Arsenal stopped their Premier League rot with a much-needed win over Chelsea on Boxing Day.
The north London club has spent the last few weeks under the microscope after devolving into relegation form with an alarming eight league defeats on their record already this season.
However, the Gunners have the potential to resuscitate their campaign after securing an unlikely 3-1 win over Chelsea courtesy of goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka and Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal's tumultuous 2020
It was a performance that underlined how Arsenal's best performers under Mikel Arteta have often been the club's academy products as opposed to the big-name stars topping the wage bill.
Besides, for example, it's well documented that Mesut Ozil is pocketing in excess of £300,000-a-week despite being exiled from the club's Premier League squad.
It's a bizarre situation that had us turning in the direction of Arsenal's payroll, which is listed on spotrac, to see just how incongruous their wages are with the performance of those earning them.
Arsenal player wages
To try and work that out, we've decided to arrange the players whose wages are disclosed into tiers ranging from 'very underpaid' to 'very overpaid' based on what they've contributed on the pitch.
Now, we're no financiers, so don't think that this is GIVEMESPORT grandstanding about how a player 'only' pocketing £100,000-a-week is in any way outrageous, especially in this year of all years.
In fact, we're not really looking at the figures at all, rather where that places the player in relation to their teammates - and their tier position is based on whether that lines up with their importance to the squad.
Besides, trust me when I say that in a year where Arsenal made over 50 staff redundant that me putting players in 'underpaid' categories isn't me moaning that footballers are paid pittance.
Ranking Arsenal players
But anyhow, disclaimers aside, you can check out how the Arsenal squad ranked down below from the low-earning high performers to the high-earning low performers:
Bukayo Saka: £10,000-a-week
This is pretty self-explanatory because there's no way that one of Arsenal's best performers in 2020, bagging a goal in the Chelsea victory, should be collecting dust near the bottom of the wage bill.
Bernd Leno: £100,000-a-week
Kieran Tierney: £80,769-a-week
Dani Ceballos: £51,923-a-week
Rob Holding: £25,000-a-week
Leno, Tierney, Holding and Gabriel have been some of Arsenal's standout performers this season, so it's a little surprising to see them stewing in the middle sections of the club's payroll.
Meanwhile, this isn't really a compliment to Ceballos because zero Premier League goals is hardly anything to shout about, but clearly Arsenal struck a very favourable arrangement with Real Madrid.
Thomas Partey: £250,000-a-week
Hector Bellerin: £110,000-a-week
Nicolas Pepe: £100,000-a-week
Granit Xhaka: £100,000-a-week
Gabriel Martinelli: £90,000-a-week
Callum Chambers: £50,000-a-week
Mohamed Elneny: £50,000-a-week
Eddie Nketiah: £45,000-a-week
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: £35,000-a-week
Joe Willock: £20,000-a-week
Emile Smith Rowe: £20,000-a-week
Reiss Nelson: £15,000-a-week
Matt Macey: £10,000-a-week
As you'd expect from a club of Arsenal's magnitude, their wage bill is in line with player performance for the most part and we think these 13 stars are ordered pretty well in terms of squad importance.
You could argue that Partey has blagged himself a few £10,000 wads too many, but he's looked a class above in his fleeting outings so far and we'll similarly give Xhaka the benefit of the doubt.
We're also pleasantly surprised that record-signing Pepe isn't bagging excesses relative to his transfer fee and most of the young players place fairly for often they feature in the first-team.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: £250,000-a-week
Alexandre Lacazette: £182,063-a-week
David Luiz: £100,962-a-week
Pablo Mari: £85,000-a-week
Cedric Soares: £75,000-a-week
Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson: £40,000-a-week
William Saliba: £40,000-a-week
Aubameyang and Lacazette deserve the big bucks based on ability alone, but just five league goals from open play this season between them makes second and fifth highest-earners seem a little extreme right now.
Experts are already warning that Rúnarsson was an ill-judged signing for the Gunners, while Saliba is still awaiting his first senior appearance and the duo of Soares and Mari remain fringe players.
Luiz probably has the stongest argument for deserving his wage, dropping world-class displays every now and again, but has let the side down too much at times to become a guaranteed starter.
Mesut Ozil: £350,000-a-week
Sead Kolasinac: £100,000-a-week
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: £92,000-a-week
Shkodran Mustafi: £90,000-a-week
What can we say about these six? Ozil isn't even in Arsenal's 25-man squad, Sokratis hasn't played a single game in 2020/21 and Mustafi is one of the division's most mistake-prone defenders.
Kolasinac has looked poor all season long and Willian is turning out to be one of the poorest signings of the summer, registering just one Premier League shot on target in 12 appearances.
What next for Arsenal?
To tell you the truth, a lot of the 'overpaid' wages wouldn't have looked so terrible in the summer when Arsenal were parading around the FA Cup and Community Shield trophies.
But with players like Aubameyang, Lacazette and Willian struggling for form, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that they're in the club's top five for player performance in the way their wages are.
Besides, after the unexpected Boxing Day victory, perhaps the Arsenal chiefs can expect a few knocks on their door from young players looking to have their scintillating displays rewarded.News Now - Sport News