Author Archives: keenosafc

Arsenal player ratings – 2022/23

Aaron Ramsdale – 8/10
41 games, 0 goals

Aaron Ramsdale has had a fantastic season and he continues to grow. Only Ederson and Alisson are probably ahead of him in the league – he is in a group including Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and David Raya fighting to be “best of the rest”.

Ramsdale saved us with fantastic saves on many occassions this season, and his errors are lapses of concentration have been almost eradicated. His distribution has been excellent.

Matt Turner – 5/10
7 games, 0 goals

A tough first season for Matt Turner and at times he looked shakey. Reluctant to mark him down too much as he just did not play much, and when he did it was infront of a defence that did not play together much. Many of the problems were down to communication.

Teams are moving away from the “two top keepers” model, with one playing the league and the other in the cups. The return to a single keeper playing in almost every game (when fit) makes it that bit harder to recruit a quality number 2. Turner does a job.

Karl Hein – unranked
1 game played, 0 goals

Played once, slipped, gave away a penalty, conceded 3. Only 21 and home grown (I think). Would be unfair to mark him out of 10 based on a single performance.

Ben White – 8/10
46 games played, 2 goals

Was expected to play a duel role of back-up right back and back-up centre back. Ended up as first choice central defender.

Solid in defence, he also built up a great relationship going forward with Bukayo Saka. Lack of pace very rarely exposed. Tired towards the end of the season. But everyone did.

Takehiro Tomiyasu – 4/10
31 games played, 0 goals

Was suprised how many games Tomi ended up playing. But over half were off the bench – he only played 19% of the total minutes. Some might consider the 4 to be unfair, but I have factored in the injuries.

Missed half of the season injured, and that on the back of him missed much of last season. Clearly a talent and will be back up right back and left back next season. But needs to get fit and stay fit.

Cedric Soares – 2/10
4 games played, 0 goals scored

Forgot he played for us. And I think Fulham forgot he played for them. Has one-year left on his deal. Expect a season long loan to be on the cards.

Gabriel Magalhães – 9/10
48 games played, 3 goals

Has to be in the discussion for Arsenal player of the season.

Started every Premier League game and missed just 9 Premier League minutes in total. Is a consistent performer and provides some steel at the back. Always up for the physical battle. Claims that he is “error prone” is just lazy punditry. One of the best in the league.

William Saliba – 8/10
33 games played, 3 goals

Built a fantastic partnership with Gabriel. If he stayed fit, we would have won the league. Back injury is a concern is they potentially never go away. Only reason he is marked 1 down from Gabriel is due to the injury. Need to get him signed up to a new deal.

Jakub Kiwior – 6/10
8 games played, 1 goal

Signed in January. Looks a player. Strong, quick with an eye for a pass, he will provide great cover for Gabriel in gthe coming seasons. Will also be interesting to watch him develop in that inverted full back role. He is not too disimilar to Nathan Ake.

Rob Holding – 5/10
24 games played, 2 goals

Love Rob Holding. But if we are to consistently challenge for the league, we need to be looking for someone better.

Replaced Saliba and the class difference showed. Kiwior ended up coming in for him and the Pole looked a better proposition. 7 seasons and 162 games for The Arsenal. I wish him well in the future.

Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7/10
33 games, 1 goal

Key to our form, we are a better team with him in it. Defensive lapses were due to how he was being asked to play rather than a sign of his own ability. Injury worries were raised early in the season. He has never played more games then he did this season. Needs to build on his fitness to enable himself to keep playing at a high level.

Kieran Tierney – 6/10
36 games played, 1 goal

Tough season for the Scotsman who found himself 2nd choice to Olexsander Zinchenko, and then demoted to 3rd choice as Tomiyasu got selected ahead of him. He also sat on the bench and watched whilst Jakub Kiwior was played at left back in the closing games of the season.

Tierney is a fantastic left back, but he can not play in the inverted role that Mikel Arteta demands.

Arteta refused to change the tactics when Tierney came in, which exposed him in those more central positions. This summer is possibly the right time to move him on.

Thomas Partey – 8/10
40 games played, 3 goals

Was one of our best players, and arguably the best defensive midfielder, then he ran out of steam. Huge difference between us and Manchester City is Rodri remained at the high level whilst Partey dropped off. We were clearly managing his injury issues throughout the season. Next year we need some quality alongside him who can share the minutes a bit better. One of those you want fit and firing in the business end of the season.

Granit Xhaka – 8/10
47 games, 9 goals

Easily his best season for Arsenal. Showed that many we have been playing him in the wrong position for 7 seasons. Was pushed further forward by Arteta this season – playing in a role he has excelled in for Switzerland. Shows leadership. Will be missed. But feels like it is the right time to leave.

Jorginho – 6/10
16 games, 0 goals

Questions were asked when he was signed. Claims that he was washed up and his legs were gone. Showed he has the ability to control a game at will, and gets around the pitch more than you would think.

Reminds me a little of Pirlo and Alonso. There clubs dumped them at 32, and they both continued to play at a very high level, driving their sides to league titles, for another 3-4 seasons. Luka Modric more recently shows that being an excellent reader of the game can make up for any physical decline. Will have a part to play at Arsenal next season.

Mohamed Elneny – 2/10
8 games played, 1 goal

Two long term injuries resulted in Elneny starting just 1 Premier League game. Like Holding, we now need to move on from him. Jorginho is already a step up. As will others. Got a new 1-year deal to enable us to help him get back to full fitness. Also doing his coaching badges at the club.

Albert Sambi Lokonga – 3/10
15 games, 0 goals

Suffered at Arsenal due to lack of game time. Not really a 6 but was asked to play there when Elneny got injured. Went on-loan to Crystal Palace where he looked to have found his level before finding himself out of the team. I think there is a good player in him, Arsenal just do not have the time to polish a rough diamond right now. Expect him to move on in the summer and be a consistent mid-table Premier League performer.

Ethan Nwaneri – unranked
1 game played, 0 goals

Given his debut by Arteta at just 15. Highly rated by the club but contract dispute led him to not feature again. Will leave this summer. Probably end up as quiz question.

Martin Odegaard – 9/10
45 games played, 15 goals

This is the year that Martin Odeggard fullfilled the potential that led to Real Madrid signing him as a 16 year old. The goals, the assists, the work rate, the leadership. Baffles me some still criticise him. Only Kevin de Bruyne is better in this league. Fantastic season, now needs to back it up next year.

Fábio Vieira – 4/10
33 games played, 2 goals

I am not going to go down the route of some and write him off. He certainly has not lived up to the big price tag, but Arsenal can not just keep buying £45million players just ebcause one does not settle straight away.

He has plenty of technique, but needs to add a bit more physicality. Form and fitness of Odegaard means he rarely got a sniff, and was never able to put a run of games together to gain confidence. Will need to work hard this summer to stay in Arteta’s plans. beyond next season.

Bukayo Saka – 10/10
48 games, 15 goals

No longer should we be talking about Bukayo Saka’s potential. He is World Class now. Arguably the only right winger on his level in world football is Mo Salah. The only Arsenal player that would walk into the Manchester City team. There is nothing he can not do and just gets better and better.

Gabriel Martinelli – 9/10
46 games played, 15 goals

Where Saka leads, Gabriel Martinelli follows.

With 15 goals this season, the conversation is over as to whether we need a new left winger. He is the number one and not many are better in the Premier League. Still has a level or two to go to bre on par with Saka, but the ability is there. Adds a bit of direct play to our team.

Leandro Trossard – 7/10
22 games, 1 goal

Surprised he only got a single goal. He seemed a lot more invovled than that. Although he did get 10 assists. A solid option on both the left and right hand side and should allow Arteta to give Saka and Martinelli more regular breaks next season. Also a great asset to come off the bench and try and make something happened.

Emile Smith Rowe – 2/10
14 games played, 0 goals

After being so good last season, Smith Rowe’s injuries returned. I do not think he will ever stay fit for an entire season. To challenge consistently for the title, we can not have anyone with a history of injuries. Time to cash in before that “injury prone” label sees his transfer value plummet.

Reiss Nelson – 5/10
18 games played, 3 goals

Gave us the moment of the season with that 10 seconds of greatness against Bournemouth. But that does not change the fact that he is not good enough and Mikel Arteta does not rate him. Rarely bought on by Arteta, Nelson failed to make a single Premier League start.

Trossard was signed in January and the difference between the pair was obvious. Nelson will never be the quality needed to compete for a 1st team place.

Marquinhos – unranked
6 games, 1 goal

Only just turned 20, Marquinhos was loaned out to Norwich City in January. Was in and out of their team. Probably needs another Championship loan deal. Somewhere where he can play regularly.

Gabriel Jesus – 7/10
33 games played, 11 goals

Like Zinchenko, we raised concerns over his season long fitness having been part of the Pep Guardiola rotation policy for so long. Unlucky to pick up a long term injury whilst at the World Cup.

Not the out and out goal scorer that some demand, but his fluidity across the front 3 makes us very unpredictable. We scored 88 league goals (club record), and he was a big part of that. An out and out goal scorer would not necessarily see the team score more.

Just 3 goals against the top 8 is a concern. If we want to kick on, he needs to become a bit more clinical in those bigger games.

Eddie Nketiah – 6/10
39 games played, 9 goals

Came in for Jesus when injured and did a solid job. Problem is he only plays down the middle which made us more predictable. The other concern is that he failed to score a single goal when coming off the bench (bought on 21 times). If Arsenal are behind, Eddie just is not the man to sling on and say “get us a goal”.


Mikel Arteta leads Arsenal to best campaign since the invincibles

Morning all and happy Tuesday.

Let’s firstly address something. We would not have won the league if we beat Brighton and Nottingham Forest.

Yes, we finished just 5 points behind Manchester City. And those two defeats cost us 6 points. So mathematically we might have won the league. But it would ignore the fact that City played massively changed teams in their final two games.

I am pretty much sure that if City had to win against Brentford on the last day of the season, they would not have had John Stones, Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Erling Haaland on the bench.

City won the league with 3 games to spare, and because of that they made big changes in their final three games ahead of the FA Cup and Champions League finals.

I look back to 1997/98 when we won the league with two games to go. We then lost our final two of the season.

The league table showed that we only finished 1 point ahead of Manchester United. But the title was lifted before the season is over. And winning that trophy does funny things to a team.

So we finished the season with 84 points. 15 more than the previous season. 23 more than the season before that. And 28 points more than Mikel Arteta’s first half a season.

Only twice in our history have we won more than 84 points – the title winning seasons of 2002 and 2004. It had been 15 years since we breached the 80 point mark.

We also scored 88 league goals this season – the most in our history. It is why I am a little baffled why some are calling for a new striker.

43 goals conceded was 10 more than City, and the main difference between the two sides. It is why we are looking at Declan Rice, Moises Caicedo and further defensive reinforcements.

Next season, if we can continue with the organised chaos up top, and have a tighter back 4, we will be in with a chance of winning it again.

There will be more post-season analysis to come. And much of it written by better people than me.

As someone who goes home and away (and one of the few daily Arsenal bloggers to do so), I will always try and speak from the heart.

On to the next season…


MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 5 – 0 Wolves

Arsenal (3) 5 Wolverhampton Wanderers (0) 0

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Sunday, 28th May 2023. Kick-off time: 4.30pm

(4-3-3) Aaron Ramsdale; Thomas Partey, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Jakob Kiwior; Martin Ødegaard (c), (Jorge Luiz Frello Filho) Jorginho, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard.

Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding, Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson, Matt Turner, Mauro Gomes Bandeira, Reuell Walters.

Scorers: Granit Xhaka (11 mins, 14 mins), Bukayo Saka (27 mins), Gabriel Jesus (58 mins), Jakob Kiwior (78 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 51%

Referee: Andre Marriner

Assistant Referees: Simon Long, Scott Ledger

Fourth Official: James Linington

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Tony Harrington; AVAR Stuart Burt

Attendance: 60,095

As we already know, today’s match is a “dead rubber”, to use a popular sporting parlance. All we can do this afternoon is to end the season with a win against the West Midlanders, and finish this campaign with our heads held high, and look towards a summer of pure speculation and hope that the club are able to sign some more top players in order to try to bring silverware back to the Emirates next season. This afternoon the medical team are reviewing the fitness of Reiss Nelson, (who missed the defeat at Nottingham Forest through illness), along with Bukayo Saka and Leandro Trossard. However, it is believed that Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mohamed Elneny remain sidelined through injury.

The visitors started the better of the two sides today, and within five minutes they had the first chance of the day when a long-range Matheus Nunes right-footed shot from a difficult angle was thankfully blocked, but minutes later, we took the lead when a Gabriel Jesus cross was met by Granit Xhaka, who headed the ball into the back of the net from close range. Three minutes later, he scored our second goal, when his left-footed shot from the centre of the box ended up in the bottom left-hand corner of the net. We were certainly fired up by two early goals, as Martin Ødegaard then set up Leandro Trossard, whose strong shot was blocked by a Wolves defender. Play was stopped for a short while because of an injury to Gabriel Jesus, but he did not appear to be too badly hurt as he carried on playing. The match appeared to settle down, with both teams giving away silly free-kicks due to late tackles. However, we were fortunate not to concede a goal when a Nathan Collins right-footed shot from the left-hand side of the six-yard box went wide following a free-kick from the visitors. This effort appeared to wake us up a bit, as almost immediately at the other end, Leandro Trossard slotted the ball to Bukayo Saka, whose left-footed shot from the right-hand side of the box ended up in the the bottom left-hand corner of the net for our third goal, and all before the thirty minute mark as well. Bukayo Saka almost grabbed our fourth goal a couple of minutes later when Martin Ødegaard nicely set him up to score, but his right-footed shot was saved awkwardly by the Wolves goalkeeper, José Sá. The visitors’ defence looks all over the place, as a huge chance appeared for Granit Xhaka to grab his hat-trick but he stuck it wide of the Wolves goal from close range. Four minutes from the break, club captain Martin Ødegaard had a superb left-footed shot from outside the Wolves penalty area, which was blocked whilst travelling towards the goal. Although referee Andre Marriner played three minutes’ injury time, nothing of any note happened and we easily went into half time with a comfortable three goal lead in our top pocket.

The last forty-five minutes of the 2022-23 season started reasonably slowly, but almost immediately, play was stopped due to an injury to Bukayo Saka, who continued after getting some treatment from the medical team. The visitors started to come at us, and our defenders managed to block two good chances to score from Adama Traoré and Nélson Semedo but it mattered not, as a few minutes later, we grabbed our fourth goal of the day when Leandro Trossard crossed the ball for Gabriel Jesus to head the ball neatly into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. To say we are comforable is an understatement; however, on the hour, Reiss Nelson replaced Bukayo Saka because of an injury, and a couple of minutes after he entered the field of play, Martin Ødegaard set up Reiss Nelson with a gold-plated chance to score, but unfortunately his shot went wide of the goal. Shortly after a Leandro Trossard shot which was acrobatically saved by José Sá, a double substitution was made when Emile Smith-Rowe and Fábio Vieira replaced Martin Ødegaard and two-goal Granit Xhaka with fifteen minutes of the match remaining. Shortly afterwards, following a corner, Emile Smith-Rowe placed the ball into the Wolves penalty area for Jakub Kiwior to hit a right footed shot from the centre of the penalty area to the centre of the goal for our fifth goal of the day, and his debut goal for Arsenal as well. With ten minutes of the match remaining, another double substitution happened when Kieran Tierney and Eddie Nketiah replaced Jakub Kiwior and Leandro Trossard for the remainder of the match, and despite the score, we carried on trying to grab more goals. An Eddie Nketiah shot went narrowly close of the goal, and then Reiss Nelson passed the ball to Jorginho, but sadly his shot went high and wide to the right of the Wolves goal. The match started to slow down, and after five minutes injury time, referee Andre Marriner brought our season to an end.

Our title challenge may well have collapsed in recent weeks, but we looked back to our very best in this victory and were helped to this by a very lacklustre Wolverhampton Wanderers side. Although we are completely assured of second place, Arsenal ended the campaign on eighty-four points, which is our highest points tally since the Invincibles stormed to the title with ninety points back in 2003-04. Also we only finished five points behind Manchester City, and who knows what may have happened if we had won those drawn matches against Southampton, Liverpool and West Ham United? Still, we are back in the Champions League for the firsst time since 2016-17, and finishing second to Manchester City is no disgrace; who knows what may happen next year?

Remember everyone, keep the faith. Stick with the winners. Have a great summer, everyone! Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon