What better way to prepare for the upcoming Premier League season than talking about players who won’t be playing in it?
As the preseason comes to an end, we’re taking a quick look at Arsenal’s standout youth players. We’ll consider their individual performances, rating them on a 1-10 scale based on what we think their chances are of breaking into the first team this year.
Donyell Malen, Number 56, Age 18
Donyell Malen has been a standout in the youth team. He’s proven to be a prolific goal scorer since signing from Ajax in 2015.
If I’m being completely honest, though, I almost forgot Malen played in the preseason. He didn’t make much of an impact. Its hard to rate him because he was a marginal figure at best. Despite his strength and speed, he looked timid going forward. His touch was all over the place and he struggled to find the right pass in the final third. He did show some impressive footwork, however, and almost scored what would have been a brilliant goal against Chelsea.
I’m optimistic about Malen. He’s obviously gifted physically and technically. But for now, the jury’s still out.
There just wasn’t enough I saw from the young man for me to rate him in terms of his overall ability.
Donyell Malen should be happy with the time he got on the pitch, as it will be integral to his development road map. The youngster has a nice physical touch to his game and seems to have good hold-up play. Not much was able to be seen from the Dutch international, but once the nerves shook off he seemed to show his abilities. He has a nice ability to use his patience and teammates as resources when building up play. He was able to combine well with Monreal once he settled in and looked to have a decent defensive work rate.
Although the minutes this preseason were crucial, Malen struggled to make an impact with the first team in the minutes that he played. Malen seemed to show his nerves and this caused him to lose the ball with poor touches and second-guessing his finishing skills. He bottled a beautiful chance from Lacazette, sent a few crosses in to no man’s land, and his only shot was right at the keeper. There were also showings of some daft touches that led to being dispossessed. Malen is a great talent, but as for his stock in the preseason, he may not have done much to progress in the Arsenal depth chart but time is his greatest resources for getting in the starting XI.