No way out
It has been reported that Arsenal’s young 19-year-old French defender William Saliba is expected to be named in the Gunners’ Premier League squad.
This comes a week after a move to St Etienne fell through and left the Frenchman without guaranteed football. Arsenal are well stocked in the centre-back department having failed to move on surplus squad members.
Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Calum Chambers were all linked with moves away from the Emirates but nothing materialised. This lack of income led to Arsenal’s final Deadline Day deals requiring investment from the ownership to land Thomas Partey.
However, one of the biggest issues has left Saliba in a state of limbo. In need of minutes to continue his development at the club it appears he may now struggle with senior game time.
The Frenchman has featured for the under-23s in a 2-2 draw against Brighton. It may be that Saliba finds his development take place in the youth side until further opportunity arises.
Being excluded from the Gunners’ Europa League squad means that games against Dundalk, Rapid Vienna and Molde are not an option.
With Arsenal’s inclusion of Thomas Partey there is an opportunity for Arteta to experiment with further formations.
The addition of the Ghanaian adds defensive security to the midfield.
Arsenal’s back 3 led to key wins against Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup. Kieran Tierney has occupied a left centre-back slot with one of David Luiz or new signing Gabriel Magalhaes in the central position. Rob Holding has played consistently on the right.
The match against Sheffield United saw a changed Arsenal side in a back 4. Ceballos, Elneny and Saka made up the midfield. Tierney, Gabriel, Luiz and Bellerin moulded the nostalgic back line.
Arsenal were more attacking than previous fixtures but defensively vulnerable. Sheffield’s consolation at the end highlighted this. The hope will be that the upgrade to the midfield in Partey will see a continuation of the more offensive framework.
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