There should be no surprise when reading through our top ten Arsenal players this season. What is a great sign is that three were new additions and four others are young attackers who can still develop to an even higher level. There seem to have been a consensus on 10th place and the top three, but if you look at the average scores for 4th through 9th they are only separated by 0.60 points. While there might be some differing opinions, Arsenal clearly has a very nice core of players to continue to build around this summer.
Part 1: Nelson, Kolašinac, Patino, Mari, Balogun, Maitland-Niles, Chambers & Leno.
Part 2: Lokonga, Pepe, Tavares, Cedric, Aubameyang, Elneny, Holding, Lacazette, Nketiah, Tierney
10th - Gabriel Martinelli
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 9.20 (8/10)
After failing to live up to his debut season last year, Martinelli bounced back quite nicely as he continues to develop into one of Arsenal’s most dangerous players. Only Bukayo Saka and Alex Lacazette surpassed Martinelli’s balance of six goals and seven assists. He led the team in actions that led to goals per 90 while having to split time with Emile Smith Rowe on the left. Another sign of his progression was the young Brazilian’s debut for his senior national team. Martinelli will be 21 when the new season kicks off and should have plenty of starts between the Premier League and the Europa League to take yet another step forward. Could he hit 10&10 in ‘22-23?
9th - Ben White
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.80 (6/8)
Quite an impressive debut season - 37 appearances, 3rd in minutes played, 1st in blocks, interceptions and 2nd in aerial duels. Arsenal’s big investment in the 24-year-old seems to have paid off. Especially if he can continue to develop and improve alongside Gabriel. He’s played his way into contention for England’s World Cup squad and will be a key figure next season in Arsenal’s pursuit of the top four.
8th - Aaron Ramsdale
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.80 (4/9)
An instant fan favorite, Ramsdale looks like a great buy for $30m. While Arsenal’s defense is still a work on progress, the pieces seem there for a very strong backline and keeper combo when everyone is healthy. With 72% save percentage and nearly a third of his EPL matches clean sheets, Ramsdale really kept Arsenal in a lot of matches during the first two-thirds of the season, even he did seem to fade at times in the final run-in. With a strong opening to the ‘22-23 campaign, he too could be on England’s World Cup squad.
7th - Emile Smith Rowe
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.60 (3/11)
A big range here for the Hale End product, as high as 3rd in one ranking and as low as 11th in another. In his second full season for the senior side, Smith Rowe really developed his goal threat this year going from four goals up to 11 (second best on the team). He far exceeded his xG (5.8) and led Arsenal in his shots on target percentage (55.6%). The perfect scenario for Arsenal, a player who can impact the game from multiple roles, scores goals and came out of the academy (the transfer funds saved). And to think there is another..
6th - Granit Xhaka
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.40 (5/9)
The narrative outside of the club will focus on his two red cards this season and the armband incident. But that is just a characture of Xhaka. Passionate about the club and a vocal leader when it’s most needed, Granit is one of the most critical players for the club. He’s the best player Arsenal has at moving the ball into the final third, even when having to cover the left-back attacking forward or shielding the centerback pair. Xhaka won’t get the appreciation outside of the Arsenal fanbase, but his play this season was crucial in lifting the team up the table.
5th - Gabriel
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.20 (4/10)
The rock in Arsenal’s defense. Here are just a few stats where Gabriel topped the charts for the Gunners this season - completed passes, passing accuaracy, tackles, successful pressures, blocked shots, interceptions, and winning aerial duels. Add on top his five goals and you can see why there have been transfer rumors linking him to both Barcelona and Juventus. While Arsenal could perhaps fetch a nice price for him, even with William Saliba coming in, keeping Gabriel is key in re-establishing the club as the Champions League level.
4th - Takehiro Tomiyasu
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 6.20 (4/11)
The highest finisher of the newcomers. While he played significant fewer minutes than Ramsdale or White, due to injuries, perhaps his placement here is partily down to how big of a need the club had at the right-back position. With Hector Bellerin away on loan, Arsenal were left with Cedric, Calum Chambers or Ainsley Maitland-Niles at RB. Enter Tomiyasu who quickly became the solid defender Arsenal sorely needed on the right. Hopefully the summer brings him back to full fitness and fully embedded in this squad.
3rd - Thomas Partey
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 3.80 (2/10)
Partey really seemed to settle into his role this season and his presence, or lack thereof, was probably most visable when he missed the final nine matches of the season. Arsenal lost four and 12 crucial points that derailed their season. He led the club in winning the ball back during tackles and just like Tierney and Tomiyasu earlier in the rankings, his return to full fitness at the start of the season is very important. In the seasons to come, Partey could serve as the bridge as Elneny and Xhaka eventually phase out and Arsenal look to bring through the next group of center mids.
2nd - Martin Odegaard
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 20.20 (2/3)
Just $38.5 million for Norway’s captain was one of the best pieces of transfer business the club has managed over the past decade. That new contract really seemed to help Odegaard settle into his role as Arsenal’s new #10 and creative force. After just two goals and two assists in his half-season loan, Martin put up seven goals and five assists in 40 appearances this year. 1st in completed passes into the final third and the 18-yard box and 2nd in actions that led to shots and goals. His vision and pressence on the ball has become a tremendous asset wiht the likes of Saka, Martinelli, and Smith Rowe making dangerous runs. The sky’s the limit.
1st - Bukayo Saka
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 1.00 (1/1)
Was there even a question? Starboy led Arsenal in goals (12), in assists (7), had nearly twice as many shots as second place (103 to 56) and took how the club’s Play of the Year honors. And while Arsenal need to sign a striker (or two), a new center midfield, a right-back, etc. the squad news most will probably be the happiest to see is a new long-term contract for Saka this summer. With two years remaining, several high profile clubs have been interested in tempting him away thanks to his exploits for Arsenal and England and still not yet 21. Throw the bank at the academy man who can do it all for Arsenal’s attack.
Any adjustments to your personal top 10? Who was your most underrated Arsenal player this season?