Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Will This Move Do More Harm Than Good?

So, Transfer Deadline Day passed through with not too many fireworks from the Arsenal camp. Most of the touted departures happened except maybe for Reiss Nelson.

The most interesting departure to me wasn’t really about the player but the choice of club for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. West Bromwich Albion? I mean no disrespect to the football club and I’m sure the young England international will get the minutes he craves and has been denied at the Emirates.

I don’t know the goings on behind the scenes at the club but when hearing the teams that were interested in signing the youngster such as Leicester and Southampton they seemed a good fit. Clubs at the right end of the table and clubs that play decent football. The perfect setting in my eyes for Ainsley to bring his game along with regular starts.

Now the rumours that were bandied about were that Arsenal was not keen on lending a player to a direct rival. This is something that I personally don’t agree with. I’d have gripes maybe through years of history if one of the clubs were a Manchester United, a Liverpool or God forbid a Spurs but to deny him to hopefully better himself and return to the club a better player then Southampton and Leicester were great choices.

Yes you can call those clubs rivals but let’s put it this way, are Arsenal due to play those clubs every week until the season ends? They will play both clubs once more and through loan rules Maitland Niles won’t be lining up against the club. He is a talented player and will add to those clubs but when it comes down to the crunch Arsenal Football Club is responsible for its own destiny.

If Arsenal fails at the last hurdle it will come down to their results they achieve between now and the end of the season. The results of other clubs should not be their concern, focusing on beating the team in front of them is all that matters.

If Maitland Niles is still part of the long term future for Arsenal then his development at a higher level club should have been paramount.

Now the final decision may not have all fallen at the hands of the club and it is rumoured that Maitland Niles took particular interest in the role he would play at his future temporary club.

He came through the ranks as a midfielder however broke into first team football as an auxiliary full back. His adaptability has been a blessing and a curse for him, many still lead calls for him to be given a run of games in his favoured position in the middle of the park. However he has impressed when played as right back and at times deputising as a left back more so than any of his midfield appearances.

Do I think he play in midfield? Well the answer is yes. Do I think him being solely a midfielder he would be a starter in the Arsenal midfield I would say no. I feel there would be too many specialist midfielders that would be ahead of him in the pecking order, even Joe Willock being one of them.

It’s a tricky situation and having an opportunity to get games in midfield is a perfect opportunity to prove Mikel (and myself) wrong. This is probably why I have the biggest issue with the choice of club. West Brom with Sam Allardyce at the helm just doesn’t scream out to me great football that can bring out the best in our player. This is a club in a relegation scrap being managed by a manager whose philosophy is more likely to bypass neat intricate play in midfield in favour of lumping it up to the forwards. I have to hold my hands up that I haven’t watched West Brom games and they could well be incorporating a quality passing game but I’ve witnessed enough Allardyce games over the years to draw a conclusion that that probably isn’t the  case.

The move almost mirrors that of the loan Serge Gnabry had with West Brom under Tony Pulis. Totally different players I understand but both loaned to a team that play in a style that doesn’t compliment the strengths of the player.

That makes you question the thought process behind the move and hope Ainsley has thought this through properly with his agent. Especially when you consider the other factor that was noted for the midfielder’s desperation to get minutes: his new England career.

As we all know Maitland-Niles has been a feature in the last few England squads based on his performances for Arsenal as full back. His adaptability on either flank was something that appealed to Gareth Southgate and led to a call up. Now it is known that Ainsley is desperate to get a taste of International Football at a major tournament and pushed for a loan to ensure he gets a chance to fulfil this at the upcoming Euros.

You have to realise that he has earned his England caps so far on the basis of his full back performances and has played in that position for England. Will he be enhancing or hindering his chances for selection by now playing in Midfield? A position just like at Arsenal he would struggle to dislodge the specialist midfielders. Admittedly his England chances were being harmed just as much by staying at Arsenal and hardly playing. He’s going to be getting the minutes but not in the position he earned his England caps for.

His adaptability is still a big sell and just playing puts him in the sights of Gareth Southgate. Whether it pays off time will tell. I hope he makes a success of his loan as I am still a big fan of the player in the full back position he’s not as keen on compared to other positions. He has the athleticism and I feel he fits the mould of the type of fullback that makes Mikel Arteta’s game plan work by transitioning between full back and midfield during the game. Feels like it was the perfect fit but dislodging Hector Bellerin has been a challenge he has struggled to win.

Given the timing of his signing he could be making his debut against Spurs. West Brom has got a lot more interested spectators now for the rest of the season. I hope they can put in a good fight to beat relegation inspired by Maitland-Niles in their team. He has a few former Arsenal players to help him settle in as a relegation threatened team needs players to hit the ground running which I’m sure he can do. Can’t think of a better way to start than with three points against Spurs. Good luck Ainsley.

This post has also featured on Gunners Town site which I write for.

Gunners To Seek Revenge Minus Aubameyang

The FA Cup weekend is over now, the last one of the season for Arsenal. However disappointing it all felt we have to always look forward. We won’t be adding to our record number of FA Cup wins but there’s still plenty football to be played and targets to be achieved.

We entered this week ready to conclude round two of the matches away to Southampton, a match now with a lot at stake especially for Mikel Arteta’s reputation. The strength of the team was sacrificed at the weekend with one eye firmly placed on obtaining maximum points in the Premier League match up. A masterstroke when it comes off but serious questions will be asked of the manager if that isn’t the case at the final whistle tonight.

With the news breaking yesterday on the dismissal of Frank Lampard as head coach of Chelsea it really does shine a different light on how little time there is allowed for the modern day manager. Admittedly Chelsea have form for sacking managers on a whim and all the goodwill of being deemed a legend player for the club means absolutely nothing when you consider the amount invested over the summer that hasn’t reaped the rewards in the Premier League. Calls for the dismissal of Mikel only weeks ago were rightly ignored as he needed to be afforded time to address the problems he was experiencing. He has a transfer window to make some changes and of course he will live and die by those decisions. Time will tell but as a club Arsenal would be best to not follow the Chelsea blueprint for hiring and firing.

Southampton went full strength against the Gunners in which they are entitled to but the hope is that extra bit of fatigue will show when the two teams meet again. Our saviours so far this season ‘the kids’ will be unleashed from the off and it is hoped they will make the difference.

As per the reasons for Aubameyang to miss the weekend game it seems highly likely he will miss the game tonight which will be a massive miss. Just as it looked like a corner could have finally been turned in his patchy form, any continuity will now be disrupted as he takes time to process his personal issues. We wish our captain well and hope he can overcome his situation with full support from the club, family and close friends.

Even with an off form Aubameyang the opposition will always have a game plan that focuses on nullifying his strengths which in turn opens up spaces for the likes of Saka and Smith Rowe to exploit. Now with him out of the mix for the game who will take his place? There are a number of options, whether they are earned on merit is down to the interpretation of the reader.

Will Pepe be that guy to play on the left? He certainly isn’t the flavour of the month right now with many fans that were keeping the faith giving up. He didn’t have his best game against Southampton. In reality none of his best games have come in the league yet this season. If I’m being honest there is an extra level of scrutinising applied to the Ivoirian’s performances, every touch, every pass, every shot  gets analysed more so than other players. This may lead to a bias on the overall view of his performances and he is almost written off before he kicks a ball. However given the amount of money we paid for him the expectation for him to do more goes hand in hand with the extra scrutiny he receives.

For as much as he didn’t do on Saturday there were some good pieces of play, not enough consistently throughout the 90 minutes but I could think back to a peach of a free kick laid onto Martinelli’s feet that wasn’t capitalised or a sweet through ball to Nketiah that was also wasted. We had a number of years where Ozil would be anonymous in games but his one or two moments of magic would result in chances on goal which when scored would be the only thing we crow about. Before you pick up your pitchforks and demand my extradition to Alcatraz I’m not comparing him to the German I’m just merely stating the fine margins in football when chances are taken.

If Pepe is not the option then we could go with Martinelli? The young Brazilian has been a breath of fresh air since he returned to the team this season after his long layoff. His energy and quality has been a major boost to the team and provided more options for Mikel when choosing his team. If we are being honest on Saturday he didn’t cover himself in glory and was actually more ineffectual than Pepe. This could be down to a number of reasons having just overcome that ankle jarring recently before the Newcastle game. This will likely have led to a bit of time off training and he just needed a tiny bit more time to get his groove back and fire on all cylinders. Time is on his side, he’s young and a one off bad game doesn’t trigger any red flags. The only worry is the stop start to his routine since returning with a couple niggling injuries picked up that could act as a hindrance; other than that he is comfortable operating that left wing. He seems the type that would want to play regardless of his injury state and Arteta needs to fully assess him to ensure he doesn’t trigger anything that could lead to a longer time amount of time on the treatment table.   

If Martinelli isn’t risked to start then another option is Willian… erm. No comment, I have a family I need to provide for.

Two options could be to switch either Saka or Smith-Rowe to the left side, it may not be ideal to remove them from the positions where they have been excelling in recently however both are capable to play there. I doubt Mikel would get any reluctance from either if asked to play in that position and I have every confidence they wouldn’t disappoint.  Playing either there would most likely lead to one of the names I mentioned earlier taking up the vacated spots. It’s a dilemma Mikel will have to think about, it’s good to have options but you have to ensure you make the right choice for the optimum possible outcome.

I didn’t add Reiss Nelson to that list because it’s hard to see how he gets back into reckoning at the moment. His absence from the Arsenal squad on Saturday could be down to a number of things, could there be an impending loan deal in the works? Does Mikel after now having spent a year with him decided he’s just not had an effective enough impact on the team like some of his fellow Hale end graduates? Or has Reiss simply been outed as the mole in the squad? Your guess is as good as mine but the youngsters absence is a question that certainly needs to be addressed to Mikel Arteta. I can’t imagine him being elevated into the match day squad for tonight after his lack of involvement in any capacity on Saturday. As far as I know he has been training regularly and there have been no updates on injuries so let’s see how that one plays out.

Roll on kick off, I’m itching to see the team get over the disappointing result from the weekend and take advantage of the immediate chance to exact revenge on Southampton.

Come on you Gunners!

This post has also featured on Gunners Town site which I also write for.

Balogun: Will He Be Making A Mistake Leaving?

Yesterday news had broke through the Athletic that our own Folarin Balogun was due to sign a pre contract agreement with an unnamed foreign club. News that is a bit gutting to many Gunners fans as it is clear as day this kid is a talent and has the potential to be a top player. The speculation on whether he would sign a new contract is something that has swung above the head of the club like Damocles sword for the best part of a year now.

It’s the nature of the beast when it comes to youth football, these kids initially sign medium length contracts to start with in the hope that they develop to the levels that result in being ready for first team football. It is always a gamble and a game of chess between Player, Club and of course their family/agents on whether they prove their worth resulting in a more lucrative, longer term contract.

It’s that in between grey area period in which a player can weigh up their options and then struggle to resist the temptation to peer over into other fields and see if the grass looks a little greener when it becomes apparent  they are a wanted man. When a player is not deemed quite the level that the club are looking for; to then release them is a swift and ruthless process no young player wants to experience. There’s potentially a villain on either side of the negotiation table.

Clubs invest a lot in their youth development and to see fruition of their time and money is always gratifying so when in the odd times when a player decides pass up on a new contract and move elsewhere it can be quite gutting and frustrating. Questions get asked and learning’s are made to avoid losing big talents for nothing in future.

Fans don’t always understand or should I say accept such decisions but when playing devil’s advocate it is not always greed that can lead a player to want to take a slightly different option to take their career to the next stage.

Factors come into play, do they see a path to the first team or is it blocked by other players ahead of them. Some youngsters just want to play football wherever they can get it and see first team opportunities may present themselves a lot sooner at other clubs or it could simply be bad advice from an agent or family. There isn’t always patience from young players and when being told they are not ready yet it may be hard to take especially if they glance at the first team and see themselves as better than senior players in their position. Some may not accept being told they still have flaws to work on when other clubs tell them the opposite and promise first team football.

Arsenal have had their fair share of players lost on a free through reluctance to sign a contract over the years, some of those players have gone on to carve top level careers whilst others have not quite hit the levels they may have envisioned. It really is a gamble and being the star player or biggest prospect at one club doesn’t always equate to being that same stature of player elsewhere.

You could list such names as Marcus McGuane, Josh Dasilva, Xavier Ameachi and Chris Williock as players over recent years who decided to refuse a contract and move on. Let’s have a little look at how those players have fared.

Josh Dasilva was highly rated and it was a bit of a surprise when he went to Brentford, admittedly he has carved out a decent career with the Championship club so far and recently caught the eye in the Carabao Cup victory over Newcastle. He is very much a part of the England youth set up and a regular feature in the U21 squads.  He is definitely on the radar of bigger clubs and it won’t be long before he is gracing the Premiership with either Brentford or another club.  

Marcus McGuane must have believed he hit the jackpot when he secured a move to Barcelona. You can’t begrudge a player when such a European super power comes a knocking. At the time he was on the fringes of the first team making his debut, gaining some valuable minutes in the Europa League for the Gunners. However he made the move to Spain after letting his contract run down, I believe making a first team appearance in a Super Cup game but primarily played for the Barcelona B team. After a while he went on loan to Holland for a season and was then signed by Nottingham Forest playing for their reserve team initially before being sent out on loan this season to Oxford United.  He could well turn out to be a fine player but you can’t help but feel he has taken a lot of sideways moves in his career so far and wonder was it worth leaving Arsenal when he did.

Xavier Ameachi you have to say has been a bit unlucky in his Arsenal career. He looked a top talent in all the times I had seen him and looked a dead cert for the first team. He was up there with Reiss Nelson at the time in my opinion and making that left side of attack his own. Then misfortune struck, he suffered a bad injury that put him out of the team and the limelight for a while. In that time he was on the treatment table the first team then had a requirement for an attacking left sided player and low and behold a kid from the group of scholars younger that Ameachi’s was promoted to the reserves to fill in. Based on impressive performances for the reserves that certain Buyako Saka was afforded minutes in the first team and hasn’t looked back since. Ameachi on the other hand returned to fitness but wasn’t in a position to usurp the new star kid on the block. Seeing his pathway blocked he decided to take on a new adventure abroad in Germany and is currently plying his trade for Hamburger SV. He is still very young and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before we see him back on these shores hopefully at highest level.

Chris Willock’s name is better known given to the fact his brother Joe is very much a current first team player at Arsenal. Chris was probably deemed as the most talented of the three Willock brothers. He was certainly highly rated within the club and was given first team minutes in the League cup by Arsene Wenger. Sadly he didn’t see his future at the club and upon the expiration of his contract decided to take on an adventure in Portugal by signing for Benfica. Similar to McGuane this didn’t result in first team football for Benfica but a playing career for their B team. This resulted after a couple seasons with some loan spells back in the UK firstly with West Brom and then with Huddersfield Town. He eventually left Benfica and was signed permanently by QPR this season where he’s plying his trade in the Championship.

There’s no guarantee that any of these players if they stayed on with the Arsenal would be first team regulars and still at the club today however we have always had a history of giving opportunities to youngsters. Many of whom carved out good careers for themselves based on the experience provided in the Arsenal team. If Balogun does indeed pass up on signing a contract and moves on he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to make that choice. There’s no guarantee he will fulfil all potential if he stays same way he cannot be guaranteed he will fulfil it elsewhere. One thing we can assure him as fans is there is a massive belief in his abilities and a massive push mainly on social media for Mikel Arteta to afford him more minutes in the first team.  I for one hope he does stay but if he does decide to move on then good luck to him. We move forward as a club regardless if it’s a first team player or a youth prospect that chooses to leave.

Enjoy you day people.

This post has also featured on Gunners Town site which I also write for.

It Isn’t All Bad At Arsenal (Rose Tinted Glasses View).

We are currently in the midst of the eye of storm in which the results have not been great in the Premier League. Of course as you’d expect the response hasn’t been favourable towards Mikel Arteta and his team. In hindsight there is no such thing as an acceptable defeat and therefore things will always be dissected. The team selection, the formation, the game plan, the execution by the players and any individual mistakes endured. If we were to evaluate fans feeling judging by social media response immediately after the game against Wolves then yes the world is about to end. However it’s time to put some things into perspective and not shift into defcon 1 just yet.

Yes, the result against Wolves wasn’t favourable but as it stands the club isn’t adrift from the majority of the teams above them, a win against Wolves would have had the team merely three points behind Chelsea, a team in 3rd place who aren’t a team deemed to be in crisis. It’s a bit busy in the middle of the table and a couple of wins strung together would have us right in the mix. You just need to look how in the doldrums Manchester United looked after we beat them only a few weeks ago and how they are headed up the table now after a little run of results.

Things can change after a few wins are strung together

We must not forget our squad has been affected by a combination of Covid-19 infections, suspensions and injuries. Kolasinac may not be the first name fans want on the team sheet but he’s an option all the same. A manager with options is a manager with wealth. Pepe’s Europa League form gives us an indication of what he can bring to the team once he overcomes the many factors holding him back. I don’t really need to elaborate more on Thomas Partey, he is the quality we need and miss in the middle of the park. He was a big loss against Wolves; Hopefully the rumours of a longer term injury are not true.

We must take into account this is Mikel Arteta’s first season in charge, this is a gradual rebuild job and not an overnight fix. Okay, so the football hasn’t looked great in every game but the Spaniard has a vision and not every player at his disposal may fit into the mould to get the best out of his system. Arteta came from Manchester City with an embarrassing amount of riches; we don’t have that at Arsenal. We cannot replace a whole team in one window and so therefore the wish lists of ditching half the squad by many fans in one go just isn’t feasible. Piece by piece, window after window is the way it will be done until Mikel can get his team under his vision in place. We really need to apply some patience with regards to this. Arsenal not having an unlimited amount of funds is not a secret but a fact we have known for years. Gate receipts and the impact of Covid-19 has complicated things a bit more. Players will come in but as I alluded to it’s a gradual build of the squad in Mikel’s vision.

This isn’t an overnight fix

Let’s not forget for most fans when Mikel was appointed we all agreed to give the manager time, we all agreed it’s not a quick fix and that it will be a bumpy ride for the next few years. Cue 10 games into the season and fans want to riot because we aren’t pushing for the title this season at this stage already. We have to have some patience and calling for the manager’s head at this stage is not the way forward.

I understand the situation Arsenal is in is not helped by the fact Spurs are sitting pretty at the top of the table. If anything it is merely the fuel feeding a greater sense of rage amongst fans. We have to look at the bigger picture, we may not be at the top of the table as we are at the start of a journey. Spurs have a team that have been improving over the years, they are doing better in the league than us but we all know how the story ends with them…Spursy.

One thing we should put into perspective is this season or should I say 2020 as a whole has upset the balance when it comes to football logic. Teams are suffering freak results left right and centre; you could honestly pinpoint a thrashing experienced by every team that makes the premier league in 2020. Until this pandemic is well and truly on the backburner should we really be judging how the football is going? Leicester just lost to Fulham at home, a team that have been the guaranteed three points secured go to team in the league. Away wins (I think currently at 44%) are more prevalent than home wins in the Premier League this season. The lack of fans have stripped a lot of the advantage that comes with being a home team and psychologically the players are not intimidated or affected by playing on another teams patch. The home defeats haven’t been great but you’d find Arsenal isn’t alone in experiencing such a record.

2020: A year of unpredictable results

Time is a healer; things will change for the better for Arsenal Football Club. Many fans are not in the most optimistic of mental states in preparation for the North London Derby. Why can’t we go to White Hart Lane and get a result? Yes fans may return for the game but the hostile atmosphere might be the very thing to spur on (excuse the pun) and inspire the Arsenal players to turn up. Arsenal always masters the art of pulling out a win against all odds.  On paper many won’t see past a Spurs win, well paper doesn’t win matches the players on the pitch do. Watch this space. Keep the faith.

Enjoy you day people.

This post has also featured on Gunners Town site which I also write for.

How Do The Gunners Move Forward? Formation Or Personnel?

We’ve had at least 24-48hrs to calm down from the match against Leicester. An amount of time to dissipate the red mist  and see things a little bit more clearly (or at very least not want to smash your tv).

I’m no angel; I wasn’t best pleased with the result and was left asking so many questions and not finding many solutions to what I had raised.

Understandably no defeat is taken nicely, even if you’ve won a group in qualifying and throw the kids in for the dead rubber last game you still want a win at the very least avoid defeat.

Its human nature really, at the start of Mikel Arteta’s tenure with the club many made the statement that this is a long term project and Mikel will needs time. We can’t expect to be challenging for the title within 6 months. There will be plenty bumps along the way, lots of ups and downs, mistakes will be made especially from a young inexperienced manager but the key thing is to give him time and our full backing.

When Arsene left we entered unfamiliar territory for many Arsenal fans that knew nothing but Arsene. There was evidence over at Manchester United that to replace someone after such a prolonged amount of time would not be a smooth transition. Unai Emery was just the wrong choice for manager and despite some early warning signs things were not going well he cannot turn around and say he wasn’t given a chance to get things right.

Anyway no point me bleating on about the recent managerial history of the club, we are all well aware. I suppose the point of me bringing it up was to highlight it’s far too early to sound the alarm bells.

To take some positives from the football this weekend is not many teams made much advancement at the top, plenty of dropped points by our rivals and therefore Arteta has some food for thought moving forward. Arsenal are still there or thereabouts and the team has plenty scope for improvement.

The manager will have learned a lot from Sunday’s game. Yes we can rue the injustices of the ruled out goal from Lacazette but we must not also dismiss the blatant 2nd yellow card Hector Bellerin should have received. One incorrectly ruled moment turned out key but a game in which we were in control we should have done a lot more when we were on top.

No point singling out one striker’s performance but ask questions of why when on top are we as a team are not putting teams to the sword?

The key factor that comes to mind is the lack of a creative fulcrum to dovetail the newly instilled tenacity and focus. The big question to ask yourself is does that lay with the tactics or lack of personnel. You could argue both really, let’s have a looks at both sides:

The Formation

The team set up with a 433 formation however maybe due to the easing in of four at the back over utilising three centre backs there is more emphasis on the midfield 3 acting as a shield than supporting attacks. I would certainly bracket Partey and Xhaka as more defensive minded whilst Ceballos is great at dictating play advancing from deep and is equally comfortable mucking it in the middle of the park putting his foot in.

It would be interesting to see Ceballos advancing further forward to see if he could make things happen in a freer role. Sunday’s tactics seemed to focus more on utilising the timed runs of the fullbacks. A tactic that seemed to work in the sense that the ball was finding those players in advanced positions Bellerin especially however the most was not made of those situations.

With the spaces vacated by the full backs the midfield three were as it seems instructed to fill the gaps left by them. Again it added to the stability and you could argue from a defensive sense the team is looking more solid for setting up that way. It’s the attack which seems to be suffering and you have to wonder if by having a more disciplined set up, the attack being left to make the magic happen by themselves was always bound to eventually struggle when teams wised up to that being go to tactic.

This is where you have to look at the other question regarding:

The Personnel

The game vs. Leicester was the perfect example of a team set out to nullify the opposition. Especially with Vardy on the bench the team came with a game plan to soak up and nullify Arsenal and then hopefully nick something with the introduction of Vardy later in the game. Leicester aren’t the first and won’t be the last to play with the majority of their men behind the ball and soak up the pressure. When you take into account how much Arsenal rely on counter attack and pace we were left in a catch 22 situation where other than individual moments of brilliance we would struggle getting in behind a deep defensive line.

It’s situations like that where you are left screaming out for a creative player that can thread a pass through the eye of a needle and get the attackers in on goal. You could argue we have a player that fits that description on our paid staff but let’s not go there with the Ö word. In terms of whom we have available who can play, who could maybe play in the midfield three at the tip as a creative outlet?

Of course Arteta may not have plans to use his midfield three in such a way but let’s just hypothesize that he may. Do we have the creative player that could make that mark from the personnel we have? Well the short answer is yes but the longer deeper answer is which player exactly?

Well I would say take your pick from the Following: Saka, Ceballos, Willian and Emile Smith Rowe.

Four players I feel have the adaptability, agilty and potential for a pass in their locker.

Saka we’ve seen play in a number of positions for the club now but I do recall him playing in a midfield three as the advanced creative hub, It may have been against Sheffield United last season (don’t quote me on that) but at the time it gave us the fans an insight into his versatility and proved he could play there.

Willian is a bit of an unknown but it is clear he has the technical ability and strength to play further forward in a midfield three. I avoid watching Chelsea as much as I can so I can’t recall times he played there for the club that I would have noticed. Nevertheless he can be an option in the middle, his versatility will be key for us this season.

Ceballos as I mentioned earlier is definitely a creative player with a bit of bite, it’s that extra tenacity that probably works against him as he is more trusted to protect as well as provide ball retention. He has always looked impressive coming from deep and always demands the ball, it’s worth a shot trying him further advanced, there’s nothing to lose.

Emile Smith Rowe would seem like the perfect player to be given a shot in that role however his injury problems are becoming a concern. There’s nothing the Arsenal fans would like more than to see this kid fulfil his potential but the persistent little injuries tend to hinder his progress. I’d like to think the longer delay to his return is a planned schedule to ensure his return won’t result in breaking down two to three games in.

I may have missed off other potential options, feel free to let me know in the comments. I’ve deliberately left out the quality starlets in our youth set up, players such as Charlie Patino, Omari Hutchinson et al, as their time will come but in the current team I can’t see Arteta making such a leap of faith for now.

There’s a chance to give Arteta something to think about before January transfer window otherwise there may be a renewed more aggressive move for Houssem Aouar. Time will tell, let see how this plays out.

Enjoy you day people.

This post has also featured on Gunners Town site which I also write for.

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