Since Mikel Arteta took charge in December, it is fair to say there have been ups and downs in terms of results for Arsenal. But how have the players done individually in those results? In this article we will be grading each player and associating them with a “stock value”.
There are five stock value categories:
Thriving - These are players who have been at the top of their game since December 29th, 2019. Players here are what we can call “undroppable” from the lineup and retaining them in the
summerfuture should be of the highest importance.
- Trending Up - Players who have shown glimpses of progress or are apart of the XI on a regular basis under Arteta. However, the jury may still be out or we may need to see more to label them thriving.
- Holding Steady - This value defines itself.
- Trending Down - Players quickly losing their place under Arteta - but not doomed. There is still hope for them to turn it around, but they are becoming replaceable very quickly.
- Cratering - These players are under pressure to get it figured out before they are banished to “riding pine” until the transfer window comes... Or the more likely event that injuries lead Arsenal to no other options.
- Shkodran Mustafi. All I can say about this situation is that I am baffled. Mikel Arteta uncovered a defender in the number 20 kit?! The German has been all over the defensive third and his substitution in the Europa League catastrophe can easily be marked as the turning point in the game. I can’t believe I am writing this.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng. This man has been the best in the league since being signed 25 months ago. While losing him may be an inevitability with no Champions League, Arteta is doing everything in his power to keep him. World class.
- Bukayo Saka. The 18 year-old should be of utmost importance to keep in the lineup. His versatility and raw talent have made him the ultimate wing-back under Arteta.
- Granit Xhaka. Not long ago, Granit was bound to Hertha Berlin on a transfer. Now he is a pivotal player in covering the defense as Arsenal (Saka) press forward. He won’t be going anywhere if Mikel has anything to say about it.
- Eddie Nketiah. Three goals in six appearances is pretty impressive for a teenager who has played little game time. With Lacazette’s struggles, we could see Eddie in more games to come.
- Mesut Özil. The departure of Emery has led to the arrival of Mesut. The soon-to-be new father has been a large part of the threat moving forward. He and Pepe will want a hand in more goals/assists to move them into the thriving area.
- Nicolas Pepe. He is beginning to get rid of the “flop” label — but there is still a bit of a way to go. The Ivorian has been reborn under Arteta, but he will need to prove that in his goals/assists tally.
- Gabriel Martinelli. Started red hot under Mikel, but since has seen a bit more time on the bench. This teenager has a bright future at Arsenal, and it will be interesting to see if Eddie and him can work together in the same XI.
- Bernd Leno. He was thriving, but a few gaffes have put him into Trending up area. While he makes world class saves constantly, the easy ones have been the weak part of Leno’s game. If he tidies things up, he will be at the top of the thriving area.
- Dani Ceballos. Once rumored to have his loan cut short in January, Ceballos has had a couple strong showings. He has replaced Torreira and Guendouzi as the first choice in the center of the park with Xhaka. Any chance we can sign him on a permanent?
- Pablo Mari. Superb in his first appearance in the FA Cup on Monday. His long passing is crisp, and his performance will give Arteta a lot to mull over on if he can break into the starting XI regularly. But, it will take more than one good showing!
- Cedric Soares. Yet to kick a ball...
- Matteo Guendouzi. This is an odd one... Matteo was cratering until his last two appearances. Seems to have responded well to being disciplined, but isn’t playing as much under Mikel as he was under Emery. The injury to Torreira may be his chance to fully regain the managers trust.
- Reiss Nelson. Have we seen more inconsistent appearances from another senior player? Reiss started the first two games under Arteta. Then went through a spell of no appearances, only to provide an assist to Sokratis on Monday evening. Some more game time will see him in the trending up area.
- Lucas Torreira. The injury came at a bad time for Lucas, especially when you factor in that he was battling for the second spot in the midfield between himself, Ceballos, and Xhaka. The Uruguayan will need to bounce back from injury stronger than ever (depending on the severity of the injury) if he wants to impress the gaffer.
- Joe Willock. I really want this guy to succeed, but each game I feel like he doesn’t fit Arteta’s scheme. He maybe a good option for cashing in and looking to Smith-Rowe as the rotational #10 when he returns from loan.
- Kieran Tierney. Has yet to give us an impression under Arteta. Best case scenario: Tierney returns to full fitness and results in Saka moving into a more attacking-role. Worst case: He regrets leaving Celtic Park to be second choice left-back to a teenager.
- David Luiz. His success relies on the performances of those around him. While passing looks good at times, his primary role of defending is always anxiety-filled. Mustafi’s form means he is the replaceable one in the back line. If I were the Brazilian, I’d be staying late at training.
- Alexandre Lacazette. This man is dipping in the value with each appearance. His recent goals will keep him out of “cratering”, but that Europa League performance was shocking. Seems to be the striker to sell in the summer. I hope I am proven wrong.
- Sead Kolasinac. Injuries, Saka’s dominance, and Tierney returning to the lineup means the Bosnian is at risk of becoming the third-choice at LB.
- Emiliano Martinez. When you aren’t seeing any game time in the Europa League, things can get a bit worrying for a backup with so much potential after his loan last season. He maybe looking for other clubs come July. Surely, he deserves more minutes.
- Hector Bellerin. Hector has always been one of my favorite players. I have to admit — he has been targeted since coming back in January. We know his potential and how strong he is at right back, hopefully some game time will get him in the trending up area.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Dropped for Mustafi and was watching the grass grow instead of defend on his cameo in the Europa League shocker. The Greek national should be worried that Pablo Mari is ready to pounce as the rotational center back.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Ainsley has had a rough time lately. He claims he is played out of position at right back, but there is no space for him in midfield. He has vanished from the pitch under Arteta.
- Rob Holding. Rob Holding was undroppable last season under Emery until his injury at Old Trafford. Now he is struggling to make the bench with the additions of Pablo Mari and the resurgence of Mustafi. His days to make an impression are numbered.
I know you will let me know what I got wrong in the comments section!