Three Gunners who impressed the most during the pre-season campaign
Playing for 90's football writer and analyst, Kian Long has outlined three Arsenal players who stood out the most during the pre-season friendlies and could lay claim to be named as the regular starters in the new Premier League season
1. Super-sub the 18-year-old Reiss Nelson
"He got a goal in the first game against Boreham Wood, a superb goal I must add. He also went on to secure two assists against Paris Saint-Germain, an assist against Chelsea, and a goal against Lazio last night.
"He looks to have improved his footballing IQ a lot, knowing when and when not to release the ball. He demonstrated a brilliant example of this against Lazio, as he delayed his ball out to Alex Iwobi, giving the attackers plenty of time to group inside the box for the cross. Ultimately, it was Nelson who got the goal, but the buildup play shouldn’t be overlooked, and again, it was Nelson who was instrumental to this.
"He should be able to get his chances in the Europa League group stages, assuming Unai Emery adopts the same method which Arsene Wenger did in his closing season. It’s there where he can really make a name for himself."
2. Emile Smith Rowe
"The Englishman scored against Atletico Madrid, bringing the game back level. It was an emphatic long-range finish which came as a result of clever footwork to beat his opposition just beforehand. What impresses me most about Smith Rowe is his composure, and willingness to drive at opposing players. He has the skill-set to achieve just that, and one can see by the way he sets about the pitch that he is brimming with confidence.
"Signing a new deal with the club will only ooze the confidence out of him even more. It shows the intent of the Arsenal board to keep him, especially after letting a few youngsters go already this summer.
"I don’t think he’s ready to get the Premier League call just yet, especially given Arsenal’s depth in midfield. But one thing’s for sure, if he can keep up the good work and relentless intensity to reach the top, there’s no reason why he can’t become a real star.
"There’s never been a better time for him to begin his path. Under the mentorship of Unai Emery, the experience of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, and most importantly, the immense squad harmony which Arsenal have found, don’t turn your head on Emile Smith Rowe."
3. New signing from PSG Matteo Guendouzi
"The young Frenchman who signed from Lorient this summer was signed to be one for the future, but he’s definitely making a case to be selected for the upcoming game against Manchester City in the Premier League. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t. Many would argue his age, but this has never stopped Emery before. If he is good enough to be selected, then he is old enough to be selected.
"The thing which has impressed me most with Guendouzi is his commanding abilities. For a young player, he isn’t afraid to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and lead his teammates. Given his age and the fact he’s only a newbie, this only becomes twice as impressive.
"The midfielder is able to dictate play, playing a wide array of passes. He is similar to Granit Xhaka in this regard, however, he has similarities to all the midfielders. His defensive prowess is impressive, as well as his ability to drive the ball forward. This level of versatility could serve him well under Unai Emery. As he looks to gain ground on a hotly contested area of the pitch, this might put him a level above his competitors."
Which youngster has impressed you the most?