Matteo Guendouzi got his Arsenal career started with a bang, but after losing that starting role, he now has a clear, and difficult, path back to it.
It’s a nice problem that Arsenal have – they have an abundance of starting-caliber players at numerous roles. Nowhere is that better seen than in the midfield, where 19-year-old phenom Matteo Guendouzi is being kept in substitute and midweek roles because of the incredible talent ahead of him.
Not to mention the talent nipping behind him, like Ainsley Maitland-Niles and the re-emergence of Joe Willock.
Guendouzi had the starting role to begin the season and was so conclusive that many, myself included, wondered if he was going to just go ahead and be the starter that we thought Lucas Torreira was meant to be.
That was before we saw Torreira. Now, even if Gilberto Silva reincarnated as a young 20-something, I’m not sure if we would see him as a starter over Torreira. The Uruguayan is just too good to mess with.
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That limits Guendouzi’s options. He would then have to go through Granit Xhaka and capture that starting spot, which is going to be just as difficult. Xhaka is captain for a reason. He’s been doing a phenomenal job ever since his quick acclimation to the way Unai Emery does things, and that means that Guendouzi has two paths to starting.
- He can unseat Granit Xhaka, which is not likely at all.
- He can hope that the 3-5-2 takes over, and he can have an entire new position open up for him.
Manchester United will give Matteo Guendouzi a chance at at least No. 1, as Xhaka will be out and as an Emery favorite, Guendouzi will likely get the start in the Swiss midfielder’s stead. But it will take more than a single match to convince Emery that Guendouzi is the better options.
What Guendouzi needs is for the 3-5-2 to be deployed, allowing him to make a case for why he should be starting in addition to Xhaka and Torreira in a midfield three set-up.
That said, if the 3-5-2 is used, it will likely be Aaron Ramsey in that midfield three, which provides one more obstacle for Guendouzi to get through. Doubly so if the Welshman can somehow score a new contract.
Like I said, it’s a good problem to have. It will force Guendouzi to improve. There is no room for complacency in the new era.