Who has been Arsenal’s Player of the Year?

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Ronnie Macdonald-flickr creative commons

Arsenal have finished the season in a relatively disappointing third place.  However, winning a Premier League title no longer feels like a pipe dream.

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The reason for this breakout season lies in the hands (or at the feet, rather) of several different players. Arsenal have always had a history of injuries and this season was no different. However, when health started to return to the mass of world-class players that Arsenal have, the results were astounding, as we can see from Arsenal’s 2015 form.

Anointing one man the most valuable player of this Arsenal season is tough, and it should be. The way Arsenal play, it doesn’t favor the dominance of one player. Alexis Sanchez had to be the ‘one player’ for the first half of the year but Arsenal sputtered. With everyone pulling their own weight, Arsenal look unstoppable. These aren’t the days of Robin van Persie when every single goal was put in or set up by him. We don’t have a clear cut victor for MVP.

Alexis Sanchez may stand out to most as the Player of the Year, and you’d find no argument from me, but it’s not as much of a shoe-in as you’d think. The consistency of Santi Cazorla is always under the radar. His passes can absolutely dissect a defense and his versatility has seen him moved from the wings to defensive mid, where despite his size, he’s been a phenomenal asset.

Laurent Koscielny is another guy who is quite frequently under-appreciated. Arsenal’s defense was completely revived when he returned to the back line. In fact, Arsenal put together their first three game winning streak when he returned to the squad.

Mesut Ozil is another guy who begs to be considered. His assist rate is one of the best in the world and also in Premier League history. After returning from injury, Mesut Ozil looked like a man on a mission and his mission is going well.

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Olivier Giroud can make a claim as well, as his goal-scoring tallies after returning from injury propelled this team in the wake of Alexis’ minor slump. Then there’s Giroud’s countryman Francis Coquelin who has had an unbelievable impact on this team at a position we’ve hungered for since Patrick Vieira. Staying in the midfield, Aaron Ramsey has a claim to repeat his award last year as he has been incredibly valuable to the club as well.

And don’t forget the widely unappreciated David Ospina, who’s emergence in goal went hand-in-hand with Arsenal’s clean sheet bonanza following the Southampton debacle.

Over the next couple of pages, we’re going to go in-depth statistically to determine who has had the biggest impact on Arsenal’s season. We’ll start at the back.

Next: David Ospina