The ten reasons why Arsenal will continue to grow: Part 2


By Tony Attwood

In the first part of this piece (see the link above) we highlighted four reasons why Arsenal would continue on their upward curve.

  • 1. A young team is maturing
  • 2. Scores from everywhere
  • 3 Transfers
  • 4 Referees

and so moving on…

5.  Players will stay

Normally through the summer the media is packed with stories of players who have had enough of the eternal underachievement of Arsenal and want to move on.   Or who have had enough of being on the fringes and want to move to a club with ambition.

We haven’t seen too much of this so far this season, although both Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson have been touted to be out of the door.  I suspect both are staying.

And of course, there is talk of previously hyped-up individuals who have been out on loan, not making the breakthrough, or demanding that they get games now, and wanting to move on if they are not “guaranteed” a place in the first team.   That’s just the normal tittle-tattle written with the aim of making Arsenal seem an unstable club unable to do deals properly, on time.

But these journalists are real scamps and scallywags, and indeed way before the season ended the Mirror ran 11 players who could leave Arsenal this summer    It is all part of the disruption process that the media eternally run, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day soon a football journalist’s name at the Mirror or one of its rivals is followed by the phrase Head of Negative Football Writing.

However to be fair, it does seem Ainsley Maitland-Niles will leave, probably for Milan, but in a sense he’s already gone.  However the Mirror’s statement “Reiss Nelson could also depart at the end of his contract amid links with AC Milan,” seems to be balderdash.   I think he won’t go and a tell-tale sign from this report is the use of “could” which for the Mirror means, “anything is possible and we just made this up.”

In a separate piece the Mirror says, “Arsenal are ready to listen to offers for Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney and Folarin Balogun this summer.”   I rather think that we all know that Xhaka is a possible departure, as he is the old man of the squad (he’s 30), and Tierney has shown himself to be very injury prone and has slipped behind Oleksandr Zinchenko in the rankings, but Balogun?  The 21 year old who scored 19 goals?

In 2023/4 Arsenal will play in four competitions, as they did this season, but will, I believe be wanting to make more of a splash in each of the cups.  This past season, in addition to the league games, Arsenal played two FA Cup games, one League Cup game, and eight Europa League games.  I suspect the total of games in all three competitions will rise, and so will the number of opportunities for younger players.  We might easily add another eight or ten matches added to the schedule, and that will require additional players.

Besides which, Balogun remains untried in English football, and many clubs will be suspicious of just one season’s triumph in France.  Reims have scored 44 goals this season in 37 games (one left to play).  Arsenal scored 88 in 38: a totally different scenario.  Everyone wants to know if Balogun can transfer the promise shown in France into England.  If he can his value will rise considerably and his value as a backup will be enormous.

And although Xhaka is tipped by many to be leaving there is no certainty of this.  Of course the media will skirt over the matter if he stays, claiming that “the player changed his mind” or “he was persuaded to stay”.  What they won’t say is that “the whole Xhaka leaving story was made up by us, just like we make up everything else.”

Elsewhere the “big clear out” could mostly involve players who have been on loan such as Nicolas Pepe, although Marquinhos might well be back at Arsenal and looking to get games in those cup matches.

So yes, players who we have hardly seen might well leave the club, but it is strange that the media refuse to contemplate another breakthrough player.  After all where do they think Martinelli came from?  But for now the media is full of stories that Zach Awe and Charlie Patino will both leave this summer.  Of course some will – they always do.  But some will remain and be looking to better Arsenal’s modest performances in the cups this season.

One Reply to “The ten reasons why Arsenal will continue to grow: Part 2”

  1. Tony,
    Well presented. I agree with your analysis. As for the officials, there does seem to be a different perception of Arsenal since MA changed defensive tactics regarding tackling. Not one Arsenal player received a red card (or two yellows if we’re being accurate)
    this season. It wasn’t long ago that Martinelli received two yellows in 30 seconds, FFS! Also, Xhaka and the refs seem to have sorted their differences. He was a card waiting to be brandished for most of his time here but now he gets the benefit of a doubt. Referee: “Hmmmm…Arsenal are not a tackling team so I guess that was barely a tackle by that nice lad Xhaka, keep yer hand out of yer pocket.”
    The players are young and most will improve. The front of Martinelli, Jesus, Odegaaard and Saka will get better? Frightening! Four players scoring in double figures. Where’s Amy Lawrence?
    The manager hasn’t been discussed aside from cutting down on tackles. But he’s completely changed the way the team plays on both ends of the pitch. Also, like the players, he is young and will improve. He’s influenced by Guardiola like using inverted fullbacks but wants the game to flow differently and seems to give Ramsdale the freedom to pass out short to a centre back or hoof it into the attacking zone. He gives them responsibility and gets accountability.
    It seems like everyone at AFC has bought into the project Edu and Arteta are building. They should improve next season for the reasons you’ve offered in these last two posts. What that will mean in the final table is up to the football gods.

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