2. Per Mertesacker
Arsenal may not have the best defensive record this season, but no team has let in fewer goals over the last 12 months or so than Arsene Wenger's main men at the heart of his defence.
Per Mertesacker has shown his quality again this season and improved even further than he did last after a troublesome first term in the Premier League. His lack of pace was, correctly, criticised early on, but he has since shown this doe snot have to be a decisive factor.
The Germany international's reading of the game and timing of his tackles make it seem as though he has a telepathic ability to predict where the ball is going to be played by opposition attackers. Not only this, but he has become an important member of the Gunners squad and has developed himself into a fine leader even though he does not have the armband.