Thursday, June 25, 2015

SMR end-of-season review 2014-2015: The Forwards

In the final end-of-season review post, it’s time to assess how the forwards did for Arsenal in 2014-2015. As with the rest of these posts, each player will get a review, a one-word summary and a rating.
9. Lukas Podolski
The German’s thunderous left foot wasn’t seen much in 2014-2015 as he was shipped off to Inter Milan on loan in January. Podolski is an incredibly frustrating player as he can rip the net out the ground with the power in his left foot, but he can drift through games and you’ll forget he’s playing. That ability to disappear may ultimately mean he leaves the club permanently, but he did offer a few reminders of his finishing in the Champions League with a vital winner at Anderlecht and a thunderous strike at Galatasaray.
One-word summary: #OnLoan #Aha
Rating: 4/10
12. Olivier Giroud
Despite a good goal-scoring season, Olivier Giroud continues to divide opinion among some Arsenal supporters. Most seem to be behind the Frenchman now, but he can be an easy target for criticism if things start going badly. Giroud also has the ability that when things go badly for him, he can look like a pub player, as happened in the game at home to Monaco. But that was just a blip in an otherwise excellent season. He recovered quicker than expected from his freak injury against Everton and contributed vital goals, including the header away to Manchester City. He also went on a superb scoring-run as the season headed towards spring time. He has been helped by other taking some of the goal scoring burden off him in the last season, and he’s played better without as much pressure on him. Arsenal now have different options in the squad if Giroud does have one of his off-days.
One-word summary: Sexy-and-he-knows-it
Rating: 7/10
14. Theo Walcott
Due to a combination of injury recovery and the good form of others in the squad, Theo Walcott had to be patient in 2014-2015. The season overall didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about Walcott; he’s lightning quick, needs confidence to play well and he’d prefer to play as a central striker. When he did get his chance to play during the season, there were quite a few anonymous performances, but after getting the confidence of a deflected cross going in against Manchester United, Walcott looked transformed as he banged in an excellent hat-trick against West Brom and opened the scoring in the FA Cup final.
One-word summary: Patient
Rating: 5/10
17. Alexis Sanchez
I can’t remember a new arrival into the Premier League having such an impact in their first season. Alexis Sanchez came with a good reputation, but as he was always over-shadowed by Messi et al at Barcelona, it was difficult to know quite what to expect. It turned out that the Premier League was very much to his liking. His all-action displays carried the team in the first part of the season before they contributed to the winning run in the second half of the season as others around him picked up the slack. His attitude and effort around the pitch have been an inspiration to others, and a nightmare to opposing teams. He’d already had a great season, but Alexis saved his best for last with that serving rocket he unleashed at Wembley in the FA Cup final. What a player.
One-word summary: Awesome
Rating: 9/10
22. Yaya Sanogo
Well, he scored a goal. Not just in Emirates Cup either, an actual first-team Champions League goal. Apart from that, we didn’t see much from Yaya Sanogo as he went for a rather uneventful loan spell to Crystal Palace in January. The effort is always there from him when he plays, but still has a lot to do to convince people he has a future at Arsenal.
One-word summary: Limited
Rating: 3/10
23. Danny Welbeck
It’s hard to know how to rate Danny Welbeck’s first season at Arsenal because a glance at the stats shows less than 10 goals, which isn’t great for a £16 million forward, but my overall feeling when watching him play has been positive. He’s quick, works hard for the team and always looks to contribute and get involved in the play. I think goals will come as the rest of his game is developing well. It was also good to have a different option to Olivier Giroud up front.
Gains an extra half mark for scoring the winner at Old Trafford.
One-word summary: Encouraging
Rating: 6.5/10
28. Joel Campbell
Despite a good World Cup, Joel Campbell didn’t get much of an opportunity in the Arsenal first-team after a going out on a series of loan spells to become eligible to play. When he did get some minutes, there were a few good touches, but nothing to really set a game on fire despite quite a lot of hype over him in the past. He then went on a rather unspectacular loan spell in the second half of the season, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he heads off permanently in the summer.
One-word summary: Anti-climatic
Rating: 3/10