Although Arsenal only seemed to move into the title race once Chelsea already had one hand on the Premier League trophy, there were many reasons for optimism at the Emirates last season.
As well as winning their second consecutive FA Cup, the signing of Alexis Sanchez seemed to inspire a resiliency in their flair that Gunners fans will be hoping they see the best of next year.
To potentially help Arsene Wenger find that formula that will end their drought in the top flight, WhoScored have put together their best XI from last season, as reported in the Metro. And despite boasting an impressive contingent of English players, only one lion makes the shortlist.
Here is the team in full:
GK- David Ospina 7.13
The Colombian enjoyed a marvellous World Cup, so it seemed like a master stroke from Arsene Wenger to bring him to the Emirates, having watched several back-up stoppers make mistakes in recent years. The battle between himself and Wojciech Szczesny – who maintained his place as the number one at the start of the campaign – seemed to have an impact on the Pole’s form, as a bad patch of form, as well as some disciplinary issues, handed Ospina his chance.
With the 26-year-old between the sticks, the Gunners only lost twice in the top flight. Nevertheless, Gunners fans are still hoping that Petr Cech turns up this summer, in a move that may see Ospina depart (via Metro).
RB- Mathieu Debuchy 7.25
The former Newcastle man has endured a mixed first season in north London, with injuries largely preventing him holding down a place in Arsene Wenger’s side. He was used on the right and in the centre of defence when he was fit, and proved a decent option. His absence allowed youngster Hector Bellerin to make a name for himself, and he did it expertly, making Debuchy’s task of getting back into the side, a tricky one. However, the statistics would suggest that the Frenchman had a better campaign than Bellerin, although the Spaniard’s potential is frightening.
CB- Laurent Koscielny 7.38
Although he has been guilty of mistakes in the past, the 29-year-old has established himself as Arsenal’s most solid defender, and thus the leader of the back four. His growing confidence in that role will surely help the side build upon their back-to-back success in the cup, and his consistency will be vital if the Gunners wish to sustain a title charge that ends with silverware.
CB- Gabriel Paulista 7.21
Per Mertesacker looked a little complacent at times this year, and was perhaps suffering from a World Cup hangover with a midweek trip to Loftus Road for example, not offering anything like the glamour of a Maracana final. And with Wenger’s options already looking thin at the heart of defence, it was no surprise that January was used to add some depth. The man brought in was Gabriel Paulista, and while he only featured in a handful of games, he did show signs that he will be an excellent addition once he fully adjusts to the English game.
LB- Nacho Monreal 7.33
The Spaniard has enjoyed a solid run in the side at the expense of Kieran Gibbs, and it is difficult to remember in that time any incident where he could be held accountable for any of the goals that the side have conceded. He has been reliable as a defender, and has looked dangerous offering support in attack. The highlight of his season came when he scored an excellently-worked goal against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
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