Here are the end of season ratings for every player in Arsenal’s first-team squad
Arsenal’s 2019/20 season was a wild ride with plenty of ups and downs. Yet Mikel Arteta’s arrival ultimately culminated in the club’s 14th FA Cup trophy and ensured Arsenal’s continued participation in European football.
Below are my ratings for squad. Note that the likes of Cedric Soares, Pablo Mari, Dinos Mavropanos, and Emile Smith Rowe did not feature enough to warrant inclusion, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nacho Monreal both departed at the beginning of the season.
Bernd Leno – 8.5
An excellent year in goal for the German. His quick reflexes and superb shot-stopping ability saved Arsenal on countless occasions as the team conceded an embarrassing number of shots. Leno was easily one of our most dependable performers throughout the entire season right up until his injury in the Brighton game.
Emiliano Martinez – 8.5
Thrust into action in the middle of a hectic Project Restart, it’s safe to say that Martinez has surpassed everyone’s expectations, and then some. While his sample size is still relatively small, he actually looks superior to Leno when it comes to distribution and commanding his area, and he also has a strong and steady pair of hands.
Both Leno and Martinez will feel they’ve done enough to be Arsenal’s #1 in the upcoming season. The club may have a huge decision to make this summer, as it would be difficult to turn down a big offer for either keeper given the other squad needs.
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Hector Bellerin – 6
While he looks to have lost some of his pace and explosiveness following the ACL injury, Bellerin turned in two of his best performances in Arsenal’s biggest games of the season: the FA Cup semi-final and final. He may still have his doubters, but he looked more solid defensively following Cedric’s arrival, so perhaps the extra competition will do him some good.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 7
While Maitland-Niles’s favored position may be in midfield, he has done brilliantly in a hybrid wing-back role under Arteta, on both the right and left sides. He has pace, athleticism, and is an excellent one-on-one defender; his defensive instincts overall seem to have hugely improved since the start of the season. Despite reports that he may want to leave to play more regularly, his inclusion in the last two cup games at Wembley suggests that Arteta would like to keep him.
Shkrodan Mustafi – 6.5
Before Arteta took over, Mustafi had only made one league appearance this season. Since then, he effectively became Arteta’s first choice center-back. Apart from a couple of vintage Mustafi moments (a terrible back-pass against Chelsea and the second half of the North London Derby), he was quite consistent and looks to have regained some confidence. Then again, that’s exactly who Mustafi is; he’ll play well enough 70-80% of the time, but we all know he’s an accident waiting to happen. While I am happy to see his improvement, hopefully, Arsenal won’t be as reliant on him next season.
David Luiz – 6
He always looked far more at home in a back three and put in two absolutely fantastic displays at Wembley to end the season. However, you still never really know which David Luiz you’re going to get, and it’s difficult to overlook the five penalties that he conceded, a league record. Moving forward though, it’s nice to have an experienced leader at the back to mentor the likes of William Saliba, who is only 19.
Calum Chambers – 6.5
While perhaps it’s not saying much, he legitimately looked like our best defender for the first few months of the season before an awful ACL injury against Chelsea. He hasn’t had much of a chance to work with Arteta yet, so hopefully, all goes well with his recovery and he can fight his way back into the team next season.
Rob Holding – 5
He was mostly solid in the cup final, and not for the first time (see 2017). But overall it was a disappointing comeback season for Holding following his ACL injury, and he hasn’t looked as confident or sure of himself. Could be sold this summer in order to raise funds for another defender, and Arsenal would make a decent profit on him as he only cost us £2m.
Sokratis – 4
It’s clear that Arteta doesn’t really fancy the Greek defender at all; he only played a handful of minutes during Project Restart, despite all the other injuries and suspensions in the team. Sokratis wasn’t particularly good before that though; he never looks comfortable in possession and is prone to making clumsy mistakes. Now in the final year of his contract, he will probably be one of the first names out the door.
Sead Kolasinac – 5
Extremely limited on the ball and still completely unaware when it comes to defensive positioning, Kolasinac simply isn’t good enough to be anything other than a back-up left back, if that. He has also featured in a back three and at wing-back, but it’s clear that there are far better options in both cases. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him sold in the summer.
Kieran Tierney – 8
Multiple injury setbacks limited his opportunities prior to Project Restart, but since June he has already shown that he is Arsenal’s best defender, by quite some distance. Tierney has been superb as a left-back, wing-back, or in a back three; he’s an excellent crosser of the ball and never backs down from a defensive challenge. He is also not afraid to give his teammates the hairdryer treatment whenever necessary. Looking ahead to next season, Tierney has already established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.