elder generation.

We have been witnessing an increasing number of Per media encounters lately that leads to speculation of possible Arsenal captaincy in the future. Many support this idea, including myself. 

I don't know whether we will win a trophy this year or not but Per Mertesacker has definitely won our hearts. 

A fitting tribute to round up the panels thoughts on the top 10 players. 

Congratulations to the BFG. Your trophy is at my house it you want to come and collect it. 

Overall, it's an amazing turnaround for a side renowned for it's attacking flair. Currently our three most inform players are in our defence. We've waited a long time for Wenger to rebuild the Invincible defence but finally we have a reliable unit that can win us games. Sometimes watching good defending is as entertaining as watching a free flowing attacker. Goals will games but defences win silverware. Let's hope we have a nice shiny cup to show off in May. 

Here is the scoring matrix for the squad. 


So there you have it. Lots of opinions on players without necessarily slagging them off. So quite a refreshing take on things given the past few days. Who would make your top 10? Feel free to comment below. 

Once again, thanks to all that took part. I always enjoy putting these blogs together and this will become a monthly feature from now on. 

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