It would be fair to say that Arsenal haven’t had the best of starts to the season, under new manager Unai Emery. However, playing the current Champions and FA Cup holders in your first two games is stern baptism to English football.
Following what was a disappointing campaign, there was no doubt that the Gunners needed signings, though with a limited budget, Emery had to be smart in the transfer window.
Addressing key issues was the main priority for Arsenal and as such, in came a capable, experienced centre-back, a promising goalkeeper and more steel in midfield, in addition to adding a highly accomplished, if not ageing right back on a free transfer.
While Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira and Stephan Lichtsteiner will certainly make a difference to Arsenal this term, there is one signing that came in under the radar though whose contribution so far hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Unlikely to have been most people’s choice to appear in the club’s starting XI, 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi has, according to The Sun made more tackles and interceptions in his first two games than anyone else in the Premier League this season for Arsenal.
Also possessing an eye for a pass in behind the opposition’s centre-back and full-back (as he demonstrated countless times against Chelsea), the Frenchman is keeping fellow new recruit, Torreira out of the starting line-up.
One suspects though, this could well be to do with the fact that the Uruguayan featured heavily at the World Cup this summer and is being given an extended rest, though evidence so far points to Guendouzi deserving a starting place for Arsenal.
As the season unfolds, Emery could decide to supplant Granit Xhaka, who despite his longer passing range and shooting ability, seems to lack the work ethic and dynamism to feature in the double pivot that Arsenal play with.
No doubt a number of partnerships will be tried, with Aaron Ramsey also yet to really live up to his potential. Guendouzi though, is just the latest Arsenal French import who could be instrumental in helping Emery to turn kick-start the Gunners’ season.