It has been an up-and-down season for Kieran Gibbs.

The young left back spent four months months on the sidelines from October onwards after surgery to both groins, joining Andre Santos, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson on the treatment table during Arsenal's full-back injury crisis over the Christmas period.

His return could not come quickly enough and Kieran became a key part of the side which won nine of 10 Premier League fixtures over February, March and April.

His solid displays kept Santos out of the side until the final match of the season at West Brom, in which Gibbs' appearance off the bench proved crucial to Arsenal's eventual third-placed finish.

While ending the season fully fit was a positive in itself, Kieran also celebrated his first career goals during 2011/12. He headed home in September's Carling Cup win over Shrewsbury before opening his league account against Aston Villa in March.

“It was strange to score, but it was about time," said the defender. "I’m not sure how many games I have played now, but it's always nice to help out the team. I’m just happy to be back playing, we have turned things around dramatically and I'm happy to be part of it."

Arsène Wenger has a welcome selection headache on his hands next season with the left-back role open to either the 22-year-old or Brazilian international Santos.

“The most important thing has been the way we have been winning, making people aware what we are capable of. Whereas in the past we might have lost some of those games due to lack of concentration, we seem to be sealing victories now."

Competition Appearances Goals Assists
Premier League 15+1 1 -
Champions League 4+1 - -
FA Cup - - -
Carling Cup 1 1 -
Total 20+2 2 0

On the final day of the season, Arsenal needed three points against West Brom to seal automatic qualification for the Champions League. With the Gunners 3-2 up in injury time, Billy Jones was set free in the area - but substitute Gibbs saved the day with a wonderful last-ditch challenge.

11/12: Arsenal 3-0 Aston Villa - Kieran Gibbs

Kieran celebrates his opening goal against Aston Villa

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18 Jun 2012