As the season winds to a close, Arsenal’s player of the season award has to enter into the conversation, but it’s a short conversation.
Last season, Arsenal‘s player of the season question was an open and shut case. Alexandre Lacazette all the way, he was monumental. This year should be no different, though without the Alexandre Lacazette talk.
To be fair, there are some names that deserve a shout. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, of course, always has to be part of the conversation. He was in the golden boot race yet again even if it looks like he’s going to fall short. Plus, you can’t underestimate what his presence did during the transition between managers and with so many youngsters around.
And I do think you also have to consider Nicolas Pepe, though I won’t get too much into that, since I don’t think he warrants that much consideration. Just a nod that I haven’t missed all the effort he’s put in.
I also think Kieran Tierney deserves a shout, and to add that when he has a full season, if he plays like he did this year, then he is gunning for this award next year.
But in reality, aside from Aubameyang who falls just short, the shoo-in for player of the season is who I’ve been saying it is all year—Bernd Leno. Even with missing the latter bit of the season and Emiliano Martinez proving that he’s up for the job as well, no one has had a bigger impact on the season than Leno and his safe hands.
The only thing getting in the way of him being a unanimous winner is that part of the argument for a keeper is how many points he saved us from dropping. And it’s quite a bit. Problem is that saving didn’t save us from anything. We aren’t qualifying for anything and if we do win the FA Cup, it won’t be because of him.
Which is just a further testament to how highly I think of his ability and what he’s been able to do for us—that in the end, it didn’t need to be a part of a higher cause. Just general awesomeness, and from a goalkeeper no less.
I do worry that he will be unfairly denied the award because of his injury, but even if he is, it’s not like we’ll forget what he’s done any time soon.