It has been an up and down season for Arsenal, as they started on a good note, but lost the plot at the start of the calendar year. However, they limped past Tottenham on the final day to second place making it a rather satisfactory end to the season.
Here are the top 4 players of this season.
1. Mesut Ozil (CAM)
Number of games played: 45 (3939 minutes)
He could have easily broken Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in a single Premier League season but he couldn’t do that mainly because our attackers failed to deliver at the right time. As Arsenal drifted in the closing weeks of the season so too did Ozil, but don’t let that obscure a superb campaign that justifiably earned him player of the year considerations. He ended the season with 8 goals and 20 assists out of which 6 goals and 19 assists came in the English league.
He created a whopping 144 chances with an excellent pass accuracy of 87%. Between October and January, he carried the side, keeping them in the title race by sheer force of will. He finished with 16 assists in the first half of the season but still couldn’t manage just 5 more assists to break Henry’s 2002/03 Premier League assist record. This calls for serious attacking reinforcements this summer transfer window. Overall Mesut Ozil brushed aside his initial struggles at Arsenal and had a season to remember regaining his top form in the process. We can all expect him to improve much more in seasons to come.
2. Hector Bellerin (RB)
Number of games played: 44 (3948 minutes)
Proving himself to be the best young right-back in world football Bellerin has continued his remarkable rise to prominence, coupling the attacking endeavor he showed last season with growing defensive acumen. He spent the most minutes on the pitch than any other Arsenal player in the 2015/16 season which show that he has been one of Arsenal’s fittest players. This season has seen him prove his skills against the likes of Douglas Costa, Neymar and the Premier League’s best.
He ended the season with 1 goal and 8 assists in all competitions and was part of 23 out of 24 clean sheet performances by our defense this season. No wonder Barcelona are keen to get him back to Camp Nou. He is just 21 years old now, so Arsenal must somehow keep hold of him. His wonderful performances were rewarded well as he was the only Arsenal player selected to the PFA team of the season. His lethal pace has always been his best weapon. He is surely on his way to join the elite list of world’s greatest right-backs.
3. Petr Cech (GK)
Number of games played: 42 (3780 minutes)
This 10 million pound gem of a signing from Chelsea turned out to be our only summer signing this season. With a world class tag to justify he came into Arsenal seeking more play time since Thibaut Courtois had taken over his Numero Uno position at Chelsea. His first outing with the gunners was a memorable one as had beaten his ex-employers in the Community Shield game but his second match was a game to forget as he made two blunders which led to the gunners losing 0-2 at home to West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League season. But that performance didn’t stop him from having one of the best and most memorable seasons in the Premier League with Arsenal.
In just his first season with the club, he has won the Golden glove. That tells you what kind of a legendary player he is. Be it the Premier League or the Champions League he produced saves out of nowhere. With 16 clean sheets in the league and 20 clean sheets in all competitions he has stamped his authority in the league of world-class goalkeepers even though Arsenal FC had a relatively bad season. He has conceded only 31 goals in 34 premier league games this season i.e. 0.91 goals per match which absolutely incredible considering that our defense had been a bit rusty throughout the season. He was one of the major reasons leading to our surprisingly unbelievable 2nd place finish this season. We could definitely make use of a great leader in him in the future as well considering that our current captain Mikel Arteta has decided to go into coaching after his contract wasn’t extended.
4. Nacho Monreal (LB)
Number of games played: 45 (3936 minutes)
Nacho Monreal is arguably the most underrated Arsenal player in Premier League history. His performances in the last three seasons would speak volumes of his calm and composed nature and his cool head. Arsenal’s Mr. Reliable has missed just two Premier League matches all season and in the others, he has made just two defensive errors. Though he had managed only 3 assists in all competitions this season he had created around 28 chances with an incredible pass percentage of 85%.
The best tackler in the side, with an average of 2 successful tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per game he thoroughly impressed in a 2-1 victory over Leicester in February, where the player of the year Riyad Mahrez was left looking very ordinary indeed. Nacho’s crossing ability is second to none in the current Arsenal squad. He is really unlucky to be overlooked for Vicente del Bosque’s Spanish national squad. He is without doubt Arsenal’s most consistent player since 2013. Nacho and Hector have complemented each other very well last two seasons and have added some Spanish flair on the wings. These two Spanish full backs will be very crucial in our title charge next season.
Notable absentees in the top 12 Arsenal players of the season:
Players like Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Francis Coquelin, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott clearly had seasons to forget. We all must hope that they forget about this bad season of theirs and come back stronger next season. Other players like Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Debuchy had very little game time to feature in this list. We all should keep wishing that these players stay injury free next season and play to their true potential.