Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
TF S4DK

Arsenal.com Player of the Season 2012/13

32 posts in this topic

Today we start the countdown to the unveiling of the Arsenal.com Player of the Season - as voted by the fans.

 

In fourth place is Mikel Arteta. The Spanish midfielder has been a model of consistency this term and received five per cent of the votes in our poll.

Arsenal.com reporter Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 31-year-old.

 

gun__1369747923_arteta_gallery.jpg

 

It is a measure of the man that Mikel Arteta’s chief consideration in taking over his new role at the base of Arsenal’s midfield was how it could impact on his team-mates. Forget that he had to curb his more attacking instincts, ignore the fact he had to rediscover the intricacies of the ‘pivote’ position - for the unselfish Spaniard the team always comes first.

 

“I was the man to play in a different role, I had to adapt and I did the best that I could,” Arteta told Arsenal Player. “I have sacrificed myself a lot for the team, worked as hard as I could and tried to help my team-mates.

 

“In my mind, I think ‘How can I make the players around me better? How can I make them feel more comfortable?’ I am talking about Santi, Aaron, Jack, Tomas Rosicky - players like that. That was the hardest part probably, but I knew I could succeed in doing it. I watched a lot of players in my position and I am happy with the way I have done it.”

 

Arteta has every reason to feel satisfied with his season. Not only did he finish with a respectable six goals and four assists, but he made the second-highest number of passes in the Premier League (2,750) and finished with an incredible pass success rate of 92 per cent. And with five games still left of the season, he broke the top-flight record for the number of completed passes in a season.

 

But Arteta’s stats will be explored in greater depth elsewhere. As a man, he is someone who seems to relish responsibility. Not only did he captain the side 15 times this season - during which Arsenal remained unbeaten - but he is also the first-choice penalty taker and often takes free kicks and corners. He is not a man to shirk his duties and he is certainly not the type to fold under pressure.

 

Take the situation he found himself in around Christmas. Having missed a last-gasp penalty in the 3-3 draw against Fulham at Emirates Stadium, the thought of giving up his duties did not even cross his mind. But the ultimate test would be the next time Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Would he have the bottle for it? Of course he would, scoring twice from the spot against West Bromwich Albion and then succeeding again against Wigan.

 

“It takes character [to score three penalties in a row],” Arsène Wenger said. “I am glad he shows that. You heard so many comments when he missed that one against Fulham - ‘why does he take the penalties?’ - but he has everyone on board now. That is the only way you can do it: show everyone that you have the character and the quality.”

 

Arteta does have character - by the bucketload. He is a leader of men, an unselfish provider happy to sacrifice himself for the good of the team, a brave and fearless competitor.

And after another superb campaign, supporters everywhere can just be grateful that he is one of ours.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's time to continue the countdown to the unveiling of our Player of the Season - as voted by the fans.

 

In third place is Theo Walcott. The England forward topped the goals and assists charts in 2012/13 and received 12.7 per cent of the votes in our poll.

News editor Chris Harris gives his verdict on the 24-year-old.

 

gun__1357904512_match13_coventry_walcott

 

"Theo! No end product!!"

 

Whether you watch Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, at your local bar or on the sofa, you've probably heard that charge levelled at Theo Walcott before.

 

Well, how about this for end product? Twenty-one goals, 16 assists, two hat-tricks, a hat-trick of assists and strikes against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

 

Whichever way you look at it, Walcott delivered in 2012/13. His maturity off the pitch has never been in question but now he has grown up on the field too.

 

At 24, that is not a huge surprise. Always eager to listen and learn, experience has helped Walcott channel his major asset - his pace - and improve his decision-making. A string of assists for Robin van Persie last year hinted at a better final ball. This season's numbers rubber-stamped it.

 

Topping the goals and assists charts is a feather in Walcott's cap, not least because he spent the first few months of the season on the fringes of the first team.

 

There were highlights during that spell, notably a hat-trick of goals and assists in a 7-5 thriller at Reading. But uncertainty over Walcott's future - he had yet to sign a new contract - prompted Arsène Wenger to use the England international sparingly until the north London derby.

 

Walcott scored in that 5-2 win over Tottenham (not to be confused with that other 5-2 win) and he never looked back.

 

In December and January, with speculation over Walcott's situation at its most intense, the man himself performed as if he had not a care in the world.

 

Take the final game of 2012, against Newcastle, probably the apex of Walcott's season. He scored another hat-trick but it was the nature of the goals that spoke volumes for the 24-year-old's improvement.

The second was all about quick feet and composure in a tight space inside the area. The third showcased Walcott's strength, determination and ability to beat a man - as well as another nonchalant finish. All attributes that critics once doubted he had.

 

"It’s unbelievable," said Wenger. "I believe what this season shows is the remarkable evolution of Theo Walcott. He’s a complete player today and his transformation is absolutely sensational.

 

“He improves every week and it shows that he is remarkably intelligent as well, because he understands things quickly, takes them on board and is open-minded. That’s why I believe he is always improving."

 

Walcott's first goal in that 7-3 win against Newcastle had shades of Thierry Henry - a sprint in behind the defence and an unerring finish from the left channel.

 

Henry has taught Walcott a thing or two since the latter arrived, awestruck, from Southampton in January 2006. And, in flashes during the winter, Walcott was as unplayable as his mentor used to be.

 

It's dangerous to make such comparisons, of course. One journalist summed it up nicely at a pre-match press conference, asking Wenger if Walcott was like Henry. His next question? "Arsène, is it unfair to compare Walcott with Henry?"

 

Walcott finally chose to 'sign da ting' (as Lukas Podolski had implored him) in January and, ironically, the goals dried up shortly afterwards. But he delivered again when Arsenal needed him most with three goals in the final four matches as fourth place was secured.

 

With 21 in all competitions, you might have thought Walcott had been granted his wish to play through the middle. But although he showed he could thrive in that role - especially away from home when opponents don't sit so deep - the lion's share of his starts came on the right.

 

The difference in 2012/13 was Walcott's positioning. Although nominally a right winger, he drifted inside to take up central positions whether latching onto through balls (QPR away, for example) or meeting crosses (Reading at home).

 

"He's more mature in his finishing,” noted Wenger. "You certainly remember him when he arrived - in front of goal, the ball could go anywhere. Now you see every time he hits the target. He forces the keeper into a save. That's why his numbers are so much better."

 

So what's next for Theo? More of a leadership role, probably. At 24 and with more than 250 games under his belt, the younger elements of Wenger's squad already look up to him. Walcott seems ready to accept that mantle.

 

"We have definitely been too quiet in the past, we have been afraid to tell each other what to do at times but we do that now," he said. "It is not about having a go at each other, it is speaking out when it is needed.”

 

It looks like we can expect a more vocal Walcott next season. And plenty more 'end-product' of course.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Koscielney - 2

 

Santi - 1

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today we continue the countdown to the unveiling of the Arsenal.com Player of the Season - as voted by the fans.

 

In second place is Laurent Koscielny. The French defender was a rock at the back during the run-in to the season and received 13.5 per cent of the votes.

Arsenal reporter Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 27-year-old.

 

gun__1369034974_koscielny_newcastlea.jpg

 

If one player embodies everything the 2012/13 Arsenal team represents, it is Laurent Koscielny. Classy yet no-nonsense, resilient, strong and with an exceptional sense of timing, the France defender has developed into one of the finest defenders in Europe. The rise and rise of this unassuming character shows no signs of abating.

 

But, like the team he marshals so brilliantly from the back, his season did not start with quite the same flourish as it finished. He may have scored a late equaliser at Manchester City in September, but Koscielny struggled to nail down his place in the side for those uncertain opening months of the campaign. A series of injuries also played their part in curtailing his progress, and it wasn’t until the final straight that he really began to shine.

 

“He says that he was disturbed in his preparation [in pre-season],” Arsène Wenger said. “In our final game in Cologne, he had a calf injury. It took him a long, long time to come back and after that he had many setbacks through the season. And every time he was close to coming back, he had another injury or sickness. He was sick a lot this year.”

 

That may have been the case, but he finished the campaign in rude health. With Arsenal’s top-four bid on the point of implosion in early March following defeat in the north London derby, Wenger made a major call and replaced his captain, Thomas Vermaelen, with Koscielny for the Champions League trip to Bayern Munich.

 

He was rewarded with an outstanding defensive performance and a late headed goal from the centre back that rocked the eventual winners. It was not enough to take the Gunners through, but the result proved to be the catalyst behind Arsenal’s outstanding end to the campaign. And at the heart of it was Koscielny’s partnership with Per Mertesacker.

 

"We talk a lot and communicate well, which is very important for centre backs,” the 27-year-old said. “In fact, that’s an aspect I think we have improved a lot in as a team this season - we’re all talking more and it’s working better for us.

 

“Yes ! My English is better so I talk more. We are defenders so we can see everything on the pitch. I think every player talks for their team-mates because it's important - just to move two or three metres, we can stop a counter-attack.”

 

The sight of Koscielny stepping out of defence to break up opposition attacks is something Arsenal fans have grown accustomed to since his arrival from Lorient in 2010. However, it has perhaps never been as important as during those agonising final steps towards a top-four place. As the tension ratcheted up week by week, Koscielny’s influence, authority and confidence seemed to grow exponentially.

 

And when his side needed him most, once again he delivered. Having been the matchwinner on the final day of the 2011/12 campaign, he repeated the trick this time around at St James’ Park. It was a fitting finale for the Frenchman.

 

“I've had many groups in my life and this is one who has been absolutely outstanding [in terms of self-belief],” Wenger said after that game. “They've shown a combination of quality but attitude as well. I always admired the way they behaved and their focus every day in training.”

 

Nobody embodies that attitude more than Koscielny, Arsenal’s man for the big occasion.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today we unveil the Arsenal.com Player of the Season as voted by the fans… and it is Santi Cazorla.

 

The Spanish schemer has had an outstanding first season in English football and received 55.7 per cent of the votes.

 

gun__1364314615_cazorla1.jpg

 

Arsenal reporter Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 28-year-old.

 

“He is the perfect footballer.”

 

As compliments go, it is pretty emphatic. In a sport where hyperbole is king, you might assume the source of this description of Santi Cazorla was an enthusiastic fan or an admiring pundit. Instead it was from Per Mertesacker, one of the most considered, intelligent members of his profession.

 

The German defender has played alongside some of the finest players of his generation, but even he felt moved to the edge of wild abandon by the brilliant Iberian. After all, Cazorla had just scored twice to rescue a vital three points against Aston Villa during the most delicate point of the season. Successive defeats to Blackburn Rovers and Bayern Munich had left a cloud hanging over the Club - but Cazorla’s brace provided a glimmer of light.

 

“I am happy and grateful he delivered two important goals today,” a relieved Arsène Wenger said afterwards. “For me he is a complete player because he also has spirit. He continued to fight until the last minute even though he was a bit tired. He is a good example to follow because every day he is happy to come and play and practice. When he is on the pitch he gives you everything.”

 

By this point of the season, in late February, we had grown used to the buzz surrounding Cazorla, but when news filtered out last summer that he would soon join the Club the level of expectation was huge. Had we finally found the rightful heir to Cesc Fabregas’ throne? Arsenal legend Robert Pires thought so, but warned his former Villarreal team-mate may take some time to settle.

 

That was not the case. Cazorla did not hit the ground running as much as sprinting, delivering a dazzling display in pre-season against Cologne and then turning on the style in the early stages of the campaign. His first goal and first assist came three games in, against Liverpool at Anfield, and it was a portent of things to come.

 

It was love at first sight for the Arsenal supporters, and the feeling was very much mutual. “I’m enjoying the atmosphere here, especially the warmth shown by the Arsenal fans, which I didn’t expect to receive from day one,” Cazorla said. “Being new, coming into a different culture and not speaking the language is always difficult. But Arsenal made me feel part of everything right from the off, as if I’d been part of the side for years, and this was reflected in my performances on the pitch. I felt at home and I played well.”

 

You might expect a dip in form after such an instant impact, but if anything Cazorla’s influence and authority only grew with each passing week. It is the mark of a top-quality player that in the biggest games, when his side needs him most, he will deliver - and goals against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham spoke volumes.

 

Cazorla is one of the leaders of the new-look Arsenal, a player whose enthusiasm, energy and brilliance has the ability to lift those around him. He is both the conductor directing the orchestra and the beating heart of a team that has quickly grown reliant on his vision, strength of character and technique.

 

And talking of technique, have you ever seen a player quite as ambidextrous as Cazorla? He is nominally right-footed, but seems just as comfortable delivering raking balls crossfield with his left. It really is something to behold.

 

“He is right footed but when you watch him play you don’t know. It shows how important that is in the modern midfield,” a bemused Wenger said. “Right or left foot was always important, but we forget about it sometimes. Glenn Hoddle was like that - left-footed, right-footed, you could not say what he was. Cazorla is similar on that front. I don’t remember anyone else I have worked with who was as two-footed.”

 

Cazorla may be diminutive in size, but his impact has been enormous - as his statistics testify. In his first season in the Premier League - and his first outside of his homeland - he made 49 appearances, started 37 of 38 Premier League games, scored 12 goals, laid on 14 assists and won 42.2 per cent more votes than any other player in our poll.

 

Perhaps Per is right, we really do have the perfect footballer.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would never had guessed

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To conclude our mini-series analysing Arsenal's top four players of the season, our statistician looks at Santi Cazorla's 2012/13 numbers.

 

It was a question of quality and quantity from Santi Cazorla in 2012/13 - the Spaniard who played more minutes for Arsenal than anyone else during the campaign has won our Player of the Season award.

 

He was Arsenal's only ever-present during the Premier League campaign; he started 37 matches, and came on against Stoke City in the other.

 

Santi Cazorla 2012/13 appearances

 

gun__1369986720_cazorla_pie.png

 

It's the 11th instance of an Arsenal player appearing in every Premier League game in a season, and he's only the seventh outfield player to do it for the Club.

 

The 28-year-old also started all but one of the eight Champions League fixtures and played in both domestic cup competitions too, for a total of 49 appearances (47 from the start).

 

That translates into 4,254 minutes on the pitch, which was 88.1 per cent of the total available playing time.

 

And that time on the pitch was filled with highlights. Cazorla scored 12 goals during his debut season in English football (all in the league) and contributed 14 assists - including all four against Wigan in the final home game.

 

More than half of his goals came away from home, including a hat-trick at Reading in December.

Genuinely two-footed, four of his goals (33 per cent) came with his right boot, seven with his left (58 per cent) and he scored one header. Two of his goals were scored from outside the box (and several more from just inside).

 

His first goal against Aston Villa in February was his 10th in the Premier League, thereby making him the first Arsenal player to reach double figures in the league during his debut season since Thierry Henry in 1999/2000. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski later emulated this feat.

 

Arsenal's ever-present players in Premier League era

 

Season Ever-present

1995/96

Paul Merson, David Seaman, Lee Dixon

 

1996/97

Nigel Winterburn

 

2003/04

Jens Lehmann

 

2005/06

Jens Lehmann

 

2006/07

Cesc Fabregas

 

2007/08

Gael Clichy

 

2011/12

Wojciech Szczesny, Robin van Persie

 

2012/13

Santi Cazorla

 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

Most Arsenal appearances per season

 

gun__1369986890_cazorla_appearances.png

 

Opta stats show that Cazorla took more touches of the ball than any other player in the Premier League this season - 3,258 in total, which equates to once every 61 seconds on the pitch.

Those touches were usually successful passes - he made 2,145 during the season, the fourth most in the league. However he was streets ahead for most successful passes where it really mattered - in the opposition half.

He racked up 1,645 successful passes in this area, nearly 200 more than the next best (Mikel Arteta, 1,473). The former Malaga man also had an 81.8 per cent accuracy rate for his 1,265 passes in the final third of the pitch (also a league high).

Perhaps more instructively, Opta stats also show Cazorla was third in the overall standings for chances created throughout the season. He set up 96 opportunities, behind Leighton Baines and David Silva.

The next highest on the list for chances created in the Arsenal squad was Jack Wilshere, who set up 47, despite only playing 25 games.

 

Most touches in Premier League, 2012/13

 

gun__1369986766_cazorla_most_touches.png

 

Successful passes in opposition half, 2012/13

 

gun__1369986829_cazorla_successful_passe

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only come in to say Santi

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say he is the best footballer since Bergkamp

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did say he is the best footballer since Bergkamp

+ think you mentioned he will be our best player and all. 

 

posd.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Pellegrini is confirmed

Keeping Santi will be a struggle

One more thing

Do we now agree Santi>David Silva?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Pellegrini is confirmed

Keeping Santi will be a struggle

One more thing

Do we now agree Santi>David Silva?

No it won't. 

pretty sure they have eyes on other players.

Silva was dead out last season.

Very good the previous. I will wait to see santi next season before I judge.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

who was cazorlas competition for our best player though rele

 

wilshere? ramsey?

 

we knew he was gonna come and do his business cos it literally cudnt be no other way

 

/

 

silva was untouchable his first season dunno if santi is on them levels cause the supporting cast is diff. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santi is better than Silva

Just look at this way

Better range of passing

More skilful

Can dribble better

BOTH FOOTED

I just don't see what department Silva excels Santi in

I just cannot see it

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just admit to yourself you didn't expect Santi to be this good

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santi > silva

La liga, prem, international

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santi > silva

La liga, prem, international

!!!!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santi is better than Silva

Just look at this way

Better range of passing

More skilful

Can dribble better

BOTH FOOTED

I just don't see what department Silva excels Santi in

I just cannot see it

when silva first came to city i would say his strengths was first touch,through passes and possession retention. added a intricate option to city's attack. he was putting through passes for tevez & co all day had something like 15+ assists and goals.

 

Defenders started getting close to him and stifling his passing game then he went ghost

 

Carzola came and done everything Silva does plus more 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A shocker that he wasn't in team of the season or nominated for player of the year.

Some of his goals this season have been dirt.

The one vs West Ham >>>

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A shocker that he wasn't in team of the season or nominated for player of the year.

Some of his goals this season have been dirt.

The one vs West Ham >>>

tumblr_m4kk12K4zU1rwcc6bo1_400.gif

 

might be cos he was ghost after a explosive start to the season 

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santi when he's on, is fantastic.

 

However he gives the ball away a lot and is incredibly complacent.

 

While he's been a joy to watch I dunno something with him, never sits fully with me, but it might be the Arsenal team.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't say I'm a fan of Santi

 

His face annoys me too

-2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:rofl:

 

Innit, that spaniard look there

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0