/Arsenal full season Player reviews Part 3 – Centre-backs

Arsenal full season Player reviews Part 3 – Centre-backs

Here we have Alfie’s 3rd in depth assessment of this season’s performances – Player by Player

Today he covers our centre-backs…

SEASON RATING 7: SOKRATIS-
A solid first season in English football for the no-nonsense, (often too) aggressive and bullish Greek centre-back. He came to the club off the back of a poor season at Dortmund and many (including myself) were sceptical of the acquisition. He was seen as an ageing, declining and slow centre-back that could potentially struggle with the pace of the English game. However, he surprised many of us with his intense physicality, deceptive speed and eagerness to defend aggressively. Sokratis quickly adapted to the League and thrived for long periods of the campaign, and there was a stage where we looked hopeless defensively in his absence. However, like many of our squad, he finished the season poorly, and perhaps some gaps in his game started to appear, as he often looked too rash and eager to get in front of defenders, that it often made him positionally weak. Overall however, one of our better defenders in a weak domestic defensive campaign, and one that has a future at the club. 🚨 VERDICT: 7️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 8: LAURENT KOSCIELNY-

An unexpectedly impressive season for Koscielny on the whole. After his traumatic and heart-breaking injury against Atlético last season, collectively we feared the worst for the Frenchman’s career, but he came back and looked relatively comfortable again, massively exceeding our expectations. Despite an initial, understandably tough start, once he regained his match fitness and sharpness, he regained his form and looked irreplaceable at times (mainly due to the poor or lack of alternatives). However, weeks in which he was forced to play up to 3 games in he understandably looked tired and fragile at his age and with his history with injuries, and that meant inconsistency. On the whole though, I didn’t expect him to be capable of some of the performances that he produced and personally I would run-out his contract, keeping him for a final year as an alternative option and for the experience. 🚨VERDICT: 7️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 9: ROB HOLDING-

A brilliant first half of the season that was abruptly put to an end with a serious and damaging knee injury sustained at Old Trafford in early December. The Englishman began the season in fine form, coming into a struggling Arsenal defence and essentially solidifying and stabilising it during the side’s 22 game unbeaten run between August and December. In this period, he demonstrated the attributes he began to show in the back end of the 16-17 season, his very good ball playing ability, his ability to impose himself on defenders and his positional awareness. The injury came at a time where he had really consolidated his position in the team and was looking pivotal to our defensive set up. There was then a direct down-spiral in our results immediately after the injury, showing how just how important he had become. He’s scheduled to return for pre-season and let’s hope this injury hasn’t deterred his momentum. 🚨VERDICT: 7️⃣ –

SEASON RATING 10: SHKODRAN MUSTAFI-

Honestly, what can I say about this guy? Another poor season at the club and I find it utterly astonishing that he’s been here for 3 years. He continually shows signs of being an adequate defender, brilliant aerially and puts in some good, crunching tackles, but then he goes and makes an appalling, unexplainable error. Ultimately, whilst he’s not as shocking in his overall game as people often make out (impulsively), he’s certainly had far too many opportunities at this club, has continually disappointed and is essentially a defensive liability on the most part. He must go for the sake of his own career and for the sake of Arsenal Football club. 🚨VERDICT: 3️⃣ –

Do you agree? ⬇️

By Alfie Culshaw