Arsenal’s most important player this season is _______?

This question was posed on twitter by @ltarsenal and some of the replies were quite surprising, so why not have a crack at it on here while we wait for the weekend?

Runners and Riders (in no particular order)

Rob Holding

Many were surprised when Calum C went out on loan before the season started and a certain lad we bought from Bolton for a £2m was chosen to stay and develop at his home club.  His play this season has been a revelation. Cool, composed, able to bring the ball forward and with an eye for a pass, too. Some might say our defence looking decidely ropey has coincided with his absence.

Lucas Torreira

Eased in slowly frustrating Arsenal fans at the start of the season, Lucas began by making top notch contributions from the bench before getting his starting berth. Perhaps, if LBG is correct and he’s been moved further forward in Unai’s recent formations, his effectiveness has been slightly lessened when not sat right in front of the back four receiving and destroying.

Alex Lacazette

Many replies on twitter mentioned Laca. He is a fans’ favourite and certainly brings an aggressiveness and work rate which often seem responsible for lifting the whole shooting match. Less goals than Auba from perhaps more chances but he’s often won back possession from his feisty closing down (and given away a few free kicks into the bargain!).

Granit Xhaka

To some, Granit’s inclusion in this list would be the biggest shock but he does seem Unai’s first name on the teamsheet in many respects. When we are playing well, he does seem the centre of the well-oiled machine. Countless accurate passes and an ability to switch play others lack. Detractors would say ‘yes, but how many of those passes actually achieve anything’.  Then again, all teams require water carriers, ask Gilberto.

Hector Bellerin

When he’s missing from the team, you do start to realise how important he is on the right side. Still not the finest defender in the world but such a talent on the ball. Arsenal’s right flank without the Catwalk king and, to a lesser extent Micki, has been a little lacking in punch, drive and creativity.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

Goals from nowhere, some have suggested we’d be floating just below mid-table without Auba’s 14 goals. His strike record in October/November was simply stunning, scoring from virtually all of his shots on target. A fair few of his goals have come when he’s made an entrance off the bench. Some point out his lack of fire, Laca style, but maybe that isn’t the quality he was bought for.

I’m not sure if anyone else should be regarded as a contender.

What do you think? Could you make a case for someone not listed above.

Mesut anyone?



48 Responses to Arsenal’s most important player this season is _______?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Good starter Chas.

    Catwalk for me. As you say, his absence has resulted in little happening on the right side of attack.

    Hector is also, alongside Holding, our most improved player. Last season I was questioning whether he could achieve his undoubted potential, now he is well on the way to becoming one of the best RB’s in the world.

    Attacking skill is an essential for an FB, it changed with Ashley Cole. Can Hector achieve his standards – perhaps.

  2. LBG says:

    Most important Terrier, unless we get a large, dominant CB ( not a Chelski Silvestre- type throwaway), or Mav takes up the hammer and launches his career.

  3. chas says:

    Sorry for the poor timing of the post.
    Had an appointment to go to.
    Perhaps the Ramsey contract confirmation would have been a better subject for today’s post.
    Again, apologies for cutting that discussion short earlier.

  4. chas says:

    Nice photo!

  5. RC78 says:

    A case could be made for Kolasinac as well – below an article on his growing importance in creating chances for Arsenal.

    For me so far, the most important players have been in the following order:
    1. Torreira-Holding
    2. Bellerin – Kola
    3. Auba – Laca – Iwobi – Ramsey -Guendouzi
    4. Leno – Lichten – Sok – Mustafi – Xhaka – Ozil – Miky

    If I had to pick the best starting 11 and with all fit players and in our best system this season (3-4-3), I would maybe play:

    Leno – Mustafi, Sok, Holding – Bello, Ramsey, Torreira, Kola – Laca, Auba, Iwobi

  6. RC78 says:

    As for Ramsey – I think he picked the best club for him. Great time, great league for him and a chance to establish himself as a key player in the Champions League as well. Great choice.

    As for Suarez, he wants to move to Arsenal. Deal likely to happen but in the summer only, which is totally fine.

  7. RC78 says:

    – Carrasco move very likely as player wants to come back to Europe
    – Hector Herrera, a DM/CM, also being approached. Free this summer but Porto does not want to lose him for free so there is a chance of a deal this month as well
    – Monreal tied up until 2020
    – As for Suarez, deal most likely happening this summer

  8. Big Raddy says:

    RC, Thank you for the updates

    I am hoping that the latter part of the season will see the youngsters develop to the point where we do not need to sign an MF.

    Nelson may well be the winger/striker we need. Welbz will return for the run-in (perhaps) and hopefully sign another contract in summer.

    Is Suarez a better bet than AMN/Willock/Smith Rowe?

    No-one is talking about Elneny who signed a long-term contract last March.

    Left back is what we need or a big unit of a DM.

  9. RC78 says:

    Hi BR – I am hopeful that both AMN and Nelson will develop as great players for AFC next year.

    Suarez is a silky player and will be a good replacement for Ramsey. I think if we can get him at a rebate now or for free this summer, he must join us. He is currently better than AMN, Willock and Smith Rowe.

    As for El Neny, I am hoping we signed him on a longer contract to sell him better. I think he would be good in France for a team like Marseille, Monaco or Bordeaux.

    I agree that we need both an LB and a DM but for now, my priority goes to DM/CM.

    Favorite player at DM/CM would be Allan then Ndombele then Doucoure then Gueye then Paredes.

  10. RC78 says:

    Emery confirms that AFC is only able to take players on loan this january…

  11. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post chas … if I were to base my answer on the impact of losing him, I’d have to say that Rob Holding appears to have been our most important player. Terrier would be would also get a shout as he’s the kind of player we’ve most needed for a while now.

  12. chas says:

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Good stuff Chas. 🙂

    Importance is in the eye of the beholder and Unai makes and breaks the players with his first 11 selections and tactical decisions. Most important player is of course still MO10. Together with Xhaka and Torreira he is the first player on the team sheet every time. For me Xh-To-Oz is a midfield triangle to win the league with, let alone finish in the top four. Key is to play them as horizontal duo as much as possible (Xha-Tor) and let Mesut regularly come deep to help to play the ball out of midfield (and now and again Xhaka or Tor can join Mesut to change the shape of the triangle). Plenty of good attackers in the squad and we just need to sort out the defence, which probably will take at least six more months.

    We were doing okay until Unai decided to break up the double DM pivot perfect partnership of Xhaka-Torreira. Luckily, he is now in a position to reinstall it and hopefully he will start playing Mesut in the hole again as well. Unfortunately, Unai is desperate to force Guendouzi into the deeper midfield, and until he gives up on that silly idea – never seen a keener midfield ball watcher in my life – we are likely to suffer. I do see potential in the poodle-haired one, but away from our defence. Play him on the left wing or right wing for a while in a Mhki sort of role by all means, but leave the Xhaka-Torreira partnership as the anchor of the team ffs.

  14. chas says:

    Nice one, TA.
    I’m surprised you think that Mesut is one of the first names on the team sheet for Unai when his appearances this season have been sporadic at best.

  15. chas says:

    This one’s for VP. ☺

  16. chas says:

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Chas it is true that Unai probably does not see Ozil like that, unless he really has not been fit over the last couple of months and the Spaniard had no other option than to leave him out. But I cannot see him in any other way than v important to our team, even though he had little chance to influence proceedings recently. I feel that if Unai cannot play football with Ozil as an automatic starter, he will sooner or later fail at Arsenal. A Genius has to be understood, cherished and accommodated, and I am not sure Emery gets this.

  18. RC78 says:

    I think that Ozil is a great player but that we are not playing to his strengths so if we cannot make the most of his amazing talent, ship him out for good money and cut your losses

  19. Big Raddy says:

    4.50 😀 😀 😀

  20. Big Raddy says:

    No-one will buy Ozil. Perhaps a Chinese club could afford a loan period.

    I would prefer that UE allows Mesut to play wherever Mesut chooses but

    This is UE’s first season following The Master, AW. He has to stamp his authority on the club and unfortunately Mesut is bearing the brunt of his will. Mourinho does the same wherever he goes (Mata shipped out of Chelsea comes to mind).

    I agree with TA about Curly. Lots of energy, great potential but not the man we need … yet

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    If, according to you, he is a great player then surely we like that at Arsenal, RC78? We are By Far the Greatest Team after all. So I disagree. Unai needs to show that he can successfully incorporate Mesut in his tactical plans without trying to change him. Mesut is a world cup winner and the king of the attacking pass, always looking for space with and without the ball. And he signed a long-term contract to finish his career here.

    It is still early days for Emery and hopefully we see Mesut back in the team properly between now and the end of the season.

  22. Rasp says:

    Hi guys … excuse me sticking my oar in … there is a reason that none of the big clubs came in to buy ME when his contract came up last time … there is no room for a player who is only effective when you’re in possession in the modern high press style of football. Weak links are exploited by the top teams. U E seldom takes M E off if we are controlling the game, but he does if we are under pressure .. tells you something. Like you all, I love to watch Mesut play when the opposition allows it, but I would go so far to say that Mesut and his ridiculously high wages was one of the biggest problems U E inherited from AW. The top teams go into every game seeing it as a war … where every battle must be won. We don’t have enough quality in the side to be able to carry Mesut defensively, he’s a brilliant player but not a leader or someone you’d turn to when the going gets tough.

  23. Rasp says:

    I’m reading tweets stating that in his press conference, UE said we’d only bring in players on loan in January. Can anyone tell me if this is true…. and if it was presented as a strategy or a financial decision?

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Yes. it is what UE said in his press conference. No surprise really. No CL for a few seasons added to a number of expensive purcheses must affect the transfer budget

  25. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy. Normally a club would support a new manager … especially when he has no option but to rebuild a squad. Let’s hope he’ll have a budget in the summer, otherwise all those saying it will take 2 or 3 transfer windows before UE can be judged will be incorrect. It was a very poor situation to inherit with so many players coming to the end of their contracts.

  26. LB says:

    Rule number 1 for me when it comes to information from anyone at the club regarding transfers is:

    Don’t ever believe a word they say.

  27. LB says:

    I have been off the grid for a few hours, can someone tell me why we are all believing that Ramsey is definitely leaving for free this summer, apart from that being the most likely scenario, what has happened today for all this new found certainly?

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp

    Hope all is well with you! 🙂

    Thanks for chipping in and, although I don’t agree with what you say, it’s a good argument that I have heard a few times before. I am not sure whether teams were interested in Ozil or not but like to believe he was never going somewhere else; and the agents knew this. The pressing game thing has always baffled me:
    1. Ozil plays his part in this if he is asked to do it;
    2. Do the likes of Ericson, De Bruine, etc do so much more than Mesut?
    3. Do we actually play a pressing game well when Ozil is not playing?
    4, Should we not allow Ozil to be available in space so he can spring attacks and provide those attacking balls time and again? Does everybody have to press equally in order to make the pressing game work?

    Finally, I would turn it round that Unai was v lucky to inherit Ozil on a long term contract during his best years. But if he is not able to work out how to use him best in his preferred system then that is a problem for us. I hope BR’s linkage with Mourinho in terms of ‘stamping his authority’ is incorrect.

    Would I be surprised if in 12-18 months we have no longer Mesut nor Unai? Not really.

  29. Rasp says:

    Hi LB …. I think the Ramsey info is accurate … no one is disputing it …. not Ramsey’s people either

  30. Rasp says:

    Hi TA, great to chat again … I trust all is well with you. Yes, I think De Bruine does a lot more than Mesut, not sure about Ericsson, but he is also more of a squad player for the totts. We could get full value from Mesut if he had more quality around him, but we don’t. In a way, we’re wasting his quality even when he’s on the pitch.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    All is well, Rasper. I reckon Unai has the quality already but has to move the chess pieces differently. But happy to agree to disagree with you. 🙂

  32. Rasp says:

    Thanks TA, I don’t even see it as a disagreement … neither of us know for sure … it’s just my interpretation of UE’s thinking.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, was wondering whether you have heard again from 26May who used to blog on AA?

  34. Rasp says:

    Sadly not TA …. he was a great blogger and a top bloke …. and brought a calm and sensible legal brain to matters arsenal

  35. chas says:

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Could do a post. stuff to do first, but could have something by 8 latest. think you go work. no pics required, so could erik get it up?

  37. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Micky. “could erik get it up?” Is that pertinent to the blog?

  38. mickydidit89 says:


  39. mickydidit89 says:


  40. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting discusion between Rasp and TA last night.

    I do not see Mesut as a De Bruyne type player. Mesut is unique, he reminds me of Zola without the grin. Capable of magic.

    We have water carriers in abundance but Ozil’s vision and delicate touch is a very rare talent.

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    in haste post sent

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    That is a shame, Rasp. Hope he is okay.

    Cheers Raddy. Agreed they are different but was looking at it more from the role of creator within their teams. 🙂

  43. LBG says:

    Terrier thinks Mesut is “incredible”, but he’s not on the blog!

    Suarez “A Spanish Lallana or an upgrade on Ozil”! I know what I think. Buy (or loan, you skinflints,) a CB.

    Morning all. COYG.

  44. RC78 says:

    Morning all…
    – Suarez keen on Arsenal loan.
    – Carrasco ready to join but his club only wants a permanent deal
    – Nicolas Pepe and Ismail Saar keen to join Arsenal at the end of the year

  45. Rasp says:

    Morning all … this article (if you believe it) may explain why we can only take players on loan … and illustrate how mad it was to pay MO so much money …

  46. chas says:


  47. RC78 says:

    Hey y’all – I am a big tennis fan and I am saddened by Murra’s press conference as he announces retirement this year 😦 He is such a good player and such a shame about his injuries. A true tennis great and Olympic Champ!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: