6 Arsenal Players Whose Stock Has Fallen in 2014
The 2013/14 season was a positive step for Arsenal, ending with the confirmation of Champions League football and a long-awaited trophy. However, not every individual has prospered in parallel with the team.
In this piece, we look at the players whose reputation has suffered across the campaign—starting with Arsenal's own club captain.
When Thomas Vermaelen was asked to lift the FA Cup aloft, he must have had mixed feelings. Delighted though he will have been to be given the honour, his joy will have been tinged with acknowledgement that he has played a limited part in the season.
Since being displaced by Laurent Koscielny toward the end of last season, Vermaelen has been regarded as more of a liability than a leader. It would be no great surprise if lifting the trophy proved to be his final act in an Arsenal shirt.
Arsenal fans would be entitled to ask, "Who?"
Since signing for the club on transfer deadline day, Emiliano Viviano has not made a single appearance for the club. For a one-time Italian international, it's been a bizarre campaign.
According to one apocryphal tale, when the opportunity of a game at the Emirates Stadium was offered up as an auction lot at a recent charity dinner, Viviano cheekily put in the first bid.
His hopes never came to fruition, and he will leave Arsenal without ever donning the shirt.
Some may argue it was impossible for Park Chu-Young's reputation to fall any further, but he just about managed it.
An ill-fated January loan move to Watford saw him make just two appearances for the Hertfordshire side before returning to South Korea for treatment on a mystery injury.
With his contract due to expire, he'll surely never be seen at Arsenal again.
It is considered something approaching blasphemy to criticise Mesut Ozil, but there's no doubt that—rightly or wrongly—the German's reputation has taken something of a battering over the past 12 months.
He hasn't been helped by the absurd expectation levels generated by his inflated fee. However, there have been undoubted moments of class, and more of those in 2014/15 should help erase any lingering doubts over his suitability for the English game.
When Ryo Miyaichi was lighting up the Dutch league with Feyenoord, he was regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the world. However, he has since failed to make the subsequent impact that was expected of him.
This season, injuries and poor form have restricted him to just one brief Premier League appearance. It seems Miyaichi will have to leave Arsenal to get the regular first-team football he needs to progress.
At the start of the season, it seemed as if Nicklas Bendtner had been handed a clean slate. He was regularly involved in the matchday squad, and he even chipped in with a couple of important goals.
However, a series of off-field indiscretions saw his stock fall further than ever. It was telling that he was entirely absent from the FA Cup final celebrations. If Bendtner doesn't correct his behaviour, he runs the risk of ending more than just his Arsenal career.