The return of action took another step forward as the Bundesliga resumed this weekend. While the Premier League got clearance to start after June 1st, a definitive return date remains elusive. League Two in England recently voted to end their season immediately, while League One was unable to come to a decision.
Meanwhile, we’ve begun looking back at the Arsenal 2019-20 reason by having The Short Fuse staff rank top 30 players based on this past year’s performances. If you missed the first part of this series that covered players 21 through 30, you can find that here - Part 1. Now we move on to the next five - a set of players whom we should all expect more from whenever next season begins.
20th - Kieran Tierney
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 18.67 (15 / 23)
Transferring at the end of last summer for $30 million, Tierney was seen as the future of the left back position as Nacho Monreal exited and Sead Kolašinac failed to stamp his mark as the starter. However, arriving with a hip injury Kieran didn’t debut until late September, but had his season cut short after suffering a shoulder injury in early December.
With just 12 appearances we didn’t have a great look at Tierney, and definitely didn’t get to see him at his full potential. His brief work for Arsenal was highlighted by two assists and the fact that he had the second most crosses completed into the penalty area (10 - behind Aubameyang’s 14).
19th - Eddie Nketiah
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 17.67 (16 / 19)
Nketiah went out on loan to Leeds United for the first half of the season as the club once again was expected to be one of the key contenders for promotion to the Premier League. Four goals and an assist in his first six games for Leeds had things looking like this was a perfect move for all parties involved. Then he began to fall out of favor and only produced one additional goal as his minutes continued to diminish in the Championship.
So Arsenal brought him back into the fold January where he got seven appearances before the action halted. In that brief time he managed three goals and the highest average xG per 90 minutes for Arsenal at .51. With Lacazette and Aubameyang’s careers in North London drawing to an end, can Eddie develop into a Premier League starter under Mikel Arteta?
18th - Joe Willock
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 16.67 (10 / 20)
Willock had the support of both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta as he finally broke into a regular spot with the first team. After two straight seasons with just two appearances, the 20-year-old midfielder racked up 19 games for the Gunners. Willock produced four goals early in the season as the Arsenal midfield was continually shuffled - making him the 5th highest scorer on the season. Next season will tell us a lot about his future at the club and how Arteta regards his best position.
17th - Reiss Nelson
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 15.67 (12 / 21)
After a solid season at 1899 Hoffenheim on loan, which saw Nelson collect seven goals in the Bundesliga, fans were eager to see if he could replicate that in the Premier League. The arrival of Pepe complicated the amount and consistency of time Reiss saw the pitch. Two goals and three assists from 18 appearances, isn’t the worst season for the 20-year-old, who offers Mikel Arteta yet another young attacking player on the books to rebuild with.
16th - Héctor Bellerín
Average Ranking (High / Low) - 15.0 (11 / 17)
After a frustrating end to his 2018-19 campaign, Bellerin made his return in late September picking up an assist in just 13 minutes of action as Arsenal moved past Nottingham Forest in the League Cup. As one of Emery’s many captains, Hector was in and out of the Arsenal 18 for the remainder of the season due to various setbacks and new minor injuries. With just one goal and two assists, Bellerin was never able to fully get back to his previous form. But the extended break should see him enter next season fully fit and be a key piece as Arteta looks to redesign the Gunners back into a Champions League level team.
Would you have had any of these five players higher or lower in your personal rankings? Which player do you think has the best shot of landing in the top 10 next year?