The season is over and we put our heads together at Daily Cannon to try and figure out who the player of the season is.
That didn’t seem like much of a challenge, so we’ve all given in our suggestions and, though there was a clear winner, we thought we’d give you a 3rd and 2nd place as well.
Arsenal player of the season 2016/17
First place: Mesut Özil.
Where do you even start when you try to look at Mesut’s performances? An incredible nine months from the German saw him seal his place as one of the greatest playmakers in the world and in Arsenal history, just in case there were any doubters remaining.
I guess, after such a strong campaign, it’s only right to start with his creativity. Wow.
Mesut Özil created 142 chances in the Premier League alone. That’s more chances than any player has created in any season in any of the top five leagues since Opta started analysing such data in 1996. A total of 95 campaign across Europe’s top leagues and no player has created as many chances in a single season.
Of those chances, he managed to bag 19 assists. There were wonderful crosses:
There were sublime through balls:
There were inch-perfect 40-yard balls:
There’s nothing he can’t do to set someone through on goal, and he does it constantly.
When through on goal for himself, the attacking midfielder managed eight goals in all competitions, including a calmly dispatched effort against Manchester United and a last-minute finish against Bayern Munich back in October.
Consistently having an impact on big games, the critics have quietened.
There’s little coincidence this was the first season Özil actually had pre-season with his teammates; he clicked with those around him consistently and started to take games by the scruff of the neck. He’s now a leader in the team, just as Arsène Wenger has expressed.
Off the ball, his intelligence and work ethic still go unnoticed. He smartly pressed and maintained shape in the win against Bayern Munich – you don’t stifle one of the best teams in the world without each and every one of your midfielders putting in an intelligent shift – even though some fans and pundits still like to overlook this aspect of his game.
Now off to Euro 2016 with his country, Özil will hope to continue his form and add the European Championship to his World Cup winners’ medal. Hopefully he impresses and returns to Arsenal healthy and well rested ahead of another big campaign. We need him.
No matter who comes in over the summer, Arsenal’s most important business could be the attempt to extend the German’s contract. For now, let’s enjoy the season he’s just given us.