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April 27, 2024

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Arsenal Player of the Season 2023-24 power rankings: Bukayo Saka rising fast as Declan Rice leads the way while Thomas Partey props up the charts

Power rankingsArsenalDeclan RiceBukayo SakaKai HavertzMartin OedegaardWilliam SalibaEdward NketiahPremier LeagueFEATURES

The Gunners’ star winger continues to produce heroics on a consistent basis – but he’s not quite top of the pile

Arsenal pushed Manchester City hard in the Premier League title race last season, before Pep Guardiola’s side’s superior resources and elite mentality allowed them to pull away and eventually secure a famous treble. This time around, the Gunners must continue to compete in the English top-flight, while balancing their Champions League responsibilities. In preparation for this new challenge, Mikel Arteta spent big in the summer, bringing in the likes of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.

These new arrivals have experienced decidedly mixed fortunes in the embryonic stages of their respective Arsenal careers. Some look well placed to be in the running for the club’s Player of the Season award in May, while others could not look further away from scooping some individual silverware. Despite this, and some injury troubles, Arsenal have managed to firmly establish themselves as title contenders once again this campaign.

Over the coming months, GOAL will be tracking all of the runners and riders for Arsenal’s Player of the Season award…

22Jurrien Timber (N/A)

Timber looked like being an ideal addition to Mikel Arteta’s backline when he arrived from Ajax for £40 million ($49.5m) this summer. He performed well in the Community Shield, but an ACL injury sustained in the Gunners’ Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest condemned him to an extended spell on the sidelines. The Dutchman should at least be back in the fray before the end of the season.

21Thomas Partey (2/10)

We shouldn’t sugar coat it – this has been a disastrous season for Partey. Injuries have reduced him to a ghost-like figure in the Gunners ranks, with the Ghanaian barely featuring this campaign. He recently missed AFCON too, and seems primed to leave when his contract expires in summer 2025, if not before.

20Aaron Ramsdale (3/10) ⬇️

Ramsdale would have been sweating when David Raya was signed in the summer, and his fears were justified. Following a sketchy display against Fulham, Raya replaced him against Everton and the Spaniard hasn’t relinquished the gloves since.

Publicly, Arteta outlined a utopian vision where the pair would rotate – sometimes even during a game. However, it’s pretty clear who the No.1 is and it’s not Ramsdale. The situation initially created plenty of debate, and the England international had his supporters, but now almost everyone has accepted that Raya represents a significant upgrade.

19Reiss Nelson (3.5/10) ⬆️

The Arsenal youth-team graduate continues to struggle to break into the senior side. Nelson has earned a handful of starts, notably setting up Eddie Nketiah’s goal in a Champions League dead rubber against PSV, but generally this season has been a step backwards after a 2022-23 campaign which included some iconic moments.

The winger is rarely a detriment to the side when he does come on, but he’s hardly set the world alight either. Now 24, you’d imagine he’ll be looking to depart in the summer, even if he has signed a new contract fairly recently.

18Emile Smith Rowe (3.5/10) ⬆️

It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for Smith Rowe. After impressing at the European Under-21 Championship over the summer, he would have been hopeful of tasting some more first-team action this season. However, his minutes have largely come in the form of late cameos, aside from a decent outing against Sheffield United in October – after which his momentum was halted by an untimely injury. A summer exit seems likely, at least on loan.

17Fabio Vieira (4/10) ⬇️

After a fairly uninspiring debut season at the Emirates, Vieira came out with a point to prove this campaign. Establishing his reputation as one of Arteta’s second-half ‘finishers’ early on, he provided assists in successive Premier League matches against Fulham and Manchester United.

However, he could not maintain this early momentum. He soon dropped out of the starting XI and was then dealt a double blow, seeing red against Burnley in November before picking up a serious groin injury. He is at least poised to make his return soon.

16Eddie Nketiah (5/10) ⬇️

Linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium during the summer, Nketiah stuck around and was rewarded with an extended run in the starting XI at the start of the season. His involvement has tailed off more recently, but the 24-year-old did net a fantastic hat-trick against Sheffield United in October.

Producing moments like this with more consistency is his next challenge, though it does feel like his chance to nail down that first-choice striker spot has slipped away.

15Jakub Kiwior (6/10) ⬆️

Following an extremely quiet start to the season, Kiwior has risen up the defensive pecking order more recently, featuring mainly as a left-back. He’s not been perfect defensively, and probably does not offer as much in possession as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, but is growing in confidence with each passing week.

14Gabriel Jesus (6/10) ⬇️

Niggling injuries have plagued Jesus’ season, but even when fully fit, the Brazilian has not quite been at his best. As always, his finishing has been far from world-class, though – as we’ve heard many times before – his all-round game often makes up for his lack of goals.

When available, Jesus remains first-choice. However, competition is growing and there’s increasing clamour for Arsenal to bring in a new starting striker in the summer.

13Takehiro Tomiyasu (6/10) ⬇️

Tomiyasu is a useful member of the Arsenal squad, with his versatility likely to prove particularly important as the Gunners compete on multiple fronts later in the year.

It’s been more of the same this season, albeit with some significant periods of absence, first due to an injury and then because of his involvement in the Asian Cup. He’s been struggling with a knock recently, too, and Arteta will be eager to get him back as soon as possible.

12Kai Havertz (6.5/10) ⬆️

No player in the Arsenal squad divides opinion quite like Havertz. The German’s clever movement has helped facilitate his side’s recent attacking potency, but it’s difficult to look past his frustrating lack of killer edge in front of goal. Start scoring a few more and his critics will be happy. Until then, the jury remains out on the £65 million ($82m) man.

11Oleksandr Zinchenko (6.5/10) ⬇️

After a calf injury disrupted his start to the season, Zinchenko’s re-entry to the starting XI was welcomed by Arsenal fans. He may not have hit the same form he showcased last season – with questions being asked of his defensive capabilities particularly – but he’s still had bright moments.

10David Raya (7/10) ⬆️

It’s clear why Arteta likes Raya, despite the controversy his arrival caused. His competence on the ball has drastically improved Arsenal’s build up – and the mistakes that punctuated his early Emirates career are becoming less and less frequent. He’s not quite Player of the Season material, but the Spaniard has done well to answer his doubters.

9Jorginho (7/10) ⬆️

Jorginho received criticism after both the Man City and Chelsea games in the autumn, though playing through those midfields was always going to be a challenge. He has been pretty superb after that, though, cutting a stubborn Sevilla side open with a sumptuous assist in the Champions League and even wearing the captain’s armband against Newcastle and Burnley.

He also proved he still belongs in the biggest games, starring in the Gunners’ huge win over Liverpool in February. If his body was capable of it, there’s little doubt he’d be starting a lot more games.

8Leandro Trossard (7/10) ⬆️

Trossard has been compiling a strong case to become a bonafide Arsenal starter this season, coming up with big goals against Everton in September and Chelsea the following month, before chipping in with a host of strikes in January and February. He also helped break down a stoic Sevilla in Europe as the versatile Belgian continues to prove his worth to Arteta.

7Ben White (7/10) ↔️

Although he remains absent from the England set-up for reasons that are unclear, there’s little doubt that White is one of the Premier League’s most reliable defenders. His streak of league starts came to an end due to an injury, but he was soon brought back into the XI.

6Gabriel Martinelli (7/10) ⬇️

Martinelli had to wait a while for his first Premier League goal of the season, but it was well worth the delay, coming in the dying stages of his side’s massive victory over Man City. His numbers are not as impressive as last campaign, but he’s still looked dangerous pretty much every week. His display against Liverpool in February was especially spectacular, proving his love for the big occasionally

5Gabriel Magalhaes (7.5/10) ⬆️

After it appeared that Arteta had gone off him in the early weeks of the campaign, Gabriel has been in the first team for the majority of the season. There’s been one or two shaky moments – as there often is when the Brazilian is around – but his performances have dispelled any rumours that he might be moved on in the relatively-near future.

4Martin Odegaard (7.5/10) ↔️

The heartbeat of this Arsenal side last season, Odegaard was affected by injuries in November. Even before this setback, his goals and assists numbers were significantly down, though he has still been an important figure. Things just haven’t broken to him quite as often as they did during his glittering 2022-23 campaign, though that does appear to be changing more recently.

3William Saliba (8/10) ⬇️

Arsenal missed Saliba dearly when he was sidelined at the end of last season and Arteta will be mightily relieved to have him back. We know what to expect from the Frenchman by now and he has delivered a string of solid performances at the back this season.

A rare error against Liverpool aside, Saliba rarely makes a mistake and provided he remains fit, he should make it into the Premier League Team of the Season.

2Bukayo Saka (8.5/10) ⬆️

Still only 22, Saka continues to solidify his reputation as one of the most productive widemen in Europe. Directly involved in 27 of his side’s goals so far this season, pretty much the only blot on his record is a poor error against Fulham. Arteta must be careful to manage him carefully over the coming months – for England’s sake as well as his own.

1Declan Rice (9/10) ↔️

There were questions asked when Arsenal spent over £100m ($127m) on Rice this summer – but he’s already proving to be money well spent. His dramatic stoppage-time strike against Manchester United sent the Emirates into delirium back in September and he’s flown in north London since then.

Aside from his newly-found goalscoring form, Rice’s all-round dominant midfield performances have been a joy to behold. If the Gunners triumph in the title race, he’ll be a big reason why.


Quiz: Only an Arsenal superfan can name at least 12/15 of these club legends

Quiz: Only a Liverpool superfan can name at least 12/15 of these club legends

Quiz: Only a Chelsea superfan can name at least 12/15 of these club legends

Quiz: Only an England superfan can name at least 12/15 of these national team legends

Quiz: Only an Argentina superfan can name at least 12/15 of these national team legends


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