Guendouzi Targets The Quick Route To The Top

Do you remember when everyone was out for three weeks? About how we raised our eyebrows when players disappeared into a black hole of the medical rooms for months? Yeah.

Well, three weeks is now “six to eight weeks”. AMN kicked it all off with a fractured fibula that sidelines him for “six to eight weeks”.  Carl Jenkinson ensured he stayed at Arsenal by spraining his ankle and he’s out for “six to eight weeks” as well.

Whoever was giving the dot com team the medical updates got bored at this point because Sead Kolasinac won’t be returning to training until October. Which is, of course, “six to eight weeks” away. Laurent Koscielny? You guessed it. Three months before he’s back in training.

The good news is that Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck are in full training, ready to challenge for the left back position at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.

One man who isn’t “six to eight weeks” out is Mateo Guendouzi. He’s the subject of some interest in the back pages. The headline grabber was the claim we can win the title this season. It’s true, we can; it’s not mathematically impossible yet. That’s about “six to eight weeks” away.

He was the kind of signing Arsène Wenger would have made: young, French, Ligue 2, trouble. OK, so maybe the last one ruled him out. Apparently, he fell out with managers or coaches who didn’t fall into line with his way of thinking. A touch of the Vieira’s about him, storming off down the tunnel when he was hooked before getting sent off with less than an hour played.

There’s plenty in that incident to highlight the difference in attitude; it’s ‘attitude’ that we missed when the club was like a top people’s health farm.

Outrageous Belief

Not that managing Guendouzi will be simple. A former VP at Lorient says:

“[Mateo] believes so much in himself that he is outraged with anyone who doesn’t place him on the same pedestal that he believes he should be placed on.

“He has real issues with that side of his temperament. He is not a bad kid, he’s not nasty, he’s just got an innate, deep belief in himself.”

His performance against City offered positives. Yes, he made mistakes; every young player does, but in the same way, it was a baptism of fire for the youngster. Perhaps worse; he was on the frontline, chasing the shadows, wondering when the ball would come back to him.

And then working as hard as anyone to get it back. The determination and work ethic, as well as forward-thinking with his passes, offers a lot of promise for the future. It’s nothing unusual; Lorient’s president speaks highly of Guendouzi’s approach to the game:

“We were all very impressed by how he plays with his head up. Very much in the style of what Lorient had been historically playing, our passing game.

“That is what characterises him. I know he plays in front of the defence, but he is more of an offensive midfielder than a defensive midfielder. He is always looking for the impossible pass, the pass to make the difference.”

The role for which Jack Wilshere was earmarked by Roy Hodgson for England, that neither the player nor Arsène – after a change of mind – believe he was suited to. That worked out well, trying to shoe-horn him into the XI in a more attacking role.

Patience: A Virtue in Short Supply

Guendouzi’s willingness and ability to do the hard work in winning the ball back marks him out as different; a new way of thinking in the squad, either as an individual or as part of the new collective.

The danger in eulogising him after one performance is exactly that: dangerous. Expectations in football build up quickly and disappear faster than air out of a balloon when the side is pricked with a pin.  Today’s hero isn’t even good enough to be yesterday’s chip paper in the drop of a hat.

A promising start in the friendlies was built on with the game at the Emirates. How long he will be in the first team this season is open to question. Ligue 2 to 38 games in the Premier League? Even a seasoned pro would struggle with that leap. It won’t surprise me if when the Europa League starts, Guendouzi becomes the lynchpin of that midfield with Xhaka and Torreira working in tandem in the league.

Emery (apparently) is highly regarded when it comes to developing young players. Guendouzi at the moment is shaping to be his first test. Combustible, determined, and talented; is he patient when the coach says ‘rest’ or ‘dropped’? You hope he’s seen how far his travelled in a very short time and is ready to make the transition into becoming a very good player.

Hopefully, that will happen at Arsenal.

’til Tomorrow.

38 thoughts on “Guendouzi Targets The Quick Route To The Top

  1. Talking about money wasted and its for a ton of reasons, but Jenks’ contract is the very definition.

    Feel for Maitland-Niles but makes keeping Elneny a no brainer. Guendouzi is a talent with a presense who plays without fear. He is one of these young French midfielders who just seems to be able to step and in play and Arsenal will be better off for it. Mistakes, we see experienced (even those world class ones too) players making them, its how he reacts to that same situation.

    Interesting thing is that Torriera is only like 22 as well but I would start Torriera and Guendouzi against Chelsea.

  2. Speaking if injuries, De Bruyne out for 3-4 months is massive. Sure they have the depth, but losing De Bruyne is massive.

  3. Sorry to hear about AMN. No luck. This was a season he looked to finally get some regular play at least in Europa and cups in a midfield position as well as time at LB. By the time he gets back, Guendouzi will of course have cemented his role as young player dividing opinion and everyone disappointed in his predictably inconsistent but promising performances will be clamoring for AMN as the savior. So all is not lost…

  4. Great post yogi

    We have churned thru dozen and dozens of heavily hyped players like Guendouzi in the last 13 years and I don’t think any have come close to living up to expectations. The absolute last thing I wanted to hear his previous manager say is that he is more of an offensive then a defensive player. That is the exact opposite of what we want from our deeper midfielders. It could be argued it would be better for Matteo and the team to send him on loan for a couple of years and let him work thru the inconsistency of youth stage and make those inevitable youthful mistakes playing for someone else. The pattern of players like him having an adrenaline fueled good start and getting heavily hyped but then falling back to earth after the initial adrenaline surge wears off and hitting a plateau which is much lower then we had hoped has been 100% predictable. None of that means Matteo will wash out and I hope he and his lovely hair are different but we have a large sample size of data and giving players like him a baptism by fire and expecting too much has been a mistake 100% of the time. The odds are not in our favor. The fact that anyone would even consider a player with so little experience to be one of our starters points out the weakness of the squad strength that Emery has inherited from Arsene.

    Sad news for AMN. Great news to have Nacho back.

  5. Afternoon,

    How did Jenks manage to get himself injured, he hasn’t done anything? I’m surprised that he was involved at all in any of the pre-season training. Did he get any minutes at all, even against Boreham Wood?

  6. De Bruyne is a great player but he is certainly replaceable. They have more then enough creativity all over the pitch and I suspect city will not miss a beat. I think, the one irreplaceable outfield player for City is Aguero.

  7. Bill,

    Fully agree… I have thus far really enjoyed watching Guendouzi play, but we’ve seen so many under arsene that have amounted to nothing that I will without my judgement on him until hes proven to be consistent. The issue there is of course Arsenal have fallen so far behind that any player who flourishes is likely to be bought by a city, utd or real.

    Disappointed Cech starts again…. Don’t see point in spending 22m on a new goalkeeper when we’ve got a goalkeeping issue to then not play him. It’s very odd.

    Starting to wish we had however sold Ramsey and brought in Banega instead. I had no faith in Ramsey these days and Banega creates a lot more which is where we struggled on Sunday. I sense Ramsey will be sold eventually, the reducing wage bill statement I can’t see him getting a 150k new contract with his Injury record and stats.

  8. Additionally…. I say Athletico for Spanish title this year. Simeone is really setting himself up for a mega job in coming years. Hopefully not Chelsea.

  9. How do everyone.

    Guendouzi is a doozie just because of the Sideshow Bob hair do. I’d forgive him anything as long as he keeps the hair.

    Shame about AMN but maybe it’s a bit too soon for him. Let’s see what sort of player comes back to the team after this injury spell!?

    Jenks isn’t all bad. But yes proper mis-management of player’s contracts. There has been a culture of this at AFC for a very long time. Is it any wonder player’s leave reluctantly! Get paid mega bucks to do relatively little and no one will ever shout at you or look at you disapprovingly! Where your fellow colleagues won’t chastise you for being bang average. Were genius is lauded if you can use both feet and hence forth a mega bucks contract will be winging your way.

    Ludicrous!

  10. If Lich play’s expect it to kick off! Alonso and Moses won’t like his cycnicism! Unai better hook him before he gets red carded!

    I say it’s a good shout Cech in goal. He’ll be more fired up to keep a clean sheet against his old club.

    Hope Torriera, Guendouzi and Laca start.

    Our problem is we have no width. Let’s see if what Welbz and Nacho can bring to our play if used!

  11. C

    De bruyne is a better player but city has so much depth at his position. I think losing Fernandinho might be a bigger problem for them if it happened

  12. The question for Emery would be who to start in the wide areas. If we were to go based on Sunday, I would be dropping Ramsey and Mhki. In their places, I would field either Iwobi or Welbeck instead of Mhki and I would start Lacazette too.

    Cech

    Bellerin-Sok-Mustafi-Nacho

    Torreira-Guendozi

    Ozil

    Welbeck-Lacazette-Aubameyang.

    With this team, we would match Chelsea and have a good chance to get something from the game. No Xhaka, Ramsey, Mhkitaryan or Elneny as starters, Ozil can drift, while Lacazette leads the press with Welbeck supporting him. PEA on the left, allowed to drift centrally.

    This is also our smartest team on paper.

  13. lari03,

    I would swap Leno for Cech but I wouldn’t mind that team at all. I like Iwobi instead of Welbeck personally because he can run and dribble but just lacked confidence last season.

  14. C,

    I would too C, but the boss had made it clear that it’s going to be Cech between the sticks. Kudos to him, because I imagine he has been competing extremely well in training.

  15. In response to Bill, I understand that we should not get our hopes up. It’s really refreshing to see Guendouzi can do the right things and he does it simply at his age, whereas Ramsey had to be subbed off because he was out of depth in that game. This is what I think a coach sees and on merit, he gives Matteo a starting berth.

    Mourinho loves these kinds of players, he said same of Azpilicueta. A player who can play as instructed has character and personality. Reading through various analyses of Sunday’s game and I watched the game myself, I wouldn’t give Ramsey a raise based on what I saw.

    If football were all about pace and fast transitions, then Liverpool should have won the UCL. It needs a lot of things beyond pace and talent.

  16. Re de Bruyene, it just shows how intense training is for the top class professional footballer, when long-term injuries can result. 😉

  17. Lati03

    Guendouzi may be different and he could be a really good player someday but it says a lot about the previous regimes player acquisition strategy when the new manager thinks he is the best option. We have seen several dozen players like him start out really well and raised expectations but then never come close to living up to those expections.

    Our long term hope from him is to be a strong defensive high pressure presence in midfield with Torreira so its concerning when you hear his former manager say that he is more of an offensive player then a defensive player. Once this initial adrenaline surge wears off, will he lose some of the energy on the defensive end?

  18. C,

    I think Fernandinho is very important. And I’m not sure Gundogan can do the job fully—they would lack something in big matches and against physical teams. Ederson likewise really helps that team. Bravo was not strong enough as a keeper to stop shots and command the area. I actually think they can do ok without Aguero because they have goals in Jesus, Sane, Mahrez, Silva as well.

  19. Part of supporting a club is enjoying young players developing and breaking through. It is fun to watch. Another part of following the club is realizing that most do not become club legends. If you want to compete for big trophies you don’t expect or plan for them to carry the burden of performing every week or in the biggest games. If they perform so well and consistently that you cannot buy better players in the position, wonderful! You keep playing them and the manager has a headache of keeping an established quality player happy on the bench. Thet’s Why they get paid handsomely.

  20. Mavididi headed to Italy to complete his move to Juve’s B team. If thats true, good luck to him because he is most certainly a talent with EXPLOSIVE pace and an eye for goal.

  21. LSG,

    Yup, Fernandinho for most futbol supportets doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves as one of the best DM’s in Europe. He is massive for them and if he is out, Gundoghen is a good option but he doesn’t cover and tackle like Fernandinho does nor does he cover up the midfield. Ederson is also massive because of the way they play as well as him having quick reflexes and string hands. His ability to basically be an outfield player makes it extremely hard to press them because his distribution is sublime and with them playing a high line he is quick off his line. Tend to agree with you about Aguero because while Jesus might not always do it for Brazil, he sure enjoys scoring for Citeh.

  22. LSG,

    Absolutely SPOT ON post, enjoying watching youngsters develop knowing most won’t make it at that club but will still have long careers is exciting.

  23. Its also absolutely brilliant to continue to hear that Santi is getting more match fit and could play a key role for Villrreal this season. I was reading an article on Sky and the author described Santi:

    “He interprets football as Mozart plays music, Picasso paints or Leonardo da Vinci creates a sculpture. He is a genius.”

  24. @Damon,
    The point I was making, which you totally failed to understand, was that serious injuries to professional footballers are often incurred during training, alongside their colleagues, such is the intensity of the physical exercise they have to carry out.
    I hope this added comment is simple enough for you to follow. 😉

  25. LSG:
    Part of supporting a club is enjoying young players developing and breaking through.It is fun to watch.Another part of following the club is realizing that most do not become club legends.If you want to compete for big trophies you don’t expect or plan for them to carry the burden of performing every week or in the biggest games.If they perform so well and consistently that you cannot buy better players in the position, wonderful!You keep playing them and the manager has a headache of keeping an established quality player happy on the bench.Thet’s Why they get paid handsomely.

    Limestone

    I agree completely with the basic sentiment of your comment and I was 100% on board with project youth in the early Emirates era. However, in order to maintain that enthusiasm you have to see some success and it would be nice if every once in a while one of those players lived up to the expectations and the excitement of watching someone new has drained out. Its like going fishing. You can love being in the great outdoors and you are excited to go but it becomes less exciting if you go fishing 10 times and never catch a fish.

    However, by far the biggest concern is we desperately need to get back into the top 4 as soon as possible and like it or not developing players and collecting points have been competing goals much more often then not.

  26. Limestone

    I bought into the hype about Ox hook line and sinker. However, in retrospect that was a big mistake because instead of buying a player who could have helped us win more often we hung on to the potential for about 5 years and kept giving him high leverage minutes. You mentioned in a couple of your comments that we have really fallen behind the teams we need to be competing with in the last few years and no can dispute that the way we continued to wait for Ox to come good is a very small part of why that happened. Iwobe is a similar situation. Think of all of the high leverage minutes we have given to him in hopes of developing him. There is no doubt that has cost us points.

  27. We all want to believe in our own but continuing to hang on and believe in players like Walcott, Gibbs, Jenks, Wilshere is one of the reasons we have had to spend the last couple of years concentrating on clearing out the squad instead of concentrating on rebuilding.

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