Some of the Arsenal players who’ve been out on loan last season shared a mixed bag of joy and disappointment. Guendouzi ended the season injured whilst Kolasinac and Mustafi suffered relegation with their club. I don’t think Torreira had the best of times at Atletico Madrid but even so, his team won La Liga. Joe Willock had an excellent few months at Newcastle Utd, ending with a player of the month award and yesterday, Daniel Ballard helped Blackpool return to the Championship with a 2-1 win over Lincoln City at Wembley. He’s a big and strong unit in defence that’s for sure but whether or not he’s ready for the Premier League I don’t know. Until he’s tested at a higher level, no one really does. The decision Mikel Arteta has to make is whether or not he stays at Arsenal for the domestic cup competitions, or head out on loan again. Personally, I think he’s too good to be warming a bench and at his age, he needs regular football to improve his game. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of of clubs trying to sign him up on loan this summer.
It’s funny though because having read a lot of stories and comments on social media about William Saliba and how he ‘must’ play for Arsenal next season, he’s 20 years old and his experience so far is the top French League only. A French League which really isn’t that strong outside of a handful of clubs. Yet Daniel Ballard is 21 years old, he’s experienced the rough and tumble of English football in a tough, physical League and he’s already playing for his country unlike Saliba who I believe yet yet to feature for the French senior team.
I’m not trying to suggest either Ballard or Saliba should walk right into the Arsenal first team next season but, and I know this is obvious, Mikel Arteta has to find out which of our current defenders are best suited to the Premier League and which central pairing will form the best partnership now and longer term. Chopping and changing a central pairing, unless injury dictates otherwise does the team no good in my opinion. Chopping and changing the team in general isn’t ideal either. Of course the tactics will be tweaked for home and away games, as they will depending on the opposition but I don’t think the history books would tell us that successful clubs didn’t have a settled first team.
Look what happened to Man City against Chelsea in the Champions League Final. City lost that because Guardiola was trying to be too clever in my opinion. Arsenal were knocked out of Europa because Mikel Arteta was trying to be too clever in my opinion. Why abandon the basics of the game when so much is at stake? A ‘false number 9’ is poppycock I think, just play a striker who’ll score goals when the chances arrive. Sometimes he might even wear the number 9!
Whether or not Lacazette will still be wearing the number next season is anyone’s guess as his future is one of many Arsenal players which needs resolving this summer. The Frenchman has just one year left on his contract so it’s decision time for Arsenal and him. Eddie Nketiah is in the same position contractually but I think it’s safe to say he’ll be playing his football elsewhere next season. Watford are rumoured to be interested in signing him as are Brighton. If Arsenal really want to sign Yves Bissouma, perhaps an agreement could be reached between the two clubs involving both players.
See you in the comments.