After a stellar performance in his first season as an Arsenal player, no one could have imagined the ‘The Verminator’ would be limited to just 5 appearances in his second season but it happened. Arsenal suffered but the most devastating effect was on the new defenders who had to step up into the huge gap. Koscienly was brought in to replace Gallas while Squillaci was brought in to add depth to the squad, the deal was completed on 27th August, 2010. Laurent Koscienly was in the First 11 straight away, he was ready but he needed the Verminator (who was helped in his first season by an unarguably experienced William Gallas). Koscienly learned the hard way, Squillaci wasn’t so lucky.
Jack Wilshere incidentally was helped by the early season absence of Cesc Fabregas who was given extra time off (due to his participation in the 2010 World cup final). Jack was ready was ready he took his chance, Denilson was relegated to the bench, Diaby was no longer first choice and Ramsey was allowed to Recover in Peace. Jack wilshere ended the season on 49 appearances and a regular starter for the English National Team.
Vermaelen playing just five games in his second season was surprising, how about Jack wilshere’s absence in the whole of the 2011/2012 season. After Fabregas joined Barcelona, Nasri joined Manchester city and suddenly Aaron Ramsey who wasn’t even a regular yet when Shawcross visited him was thrown into the fray. Although he tried his best but he obviously wasn’t ready. The more worrisome thing is that Wishere is still not ready to make is comeback and according to reports he won’t be ready till at September. Without a pre-season after being out of action for such a long time i don’t think Arsenal should be expecting fireworks from Wilshere in the coming season.
Now we take an objective look at the performance of our engine room; the midfield in the 2011/2012 premier league season
Alex Song started more games than any other outfield player for Arsenal last season, and finished the season with the most goal assists.
He made 46 appearances (all from the start) and was only substituted four times. The breakdown was: Premier League 34, Champions League 9, FA Cup 3. In total he spent 4,079 minutes on the pitch, 83.9 per cent of the total available.
In his 34 premier league games he scored a goal and assisted 11 goals
In his debut season for Arsenal he scored 6 goals and supplied 3 assists in 29 premier league games. Arteta came with a reputation for consistency, style and class – and that is just what he delivered. He was sorely missed during his two short spells with injury, one in January when Arsenal lost every league match and another at the end of the campaign when the Gunners took six points from their final five matches.
Being named captain of your country at the age of 21 should tell you enough about the promise of Aaron Ramsey.
After missing nine months with a horrific leg break suffered against Stoke in February 2010, it’s easy to forget this was the youngster’s first full season at Emirates Stadium. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri leaving last summer and Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby sidelined through injury, Aaron grabbed his first-team opportunities at the beginning of the campaign. The young midfielder was a regular in Arsène Wenger’s first team and quickly began to form a healthy midfield understanding with Mikel Arteta and Alex Song. In his 34 Premier league appearances for the club last season he scored two goals and assisted four
Tomas Rosicky made more appearances last season (38) than in any of his previous five campaigns.
Tomas was probably not an obvious first choice at the start of the season. By the end, he was one of the first names on the team sheet.
Aaron Ramsey was preferred in the attacking midfield role before Christmas but Tomas came to the fore in the New Year with a string of outstanding displays.
As an illustration of Rosicky’s growing importance to the team in the second half of the season, his average time on pitch for his first 19 games of the season was 45 minutes 29 seconds compared to 77 minutes 25 seconds per game during his last 19 games of the season.
To express it another way, between August and January he played 29.7 per cent of the available minutes, yet between February and May that rocketed to 81.9 per cent.
In 28 premier league appearances he scored a goal and assisted four
Yossi Benayoun had certainly endeared himself to Arsenal fans by the end of his season-long loan spell from Chelsea.
Wenger often entrusted Yossi in the bigger games of the season and it was his solid display on the left wing against Tottenham which ultimately earned him a more regular place as Arsenal looked to seal automatic qualification for the Champions League.
Soon he became an integral member of the first team and claimed goals against Wolves, Norwich and Westbrom before the season’s end. Quite what the midfielder’s immediate future holds remains to be seen, but everyone at the Club appreciates his efforts during an excellent loan spell.
In 19 premier league games he scored 4 goals and assisted 1. (His Loan spell is over though)
Having spent the 2010/11 season gaining valuable experience on loan at Ligue 1 outfit Lorient, Francis returned to Emirates Stadium with ambitions of breaking into Arsène Wenger’s set-up.
He didn’t have to wait long, making his first league start in the defeat to Manchester United before following that up with a fine display against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Despite predominantly plying his trade as a midfielder, the versatile 21-year-old was required to fill in at full back on numerous occasions. He started games against Aston Villa, Fulham and Blackburn at both right and left back, filling in admirably during Arsenal’s injury-hit Christmas period.
In his 10 premier league games he assisted a goal
Podolski and Giroud have signed for Arsenal but the most needed addition remains a creative midfielder. Abou Diaby isn’t exactly reliable due to his injury record and Ramsey has been named in Great Britain’s Olympic Team. All hope is for Rosicky to pick up where he left last season. The current midfield crop could only be adequate if the current 4-3-3 system is sacrificed for a 4-4-2 system. As it stands, a player who could help if we decide to stick to the 4-3-3 system is Denilson who is expected back at Arsenal for Pre season after his loan spell with sao paulo. If he is reintroduced into the team he could take his place alongside Alex song and Arteta. He already has premier league experience but how effective was his loan spell with Sao Paulo? With Ramsey at the Olympics, a second chance wouldn’t exactly be the worst idea.
A deal for Yann M’vila is rumored to be off but a deal for a creative midfielder is definitely needed. Frankly the midfielders punched above their weight last season, without the assists of Alex Song last season, we probably would have finished below spurs and Harry Redknapp would still have a Job. If we truly want to reach our potential next season we still need to bring in a couple of players and a Midfielder should be Top priority.