The end of the year is fast approaching and that can only mean one thing: it’s awards season here at FFC. So who are the players that stood out for you in 2010? Arsenal have enjoyed a mixed year. It’s well documented that, much to the dismay of fans, the Gunners failed to pick up any silverware last season. By now, we’re all sick of hearing about the Gunners’ trophy-void cabinet . The Arsenal faithful will be hoping that the 2010/11 season is somewhat more bountiful for their side. Unfortunately it seems that the Gunners have yet to overcome their tendency to mix the sublime with the lackadaisical. This week works well as a microcosm of their season. The high of beating Chelsea was tempered with a 2-2 draw against Wigan, a game they should have won. Inconsistency does not breed success. Despite these mixed fortunes, there have been a number of standout performers this season. Without further ado, let’s start dishing out the awards.
Arsenal’s player of 2010
A good number of players have caught the eye for Arsenal this season. Captain Cesc Fabregas has been as vital as ever, even though his performances have been affected by a niggling hamstring injury and a lack of match fitness. Jack Wilshere has been the Gunners’ best young player of 2010, making himself a regular in the first team at just 18-years-old. However, there is one player whose rise to prominence this season makes him a sure thing for this award. Samir Nasri is arguably not just Arsenal’s player of the season, but also the best player in the Premier League so far.
The 23 year-old has reacted to his exclusion from France’s World Cup 2010 squad in the best manner possible – with magnificent performances on the pitch. Indeed, on the 13th December of this year he was voted the French Player of the Year – quite an achievement for a player who didn’t have a spot on the tour bus over the summer. He’s fleet-footed, difficult to dispossess and has an eye for goal. He’s already notched 12 goals this season and is the Gunners’ top scorer. If Arsenal are to garner any silverware this year, they’ll need Samir Nasri to keep firing on all cylinders.
Most improved of 2010
Given that Samir Nasri is already Arsenal’s Player of the Year, we’ll look elsewhere for the most improved player. Almost nine months ago Chris Waddle accused Theo Walcott of having no football brain. With his performance against Chelsea on Monday Theo showed his critics just how far he has come. He provided an important lay-off to Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal’s second goal and his run and finish for the Gunners’ third had shades of Thierry Henry about it. This season Theo has shown the fans that there’s more to his game than speed and stamina, He works hard, takes up good positions and is more willing than ever to take his man on. This change in his mind-set has seen Walcott grab 9 goals already this season despite spending a good deal of time sidelined by an injury. If he keeps developing at this rate Arsenal will have quite a player on their hands.
Most disappointing of 2010
This decision is the most difficult of the lot. Who is the Arsenal player who offered up the most disappointment this season? Is it Lukasz Fabianski, Arsenal’s goalkeeper incumbent whose high-profile mistakes have cost the Gunners games? Is it Gael Clichy who promised Arsenal so much as a youngster, but has developed a bad positional sense and a certain tendency to switch off midgame? Disappointing for sure, but the biggest Arsenal letdown of 2010, has to be Nicklas Bendtner. This decision is mainly spurred by his arrogant claims earlier this season that he would quit the club if he didn’t take a more active role in the Gunners’ first team plans. Bendtner is a decent player who is always capable of getting goals, but he’s also slow and cumbersome at times. Nobody rates Bendtner as highly as he rates himself and until he starts demonstrating that he’s worthy of starting ahead of the likes of Marouane Chamakh and Robin Van Persie, he should learn to keep his mouth shut.
Do you agree with my choices? Who has impressed you most this season? Please feel free to leave a comment, or to follow me on Twitter @ThePerfectPass.