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Arsenal Player Review: The Incompletes

Nice jacket, Jens.
Nice jacket, Jens.

The Short Fuse's season review wraps up with the players who didn't play enough to get a full grade. Step forward Mssrs Lehmann, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Denilson, Vela, Rosicky and Ramsey. 

Jens Lehmann

Signed as an emergency keeper when Wojciech Szczesny joined Lukasz Fabianski on the injury list, Lehmann played in one game, Blackpool away. Although he could've been sent off for a foul on DJ Campbell (luckily, Taylor-Fletcher scored), he provided calm and experience that Manuel Almunia doesn't, along with the usual Jens tricks. Along the way, he gave some tips to Wojciech Szczesny, and who wouldn't want to see the Szcz replicate this?

Kieran Gibbs

The new starting left back did very little to impress in 2010-11. With his usual amount of injuries, Kieran played almost exclusively in the Cup games. When he did play, he showed good attacking promise, but somewhat poor defensive positioning which can be put down to lack of cohesiveness with the other members of defence, due to the amount of games played. He will be, at least, a better attacking option than Gael Clichy, but the injury toll does leave one worried that Arsenal could be exposed if they do not buy someone like Leighton Baines or Jose Enrique. 

Interesting fact: If Gibbs is indeed the starter, as Wenger as indicated, he will have played the same amount of first team games (57), as did Gael Clichy when he took over from A$h£€¥ ¢ole.

Thomas Vermaelen

Arsenal's commanding centre half Thomas Vermaelen picked up an achilles injury while on international duty with Belgium in September. Expected to miss only about 7 days, he ended up missing 7 months, with a couple of exploratory surgeries along the way, before finally having his achilles problem corrected.  When he did play, he was good, winning the ball back with authority, and was excellent when Arsenal beat Blackburn at Ewood Park. If Arsenal had had him for the whole year, there may have been a different ending, but we usually say that, don't we?

Still, at least he'll be like a new signing for next season, right! On a serious note, his organisational and aerial strengths shall help the Arsenal defence, and like Koscielny, he loves to win the ball back quickly.


Ugh. After bigging up Denilson and saying he had a use at Arsenal, he showed no reason why I should think that, and is how heading out the exit door. Uninspiring, slow and unable to perform in Arsenal's double pivot, he raised his popularity by saying he is a "winner", and that is why he wants to leave Arsenal. Aside from some great performances in 2008/09 and the early part of 2009/10, I no longer have any qualms about saying "adeus". 

Aaron Ramsey

For Aaron Ramsey, 2010-11 was about regaining fitness after having his leg broken by Ryan Shawcross' infamous scythe. Given the chance to replace Cesc Fabregas towards the end of the year, the Welsh captain did alright, with his highlight coming against Manchester United. Turning Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 into a 4-1-2-3 allowed Wilshere to get forward more often, and the two had an excellent partnership that shows a bright future for the Arsenal midfield, once Cesc Fabregas departs (preferably in 2015. And, then, with his hamstrings going, he's of no use to Barcelona, but comes back to Arsenal and gets them fixed. Yeah, take that, Barca). Ramsey capped his performance with a wonderful side footed finish from Robin van Persie's pass, finishing a move Ramsey started. It was, unquestionably, the feel good moment of the second half of the season, and perhaps of the whole season. 

Tomas Rosicky

What an odd year for Tomas Rosicky. Starting off the year instrumental as Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott battled with injury, he finished the year being accused of match fixing in the 4-4 draw with Newcastle and barely making the subs bench. His only goal came in the FA Cup, and while he still has a lovely turn and good vision, the injuries and inconsistency has meant that he really doesn't have a big role anymore. Still, with an injury free year, he could still be a useful part, especially against teams that drop deep, as his dribbling is still very good. He will, though have to improve his final product: One goal and four assists is not enough.

Carlos Vela

Oh Chiparito (I'm pretty sure I made this up). After starting so well, Carlos Vela had an indifferent season before being loaned out to West Bromwich Albion. He made an immediate impact, scoring crucial goals against Wolves and Stoke. However, he could never cement a place in Roy Hodgson's side, and while he is a good chipper and has good instincts, his finishing is frustrating, often missing chances by taking extra touches. He's got good pace, though, and if he improves his finishing and end product, 2011-12 could be the year Carlos Vela breaks through at Arsenal, either at left forward, or up front in a 4-4-2.