Somewhere in Southern France, Mr Wenger’s eyes are fixed to his flat-screen television, Matteo Guendouzi in picture.
The way the 19-year-old elegantly gallivanted across the pitch against the reigning Premier League Champions, despite his side not registering a single shot on target, is confidence unbeknown to many, something everyone knows Wenger would’ve loved. But can this perhaps generational talent continue to flourish, becoming Emery’s ‘Fabregas’ and the heart of a club in the middle of a huge turnover?
In the first half against Manchester City, Matteo completed all 22 of his passes. Considering the high press City administered, Guendouzi was more than adept as a low-block receiver, utilising his frame to turn and play perfectly weighted balls to Kolašinac and Iwobi. With a slightly looser style of dribbling occasionally resulting in Matteo losing the ball, Arsenal fans are unlikely to see him go any higher than an eight, especially against sides that defend deep.
However, his posture allows him to constantly keep his head up, able to track the runs of Aubameyang/Lacazette/Iwobi before executing a pin-point over the top through ball. His range is perfect for counter-attacking football.
Combining an average of 0.9 key passes per 90 mins (WhoScored) with 1.5 interceptions and 2.3 tackles (also per 90), the young Frenchman’s game is surprisingly well-rounded. Still in his teens, it’s vital that Emery keeps Guendouzi happy. A sniff of discontent from the frizzy-haired maestro and clubs will be lining up around the corner. Arsenal have a player on their hands, a player that can be built around. It’s down to you Unai.
The general consensus amongst Arsenal fans is that Matteo Guendouzi and the summer arrival of Uruguayan Lucas Torreira are the future of the club. With the combined price hitting only £30m, this dynamic midfield duo, alongside the slightly more ‘experienced’ Granit Xhaka, could prove to be a bargain going forward…
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