So basically we have three players that have met expectations this season…Tierney, Saka and ESR
Some that have done relatively OK in Holding, Xhaka, Laca, Mari and we may be able to add Pepe, Gabriel, Chambers, El Neny
Some that have failed to live to expectations in Partey, Martinelli, Auba, Bellerin, Leno, Willian
I am not looking into our loanees (Ceba, Ode) or youth that has not been really used like Nelson, Balogun or Azeez or players that have not been used much like Nketiah or Cedric.
Our stand out performers are clearly young, talented and ready to work their socks off for the team so they are the first three names on the sheet for me. The strike force came together when Laca was on the pitch and I must also admit that Xhaka in most games did well in solidifying our midfield when paired with Partey so this year and just based on performance only especially in 2021, my starters would be:
Ryan – Chambers, Holding, Mari, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, ESR, Pepe – Laca
but this first XI does not get you in the top 4 for sure next year…so the idea is to build around our top 3 performers and to make sure that:
- We are hard to beat so we need defensive solidity
- We can win games so we have the capacity to a. score one more goal than the opponent and b. manage games properly.
In terms of solidity and attacking threat, we do need a better RB and I would say a more industrious Left Forward too. Now if we want to manage the game tempo better and create more chances, we also need a better central midfielders.
In any case, the good things is that we have 3 young British players including 2 that came through our ranks and have basically been our stand out performers this year. This is something to celebrate. Now let us build a team in which they can flourish and take us back to where we belong, namely to the trophy winners’ group.