Arsenal player ratings: Ozil, Sanchez and more – mid-season report
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez star in our mid-season report on Arsenal midfielders and forwards
Aaron Ramsey started the season out on the right side of midfield which we know is not the Welshman’s favourite position, but he has since moved into the middle as injuries once again play havoc with Arsene Wenger’s plans. The midfielder hasn’t been at his best form that we witnessed two years ago but is integral to Arsenal’s hopes of a title challenge. His stamina is the best among Arsenal’s midfield and he’s been especially important alongside the ageing Flamini.
Premier League appearances: 16
The Frenchman did a sterling job in the holding role until injuring his knee against West Brom and was sidelined for three months. Arsenal have only lost one of nine games in his absence but his return can’t come soon enough. The signing of Mohamed Elneny is seen as something of a stop-gap until Coquelin’s return which should come sometime in February. Wenger said recently that the Frenchman is now running again so it sounds like he hasn’t had any setbacks, yet.
Premier League appearances: 12
The ‘assist machine’ has been on fire this season and has repaid a large chunk of the £42.5million Wenger spent on him in 2013. His vision is unrivalled in the league, let alone Arsenal’s team and his form has boosted that of Olivier Giroud ahead of him. It is absolutely vital the Wenger manages him correctly and rests him as often as possible. A long term term injury to Ozil sees Arsenal’s title bid go down the drain, it’s a simple as that. 9/10
Premier League appearances: 19
Another long-term absentee, Santi Cazorla had formed an excellent partnership with Coquelin at the base of Arsenal’s midfield before he too went down with a knee injury. Not expected back until March, hopefully Cazorla will still remember how to shoot upon his return and will never take another penalty after his Row Z effort against West Brom. 6
Premier League appearances: 14
Just as Theo Walcott was getting into his stride, he injured himself in what proved to be a rather pointless Carling Cup game away to Sheffield Wednesday. He has shown at times this season that he is capable of leading the line and playing on his own upfront but he has also been wasteful in front of goal. With a lack of options currently in midfield, Wenger has switched him back to wing from where he smashed in the long range goal recently against title rivals Manchester City. He will need to show more in the second half of the season.
Premier League appearances: 11 (3)
Smashed in a stunning volley minutes after giving his side the lead against Spurs in the League Cup which made a lot of Gooners very happy. Mathieu Flamini has filled in well in Coquelin’s absence and managed to curb his ‘enthusiasm’, which sees him pick up yellow cards like they’re going out of fashion. The NME’s people of the year nominee is playing more sensibly and although his legs aren’t what they used to be he makes up for this with much vigorous pointing and shouting.
Premier League appearances: 7 (3)
It’s just not happening for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season. He was looking fantastic when injury stopped him in his tracks before the World Cup in Brazil and annoyingly he can’t seem to rediscover the magic quite yet. It might just take one of his many shots to fly into the top corner but it’s the other parts of his game which are just as worrying. Frequently losing the ball when he dribbles with it and getting caught out of position defensively regularly. He can be a massive asset when on form so hopefully he’ll get back to his best soon.
Premier League appearances: 6 (11)
Something of a mystery as to how he is still club captain. He’s permanently injured these days and is the definition of immobile when he does get on the pitch, yet will still probably be given a new contract. Apparently he’s a brilliant influence to have around the club according to the boss. Either that or he’s got some compromising photos of him.
Premier League appearances: (7)
Hasn’t set foot on a pitch since he scored twice for England against Slovakia back in June. He’s being linked with a move to Manchester City which seems frankly ridiculous but stranger things have happened.
Premier League appearances: 0
Is he still alive? No one really knows. We have yet to see the Czech international yet at all this season. Supposedly injured, again.
Premier League appearances: 0
Alexis Sanchez (13 + 6 goals) – The Chilean dynamo destroyed Manchester United with two memorable goals at the Emirates and banged in a hat-trick away to second placed Leicester City. His enthusiasm is infectious and the whole team seems to work harder when Sanchez is playing. He has been missed since his hamstring injury occurred and the squad is literally down to the bare bones now. Wenger was criticised rightly for overplaying Sanchez which contributed to the injury. 8/10
Premier League appearances: 13 (1)
The handsome Frenchman has proved a lot of his doubters wrong this season. While he will never be in the top bracket of truly world class strikers he has proved himself to be good enough for a club of Arsenal’s current calibre (in my opinion). His goals to games ratio stands up with the best in the league and he scored his first ever Arsenal het-trick to seal Champions League qualification. If he can continue his hot streak for the majority of the remaining games, it might just be enough to fire the Gunners to their 14th League Championship. 8.5/10
Premier League appearances: 14 (6)
Joel Campbell (6 + 2 goals) – Has worked his rather large backside off and eventually shown why Arsenal have persevered with the Costa Rican winger for so long. Has an eye for goal and works tremendously hard defensively for the team. A lot of Arsenal supporters thought his career in England was over (“Get out while you still can Joel”) but now it looks like could will have a major part to play in the remaining 18 games of the season.
Premier League appearances: 6 (4)
Danny Welbeck Yet to set foot on a pitch this season as he battles to recover from knee surgery.
Premier League appearances: 0