Arsenal’s season is officially halfway over. There have been both highs and lows along the way for a club still rebuilding after the Arsene Wenger years. To celebrate the midway point of the campaign, here are Arsenal’s midseason awards.
Best Young Player
He’s only played five times for the first team, but every fan remembers his name already; Emile Smith Rowe. The Englishman prefers to play as a creative midfielder, however, can also go on the wing.
Smith Rowe has yet to get a Premier League minute to his name, however, already has three goals for the senior squad. He’s also doing well for the U23 side, starting four matches and netting twice in the Premier League 2.
While it may take time to break into the first team regularly, keep an eye on this young starlet.
Best New Signing
Perhaps the most obvious of Arsenal’s midseason awards as one new face has shone brighter than any other, Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan moved to the Emirates in the summer for a reported €30 million, which looks like a bargain by now.
Despite his diminutive stature, the midfielder has been a rock in the midfield for the Gunners. He’s played in every league match this season, although came off the bench for six of them.
Lucas Torreira also steps up when it counts in front of goal. He has scored twice in the league this season; the fourth goal against Tottenham secured the result and the lone strike against Huddersfield not long after proved to be the winner.
Perhaps best of all is that he is still just 22-years-old and has plenty of time to improve at Arsenal. No doubt the club has a real gem on their hands.
Most Improved Player
However, one player stood out among the others; Rob Holding. The centre-back’s season is over already after a horrific ACL injury, but when fit he was one of the first names on the team sheet.
While the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have had their ups and downs, Holding always seemed to put in a consistent performance. Whether in a back four or three, Emery trusted the player to steady the ranks.
In addition to defensive ability, the player is also steady in possession. This is not only an admirable trait, but it is also one that will make him fit into Emery’s system almost straight away when he does eventually return to fitness.
Nothing is more satisfying for a football club than beating their biggest rivals. That’s just what Arsenal did to Tottenham in the first north London derby of the season. As an added bonus it was also the best performance of the campaign thus far for the Gunners.
There was plenty of drama throughout the match as after Arsenal scored the opening goal, Spurs netted twice before the interval. On the stroke of halftime, however, Emery made two substitutions to put the match on its head.
Three second-half goals followed, not to mention some good defensive play, to put the score at 4-2 and claim bragging rights.
This was one of Arsenal’s midseason awards that really was easy to select. In the 66th minute against Leicester City, the Gunners found themselves up by one goal.
As they counter-attacked Mesut Ozil played an audacious flick-on to Guendouzi, starting what would become a screamer of a team goal.
While nearly every player can be praised for such a superb move, it was the German playmaker who had the most influence. In addition to the flair shown in the build-up, Ozil also played a magnificent chipped pass into the middle to beat the ‘keeper and set up Aubameyang for an easy finish.
Fans probably won’t see a better team goal this season.
Player of the Season So Far
The real strength of this Arsenal squad is their unity. So, that makes picking just one player out a bit difficult. However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the best choice for player of the season (so far).
The Gabon striker leads the Premiership with 13 goals and has played fewer minutes than his two closest rivals (Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, each on 12). Auba has also set up three goals, including assists on both of Lucas Torreira‘s league goals.
Off the pitch, he has also integrated himself with the squad beautifully well. He shares a sort of bromance with strike partner Alexandre Lacazette and is known as one of the most popular players in the dressing room.
If Arsenal are to realise a return to the Champions League, Aubameyang will have to keep finding the back of the net.
Arsenal’s midseason awards show a squad that is in a strange state. While the attack is still quality, the defence is still in shambles. The team has experienced a few climactic highs, but also suffered some dreadful lows.
Unai Emery still has a ways to go until this project is finished, but so far signs are hopeful.
Embed from Getty Images
View the original article on Last Word On Football: Arsenal’s Midseason Awards