The most enjoyable part of this season so far as been watching the continued development of the kids in the Europa League.
From home grown talents like Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe to imports such as Gabriel Martinelli. Add in Matteo Guendouzi who is now a fixture in the 1st team and the future for Arsenal looks bright.
The likes of Saka and Willock have both stepped up into the 1st team recently following good performances and injuries to others. Whilst this is credit to the pair, it is time for Unai Emery to make the tough decision and relegate both to the bench.
I am reluctant to use the word “dropped” as that is too strong a word; however that is what needs to happen.
Emery needs to get back to playing his strongest team. There is no room for sentiment.
Against Sheffield United, it was an odd decision to play Willock ahead of Dani Ceballos. It was a mistake. The 1st half passed the Englishman by resulting in him being taken off at half time.
Saka likewise failed to influence the game.
His only action of note was his yellow card for going down under a challenge which Mike Dean deemed to be a dive.
Both players have bright futures but need to be taken out of the 1st team in Arsenal’s present.
Some might say relegating both players to the bench could shatter their confidence. That should not be a concern.
If they do not have the mental strength to cope with being “dropped” then neither will make it to the top level. It should motivate them to work harder on their games and fight to get back into the 1st team. Become better players.
Against Crystal Palace tomorrow we need to see Ceballos (or even Ozil) return. Alexandre Lacazette (if fully fit) must also play upfront with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing on the left hand side.
If Lacazette is not fully fit then it should see Ceballos play left hand side (where he performs for Spain) and Ozil inside him.
There can also be the case made that Lucas Torreira should come in for Matteo Guendouzi. Many will also say he should come in for Granit Xhaka.
It is time for Emery to play his strongest XI
Bellerin Holding Luiz Tierney
Pepe Ceballos Aubameyang
Return Saka and Willock to the midweek team playing in the Europa League and League Cup. A half way step between the U23’s and Premier League