2018/19 Arsenal Player Awards
Arsenal still have the Europa League final to play but with three of four competitions sorted, now is a good time to take a look back at the season as a whole. After examining Unai Emery, we now turn our attention to individual players. Here are our picks for the 2018/19 Arsenal player awards.
Arsenal Player Awards
Best Young Player
Arsenal are famous for promoting youth through the ranks. Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emile Smith Rowe are all academy graduates who have impressed at times this season.
However, the most impressive player under the age of 23 at the club is undoubtedly not a Hale End graduate. That honour goes to Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi. The midfielder signed for Arsenal last summer for a very modest £7 million from Lorient.
At the time, he was viewed very much as one for the future. However, almost one year and over 2,000 Premier League minutes later and it seems Guendouzi is also one for the present.
While not quite at adept at passing as Granit Xhaka or tackling as Lucas Torreira, Guendouzi has shown flashes of excellence both with and without the ball. Better still, the player is just 20 years old and should improve with age.
Winner: Matteo Guendouzi
Best New Signing
In retrospect, the Gunners had a very successful summer in 2018. The only signing who didn’t make a big impact on the first team this season was Stephan Lichtsteiner. Although, the Swiss veteran was only signed as a backup option for Hector Bellerin.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos was ever-present in what was admittedly a shaky backline, while Torreira and Guendouzi both performed admirably in midfield. However, Arsenal’s best new signing must be goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
After beginning the season as understudy to Petr Cech, Leno got his opportunity due to an injury to the Czech. Since he came on at halftime in that match, Leno has started in 31 Premier League matches.
The six-capped German international has shown exceptional technical quality in his footwork and passing. His only perceived weakness before his arrival was shot stopping, although he has shown at times this season that he is very capable in this capacity.
Winner: Bernd Leno
Most Improved Player
At the end of last season, many fans thought that Laurent Koscielny‘s achilles injury would end his Arsenal career. Even before that night in Madrid, the French veteran suffered from chronic injury issues which had hampered him for years.
Koscielny was no longer capable of playing twice a week consistently. So, even without dealing with a minimum six-month layoff, many were sceptical about his future in north London.
However, Laurent Koscielny has now made 28 appearances for all competitions this season. To put into context, he totalled just 33 in all of last.
Along with Sokratis, Koscielny has been Arsenal’s best centre-back and given the bleakness of his future this time last season, he deserves the award.
Winner: Laurent Koscielny
The season hasn’t been all roses and there have been some poor performances. While collective blame must be shared by all players for losses, some are more guilty than others.
However, Arsenal’s worst player this season really didn’t play at all. Denis Suarez arrived on loan from Barcelona in January to try to give the squad something extra in the race for the Champions League.
What the Gunners got was 95 minutes from a player who never looked the part at the Camp Nou. While it was injury which curtailed his loan, Suarez didn’t do himself or his reputation any favours when he was fit enough to play.
Winner: Denis Suarez
To contrast with the season’s worst player, the season’s best player was ever-present in the squad. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made 50 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners this season, scoring 31 goals along the way.
He may have missed a league-high 23 big chances, but he came away top scorer alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah with 22 goals. Alongside his best friend both on and off the pitch, Alexandre Lacazette, he was Arsenal’s most potent weapon.
This is best exemplified in the 4-2 second leg victory over Valencia in the Europa League semifinal in which Aubameyang netted a hat trick.
The Gabon international will have to be at his scintillating best again in the Europa League final in order for his club to earn a place in next season’s Champions League. After all, that would be the best prize of all for this club right now.
Winner: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang