Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Arsenal FC – Under the Microscope

Arsenal are coming off the back of what was a pretty poor showing this season by their own standards. However, with a new manager in place in Unai Emery, they will be hoping to push on this season and challenge for Champions League football once more.

Highlight of the season for the Gunners was their showing in the Europa League. Although many people thought they should have gone on to win the tournament, they went out at the semi-final stage. Their demise in the Europa League came at the hands of a very strong Atletico Madrid side – the team who would go on to win the whole thing. I do not think there is any shame in going out to that Atletico side at all.

Lowlight of the season is saying goodbye to Arsene Wenger after 20 years in charge at the club. A lot of Arsenal fans may see this as a highlight, but Arsenal wouldn’t be anywhere near the position they are in if it wasn’t for that man. Granted, his last few seasons didn’t quite go to plan, but his leaving marks the end of an incredible 20 years at the club.

State of Arsenal

For a few years now, Arsenal fans have been campaigning to get rid of Arsene Wenger, they’ve successfully achieved that, so what now? The distinguished Frenchman Unai Emery has taken over, and has wasted no time at all in getting down to business.

They have already signed German goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Swiss right back Stephan Lichtschteiner and Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos. If the media are to be believed, you can also expect the signings of Uruguayan holding midfielder Lucas Torreira and and French U-20 midfielder Matteo Guendouzi in the next few days.

The fans still aren’t over the moon with their board, especially their owner Stan Kroenke. Despite the size of the club, Arsenal still refuse to spend big and therefore are nowhere near the title race. Until they start to pull out the same kind of money the Manchester clubs and Chelsea do, a race for Champions League football is likely as high as they will get.

Diamonds in the rough

Reiss Nelson

At 18 years old, Nelson really does look like he has the potential to be special. He made his debut for Arsenal last season in the Europa League and went on to make 15 appearances across all competitions. This was alongside playing for the Arsenal U-23 side who went on to win PL2. Nelson also managed to pick up the player of the season award in that competition.

The problem some Arsenal fans had about him last season was where he was being played, at right wing back. He doesn’t seem very comfortable there and I’m sure many Gooners will be looking forward to seeing him in a more advanced role.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

Konstantinos Mavropanos made his Premier League debut this season at Old Trafford, so was thrust straight into the limelight. His performance in that game was given a lot of praise from fans and pundits alike, despite the narrow loss to Mourinho’s men. He isn’t actually an academy player so I am kind of cheating here. He was signed from PAS Giannina in Greece in January of this year. However, at the tender age of 20, he is EXACTLY what I would classify as a diamond in the rough. As an Arsenal fan friend told me, he does still need to grow in maturity as the red card against Leicester last season shows us.

Joe Willock

At 18 years old, Joe Willock is a very calm and composed figure on the ball and could go on to become a key figure for Arsenal in the future. The new signing of Matteo Guendouzi should keep him on his toes performance wise too. If I was an Arsenal fan, I’d be praying for Emery to give this kid more playing time this coming season as he is definitely one to look out for.

He made 11 appearances in total last season, including two in the League. He made his Premier League debut in the 2-1 defeat to Newcastle at St James’ Park. Despite the poor result, Willock stood out in that game for his pure work rate and energy in the middle of the park.

When all is said and done this coming season, Arsenal fans must remember that this is a transitional period. If things don’t go your way, it doesn’t mean you have to stage a mass protest against Emery. Be patient!

If you enjoyed this article, then keep your eyes peeled on the website as their will be one for all 20 Premier League sides over the next few weeks.

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