3 fringe players to come in during Arsenal’s difficult October run

3 fringe players to come in during Arsenal’s difficult October run

Despite the loss against Manchester United, Arsenal have started the season well. With only one loss on the board, fans and players alike are excited about what they could achieve by the end of the campaign.

Football has gotten increasingly congested over the past few years and the mid-season World Cup will not do any favours to the well-being of players. In October, Arsenal will play nine games. Even for the deepest squad, that would be a difficult run.

Mikel Arteta will have to rotate effectively, ensuring that form remains consistent while injuries are avoided. Fortunately for the manager, a bench stronger than that of last year makes this possible.

3 fringe players to come in during Arsenal’s difficult October run

Here are three current fringe players that will get more minutes during the difficult October run and perhaps even beyond.

3. Kieran Tierney

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Kieran Tierney of Arsenal FC control ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.

When he’s fit and firing, Kieran Tierney is one of the best defenders at the club. Although his surging runs forward and pinpoint crosses have always caught the eye, his ability to track runners and stay with even the best of dribblers makes him a crucial member of the squad.

Recently, however, his place in the squad has been under fire. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s impressive performances and the Scot’s injury troubles have led to him being relegated to the bench.

Arteta still rates Tierney but it is clear that he views the left-back position as one defined by positional fluidity, technical quality and tactical flexibility. Zinchenko interchanges with Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli frequently, while offering comfort on the ball.

This comes with an increased vulnerability in transition as the summer arrival lacks the pace and defensive nous that Tierney provides. Thus far, Arteta seems to accept this tradeoff with Zinchenko starting the majority of the Premier League games.

The October run may help Tierney win back his spot. The Ukrainian has had an injury already this season and concerns about overplaying him, especially in such a crucial period, may result in Tierney getting more minutes in the league.

While the question of how well Tierney can adapt to the new demands of the left-back role remains to be answered, he will certainly have a shot at showing his quality once again. The signs have been positive in Arsenal’s last two outings.

2. Takehiro Tomiyasu

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Takehiro Tomiyasu of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on August 13, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. 

Like Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu has been unfortunate with injuries. A brilliant debut season was marred by strains and flare-ups.

His adjustment period has continued into the new campaign, leading to Ben White being deployed at right-back. And to his credit, the Englishman has looked comfortable there.

Tomiyasu has been working his way up to full fitness. Short cameos have turned into longer appearances in the Europa League. Although he faces tough competition to get back into the squad, the characteristics he provides will be needed sooner rather than later.

His defensive stability, press resistance and passing range are crucial and could see him become the starting right-back should rediscover last season’s form.

1. Eddie Nketiah

Brentford’s Swedish defender Pontus Jansson (L) vies with Arsenal’s English striker Eddie Nketiah during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Arsenal at the Gtech Community Stadium in London on September 18, 2022.

The troubles with Alexandre Lacazette and his incompatibility with Mikel Arteta’s system hindered the team last season. Out of the disappointing ashes of 2021/22 arose Eddie Nketiah.

He showed how much he has improved, both physically and technically as he was instrumental in the games against Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham. He has continued this season as if he means to go on.

Despite his relegation to the bench due to Gabriel Jesus’ arrival, Nketiah shows his quality whenever he plays. His close control and his ability to turn before bursting forward provide the explosiveness that has made the Arsenal attack so dominant.

While Jesus has been transformational, his combative style has led to him accumulating several yellow cards. One more and he will face a one-match ban.

Yet unlike in past seasons, the star striker being out does not fill fans with as much dread as it used to. While Nketiah may not be at the level of his centre-forward counterpart, he knows the system and provides the same attributes that Jesus does.

Dribbling and fluidity have been added to his poaching. Nketiah’s goals will be needed as Arsenal face a crucial period in what will be an exciting season.

The October run is by no means easy. However, the level Arsenal have been performing at, even with a rotating cast, speaks to the strength of the squad.

While some players have been stuck on the bench, they will see more minutes in the coming month as they look to work their way back into the team or, at the very least, ensure Arsenal’s good start to the season continues.

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