EPL 2016/17: 5 players Arsenal should get rid of this summer

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Granit Xhaka of Arsenal looks dejected in defeat with team mates after the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on April 10, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Arsenal need to overhaul their squad in the summer
Mason McDonagh

The season is not yet over for Arsenal. With two games in hand over Liverpool, the top four is well within their reach, along with the fact that they have an FA Cup final on 27th May, which if they win, will be their third FA Cup in four years.

Despite both these accomplishments being within reach, this has not been a great season by their standards. It was their year to go and grab the league title, something they haven’t won for 13 years. However, it wasn’t to be.

It has been quite an unsuccessful season for the Gunners, and there have been numerous marches, stadium walkouts and banners all crying out for Arsene Wenger to end his tenure at the club.

Also read: 5 players Arsenal should sign in the summer to ruthlessly replace current stars

But, along with Wenger, the players also must shoulder some of the blame. These five players, in particular, should be sold by the club if the Gunners are to move forward from this disappointing season:

#1 Francis Coquelin

Sadly for Arsenal fans, Francis Coquelin put pen to paper on a new contract in January keeping him at the club until 2021.

Coquelin’s best attributes have gotten notably worse. He performed to a much better standard for the first half of last season before fans started to get frustrated with the Frenchman.

This season, he has made more fouls than his last two seasons. Not only that, he has also won a significantly less amount of tackles with 42 this season in comparison to 57 in 2015/16 and 59 in 2014/15. Finally, the number of interceptions he has made has also dropped drastically with him making just 53 in the league this season, compared to the 77 he made last season and the 79 he made in 2014/15.

Not only that, but the Frenchman’s overall performances throughout this season have been average at best. Luckily for Arsenal fans, he now regularly finds himself on the bench, but he certainly shouldn’t be a part of Wenger’s or any manager’s future if a top club like Arsenal wish to move on.

#2 Theo Walcott

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League : News Photo
Walcott has underperformed during his stint at Arsenal

At the end of 2012, Arsenal fans were crying out for Theo Walcott to ‘sign that thing’ in a season where the Englishman scored 21 goals and laid on 16 assists for his team-mates. He signed a new contract in January 2013 and Arsenal fans were relieved and of the belief that they had finally seen the Walcott they had wanted all along.

But the 28-year-old has failed to live up to that season. Since that season, he only scored five Premier League goals for three straight seasons. He has 10 goals this season but it still hasn’t been anything like the one he produced in 2012/13. Additionally, in his last four seasons, where he has mostly been deployed as a right winger, he has just eight assists in 81 Premier League games.

Arsenal fans have mixed opinions on Walcott, but almost all Gunners fans would agree that in his time at the club, he has not done enough, at least not what was expected of him when he first arrived.

It seems Wenger has stuck by the 28-year-old because of his loyalty and the age at which he purchased him, but he shouldn’t be a part of Arsenal’s future.

#3 Kieran Gibbs

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  Keiran Gibbs of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on May 7, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Gibbs has been outperformed consistently by Monreal the past couple of years

It has become a regularity at Arsenal coming towards the end of Wenger’s reign that a lot of youth or players bought from a young age are given opportunities they shouldn’t be and Kieran Gibbs is one of those players.

Over the last two years, the left back has lost his starting position as, since his arrival, Nacho Monreal has barely put a foot wrong. Additionally, Monreal has won more tackles, has more clearances and a better successful take on percentage per game this year.

There have been strong rumours linking Arsenal with Sead Kolasinac from Schalke and that would leave Gibbs as the third choice left back in the squad.

This makes it hard to see why the Englishman would want to stay at the club. With his limited game time and his contract ending next year, the signals point towards the 27-year-old leaving the club and it would suit both him and Arsenal.

#4 David Ospina

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Arturo Vidal of Bayern Muenchen scores their fifth goal past David Ospina of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Bayern Muenchen at Emirates Stadium on March 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Ospina has always been a No. 2 at Arsenal

Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina has spent three years at Arsenal and has never started a season as the first choice. It would certainly suit both parties for Ospina to leave the club this summer.

Ospina is a diminutive goalkeeper who struggles to claim the ball from corners, is not the best at kicking and his reach for shots can sometimes be very poor. His best attribute is undoubtedly his reflexes which have saved Arsenal on numerous occasions this season.

Ospina’s saves per goal ratio in the Champions League, where he has played most of his games, is 1.31. Cech, on the other hand, has a much better ratio of 2.44 and Wojciech Szczesny, who is likely to return to Arsenal this summer, has a ratio of 2.72. This would, therefore, suggest that Ospina has no place at the club next season.

Ospina has made just 24 league starts in three years, suggesting he has only ever been considered a number two. There has been plenty of interest from other clubs abroad for the Colombian and it’ll be no surprise if Arsenal do decide to get rid of the goalkeeper this summer.

#5 Lucas Perez

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  Lucas Perez of Arsenal looks on during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Perez has struggled for game time this season

It is extremely disappointing to see the treatment Lucas Perez has received this season at Arsenal.

He has made just two league starts all season, something which would suggest he has been poor when given the opportunity in cup competitions, but that is not quite the case. He has arguably offered more than both Walcott and Alex Iwobi in wide positions, which isn’t even his natural position. But Wenger still refuses to give the Spaniard a starting berth in the league.

In 11 Premier League appearances, nine of those being from the bench, he has created more chances than Walcott on average per game. He has a much superior shot accuracy than both Iwobi and Walcott in the Champions League and the Premier League. Yet it still seems unlikely that Perez is above either of those players in the pecking order.

For Perez’s sake, he should certainly request to leave the club this summer, and considering his limited game time this season, the Gunners should consider selling him whilst his price tag is similar to what Arsenal purchased him for.

Edited by Staff Editor


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