If things were normal, which there are not in any way, the season would have concluded this past weekend and the start of the 2020-21 season would be just 13 weeks away. We’d be in the middle of player rankings and wrap-ups, and of course, covering the silliness that is transfer speculation. With today’s news about the UK government’s reopen plan, it looks as if we will see the season finished out at some point, but we’re going to go ahead and evaluate how Arsenal’s players have done up to the March 9th suspension of the season.
The Short Fuse staff has ranked the Arsenal players based on performances this year. Each voter ranked the Arsenal players who made it into the 18 this season, 1 through 30. Below is the first part of this series, looking at the first ten players, their average rating, highest and lowest place, as well as a few thoughts on each player.
Note, if the 2019-20 Premier League season returns before we finish this series, we will post the remainder of the ranking and then revisit at the conclusion of the campaign. However, given the time it would take the league to ramp back up, it’s fairly safe we will be seeing who the TSF staffed ranked the best before the action is back on TV.
In this first entry, we look at players ranked 30th through 21st:
30th - Konstantinos Mavropanos
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 29.67 (29 / 30)
Well this is awkward. Mavro finishes dead last in the TSF rankings, despite another player having not played a single match. Konstantinos played in one Europa League group stage game before heading out on loan. After a lackluster start to his Arsenal career and the inability to break into the first team, could the 22-year-old already be on a permanent way out of North London or saved as the future transfer markets remain uncertain?
29th - Matt Macey
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 29.33 (29 / 30)
Meanwhile, Macey hasn’t played for the senior team this season, instead appearing on the bench for the League Cup, when he wasn’t starting for the U23s. In his case, simply not playing was apparently enough to earn better marks than Marvo from enough voters.
28th - Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 28.0 (28 / 28)
Mhki had three early appearances before heading out on loan to Roma. Where he is now involved in constant transfer rumors with a permanent move to the Serie A side. It’s unlikely we see a return to Arsenal for next season, having left under Unai Emery as surplus to requirements and probably not a player Mikel Arteta is looking to build around.
27th - Nacho Monreal
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 26.67 (26 / 27)
Monreal had three starts before leaving the club for Real Sociedad. With the injuries Arsenal would suffer at left-back, Monreal would have been great experience to have at the position. But the club couldn’t have known the other two left backs would get injured, and Monreal may have prevented Saka from having a breakout year. Nacho was a great player for the club, featuring nearly 200 times, but it was time for Arsenal to move on.
26th - Emile Smith Rowe
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 26.33 (26 / 27)
The 19-year-old played in six matches during the first half of the season, featuring mostly in the Europa League group stage. He transferred to Huddersfield Town for the second half of the year, playing ten matches before the halt in action. With a dip in finances, ESR should have a chance to push for more first team action next year under Mikel Arteta’s revamped style.
25th - Pablo Mari
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 24.67 (24 / 25)
Brought in as a late loan for the second half of the season, fans only got two looks at Mari, but that was enough to earn a spot in the top 25 here. Arsenal are expected to make a permanent move for him this summer as he becomes a regular centerback option next season.
24th - Emiliano Martínez
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 23.33 (22 / 24)
Arsenal’s number two this season, Martinez was the primary keeper for the Europa League and both Cup competitions. In 11 matches for the Gunners, he helped keep five clean sheets with a save percentage of 71%. At 26, and on the fringes of Argentina’s national team, how much longer will be want to play backup?
23rd - Sead Kolašinac
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 21.67 (19 / 25)
Our first player with a bit of discrepancy in where he ranked. Saed had another year of being in and out of the team with injuries, leaving most a bit underwhelmed about his future. With two assists and just four completed crosses into the box from 20 appearances, Kolasinac wasn’t making a strong case to be the starter when his new competition also returns from injury (Tierney) - or against the makeshift left winger, turned left back (Saka).
22nd - Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 21.33 (20 / 22)
Speaking of someone playing out of position, AMN has almost exclusively become the backup right back, filling in while Hector Bellerin is out. Preferably a midfielder, but having spent two seasons in defense, it will be interesting to see how Arteta moves forward with him at the start of next season. 19 appearances, with one goal and two assist, Maitland-Niles had a decent season, leading all defenders with progressive passes into the final third.
21st - Rob Holding
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 19.67 (13 / 23)
The third centerback to feature in the bottom ten. One voter had Holding as high as the 13th best player for Arsenal this season, despite just nine appearances. To his credit, in the limited time he had on the pitch, his passing accuracy was solid - 90.3% - which was fourth best on the team. Holding certainly is regarded as someone who has yet to reach his ceiling, with everyone hoping he can regain the form he had during the 2018-19 season before getting injured.
That closes out the first part of ranking the Arsenal squad from the 2019-20 season. Again if the season restarts, we will publish the remainder of the list and then revisit at its conclusion. Up next, a look at Gunners who ranked 16th through 20th, according to the TSF staff. For now, let’s hear your thoughts on 21-30 in the comments below and if any of them would have cracked your top 20 instead of where they fell here.