I'm continuing my season player ratings- athon with the centre backs today. So here goes:
9/10. He's probably been Arsenal's most improved player of the season. He's been outstanding at centre back and I don't know how he didn't make it into the Premier League Team Of The Year. He's been playing in only his second season in English football and has had to deal with something like 19 different back four combinations happening around him, his centre back partner has been changing a lot and he even had to play a few games at right back, where he did pretty well. He's put in some terrific challenges, shown great attitude and defended like a warrior, whilst also notching the occasional goal. He was good last year, but often made mistakes, whereas this season he's been very good without the mistakes. Perhaps a couple of poor games early on against Man Utd and Blackburn, but he's also kept Arsenal in games at times and been a pivotal figure in the good parts of our season. His role in the equaliser against Man Utd at the Emirates epitomises his season, a great saving challenge, brings the ball out of defence and plays a lovely ball out to Rosicky and then about 10- 15 seconds later, the ball's in the back of the Man Utd net.
7.5/10. He was sawly missed last season. i think if we'd have had Vermaelen fit all season last year, we'd have probably won the league. I once regarded him as the best centre half in the world, his 09/10 season being fantastic (especially baring in mind it was his debut season) and he hardly ever puts a foot wrong, whilst bailing the team out time and time again. But his performances late this season have been poor by his standards. He's made some positional errors and has been unlike his usual self, looking quite eratic at times. However, throughout the rest of the season he's been fabulous, especially baring in mind his early season injury woes as well as missing almost the entire season last season through injury. He's also scored a few very important goals, such as winners against Newcastle and Everton. His late season blip just sees him miss out on an 8, by his high standards.
6/10. This was a player I was very excited about when he joined. i thought 'finally, an experienced, established centre half who I've heard of and who plays for Germany as first choice'. But he's been mistake- prone and has looked like a disaster waiting to happen at times. He's had a few decent games, but hasn't lived up to his £10 million price tag and hasn't played the way an experienced, first choice German centre half should do. He's disappointed me with howlers against Norwich and Sunderland, whilst having quite a lot of dodgy games where he got away with errors (like Sunderland at home and Tottenham away off the top of my head).
5/10. where do I start? Still not good enough, still needs to be sold, still embarassing, and it's shown AGAIN this season. Yet he'll still be here in a years time, with me saying the same thing. It's the Wenger way. He hasn't played that many games thankfully, but has looked dodgy when he has. He's mostly played out of position at right back to be fair, but he's still been pretty poor wherever he's played.
The other centre halves that have featured this season are Sebastien Squillaci and Ignasi Miquel, but both have only played a small number of games and have shown that neither are good enough. Both have been 5/10's and need to be shifted on.