The season is over, but who were the heroes and villains of Arsenal’s campaign?
We’ve decided it’d only be fair to go through the squad and have a look at who let us down or who really gave us moments to remember during a hit-and-miss campaign.
Nacho Monreal: B+
Monreal’s B+ grade is proof you need to do a hell of a lot to attain an A from us.
The Spanish defender has been consistently good to excellent all season long, maybe he didn’t quite veer into excellent enough for an A, but it’s still some going. There are no particular stand-out performances, but the Spaniard was excellent against Bayern Munich and Barcelona. It doesn’t get tougher than that.
The mark of how strong his season was lies with this: can you name one, two, three poor performances from the left-back? It’s unlikely and that’s why he came second in our player of the season decision.
A new contract was signed in January, meaning we will get even more of Monreal’s best years. At 30, some may expect a decline but, relying on strength, decision making and good positional sense rather than speed, we should see more of the same in the future.
Héctor Bellerín: B
Just 21 this season, Héctor Bellerín has been fantastic. It’s his first full season at the top level as first choice but it doesn’t show.
Obviously, he’s quick. That’s one thing everyone knows about the right-back. Over the course of the season, though, he’s proven he has pretty much everything else.
A good passer, intelligent movement, smart positioning and reading of the game. Like Monreal, he made out end of season nominations, coming third.
After an injury in early November, the Spaniard undoubtedly suffered a brief blip. That only allowed him to show his excellent mentality, recovering after some struggles to return to top form.
Ending the season on eight assists – more than any Arsenal defender since Bacary Sagna in 2007/08 – his end product is definitely improving and there’s more to come.
Kieran Gibbs: C-
A ‘C-‘ grade isn’t fair on Gibbs based solely on his performances, but his total lack of involvement doesn’t warrant too much else. It’s not necessarily a reflection on how he played, but one of the fact that he barely did.
Of his 15 Premier League appearances, 13 were from the bench and at left-midfield, the remaining two were starts at left-back. Monreal’s form was simply so good that he couldn’t be left out of the side.
When he did play, Gibbs was largely fine. Two Champions League starts ended in defeat but weren’t really his fault and he could be relied upon to shore up the left when Arsenal needed to see games out.
There was also a contribution in the north London derbies, where he scored the equaliser at the Emirates and gave solid display at White Hart Lane.
Mathieu Debuchy: F
I’m not sure what really needs to be said on Debuchy. He struggled badly against West Ham United (Premier League), Tottenham (League Cup), and Dinamo Zagreb (Champions League) in his early season performances.
Not only did he lose his place to Bellerín, he was never going to take it back and a January loan to Bordeaux was necessary for some regular football. Expect him to be sold this summer.