Arsenal Player Rankings | 2018/19 Season
Reminder: these scores are based on a scoring system that prioritises end product and what a player actually does to help their team win a game and achieve group success. Individual contributions do count, but players only receive the highest marks if their efforts actually help the team.
In all honesty, I could write practically the same thing here that I did for this post last season: nowhere close to challenging for the league, with an end of season collapse costing Champions' League qualification; an even worse performance in the domestic cups, with defeats at home to Man Utd and Spurs; and a decent run in the Europa League ruined by a wretched performance in the final.
I did say in the previous set of season rankings that Unai Emery would have his work cut out for him with the dreadful squad Wenger left for him, and that's exactly how things turned out. The defence has been pitifully bad, with a disjointed midfield leaving the forward line of Lacazette and Aubameyang to bail the side out on a regular basis.
I think Emery deserves at least another couple of seasons considering just how much major surgery needs to be done - not just on the squad as a whole, but more specifically the first team. There's no way to increase 'strength' in depth if the starting eleven isn't strong to begin with - but I highly doubt Emery will be given the funds needed to make Arsenal competitive again.
The Best and The Worst
Starting with the worst performance of the season, which was the 5-1 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield - scoring 4.2/10. Yeah, Liverpool were clearly a better side than Arsenal this season, but the performance from the Gunners was appalling despite taking the damn lead. These kind of huge defeats are simply too commonplace to accept, and show just how far Arsenal have to go.
Arsenal's highest-rated performance came in the 3-0 away win against Qarabag in the Europa League (8.4/10) - a performance rivalled by the wins away to Vorskla and at home against BATE and Rennes (all 8.3/10). I'd say that accurately reflects Arsenal's strongest performances this season coming in the Europa League - a fact that made the result in the final so disappointing.
The Final Countdown - 2018/19 Player Rankings
As before, the players are listed in reverse order counting down to Arsenal’s best player of the 2018/19 season - this includes all players who took part in at least 50% of the club's games this season (in case you're wondering why some players are missing). I wouldn't try and make a team out of this lot though...
15. Matteo Guendouzi - average rating: 6.06
I have to be honest and admit I'm not surprised about Guendouzi appearing this low considering these rankings prize end product over all else and he doesn't offer... anything. Poor in defence and attack, he should be a squad player at best until the side is stronger.
14. Shkodran Mustafi - average rating: 6.16
Neither is it a surprise to see Mustafi this low. A simply dreadful defender who seems intent on never learning from his mistakes and keeps repeating the same errors over and over and over again. It says a lot that his greatest strength seems to be that he stays fit.
12= Granit Xhaka - average rating: 6.21
Started off the season fairly well, but started to fade after the long unbeaten run was over and never recovered. Seems to think that he can move on to bigger things too, which is baffling considering his consistent lack of quality.
12= Lucas Torreira - average rating: 6.21
At first sight, this looks like a surprisingly low ranking for Torreira, but it does make sense when you look at the season as a whole. He started off brilliantly, but not getting a proper summer break or pre-season before his first game in English football clearly took its toll.
11. Ainsley Maitland-Niles - average rating: 6.34
Did well enough on occasion, but has a few too many abysmal performances with result-changing mistakes that can't be excused by his inexperience.
10. Sead Kolasinac - average rating: 6.40
Brilliant going forward, but not so good defensively - the personification of this Arsenal side. Looks world class in spells, but is too often found out by superior opponents - again, sounds familiar, doesn't it?
9. Bernd Leno - average rating: 6.41
Played well in stretches, earning his place in the side ahead of Petr Cech. There were some wobbles as he settled into the side, plus a few other goal-costing mistakes later on, but certainly promising for the future.
8. Sokratis Papastathopoulos - average rating: 6.45
I think Sokratis only rates this low because of how often he misses matches and needs to settle back into the team. Not the best defender in the world, but solid enough for now.
7. Alex Iwobi - average rating: 6.54
Again, not that great of a player really, but still much, much better than his detractors would have you believe. Had his best season yet in terms of end product, so definitely on an upward trend in terms of his performances, which will hopefully continue next season.
6. Henrikh Mkhitaryan - average rating: 6.58
Much like Iwobi, not the best player you'll ever see, but neither is he quite as bad as some would have you believe. Unlike Iwobi, he's too old to really improve at this point in his career and is being paid far too much for far too little in return.
5. Mesut Ozil - average rating: 6.63
Honestly, Ozil appearing this high was a massive surprise to me - especially considering how few assists he provided this season. Maybe under-rated, but surely it can be agreed by all that he doesn't do enough considering his astronomical wages?
4. Nacho Monreal - average rating: 6.74
Arsenal's best defender by a distance and sorely missed whenever he's not in the side. Unfortunately, it looks very much like he's becoming more and more injury-prone with age, so can't really be relied on as a regular at this point.
3. Aaron Ramsey - average rating: 6.90
Yeah... Arsenal's third-best player of the season is leaving on a free transfer because we didn't want to give him similar wages to Mkhitaryan despite being a far better player with more years ahead of him in his career. Will be a huge loss to the side.
2. Alexandre Lacazette - average rating: 6.95
Improved hugely on his first season at the club to become a real leader from the front, but still needs to score more than he does. Also missed some glaring chances that cost the side a lot of points over the course of the season.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - average rating: 7.27
At the very minimum, Aubameyang keeps scoring goals at an absurd rate despite also missing some chances that he really should be putting away. Still, it's hard to argue his place at the top of the tree considering how many games his goals have won this season.
How much really needs to be said here? Only one player averaged a score over 7/10 for the season and that's simply not good enough. Too many heavy defeats, along with a lack of goals outside of Lacazette and Aubameyang, drags so many players down and I honestly can't see things being much different next season.
In fact, that list of scores for the players is actually worse than last season's, despite more points in the league and reaching a European cup final, and shows just how much the two strikers are papering over the cracks (more like chasms) in the rest of the squad. There's so much work to be done if things are to improve, but I just can't see it happening any time soon.
Until the end of next season, hopefully with some improvement by then...