3 Arsenal Players With Much to Prove Next Season by AI
Arsenal ended the season on a sweet note but not much has been impressive beyond that. Arteta has improved the general play of the team and has consolidated a base to build on.
But his pressers has indicated greater ambition to improve. Elements of his tactics from his early tenure shows that Arteta, despite his ability to adapt and counterattack, is forward-thinking at heart.
He wants to play expansive football and attack teams rather than sit back. But he wants his team to be defensively sound and hardworking.
These are the foundations for a great team in the image of Arsene Wenger, and many a footballer at the Emirates have to prove how fit they are for this philosophy of football. These are for players that are almost certain to be part of Arteta’s squad next season.
1. Emile Smith-Rowe
Two seasons ago, Emile Smith-Rowe announced himself to Arsenal fans with a banger of a goal in preseason. He went on to score three goals in the Europa League, got wooed on loan by RB Leipzig, and went to the Championship last season to save Huddersfield from relegation.
A superb ball progressor with great movement, decision-making and decent dribbling skills, Smith-Rowe can make himself important for how Arsenal move the ball up the pitch.
Head of his graduating class in the academy, can the Croydon Kevin De Bruyne can become the perfect Arteta midfielder and earn a regular role on the pitch next season?
2. Eddie Nketiah
One thing is sure about Eddie: he will always score goals. But can he score enough and work enough to be given regular minutes going forward next season?
It says much about Eddie’s talent that, at one point through the season, he was keeping Alexandre Lacazette on the bench. A hard-working forward with good movement, that key sense of a goal and decent ball-holding quality, Eddie Nketiah has something going for him.
But the 21-year-old is still too raw, too rough around the edges, and amid massive competition in the central forward role from Aubameyang, Lacazette (if he stays) and possibly Gabriel Martinelli, it is easy to fall aside and out of favour.
3. Nicolas Pépé.
18 goal contributions in his first season; goals or assists against Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City; three different managers and a 72 million euro price tag, Nicolas Pepe has had a divisive season.
Bought to complete what is a star-studded frontline, the Ivorian was a true transfer coup for Arsenal. But amid what has been one of the most disastrous seasons at the Emirates, the 25-year-old has chosen his moments to shine.
His first season is done. Going into the next season, he should have a starting spot, the trust of his manager, a better team around him and more space to strut his stuff. Arsenal need him to improve; he has to earn his price, and Nicolas Pépé has everything to do next season.