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Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Arsenal‘s Premier League campaign is over after they relegated Watford with a 3-2 win on Sunday, lifting themselves into eighth on 56 points as a result. Mikel Arteta’s men finished just three points off sixth-placed rivals Tottenham but ultimately suffered from too much inconsistency throughout the campaign.

The 2019-20 season saw three different managers in charge of the Gunners with Unai Emery axed in November and Arteta eventually announced as his replacement after Freddie Ljungberg toiled in his temporary tenure.

By and large, it has been a season to forget for Arsenal, but there have been encouraging signs under the current coach to suggest a more positive future awaits.

And the north London outfit can still crown the campaign on a positive note, with the FA Cup final against Chelsea this weekend presenting the chance of winning the iconic cup competitions for the 14th time.

But having suffered their worst Premier League finish since 1994-95 and crashed out of the Carabao Cup and Europa League in miserable fashion, how have Arsenal’s players performed?

Express Sport looks at every member of Arsenal’s first-team squad from the 2019-20 season.

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Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Bernd Leno – 8

He may have only kept nine clean sheets in 32 games this season and conceded 41 times but if not for the German, Arsenal’s defensive record would have been far, far worse. Unfortunately his campaign was ended by a nasty-looking injury but alongside Aubameyang (and Emiliano Martinez too) he has been one of Arsenal’s most important players and he boasts an impressive highlights reel from the campaign with numerous top saves. There are still some improvements to be made but the 28-year-old is a brilliant option for Arteta to have moving forward.

Emiliano Martinez – 8

It’s incredible to think Martinez has been at Arsenal since 2010 and he’s made just 36 first-team appearances, with 22 this season. A brilliant understudy for the injured Leno towards the close of the campaign, Arsenal might face a fight to keep the Argentine at the club after such form. He could easily be a No 1 for another Premier League team and in some ways he is superior to Leno, particularly with such excellent distribution.

Cedric Soares – 5

Signed in January on loan from Southampton, Cedric was made to wait until June before making his Arsenal debut versus Norwich – by which point he’d been signed permanently. A memorable moment when he scored minutes after coming on against the Canaries but mixed performances so far, albeit from just three starts. Could be a good alternative to Bellerin and offers extra offensive threat.

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Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Hector Bellerin – 4

Despite planting several thousand trees, Bellerin has had a largely poor campaign having battled injury for much of the first half of the year. The Spaniard managed a good run of games from January onwards but struggled both defensively and offensively. Arsenal will hope he’s still working his way back to his best form.

Calum Chambers – 5

Established himself as a regular in the final months of Unai Emery’s tenure before suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Chelsea in the final match of 2019. Mixed between centre-back and right-back roles but looked best centrally. Still major question marks as to whether he is up to standard however.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 4

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Almost made as many appearances at right-back under Arteta as he did at centre-back and spent much of the Spanish coach’s time in charge on the bench – even despite mainly playing a back-three since the restart. Chipped in at times, such as with his goals in wins over Manchester United and Portsmouth, but doesn’t look comfortable enough on the ball to have any kind of important role next season. Surely a goner if Arsenal can find a buyer.

Pablo Mari – 5

Signed to give Arsenal a left-sided centre-back, Mari started well with two promising displays against Portsmouth and West Ham before the coronavirus-enforced break. Then lasted just 24 minutes on Arsenal’s return to action against City in mid-June before a severe ankle injury. Arteta’s clearly a fan, though, having given the green light to sign him full time.

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Rob Holding – 5

Despite a stand-out display at Southampton and some battling performances since then, there is still uncertainty as to whether Holding can be a long-term solution for Arteta defensively. Certainly not quite at the level as he was pre-injury but might be a good back-up if he’s willing to accept a squad role.

David Luiz – 4

That he gave away five penalties, a new Premier League record for the most conceded by a single player in one season, means he cannot get any higher than a four. While Luiz is clearly an influence in the dressing room and does offer positive qualities, having been brilliant in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, the 33-year-old dropped far too many clangers across the campaign overall for a player of such experience.

Shkodran Mustafi – 5

To say Mustafi would end this campaign as strongly as any other centre-back on Arsenal’s books would have been pure fantasy back in August, but the German – to his credit – has upped his game under Arteta and found a consistency long lacking in his game. He’s still capable of horror moments but they’ve certainly been less regular. But given he’s 28 and has a year left on his contract, Arsenal may well sell him this summer regardless of his improvement.

Sead Kolasinac – 5

When he doesn’t offer as much offensively as he can, the Bosnian’s defensive deficiencies can be even more exposed – as they have been on multiple occasions this year. Has found himself playing as a left-sided centre-back in a back three since the restart but the 27-year-old isn’t an option there for the long term and should probably be sold if Arsenal can get a reasonable fee for him.

Kieran Tierney – 8

No wonder Arsenal chased his signature for so long. The 23-year-old was disrupted by injuries for the first two-thirds of the season but still managed impressive showings whenever he did feature. Since coming into the team as a consistent start post-restart, the Scot has been brilliant and proven himself the perfect full-back for Arteta. Capped off his season with a goal and an assist against Watford and should certify himself as one of the best left-backs in Europe, not just the Premier League, if he can stay fit all year long in 2020-21.

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Bukayo Saka – 8

Arsenal’s Young Player of the Year. While Tierney was out injured, Saka deputised brilliantly at left-back despite being a forward more naturally. Still only 18, Saka managed more assists than any other Arsenal player this season with 11 and also provided four goals despite nearly half of his appearances coming in defence. Vital that Arsenal tied the exciting left-sided attacker to a new long-term contract, because the Londoner can become a vital component over the next few years.

Lucas Torreira – 5

A poor campaign for Torreira given he did well in his maiden season for the club. The Uruguayan’s only consistent run in the team came across Emery’s final games and the start of Arteta’s reign, although injury an ankle injury restricted him after the restart. Wouldn’t be a surprise if he was sold even though at 24, there’s still plenty of time for him to find his feet under Arteta.

Granit Xhaka – 7

Perhaps the man who personifies Arsenal’s season more than most. Booed off in October at the Emirates and later stripped off the armband for his furious reaction, Xhaka looked done for at Arsenal. Fast forward to now and he was one of the players to improve most under Arteta. Still not always reliable, especially in terms of his discipline after picking up 13 yellows across all competitions, but completely rejuvenated – particularly after the restart – as the team’s conductor in the middle, forming a good partnership with Ceballos. Established himself as arguably as important as any outfield player after Aubameyang.

Dani Ceballos – 6

Like Xhaka, had an indifferent campaign but ended strongly, with Arteta keen to extend his loan from Real Madrid for another 12 months. The classy Spaniard offers what few other Arsenal players do in midfield and while he was indifferent for long spells of his loan, when he was at his best, he was brilliant. One of Arsenal’s best players since the restart, but loses a mark for fading away so dramatically after his showing against Burnley at the start of the season and taking so long to rediscover his finest form.

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5

Had been performing well in a right-back role under Emery until injury struck and then despite starting Arteta’s first five league matches, found himself out of favour. Maitland-Niles featured in a central role a couple of times towards the end of the season but looks as though he could well be a casualty in the summer transfer window to raise some cash.

Matteo Guendouzi – 4

Another who looks destined for the exit door. Once considered so promising, the 21-year-old’s attitude appears to have ticked off Arteta and it’s for that, rather than his on-pitch performances, that sees his mark so low. Guendouzi was one of Arsenal’s better players in the first half of the season and showed the kind of fight so often lacking under Emery but now appears at a crossroads. Can he still go on to be a great midfielder for the club? Yes, but with no apology looking likely, don’t bet on him salvaging his Arsenal career.

Joe Willock – 5

Made more appearances than any other player in the Arsenal squad this season with the bulk off the bench but was pretty inconsistent, as is to perhaps be expected. Has good promise and contributed five goals across all competitions including a Goal of the Season candidate away at Liverpool in the Carabao Cup but too often failed to make a significant enough impact on matches. Arteta has taken a shine to the midfielder though so expect more from him next season.

Gabriel Martinelli – 8

Some signing. Plucked from Brazil for just £6million, the confident 19-year-old had a massive impact and delivered one of the best moments of the season with his goal away at Chelsea. Ten goals and four assists in 26 games is a brilliant return for what was the teenager’s first season in Europe, and the variety of his efforts was eye-catching too. Having only recently turned 19, the versatile attacker has a massive future at the Emirates.

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Mesut Ozil – 3

A forgettable season for a player once revered as the best playmaker in Europe. Just one goal and three assists in 23 games is his worst return in an Arsenal season yet. He had regained his starting role under Arteta after the axe was swung on Emery but hasn’t made a single appearance since the restart, with that unlikely to change in the FA Cup final. If Arsenal had their way this summer, the German’s north London career would be over.

Nicolas Pepe – 7

The subject of plenty of jabs from rivals earlier in the campaign, the Ivorian improved throughout the campaign and eight goals and nine assists from 41 appearances is a decent enough return. Needs to do more to live up to that £72m price-tag, of course, such as up his open-play contributions but he should only improve under Arteta, who of course had a big impact on the likes of Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane at City.

Emile Smith Rowe – 5

Only made six appearances for Arsenal in the first half of the season, but his form on loan at Huddersfield in the Championship since January has been hugely promising. Certainly one to watch for next season, particularly with Ozil out of favour in the No 10 role.

Arsenal end of season player ratings: Leno, Saka and Tierney stand out but one star gets 3 (Image: GETTY)

Reiss Nelson – 5

Given his exploits at Hoffenheim last year more was anticipated from the tricky winger, though he still showed flashes of promise. His outings in the FA Cup win at Portsmouth and the Carabao Cup rout of Nottingham Forest stand out as highlights but for much of the season he failed to offer enough end product and was outshone by the likes of Saka and Martinelli.

Eddie Nketiah – 6

Returning from a loan spell at Leeds in January where he struggled for game-time, Nketiah made a quick impression under Arteta with goals against Everton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth – but he managed only one after the restart and picked up a red card at Leicester which dealt a big blow to the club’s hopes of qualifying for Europa via the league. Still, offers good energy up top and has plenty of promise for the coming years.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 9

How could he not be Player of the Season? Twenty-seven goals from 43 appearances despite playing much of the season off the left wing and in a struggling team is superb. He directly contributed to 45 per cent of Arsenal’s Premier League goals, which in turn won 32 of the team’s 56 points. It was also his double that put the Gunners into the FA Cup final, and it was his goal that had Arsenal into the next round of the Europa League before the side’s defence decided otherwise. A truly world-class striker, losing Aubameyang would be gut-wrenching for Arsenal. Keeping him however would be a significant boost to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League in 2020-21. Give him that pay rise.

Alexandre Lacazette – 6

Coming into the campaign as the club’s Player of the Year, Lacazette underwhelmed despite 19 direct goal contributions in 38 games – setting up or scoring one goal in every two games. The Frenchman’s productivity improved towards the end of the campaign after a sluggish first two-thirds eventually saw him dropped for Nketiah. He scored home and away against Spurs and was impressive in the win over Liverpool earlier this month, but can’t get higher than a six given he’s capable of far more.

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