Power Ranking Arsenal's Squad Player by Player
Who have been Arsenal's best players on their journey to the top of the Premier League this season? There have been many stars with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud immediately springing to mind.
We've seen some great goals, assists and performances, and the Gunners have easily been the best team in the league by far. Arsene Wenger's team seems to have captured its spirit of old and is beating teams for fun, and in the best and most entertaining way possible.
Arsenal have the best and most mobile midfield in England, a defense that is proving almost impossible to breach and a striker who has hit form and answered his critics in style.
But who has been their best player overall?
Here, Bleacher Report power ranks Arsenal's squad on its Premier League season...
The criteria for this article are simple.
Players are rated on their Premier League form across four key attributes.
The attributes in question are:
Technique (out of 30)
Technique covers a variety of skills, from the first touch of the ball to controlling it to the skill of dribbling the ball. It also encompasses set-piece delivery and tackling.
The rating for technique is divided between statistics for dribbling (10), tackling (10) and passes per game (10), as per statistics provided by WhoScored. Each attribute is added together to give a final score up to 30.
Creativity (out of 30)
Creativity is an aspect of the game that Arsene Wenger puts huge efforts into coaching. It begins with movement on and off the ball and leads toward passing. It also takes in vision whereby players see potential passes where others only see a forest of legs.
Statistics for key passes, passes per game and through balls are measured for creativity, as per statistics provided by WhoScored. Each attribute is added together to give a final score up to 30.
Consistency (out of 30)
Consistency is something that has escaped Arsenal over the last 10 years but not this season. The Gunners are the most consistent team in the league and deservedly sit on top. This attribute covers the mental part of the game, where composure in pressure situations, game intelligence and determination come into effect.
The figures used to rate consistency are from WhoScored players ratings over the course of the season.
Bravery (out of 30)
One of the most underrated attributes of any player is how brave he/she is. If there is one thing that can be said of all of Wenger's teams it is that they are brave. Bravery covers leadership when situations are dire, a willingness to get on the ball in tight situations and teamwork.
Bravery is measured through a combination of games played, average rating and technique, as per statistics provided by WhoScored. Each attribute is added together to give a final score up to 30.
Each key statistic is taken and 10 points is awarded to the player with the highest total.
I.e. Aaron Ramsey is the highest-rated Arsenal player this season with a score with 8.09. He would be awarded 10 points with the player in second awarded nine, the player in third eight...and so on.
Regarding this list, Lukas Podolski ends up with a technical rating of five. This by no means means that his overall rating as a player is five. It just means that as far as this season is concerned his rating is 5/10.
Honorable Mentions: 12-20
There is no doubt that Arsenal have enjoyed a great start to the season. In bookmakers' eyes they have gone from being regarded as top-four contenders to title contenders and deservedly so.
There have been a number of players who have excelled. The most surprising thing, however, about their run so far is how few players they have used. Arsene Wenger has used 23 players in the Premier League, but only 14 could be regarded as anything like regulars or squad players.
The list below takes in the players rated between 12th and 20th. Bacary Sagna can count himself unlucky not to make the top 10. The Frenchman, in the last year of his contract, has been surprisingly good this term, and it would not be surprising if he was offered a new deal.
10: Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny: 69 Points
Bravery: PM-18, LK-19
Creativity: PM-14, LK-11
Consistency: PM-18, LK-19
Technique: PM-19, LK-20
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny deservedly make it into Arsenal's top 10, and it is fitting that the duo come in as a pairing at No. 10.
Mertesacker and Koscielny have not been as consistent this term as they were toward the end of last season. However, it is testament to their big-game mentality that they have always risen to the occasion when asked.
Koscielny has put in a number of outstanding performances this term, with his outings against Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton standing out. Mertesacker has been arguably the better defender this term with his performances against Stoke City and Southampton making headlines.
The giant German and Frenchman have built a steady partnership for Arsene Wenger, and it speaks volumes that club captain Thomas Vermaelen has been frozen out of contention for the best part of a year.
9: Mathieu Flamini: 70 Points
Mathieu Flamini has been one of Arsenal's most important players this season. The Frenchman rejoined the club from AC Milan during the summer transfer window and immediately set about making the Gunners' midfield one of the most feared in Europe.
Flamini has excelled in doing all the donkey work for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. He plays an egoless game that gives the more technical players the platform to perform. While he has not garnered as many headlines as some other players, he is just as important.
8: Kieran Gibbs: 71 Points
Kieran Gibbs has enjoyed a great start to the season. This is almost the first season since Gibbs broke into the first team that he is injury free.
The 24-year-old has reaped the benefits of a full pre-season and is arguably the best left-back in the Premier League this season. He is a growing star in the game and will eventually take over from Ashley Cole as England's left-full.
This season is all about building toward the future, and he is well on track.
7: Jack Wilshere: 72 Points
It will surprise some that Jack Wilshere features so high on this list. However, the truth is that Wilshere, while he has not hit his best, is contributing in a real and meaningful way.
The England international has given himself, mind, body and soul, to Arsene Wenger this season and has allowed Le Prof to use him as he sees fit. Wilshere has played in every single midfield position so far and is being eased back into center midfield using the same tactics that nurtured Aaron Ramsey to full fitness.
Wilshere has been both maddening and mesmerizing to watch in the famous red and white, but he is carried into the top 10 by his bravery and willingness to work for the cause.
6: Mikel Arteta: 78 Points
Mikel Arteta is the undoubted leader in Arsenal's team. Some players do not need to carry the captain's armband to know that they are the real leaders on and off the pitch, and the Spaniard is one such player.
Arteta has been his excellent and consistent self this year and has slotted in seamlessly into center midfield whether he is playing with Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini or Mesut Ozil.
He controls the team and organizes behind the scenes where cameras and the media do not permeate, and as a result he is often taken for granted.
5: Santi Cazorla: 80 Points
Santi Cazorla was something of a low-key signing when compared to the hoopla that surrounded Mesut Ozil's arrival this season, even though he cost around £16 million (h/t The Sun). But from day one, he was brilliant.
Last year, in a misfiring season where the Gunners gave rise to Spurs-like levels of inconsistency, Cazorla was the one constant shining light for Wenger and Co. This term he has once again shown what a classy act he is by slotting in beside Ozil with aplomb.
Using his left foot like a wand and his right foot like a light saber, the 5'6" Spaniard is capable of cutting any defense to pieces with his incredible vision and eye for goal.
4: Olivier Giroud: 85 Points
All summer long, Oliver Giroud had to contend with the fact that Arsenal were being linked with world-class strikers. The general assumption was that the Frenchman would lose his place when Arsene Wenger splashed the cash.
In the end, for one reason or another, Wenger did not buy a forward, and as a result Giroud has been give the center-forward role for himself. He has risen to the task and has repaid the faith shown in him by scoring seven goals and contributing four assists in 13 games.
However, his real contribution is not in his goals but in his importance to the team. Giroud is pivotal to how Arsenal play and how midfield link with the attack. He has been so good that it is now hard to see any other forward play in the same way.
3: Wojciech Szczesny: 88 Points
Wojciech Szczesny has been the most improved player at Arsenal this term by a country mile.
Most pundits and analysts will point to the improvements made by Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, but even they can't match the rise of young Szczesny.
Last season the 23-year-old was seen as something of an inconsistent liability. This season, however, he is playing like a veteran. It is therefore easy to see why the Gunners gave him a new contract in November.
Arsenal are dominating possession in matches to a huge extent this season. For much of the games, Szczesny has absolutely nothing to do. Think back to the Gunners' 3-0 win over Cardiff. At 1-0, the youngster pulled off a phenomenal save similar to the famous save made by Gordon Banks on Pele.
It speaks volumes about his development that he can produce such important saves and retain such high concentration levels. He is in the top-three on merit.
2: Mesut Ozil: 101 Points
There is little doubt that Mesut Ozil is one of the shining lights in the world, let alone Arsene Wenger's fabulous midfield.
He has contributed three goals and six assists in 11 games for the Gunners and must be one of the first names to go down on Wenger's team sheet. While his main contribution has been to the attack, it would be churlish not to mention his entire effect on the team in general.
He works tirelessly and is always available to receive the ball, and as such he has become one of Arsenal's most important defensive weapons. A great signing and a great player.
1: Aaron Ramsey: 109 Points
To say that Aaron Ramsey has dominated Arsenal's season would be something of an understatement.
The Welsh wonder has been in amazing form this season and has put in a number of man-of-the-match performances to go with his unbelievable eight goals and five assists in 14 Premier League games.
Ramsey is playing like an offensive Roy Keane this term and is covering every single inch of the pitch in the same fashion that the Irishman used to do for Manchester United.
Ramsey, still only 22, is fast developing into a complete midfielder. There are precious few of these men left in the game, and it is extremely rare to find a player so balanced in the defensive and offensive arts.
He is Arsenal's top scorer, has contributed the second-highest amount of assists, makes more passes per game than any other player, has made the most appearances alongside Wojciech Szczesny and has made more tackles than any other Arsenal player this term.
In short, he has been sensational and is easily the Gunners' best and most important player in 2013-14.