Let's discuss our "fives"…

As the season draws to a close, we're at that time of reflection on our squad, our season and how we move forward... commenting on the Arsenal vs Chelsea preview post got me thinking about who would be in my "top five" best players at Arsenal. Then naturally, of course, who would be in my worst 5 players at the club too.

I'll start by running through my top five today and then my worst five tomorrow and then open up the blog to the comments - so you can tell me whether you agree, disagree and who your top five would be! I've considered my top five. Who would be the top five players that I'd want in my team right now, not taking into consideration fitness or injuries - ie presuming everyone is fit and available, and this is what I've come up with!

The World of Arsenal Top Five

1. Andrei Arshavin

Since the arrival of the dimunitive Russian, he has shown that he is a real super star. He has got skill in abundance, the ability to create a goal from nothing, the ability to set up fellow player and above all pure determination. His four goals against Liverpool have taken him to 8 goals in all competitions and 7 assists. That’s more than Theo Walcott all season. Back in the day, we could play badly, and there would always be someone to “get us out of jail”, normally that player was Thierry Henry – who seemed to always score that one chance he had and make the right decisions when necessary – with Arshavin, I have that similar feeling. When he is on the pitch, I am confident that we can create something from nothing. Definitely our best player at the moment.

2. Eduardo

Eduardo is one of my favourite players – a true professional. The injury was very unfortunate and has led to a series of smaller injuries. We won’t see the player again this season, but a fit Eduardo is a certain starter in my Arsenal team. The Crozilian’s finishing is absolutely amazing, and even with a catalogue of injuries and fitness issues, he’s still been pretty awesome scoring a few goals in the process!

3. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc has been a little inconsistent this season, troubled by injury and knackered after the exploits of last summer. The boy thrives on confidence, and when he plays well, his passes are sublime. His purple patch coincided with his return to the team and a few late season goals and assists have proved how effective he can be. Our team is being built around Cesc and since his captaincy, the players have reacted well, and I’d like to see him at the club for years to come.

4. Samir Nasri

A very young talent in terms of his role within the team, but that’s how we do it down at Arsenal. Samir has shown this season that he has all the attributes to become a world class player. As any player joining this league at such a young age, he’s needed some time to adapt – but his goals against United at home this season and general performances have been although inspiring. He’s a player that I see having a big future next season…!

5. Robin Van Persie

Yes, dear old Robin has made it into the top five ahead of young Walcott. RVP is an amazing talent. He’s shown in periods this season that he can be a match-winner. We know that the Dutchman was involved in every goal in the first six weeks of the year. He single handily grabbed the 3 points for us at Chelsea earlier this season. He’s got a lot more to give to, and a front line of Van Persie and Eduardo, supported by players like Arshavin, Nasri and Cesc reads whets my appetite.

Agree or disagree? Comments please?]]>

  • merry

    < ![CDATA[kieran, u talk positively n thats good. so what denied us the chance to be 3rd atleast if you have this notion that we are not bad. i never saw Arsenal leting 4 past its goal to Chelsea, let alone MAN U.
    Old Timer. u accept the fact that the trophie cabinet looks antique n then you defend AW from blame on the situation as it is. yes i am a new comer to the board but am not a new comer when i watch those games. what i wonder is, with all those positives, how will you keep talented players from leaving if the cabinet starts roting coz there is no silverware coming. you think players like Cecs, RvP, or even the new signing Arshavin will stay at a club(Business club) where the manager is lacking ambition, they are still young and as someone poited out,Cesc could now command as much in transfer fees as well as RvP. its just as well if the club was owned by whoever, but the ultimate is if it is winning anything at all. there is no point of just playing fancy/beautiful football, its meaningless if at the end you soak up 4 goals. so now AW is aware of what needs to be done???, lets wait n see. n one thing, so who takes responsibility for this trophyless season, the players, AW, supporters, or maybe it was just a matter of being unlucky, you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]]>

  • jeffvip

    I guess about the argument of Van Persie vs Walcott is timing problem… When Van Persie is fit, Walcott is injured and vise versa. I certainly won’t put either one ahead of one another for this matter. I like Theo very much, most of the time he is our main attacking weapon. Wenger used to say we have passing skill and pace, and the pace he mean I believed is Walcott alone. The days when all of our offensive player with blazing speed is gone (Henry, Ljungberg, Reyes….) So basically I rate Walcott as the main starting 11. Possible future rival of Messi and Ronaldo.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[1. Arshavin
    2. Eduardo
    3. Rosicky
    4. Fabregas
    5. Nasri
    6. VanPersie
    7. Vela]]>

  • devday

    Jeffvip, what would be your top five?

  • devday

    Zohaib… your top 5… not top 7!

  • Fo

    < ![CDATA[Dev! It's hard to do a top 5, like Zohaib, I can think of 7!! But I will give it a go...

    My top 5 are:

    1. Cesc (captain and future of Arsenal, just imagine Cesc at age 25!)
    2. Arshavin (Brilliant signing, will be amazing for us next season)
    3. Clichy (I know he's made a few mistakes, but he is the best left back in the world)
    4. Gallas (our best centre back - regardless of all the issues that have happened, he's a big player with lots of experience)
    5. Almunia (if it wasn't for him, we'd never made the final 4 in Europe let alone the final 4 in the league)...]]>

  • zohaib

    Oh crap, I’ve forgotten Clichy, Sagna, Toure and Almunia !!!

  • zohaib

    I guess there’s my top 11 then. lol.

  • JDD

    < ![CDATA[i find it amazibng that some people are questioning wheteher to put van persie ahead of walcott.van persie is in a whole other league to walcott,in my opinion walcott,at the moment,is a bench player and not good enough to start.at the moment all he has is pace he has no strength and his finishing is not good enough.i still think he will come good but find it hard to see him becoming a striker.
    anyway to my top 5

    1-VAN PERSIE(our best striker and our best player this season by a long way)
    2-CESC FABREGAS(our captain and when he plays his best position cm(not behind the striker)ther are not many in the world better)
    3-ANDREY ARSHAVIN(since his arrival in january he has been our best player cant wait to see how good he is once hes had 6-12months experience in the premier league)
    4-SAMIR NASRI(has looked good all season lost his form for a couple of games but apart from that hes been a key player he has even looked good playing out of position in dcm but he looks better in a more attaking role)
    5-KOLO TOURE(mr arsenal today he declared his love for arsenal and i hope he stays for life when he plays at his best hes one of the best defenders in the world)

    6-GAEL CLICHY
    7-EMMANUEL EBOUE
    8-WILLIAM GALLAS
    9-EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR
    10-BAKARI SAGNA]]>

  • CON-MAN

    clichy, sagna, arshavin, cesc…rvp wen hes fit

  • nicky

    Cesc, Arshavin, RVP, Nasri, Sagna ( often think he doesn’t get as much appreciation as he should).

  • Toby

    < ![CDATA[1) Clichy (probably the most under-rated player in the premiership, his attacking flair would be far more suited with bigger centre backs to cover from him)

    2) Arshavin (no explaination needed- pure quality)

    3) Cesc, (pure passing perfection who was absent for a large part of the season, but has been responsible for some amazing goals, possibly needs to be acompanied by another big centre mid)

    4 Robin (when he is in the mood and fit, he is one of the best strikers of the ball in the world and we needed him alot this season)

    5) Sagna (the second most under-rated player in the premiership, him and clichy could easily slot into almost any team)

    Eduardo as our second best player? This is probably a combination of over publicity when he was injured and a few good goals, (bearing in mind adebayor has scored a few incredible goals but would be lucky to make the top 20!). Still a good player though.

    With two incredibe wing backs, how we have such a limited defence it atrocious!

    Next five would be:

    6) Nasri ( not done much since the united game but a quality player nevertheless).

    7)Walcott ( who at the age of 20 has been a crucial member of our squad)

    8) Gibbs, (who despite a few mishaps has still been an excellent replacement for clichy, and has been unlucky both in the united game and in the fact that he will never overtake Clichy)

    9) Denilson (apart from the fact that he should never make our first team, has played more games than anyone else by a long way. He has been quite dependable, but is simply not big enough to support cesc or creative enough to replace him)

    10) Djourou (who shows good composture with the ball and signs of being a good defender, even if he has not quite fulfilled his potential)

    I know it was supposed to be five, but i just had to emphasize how low down i put the likes of...

    Bendtner, Eboue, Adebayor, and Song (a little harsh maybe, but why we have him in our squad i will never know)]]>

  • devday

    Toby – my five are in no particular order…! But Eduardo is really something special!

  • Berth

    < ![CDATA[Top
    Arshavin
    Alumnia
    Eduardo
    Robin Van Persie
    Cesc

    I will state my bottom 5 now before Dev.
    1. Diaby
    2. Adebayor
    3. Silvestre
    4. Ebuoe
    5. Wenger]]>

  • devday

    Wenger???? In your bottom 5? Berth, do elaborate!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Toby - the ratings here, as Dev stated in his article, are not on the performances this season with regard to injuries. It's an assessment of where and how every player in our team ranks based on potential and quality, according to various fans.

    It's an opinion and doesn't necessarily need to match yours.

    Eduardo has played a bit of football at Arsenal before his injury and maybe if you ask yourself where he ranks among our strikers you'd realize that he's far better than the rest. He's quite a small guy but he's probably better in the air than Adebayor and VanPersie. And we don't need to question his quality on the ground. Which is why he deserves to be in a top 5.

    Again, my top 7, or top 11, aren't in any particular order either.]]>

  • Berth

    < ![CDATA[Andrey Arshavin is critical of his Arsenal side for their lacklustre display against Chelsea at the weekend which saw the Gunners crash 4-1 at home.

    From Arshavin - the Russian, who missed the game through illness, told the Daily Mail, "Arsenal played properly only in the starting 15 or 20 minutes.

    "After that, there was a feeling that it wasn't an important match but some ordinary training session.

    "We woke up only after getting a goal back but that wasn't enough. Chelsea managed to convert their chances and we didn't - they were more skilful."]]>

  • zohaib

    This is the way foward. We need people to tell it like it is. And we need Wenger to stop gagging people who do tell it like it is. I have a feeling Almunia wasn’t playing because of his comments before the game.

  • Berth

    I like this stuff; open apology to fans, what Wenger’s ego wont allow him do http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/fabregas-we-must-see-where-we-can-improve

  • zohaib

    Exactly !

  • edison

    < ![CDATA[top five:

    1) Andrey Arshavin - since he joined the club after the winter transfer window he has made such a huge impact on energising the game. His has such an influence on arsenals game play and hes one of the few who can make something happen out of nothing . A true professional indeed. if only he was elligable for the Champions league, no doubt he would of inspired more goals when we needed them the most.

    2) Samir Nasri - Nasri is the workhorse in midfield, i see him as a deputy to fabregas in play-making, hes seemed threatening and has been unlucky to not score more - but he has been vital in the make up of the arsenal squad ( hes the second most played midfielder this season, behind Denilson, with 27 appearences). A player that has quickly become someone who the squad cant do without.

    3) Cesc Fabregas - has taken on the captiancy with great ease, definatley a natural leader - even though plighted by injury and has kept quiet this season, cesc has continued to bond the team together, cesc and arshavin as a team are going to claim a hell of alot of goals next season.

    4) Alex Song - Hes can be inconsistant and has made some mistakes due to inexperience, but man Alex Song has presence. The difference in the game when he plays and when he doesnt have vastly improved this season. He makes a visible difference when hes infront of the back 4, which still needs tightening up, but he does a good job in intimidating attackers.

    5) Theo Wallcot - A true attacking presence, always looks dangerous and has the speed to beat almost anyone. Now if only theo wallcot could toughen up to rival the rare occasions where he gets bullied off the ball - against the likes of man u or chelsea. Whilst Adebayor is mucking around offside wallcot is visualising the next attack and with the likes of arshavin and fabregas arsenal sudden look unpredictable with where the goals will come from.

    Summer will tell a whole lot about what next season might bring. Fabregas will be totally settled in as captain, arshavin will be overly-ready to explode, eduardo and rosicky will be back fit in the squad and hopefully we can say bye to the likes of adebayor, diaby and gallas. Pavel Pogrebnyak from zenith st ? would be interesting, but sorting out the defence is arsenals huge priority]]>

  • AJ

    I have been reading this thread and think some people have made some very good and strong points, I’ll do my own top 5 later when I have more time as I’m in the middle of exams, but I just wanted to say has anyone else seen that Usmanov has offered to pay off some of the clubs debt? Was in the daily telegraph, a spokesman for his Red & White Holdings made the statement. This will be interesting to see if the board accept this.

  • AJ

    Just to add, it says a “signifcant chunk of the clubs £318 million debt” so as to free up money for transfers. If they did accept his offer though, would Wenger spend more money if it was available? Thats the real question.

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[1. Eduardo - came back from a career-threatening injury in awesome fashion, almost a year to the day of it occuring. I still remember watching his first game back against Cardiff in the FA Cup, and it brought a lump to my throat. Yes he's had setbacks since then, but the fact that he got himself playing again is a bloody miricle, requireing a lot of hard-work and mental toughness, which is what I want in an Arsenal player. For that reason he's my number one.

    2. Arshavin - even before he was an Arsenal man, he showed how eager he was to play for us. He left a club where he was much loved, apparently agreed to take a pay cut to join us, and hired a plane to London with his own money so that he could sign before the deadline. Those images from Sky Sports News of him standing in the snow outside the Emirates with Gunners fans chanting "Gooner! Gooner!" are etched into my brain. There's also the small matter of his football! What a player! Arguably the best signing of the season in any club. He's not been with us for 3 months and has a fantastic goal return ratio for someone playing on the wings. Just imagine how many goals he's have scored if we'd signed him last summer. My favorite player of the moment by far.

    3. Theo - Has come on leaps and bounds this year and had a very good season, both for club and country, with an amazing hatrick for England against a good Croatian side. Still learning his trade, but he can be happy with the progress he's made this year.

    4. RvP - Probably our most reliable striker all season. Had a very good start by scoring a bunch of goals and winning a few Player of the Month awards. January was by far his best month, scoring or assisting every goal in every game. Injuries have probably been the reason why he hasn't reached the 20 goal a season mark yet, but there's still time for the Dutchman. Oh, and scoring twice against Chelsea at the Bridge made me smiling for a week :D

    5. Clichy - Arguably our best and hardest-working defender all season. Has played in some really big games and come through for us, such as the Man United game at the Emirates, where he had the not-so-small take of keeping the World Player of the Year quiet. We probably would have got more out of him if we were stronger defencivly as a team, but he's still showed great quality and a lot of heart in the midst of a difficult season for Arsenal.

    Other players who deserve special mention:
    Cesc - didn't start the season brilliantly, but has come back from injury and shown his quality. Maybe held back a little by not having a strong midfield partner in the Flamini mould.

    Song - a lot of improvement in the lad, especially in the latter half of the season. If he keeps progressing at this rate he'll be a genuine first-teamer before you know it.

    Denilson - also improved a lot, and had a great start to the season with a bunch of goals and assists. Still learning his trade.

    There probably are other players but that enough for now.]]>

  • Pete

    Hmm, not sure I want Usmanov heavily involved with the clubs finances. A £318 million pound debt is actually quite managable for a club worth over £600 million. I’d be more willing to accept the offer if it was made by Stan Kroanke, because the guy has a track record as a sports tycoon, but Usmanov seems a bit too shifty if you ask me. Plus hasn’t David Dein resigned from Red and White Shareholings?

  • Chris Emers

    Arshavin has been here five minutes and already he is baffled by Arsene Wenger. Well, let me tell you Mr Arshavin you are not the only one baffled by Arsene Wenger my friend! Wenger aint called the ‘mad professor’ for nothing! I’ll be honest here, does anyone really believe Arshavin would say that he is baffled by Wenger and blast Arsenal already? He’s just walked through the door. I get the impression that Arshavin loves it at Arsenal and I love him at Arsenal. I love Arshavin like a brother. And I know he didn’t say he was baffled because I saw the interview and I can speak fluent Russian. Sort of. I did a two-week course but I Russianed it………….I’ll get me coat! The only thing that baffles me is that the English media do not employ a proper translator who can actually speak the lingo in that country! I heard the Sun sent a Spanish man to translate Russian to English! No wonder the articles are always bent! Anyway, even if Arshavin is ‘baffled’ by playing down the left, he is one of the lucky ones. Ask poor old Alex Song who was told he is a defender only to find himself in the holding midfield role or Johan Djourou, a natural holding player who under Wenger’s guidance finds himself in defence! I also heard a rumour that Manuel Almunia was a striker until Wenger converted him into an Eminem lookalike goalkeeper. To be honest I cannot wait to see Arshavin next season. He has taken to the Premiership like I took to alcohol and I fancy a little shout at him being named Premiership player of the season after ‘baffling’ defences himself this time next year.

  • Berth

    Good humorous talk Chris Emer; I like the part you russianed the Russia Language. – Arshavin is the man, Our new Ronaldo, Our new Gerrard and our new Super hero.

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[Late but not the late.

    My top five
    ========
    Arshavin
    Eduardo
    Cesc
    Sagna
    Clichy
    Gallas

    Most improved five
    ==============
    Gibbs
    Song
    Denilson
    Djorou
    walcott

    Bottom five
    ========
    Silvestre
    Diaby
    Adebayor
    Fabianski

    Squad players
    ===========
    Ebuoe
    Nasri
    Bendtner
    Ramsey
    toure(based on his current rate of inconsistency

    My own views]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Good list there, and it's clear to see that most Arsenal fans feel the same way...

    You've only named four players in your bottom five though!]]>