By Kevin Mooney
The ceremonies are over, the lockers are cleaned out and the pitch at Emirates Stadium is quiet. But before we close the book on Arsenal's 125th anniversary season we took a moment to catch up with some fans on this side of the Atlantic to see what they thought of the season that was.
At the end of most seasons, there is usually at least some semblance of a debate over who the most valuable player of the year was. But with 37 goals and nine assists, our panel of supporters had no trouble agreeing on Robin van Persie as Arsenal's top player of 2011/12.
Zara Bashir: Blogger and podcaster at LPG podcast
I think it's difficult to talk about the achievements of this Arsenal team without talking about how integral Robin van Persie has been to it. Not only was he Arsenal's best player this season but most would argue he was the best player in England. Scoring 30 goals domestically and 37 in all competitions and winning the PFA and FWA POTY awards, this season finally answered the question that had been dwelling in the minds of many Arsenal fans in seasons past: "What would Arsenal have achieved if Robin had been around for most of the season?"
Chris Toronyi: Stateside Gooner and host of the Arsenal America Podcast
What do I need to say that hasn't been said already? Captain on and off the pitch. Delivered goals that will out live him. Thank you, Robin.
Mark Barbeau: San Francisco Branch Manager, Arsenal America
Beyond simply the goals, he comported himself with the class, determination, and spirit you want to see from your Captain.
But the real debate picked up when I asked them to name the Most Valuable Player Not Named Robin van Persie -- we'll dub it the "MVPNNRVP". The opinion was nearly equally divided, although in the end one player had the edge. Still, some members of the panel had an easier time deciding than the others.
Easy. KOS. Without question Koscielny provided the stability at the back. Yes, we conceded more goals than we have in recent memory, but he was exactly what we needed. He was consistently great with his play in the air and his timing when going in for the tackle was second to none. Oh, and he scored the winner against West Brom.
Joel McNamara: Co-host of the Arsenal Review USA Podcast
Koscielny for dutifully and (usually) competently putting out the defensive fires created by some of his compatriots in the backline and in defensive midfield. Kos just edges out Arteta in this category.
But other members of the panel saw it slightly differently. For them, while the French defender deserved many plaudits, it was the last-minute signing from Everton who earned himself the special and unique honor of MVPNNRVP.
Kyle Van Buren: Co-host of the Arsenal Review USA Podcast
A lot of players deserve a mention and frankly it pains me not to pick Koscienly, but the player of the season (not named RVP) has to be Arteta. Arsenal struggled to win without him and what we saw regarding his leadership and experience playing at the highest level, you can understand why.
Brett Chase: Vice President of the New York City Arsenal Supporters
Many will back Koscielny, and I love Kos, but I don't think enough can be said about Arteta. His presence in midfield has been assured, his passing metronomic, his distribution immaculate, his experience palpable. He has brought precisely what Arsenal were missing in the engine room. It's a bit of the Gilberto Silva Syndrome here, I'm afraid; it is difficult to appreciate just how good he is until he's not there and you realize what is missing.
Up next: Looking ahead to 2012/13
The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 May 2012