After taking over from Arsene Wenger as Head Coach of Arsenal in May 2018, Unai Emery has overseen the arrival of six new Arsenal players this season. These include Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Matteo Guendouzi, Stephan Lichtsteiner and finally the only January signing Arsenal made, Denis Suarez.
Here are Arsenal’s newcomers ranked.
6. Denis Suarez
After signing for Arsenal from Barcelona on a loan deal on transfer deadline day in January, Denis Suarez has failed to assert himself into the team. Having only made 3 appearances for the club in the Premier League since signing it would be difficult to be positive about Suarez’s time at Arsenal as he has only managed to amass 31 passes across those 3 appearances, averaging at 10.3 passes per game. During this time the Spaniard has also failed to have a shot which signifies how little of an impact Suarez has had at Arsenal and it would be fair to say that the gunners should not exercise the option to sign Suarez for €18 Million unless things change.
5. Stephan Lichtsteiner
Stephan Lichtsteiner was signed by Arsenal in early June as a free transfer in what now feels like a very costly signing. Known for his leader-like qualities and ‘winning mentality’ Lichtsteiner was brought in to try and fix Arsenal’s leadership deficiencies. However they do not seem to be of much use to the team this season, as well as featuring heavily in the Europa League this season for Arsenal, Lichtsteiner has amounted 12 Premier League appearance of which four were coming on as a substitute.
Stephan Lichtsteiner has averaged a crossing accuracy of 4%, yes you read that correctly 4%. It is statistics like this that Arsenal supporters have been disappointed about as a level of consistency and reliability was expected with Lichtsteiner but sadly has not been delivered this season and it would be very surprising if the full-backs Arsenal contract was extended.
4. Bernd Leno
Bernd Leno was the man who was brought into Arsenal in the summer for £22.5m to ease Petr Cech out of the No.1 position and secure his position as Arsenal’s goalkeeper for the foreseeable future. Currently, this seems like this has become true as after Cech picked up an injury against Watford (H) this season Leno has certified his place as the No.1 goalkeeper. After concerns about Cech’s ball playing ability it was vital that Leno was able to start positively as a ‘ball playing goalkeeper’ and he has done just that.
An example of Leno’s importance to the teams playing style is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal vs Leicester (H) in which Leno started the move playing out from the back. However, questions have been asked about his shot stopping ability as he has only managed 3 clean sheets in the Premier League this season also having 3 errors leading to goals. Overall, the signing of Bernd Leno seems like a step in the right direction for Arsenal and a positive signing.
3. Matteo Guendouzi
“No one had ever heard of me.” These are words from Matteo Guendouzi when speaking about joining Arsenal in the summer transfer window for £7.2m. Guendouzi had an ultimatum when he signed for Arsenal, sink or swim, and he’s certainly swimming.
Having signed from FC Lorient in the Second Division in France to playing Central midfield for Arsenal on the first game of the season the 19-year-old managed to walk off of the pitch with his head held high. Since the early stages of his time at Arsenal Guendouzi has played 25 times in the Premier League and has grown to be loved by the Arsenal faithful as they have realised that they have a superstar in their hands.
2. Lucas Torreira
Lucas Torreira, the Uruguayan defensive-midfielder that Arsenal supporters had taken an instant loving to. The love he has received at Arsenal has not been unwarranted due to the ferocious and determined nature of his game, evident in his statistics as he has managed to accumulate 59 tackles in just 29 Premier League games for the Gunners since signing from Sampdoria for £27m in the summer.
His passion and desire to win helped him win the Arsenal supporters over quickly with his goal against Tottenham in the 4-2 victory at the Emirates cementing Torreira as an Arsenal hero.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (or Papa for short) is the number one signing that Unai Emery has made for Arsenal this season. This may be an unpopular opinion to some but since signing from Dortmund for £14.4m, Sokratis has provided Arsenal with something that they have needed for years, solidarity. A man that celebrates winning a goal-kick as much as a goal being scored is something that I can never have enough of. The stability that Sokratis provides is evident in his game and not just his attitude as Sokratis has not had any errors leading to goals this season which is so vital to Arsenal considering some of the calamitous defenders that Arsenal have had previously.
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) March 4, 2019
Overall, Emery has made positive, forward thinking signings for Arsenal which can only be a good thing going forwards. As of now, Arsenal are just six points off of equaling last seasons points tally of 63 with 27 points (9 games) still to play for. It would be fair to say that the signings that Emery has brought in have contributed to Arsenal’s improvement from their last season under Arsene Wenger. It is now the managers responsibility to keep making positive signings to ensure the success of Arsenal Football Club.