A tactical setup of the XI of the Season (via This11.com)
This is the final award in this year’s edition. It goes to 11 players that gave Arsenal everything even if they ended in another trophy-less campaign. The Gooner Daily XI award will be given on account of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
GOALIE: Wojciech Szczesny (48 games, 18 clean sheets)
Szczesny usurped Lukasz Fabianksi to become Arsenal’s custodian between the sticks and he commanded his area superbly, dealing with crosses as well as orchestrating his defense. He also made top drawer saves in the course of the season and he had 18 clean sheets to show for it.
LEFT BACK: Kieran Gibbs (22 games, two goals)
Gibbs had a history for his injury problems but he managed to get his highest amount of games in Arsenal colors last season. He also fought a good fight with Andre Santos, giving his manager selection headaches and he put up decent displays all season long. He’ll be forever remembered for his excellent tackle in the final game against West Brom.
RIGHT BACK: Bacary Sagna (28 games, one goal, four assists)
Sagna was one of Arsenal’s consistent performers in the campaign but he suffered two leg fractures that halted his progress. However, he provided wit to Arsenal’s play and he also put in a lion’s share of good crosses.
CENTER BACK: Thomas Vermaelen (40 games, six goals, two assists)
The Verminator showed his attacking prowess this season as he ended the season in third place in Arsenal’s goalscoring charts with Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun with six goals. He also put up commanding defensive displays but there were some games where he was found wanting as his forays forward cost his team at the back.
CENTER BACK: Laurent Koscielny (42 games, four goals, three assists)
Koscielny’s performances this season were mind-blowing to say the least and he can also take pride in scoring the goal that guaranteed Arsenal’s Champions League status next season. Kos was truly the Boss.
HOLDING MIDFIELDER: Alex Song (46 games, one goal, 14 assists)
Song was the creative lynchpin of Arsenal’s midfield in his pseudo playmaking role despite being the chief enforcer of the team. He was an ever-present player that oozed confidence in his ability as well as his play in general.
HOLDING MIDFIELDER: Mikel Arteta (38 games, six goals, three assists)
Arteta arrived on the transfer deadline day and integrated perfectly into Arsenal’s midfield, endearing himself to the fans with his balanced, composed and mature style of play that brought stability to Arsenal’s midfield.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER: Tomas Rosicky (38 games, two goals, six assists)
Little Mozart was left for dead as Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey dropped him down the pecking order in Arsenal’s midfield. In somewhat mysterious circumstances, Fabregas and Nasri departed for greener pastures, Wilshere suffered a long-term injury and Ramsey suffered a poor run of form. This paved the way for Rosicky that received a new lease of life to put up brilliant displays in his favored position.
RIGHT WINGER: Theo Walcott (46 games, 11 goals, 13 assists)
Walcott had his fair share of inconsistency last season but his output to the team was unrivaled. He grew in confidence with subsequent games provided a lion’s share of assists for his telepathic partner, Robin van Persie.
LEFT WINGER: Gervinho (34 games, four goals, eight assists)
Gervinho hit the ground running with some splendid performances in the start of his Arsenal career but his form waned after the 2012 African Cup of Nations. At some point, he lost his place to the Ox and Yossi Benayoun but in my opinion, he still deserves a place in my XI of the Season.
CENTER FORWARD: Robin van Persie (47 games, 37 goals, 15 assists)
If Arsenal is likened to the Earth, van Persie must be Atlas, as he single-handedly carried Arsenal to a third place finish in the Premier League with 30 goals registered to his name. When the chips were down on several occasions, the general stepped up the plate to rally his troops with more commanding displays.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
As we say the end of every season, let’s that hope that next season will be our season.