One claim was that I was a “retarded Gooner” as I rated Per Mertesacker above Michael Dawson. Mertesacker went on to win the World Cup, Michael Dawson now plays for Hull.
Another read “Ramsey better than Paulinho? Go have a lie down” (half a dozen Spurs fans made the claim that Paulinho was the superior player). Ramsey became one of the stand out players in the Premier League, whilst Spurs did everything in their power to sell Paulinho in the last transfer window. And whatever happened to Capoue being better than Arteta, Wilshere & Ramsey?
“What a joke. Lets see who has the best team by their respective positions at the end of the season.” Arsenal finished above Spurs again, for the 19th season in a row.
As it is a North London Derby tomorrow, it is time to analyse the starting 11’s again.
Szczesny/Ospina v Lloris
For me, Hugo Lloris is the best keeper in the Premier League. Yes, he still has his Hollywood moments, but at times this season, he has single handedly kept Spurs in the game. He is a brilliant keeper.
Neither Szczesny or Ospina are near to the level of Lloris. Szczesney has had a rough ride this season, but is still young, whilst Ospina is in the early stages of his Arsenal career, so it is very early to judge him. Although he has not yet conceded a Premier League goal.
Szczesny/Ospina – 7 Lloris – 9
Bellerin v Walker
Had Mathieu Debuchy been fit, this would have been a no contest. Unfortunately, as he is out injured due to a bit of Stoke thuggery, it is only fair that I judge who will play. Hector Bellerin.
Bellerin is young, raw and exciting. He will become a superstar, but is not there yet. His only real weakness is his size. He is small and lightweight. But his reading of the game, tackling and ability to get up and down the line is remarkable.
Kyle Walker was once like Hector Bellerin. A young talent. He will be 25 in May. He has certainly not fulfilled his potential. He still relies too much on his pace to get him out of trouble, and is defensively awful, I have not seen a player with worse defensive positioning or awareness since Armand Traore. Despite these criticisms, Walker get’s the nod due to his experience.
Bellerin 6 Walker 7
Mertesacker v Fazio
Both are tall, both lack pace, but only one has exceptional reading of the game.
World Cup winner Per Mertesacker is still an exceptional defender. Yes, he does make mistakes – but doesn’t everyone? When I look at Vincent Kompany, he has made horrendous errors this season, yet does not seem to get the criticism that Mertesacker does. Sometimes people make an opinion of a player without truly watching him.
I will not go as far as saying Fazio is a donkey. That is harsh and it would be hypocritical of me to label him as such, with it being what Spurs fans have tagged Mertesacker and Adams over the years. He is an OK player, but his 2 red cards in 23 games shows he is a bit of a liability.
Mertesacker is an established Premier League centre back, Fazio there is still a question mark over him.
Mertesacker 8 Fazio 6
Koscielny v Vertonghan
Previously, I have always rated Vertonghan as superior to Koscielny. But last season, the Frenchman took strides forwards, whilst Vertonghan went backwards.
Koscielny’s importance was highlighted when he was out injured. Arsenal missed him. He is strong, quick, and has exceptional reading of the game. I rate him higher than Kompany.
Meanwhile, Vertonghan has struggled over the last 18 months, and is now known more for his goal scoring than his defending. That is always a sign of a defender who is struggling. Saying that, he is still a top defender and his partnership alongside Fazio is a bit like a poor version of Mertesacker/Koscielny
Koscielny 9 Vertonghan 8
Gibbs v Rose
Both players are older than you would think. Gibbs is now 25, Rose already 24. There is a chance their careers could pass them by without them realising their potential, especially Gibbs.
There is, however, only one top player between the two. One is defensively complete, brilliant going forward, and, in my opinion, Englands best left back. The other is Danny Rose. A Championship player at best. He will probably be sold to QPR next year when they get relegated.
Gibbs 7 Rose 4
Coquelin v Capoue
A bit like the Bellerin v Walker match up, we are comparing a player who’stop level career is just starting, against an established, but average, player.
Coquelin has filled a whole at Arsenal, putting in some top level performances, but he has some way to go before he can be considered top level himself. Capoue has put in some average performances and will probably forever remain average.
Coquelin 6 Capoue 6
Ramsey v Mason
Last year, we were talking about Ramsey v Paulinho. Many Spurs fans disagreed with my view. However I was proved right. Paulinho has since been replaced by ‘young’ Ryan Mason.
Mason is just 6 months younger than Ramsey, and quite frankly, is not good enough to even clean Ramsey’s boots.
I remember watching a youth cup game at White Hart Lane years ago, and Wilshere ran the show. My thoughts at the time were ‘Aaron Ramsey could have played today too.’ Mason did play, but I do not remember him doing anything. Ramsey’s injuries have halted his progress this season, but he is the superior player.
Ramsey 8 Mason 5
Cazorla v Ericksen
Two stand out players. Both have been brilliant for their clubs, especially in recent weeks.
Ericksen’s 9 goals this season have been crucial to Spurs’ overall points tally. It is not just the 9 goals, but the fact those 9 goals have all seem to have been 89th minute winners. People claim Arsenal are a one man team with Sanchez, but Ericksen is the sole reason why Spurs are in the top half.
Cazorla has 6 goals. Many of which have come from the penalty spot. It is his 7 assists in the league this year which highlights his importance. Neither side has a player who has created more.
Cazorla 9 Ericksen 9
Walcott v Lamela
Erik Lamela has scored 1 Premier League goal this season. Theo Walcott also has one goal. The difference is that Lamela has played 1288 minutes more than Walcott.
Lamela has to go down as one of the biggest flops in Premier League history. A fee rising to £30 million, he has just the one Premier LEague goal to his name (and 5 assists). Whilst Ozil was getting pelter’s last season, Lamela went by fairly unnoticed.
Walcott has been out injured for the good part of a year, but his goal against Aston Villa shows he is re-finding his feet. With a goal also against Brighton, his return is timely, taking into account Alexis Sanchez is now out injured.
Walcott 8 Lamela 5
Ozil v Chadli
Nacer Chadli is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. Two footed and direct, he already has 7 goals and 5 assists in the league this season.
Ozil, like Walcott, has had his injury issues this season. His ‘poor’ form last season was over played in the media – he finished the season with 5 goals and 9 assists. This year, he has 2 and 2. Not a bad return for less than 700 minutes of football. On his day, he is unplayable. When it is not his day, he is atrocious.
Ozil 8 Chadli 7
Giroud v Kane
Another player who has missed a lot of football this season due to injury/stupidy, Olivier Giroud is finally back, and scoring goals. Since his return from injury in November, he has scored 6 goals in 10 Premier League games. He is average 1 goal every 99 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal fan Harry Kane has been a revelation this season, and certainly deserves an England call up. He has the knack of scoring goals from anywhere in and around the box. Before this season, he had only scored 21 professional goals in all competitions, all leagues. He has scored 20 this campaign.
There are two major differences between the two. Giroud is a consistent Premier League striker. He now has 34 goals in a little in 82 games. Kane is in his first season. A bit like Bellerin, it is perhaps unfair to compare someone in his 1st full season, with someone who is in his 3rd.
The second is goals per minutes. As mentioned, Giroud has averaged a goal every 99 minutes. Kane is up at a goal every 125 minutes.
Giroud is the better player, but Harry Kane has ability
Giroud 8 Kane7
And that is without Alexis Sanchez…