Arsenal defender Rob Holding ready to return from injury hell to ease pressure on under-fire Sokratis and David Luiz

17 Sep

Arsenal defender Rob Holding is reportedly ready to return following his injury hell.

The 23-year-old ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a 2-2 draw with Manchester United last December.

Holding has given Arsenal a huge boost ahead of the new campaign
Getty Images - Getty

Holding, who was beginning to establish himself in Unai Emery’s side before his injury, has been desperately missed this season.

No other team in Europe’s top five leagues have conceded more shots (96) than Arsenal since the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

Arsenal’s vulnerability in defence was on show in Sunday’s draw at Watford as they let a two-goal lead slip.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos had a simple pass intercepted by Gerard Deulofeu, which led to Tom Cleverley pulling one back for the hosts, before Roberto Pereyra converted a penalty nine minutes from time after being tripped by David Luiz in the box.

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

The Daily Mail say Holding is hopeful of playing in Arsenal’s Europa League opener against Frankfurt on Thursday.

Holding, whose impending return is likely to threaten the starting places of Sokratis and Luiz, has featured for Arsenal’s Under-23s this season.

Emery insisted the Gunners must learn from their defensive mistakes going forward.

He told talkSPORT: “We conceded some mistakes which were very dangerous for us.

“The first goal is like that, but we need to learn and correct that.

“The result is disappointing for us, because after 2-0, we had chances in the second-half to win, but we can only work on our mistakes today for the next matches.

“They [Watford] deserved it because their game plan imposed our game plan in the second-half.”

Watford 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners star says he’s to blame for Vicarage Road draw – ‘I cost the game for the team’

16 Sep

Arsenal’s defence has been criticised for Watford’s fightback to a claim a 2-2 draw on Sunday – and one of their defenders has now accepted responsibility for the Gunners’ performance at Vicarage Road.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos says he is solely to blame for the Hornets coming back from two goals down to rescue a valuable point, as the Hertfordshire club welcomed back Quique Sanchez Flores for his second spell as manager.

Though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the visitors ahead in the first-half, the striker was left frustrated as all his good work was undone by Arsenal’s defence.

The free-scoring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was let down by Arsenal’s dodgy defence
Getty Images - Getty

Watford pulled their first goal back when a horrible attempt to play out of the back from a goal kick presented Tom Cleverley with a perfect scoring opportunity, and the hosts’ equaliser was netted from the penalty spot after David Luiz fouled Roberto Pereyra in the area.

Unai Emery, the Arsenal head coach, refused to criticise his players after the match, while captain Granit Xhaka claimed they had been ‘scared’ in the second-half.

But Sokratis, signed from Borussia Dortmund last summer, said the buck stopped with him following his costly error.

“I think that I cost the game for the team,” he said. “It was my mistake for something simple that I don’t have to do. I think this was the problem why we lose the three points.

“This is all about our responsibility and we have to do better. It was my mistake and today without my mistake, we would take the three points.

“I don’t want to speak about others. Today it was my mistake and this cost the game. Nothing else. The other guys tried their best. I don’t have to do this mistake.”

LIVE on talkSPORT

Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Napoli vs Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Olympiakos vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man City (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • PSG vs Real Madrid (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal (Thursday, 5:55pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leicester vs Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Brighton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • West Brom vs Huddersfield (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Watford had 31 shots on goal during the game as they dominated after the interval, with Sokratis admitting Arsenal were not up to scratch in the second 45 minutes.

“Of course. I apologised because today I cost the game for the team and I have to work harder,” he added.

“I know up to this moment I didn’t have a mistake, I didn’t do nothing. Everything was near to perfect. We didn’t have the same pace in the second half as in the first half.

“But if we didn’t do these mistakes, I don’t think we draw. Of course they had other chances to score more, but if we didn’t do these mistakes then nothing happens.”

Arsenal news: Who will become Gunners captain if Laurent Koscielny leaves this summer?

21 Jun

Arsenal could be on the hunt for a new captain after Laurent Koscielny refused to travel with the Gunners on their pre-season tour of the United States.

The club are set to open disciplinary proceedings with their skipper after announcing their disappointment with his actions.

Laurent Koscielny in action for Arsenal
Getty

He is said to have been offered a three-year deal by Bordeaux, with other Ligue 1 clubs also taking an interest in the former Lorient ace.

Nonetheless, he was expected to be part of the squad flying to the USA on Thursday – but Arsenal confirmed on Thursday Koscielny will stay behind.

“Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour,” a short statement on the club’s official website read.

“We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions.

“We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

But who would take on the captain’s armband should he leave? The Daily Star believe it could be Granit Xhaka having missed out on a move to Atletico Madrid.

talkSPORT.com assesses the candidates.

Granit Xhaka

The Gunners midfielder is now unlikely to leave the Emirates having previously been courted by Atletico Madrid.

His three years with the club as a starter stand him in good stead as does his no nonsense personality, along with the fact he’s already vice-captain along with Mesut Ozil.

The main problem with naming Xhaka as captain is that he’s someone who could find himself replaced next summer as the club continue to rebuild.

Xhaka is a Swiss international
Getty Images

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

The Greek centre-back, 31, has got a wealth of experience having spent five seasons with Borussia Dortmund prior to last summer’s Emirates switch.

He’s a leader in the backline and has dealt with numerous superstar team-mates in his time, which will help with the Gunners, especially as youngsters like Matteo Guendouzi rise to prominence.

Papastathopoulos has been handed the armband before, becoming AEK Athens’ youngster ever captain, aged 19, in 2008.

Papastathopoulos has a wealth of experience to offer in the role

Alexandre Lacazette

It might come as a surprise but the French striker is now 28-years-old and is 12 games shy of a century of matches at the Emirates in his two seasons.

This year he’s become a truly key player with his clinical finishing seeing him notch 19 goals in 49 appearances across all competitions, while he seems to have bought into the club’s philosophy quite extensively.

His form has earned interest from Barcelona and handing Lacazette the captaincy could keep those wolves from the door and ensure they retain at least one of their superstar strikers.

Lacazette could be a wildcard captain
Getty Images

Nacho Monreal

Set for one last season at the top with the Gunners, Monreal has been a real rock for the club since he joined from Malaga in 2013.

He’s definitely got the credentials as a leader in the squad and the fact he’s an exemplary professional help his case too.

Like Xhaka, though, Monreal isn’t likely to remain with the club for much longer and it might not make too much sense in the long term, or just look like a sentimental appointment given his lengthy service.

Monreal has been a huge success at the Emirats
Getty Images

Bernd Leno

The German shot-stopper is a superb diplomat and won the adoration of Arsenal fans last summer with his comments upon joining the club.

Leno worked his way past Petr Cech early last year and has now established himself as the No.1 at the Emirates.

He’s set to be their goalkeeper in the long-term and handing him the captaincy offers him excellent chance for growth as a leader and should keep the Gunners in safe hands.

Could Leno be the long-term successor to Koscielny>
Getty Images

Hector Bellerin

Some supporters might not be massive fans of what the Spaniard gets up to in his time off but the the player’s commitment to Arsenal is undeniable.

He joined the club as a teenager but considers himself a real Gunner and it’s always been said he conducts himself superbly in training.

Branded ‘independent and driven’ the 24-year-old has still got his best years ahead of him and could ply them at the Emirates as captain.

Bellerin saw last season ended early by a knee injury
Getty Images

Arsenal team news: How Gunners could line-up for Europa League final against Chelsea with Unai Emery yet to reveal if Petr Cech will play

29 May

Unai Emery is hoping his first season at Arsenal ends on a high with a Europa League final win.

Not only will it be a first piece of silverware for the manager but also mean a coveted Champions League final place.

The Gunners finished outside the top four in the Premier League but have a second chance of getting into next season’s elite European competition.

They must beat Chelsea in the final in Baku, with commentary live on talkSPORT, to seal that place.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at how Arsenal could line-up for the final tonight.

How Arsenal could line-up against Chelsea in the Europa League final
Build Lineup

There are still question marks over who will play in goal for the Gunners on Wednesday.

Petr Cech could be in for a final swansong before his retirement at the end of the season and has been their goalkeeper in the Europa League this season.

He could decide to go with Bernd Leno who has been their league keeper and deny Cech the chance to close out his career against his former club.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Emery said: “The first XI for tomorrow, I’m going to see tomorrow.

“Cech is a great man, a great professional, it is amazing his behaviour and final year with us.

“I want to do something important with him in the last moment of your career, playing or not playing.

“He deserves trust in him, his career says to us he is a gentleman. He can start or cannot start, I am going to decide.

“How can we not believe in him?”

Emery is likely to go five at the back with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to be used as the wing-backs.

Mesut Ozil has not been a favourite of Unai Emery but may still start
Getty

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should line-up as the central defenders.

Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka will be used in front of the defence with Mesut Ozil in the more advanced attacking role.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have formed a fantastic partnership this season and have 50 goals between them and will be a danger for the Chelsea defence.

Can Arsenal claim a third European trophy by beating Chelsea in Baku?

Find out by listening to live commentary of the match on talkSPORT from 8pm.

‘Just a s*** club in Tottenham’ – Wolves supporters mock Arsenal during Molineux mauling with explicit chant

25 Apr

Arsenal fans endured a rather miserable trip to Molineux on Wednesday evening, and the Wolves fans seemed keen to add insult to injury.

The Gunners’ away form remains their Achilles heel in their challenge for a top-four finish in the Premier League after they were put to the sword by Wolves.

A draw would have been good enough for the Unai Emery’s side to go above London rivals Chelsea and take the last Champions League qualification place, but first-half goals from Ruben Neves, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota set Wolves on their way to a 3-1 win.

Unai Emery watched Arsenal suffer a 3-1 defeat to Wolves

Although they scored a late consolation through Sokratis Papastathopoulos, it is still just six wins on the road this season.

And the home supporters made sure to rub salt into the wounds by unleashing a chant which will haunt Arsenal fans.

As the result became more and more emphatic, Wolves supporters began to sing ‘You’re just a s*** club in Tottenham‘.

Goalscorer Sokratis accepts Arsenal must win their remaining three Premier League matches to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top four – but he believes they can do it.

The Gunners were outplayed at Molineux

Arsenal have away games at Leicester and Burnley left to play, either side of facing Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.

Sokratis, who headed home in the loss at Molineux, thinks taking the maximum nine points from those fixtures is within the Gunners’ capabilities.

“We have to look at the next three games where we need to win all three to get nine points,” he told the club’s official website.

“We’ll see if we can be in the top four. I trust my team 100 per cent, all of the players. I think we can do it.

“We know that we didn’t play well but we now have three chances and we have to win all the games.

“Of course (we get angry). The players want to play in the Champions League, we like winning and we want to be there. It’s not easy.

“We look towards the next game (at Leicester). It’s a difficult game. We know that now the chance could go, so we have to take the three points in all three games. I hope that we win on Sunday.”

Wolves vs Arsenal teams: Sokratis returns from suspension to replace Shkodran Mustafi, Nuno Espirito Santo makes one change

24 Apr

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has made seven changes as the Gunners look to get their top four hopes back on track when they face Wolves at Molineux on Wednesday night.

Emery’s men were surprisingly beaten 3-2 by Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium, which saw much-maligned defender Shkodran Mustafi have another shocker.

Mustafi was at fault for a goal Wilfried Zaha scored

Mustafi has been replaced by Sokratis Papastathopolous, who returns from his suspension.

Another notable change sees Alex Iwobi come in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is not in the squad due to a small sinus procedure. Bernd Leno, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette are the only survivors from the Palace game.

Iwobi comes in for the injured Aubameyang

A win or a draw will put Arsenal in fourth place following Chelsea’s disappointing draw at home to Burnley on Monday night.

As for Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo has made just one change from their goalless draw at home to relegation-threatened Brighton on Saturday.

Leander Dendoncker comes in for Morgan Gibbs-White. Below you can see the confirmed team news for both sides.

Wolves: Rui Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Joao Moutinho, Jonny, Jimenez, Jota

Subs: Ivan Cavaleiro, Helder Costa, Gibbs-White, John Ruddy, Saiss, Ruben Vinagre, Traore

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Papastathopoulos, Koscielny, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Iwobi, Lacazette

Subs: Cech, Elneny, Mustafi, Guendouzi, Kolasinac, Nketiah, Willock

Arsenal team news: Mesut Ozil to miss out? Predicted Gunners line-up for crucial Europa League clash at home to Napoli

11 Apr

Arsenal will be keen to bounce back from their weekend slump at Everton as they welcome Napoli to the Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

The Gunners were sloppy against the Toffees as they went down to a 1-0 defeat – putting a dent in their hopes of finishing in the top four.

Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the top four suffered a setback

However, winning the Europa League is another route into next season’s Champions League and given Unai Emery’s aptitude for this competition (winning it three years running at Sevilla 2014-16), Arsenal will certainly be taking this game very seriously.

But in order to reach the semi-finals, they must beat one of the favourites to win the competition in Napoli, who very nearly made it out of their Champions League group where they were pitted against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

Emery is aware of the danger Napoli possess with world-class players including Manchester United target Kalidou Koulibaly and Dries Mertens.

Koulibaly and Mertens will be looking to end Arsenal’s Europa League campaign

In fact, Emery has said his side need to win the first leg especially due to Arsenal’s poor away record in the knockout stages this season which has seen them lose to BATE Borisov and Rennes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set for a recall to the Arsenal starting XI having only been on the bench for his side’s last two matches after being ill with a virus.

He looks set to join Alexandre Lacazette in attack while Mesut Ozil could miss out again with Aaron Ramsey set to return.

Juventus-bound Ramsey was only fit enough to play the second-half of their defeat at Goodison Park due to a groin problem.

Emery admits Arsenal need to win the first leg

Laurent Koscielny (foot) and Granit Xhaka (groin) face late fitness tests having not featured at the weekend.

So how might Arsenal line up for their first match against the Serie A giants? Below you can see talkSPORT.com’s predicted XI.

Is this the side Emery will field against the Neapolitans?

A 3-4-1-2 formation could be the tactics Emery goes for as he looks to go for the win but also have plenty of defenders back for Napoli’s dangerous attack.

Petr Cech starts in goal as he’s Arsenal’s cup keeper and he may well be joined by a defensive three of Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Kosicleny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Meanwhile, wing-backs Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac will be able to support the defenders when the visitors are on the ball but will also give Arsenal width going forward.

The Gunners missed Granit Xhaka’s passing at Everton so if he’s fit enough, he is likely to play and Lucas Torreira is in contention to make a timely return in what is arguably Arsenal’s biggest game of the season so far.

Aaron Ramsey has performed well this season so will surely play and Emery could be tempted to play both Aubameyang and Lacazette as the two forwards work well together.

This means the inconsistent Mesut Ozil may miss out as defensive duties will be a requirement in this match and the No.10 just cannot be relied on to do that.

Could Ozil be dropped by Emery again?

Arsenal 3-0 BATE Borisov: Gunners into last-16 of Europa League after 3-1 aggregate win over Belarus side

21 Feb

Arsenal eased their way into the last-16 of the Europa League with a 3-0 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday.

The Gunners suffered a shock 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the tie in Belarus but came back strongly from the outset at the Emirates.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forced Zakhar Volkov to put into his own net after just four minutes and defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos ensured they would go through to the next round.

Sokratis heads home for Arsenal

Mesut Ozil was handed his first start by Unai Emery since January when he replaced the suspended Alexandre Lacazette in the starting line-up.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twisted his way past left-back Aleksandar Filipovic down the right wing before fizzing a low cross, which came off Volkov’s shins and into the far left corner.

Alex Iwobi was inches from doubling Arsenal’s lead three minutes later but his curler from inside the area flew just wide, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan blazed over when well-placed in the penalty area.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Matteo Guendouzi celebrate Arsenal’s opener

Stanislav Dragun, BATE’s goalscorer in last week’s 1-0 win in Belarus, almost levelled when he was left free at the far post.

His effort beat Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal but Lichtsteiner was on hand to clear off the line.

Arsenal pressed for a second goal which would put them in front for the first time in the tie with Granit Xhaka forcing Denis Scherbitsky into a save from long range.

Aubameyang worked some space but could only hit tamely at the BATE goalkeeper shortly after, with the striker also looping a header over the crossbar from Nacho Monreal’s cross.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan shoots past Aleksandar Filipovic of BATE

Ozil fired a volley over from 12 yards as the hosts continued to dominate but could not make the second breakthrough.

However, Arsenal grabbed a deserved second just six minutes before the break through Shkodran Mustafi’s powerful header from Xhaka’s outswinging corner.

BATE showed they were still in the contest when a long ball into the Arsenal area caused chaos with the ball eventually falling into Maksim Skavysh’s path, but his low effort was straight Cech.

There was a moment for concern for the hosts as captain Laurent Koscielny trudged off the pitch in the 57th minute and was replaced Sokratis Papastathopoulos with a left calf injury.

Former Arsenal winger Hleb then came on as a substitute to a standing ovation by the Emirates Stadium crowd two minutes later.

Papastathopoulos needed just three minutes to make his mark when he headed in his first Arsenal goal at home from another Xhaka corner.

Arsenal injury news: Unai Emery’s injury woes worsen as Sokratis is ruled out for a month

27 Jan

Arsenal have provided an update on the fitness of their centre-backs Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny.

Unai Emery has been handed another injury blow as Greek international Sokratis has been sidelined for approximately a month after falling awkwardly on his ankle during his side’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Sokratis has been ruled out for a month
Lukaku accidentally caught Koscielny on the side of the head on Friday evening

The club have announced he is “expected to return to full training by the end of February.”

There is better news, however, on the fitness of the other centre-back Koscielny.

The Frenchman took a blow to the head from the boot of Romelu Lukaku, and had to be replaced midway through the second half of the fourth round tie

Arsenal have said there is “bruising and soft tissue swelling” to his face and jaw, and although the injury is seemingly not serious, it will  be “reviewed on a daily basis”.

After the game, Emery did not believe the injuries to his defenders were serious.

He said: ”I think they weren’t big injuries for Sokratis [his ankle]. Maybe Laurent Koscielny is going to hospital to [analyse] what injury he has. Maybe he’s broken [his cheek or jaw] but I hope not.”

Meanwhile, the Gunners still remain without Danny Welbeck, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding who have long-term injuries.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, however, is being “integrated back into full training”.

Emery has been handed a fresh injury blow with Sokratis ruled out for a month

Arsenal transfer news: Gunners signings under Sven Mislintat assessed, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Torreira, and Unai Emery

23 Jan

Sven Mislintat’s departure from Arsenal has come as a shock as the turbulence behind the scenes at the club comes to the surface.

The German will officially leave on February 8, 2019 just over a year after being made head of recruitment at the club.

Arsenal plucked Mislintat from Borussia Dortmund

Arsenal said in a statement Mislintat “has done a truly outstanding job in helping us recruit players who are making a big impact now and will do so even more in the future.”

The Gunners have made eight signings since the 46-year-old has been at the Emirates and this got us thinking – how good have they actually been?

Below you can see talkSPORT.com’s review of how Arsenal’s eight newest signings have done so far and what the future is likely to hold for them.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8/10

It’s been almost a year since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal and he’s been good so far.

He’s a world-class forward, scoring 24 goals in 36 Premier League appearances and always looks a threat, especially when playing alongside fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette but manager Unai Emery is often reluctant to play two strikers in a game.

Aubameyang, 29, has a few good years left in him and the only concern for Arsenal may be that bigger clubs could pursue the Gabon international if the team doesn’t progress. For now though, his future at the Emirates looks very secure.

Aubameyang moved from Dortmund for £56million

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5/10

Another January 2018 recruit, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was part of the swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United.

The Armenian has hardly set the world alight at Arsenal but he’s had much more of a positive impact than Sanchez has at Old Trafford.

Injury has held Mkhitaryan back a bit but Gooners will be hoping he can improve after his latest setback – a foot injury sustained in December.

At the moment it looks like Arsenal got the better deal but not by much

Konstantinos Mavropanos – 5/10

The 21-year-old has made just three appearances for Arsenal since signing over a year ago but a lot of this is due to injury.

Konstantinos Mavropanos picked up a groin strain at the start of the season and only returned to training this month.

However, he’s viewed as a long-term investment and could even get his chance to impress soon with injuries to Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal’s leaving their defensive resources depleted.

The Greek was signed for £2.2million – peanuts in today’s market.

Lucas Torreira – 9/10

It’s between Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira as Mislintat’s best recruit but the Uruguayan edges it because he was a player that Arsenal desperately needed.

Torreira is a tough-tackling defensive midfielder, who breaks up the play of the opposition well and has given Arsenal the steel they have lacked in the middle of the park for so long.

He’s popular with the fans because he’s a player who wears his heart on his sleeve too. This was in full flow when he scored during Arsenal’s fantastic comeback win over north London rivals Tottenham in December.

Torreira celebrates his goal against Spurs

Torreira was injured briefly during the Christmas period which coincided with a downturn in form for the Gunners, illustrating just how important he is. They can’t afford to lose him.

Bernd Leno – 6/10

Bernd Leno started out as Emery’s No.2 goalkeeper but the German got his chance to impress in late September and hasn’t looked back since.

He’s not the perfect goalkeeper but is an improvement on an ageing Petr Cech, who is retiring at the end of the season.

Leno came on for Cech during Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Watford in September

Cech’s retirement also suggests Leno will be viewed as the first choice keeper for many seasons to come.

Stephan Lichtsteiner – 4/10

The Swiss veteran joined on a free transfer from Juventus in the summer but has struggled to replicate the same form as he did in Turin, so far.

Whether that’s because the players he’s around are not as good or if, at 35, the years are catching up on him but Lichtsteiner has been distinctly average.

Lichtsteiner’s contract with Arsenal expires in the summer

The right-back only signed a one-year deal last summer and he probably wouldn’t be missed that much but we could see him figure a lot more after Hector Bellerin was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 5/10

Sokratis Papasthathopolous joined in the summer from Borussia Dortmund for £18million and has been decent value for the fee.

The Greek has shown good leadership in some games – working well with Laurent Koscielny to keep Eden Hazard quiet last weekend during their victory over Chelsea.

Hazard was kept at arms length last weekend

But there have also been some disastrous defensive performances from Arsenal this season including a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool in December.

Sokratis should stick around for a few more years but if Arsenal are serious about challenging for league titles in future then they’ll have to recruit someone a bit better than the 30-year-old.

Matteo Guendouzi – 6/10

This score might be a bit harsh as Matteo Guendouzi has shown he has talent in some games but the Frenchman hasn’t done it consistently enough at present.

Guendouzi could be a player Arsenal struggle to keep hold of in the future

The Gunners signed Guendouzi in the summer from French club Lorient and at 19, he is definitely viewed as one for the future.

He’s made 20 out of a possible 23 appearances in the Premier League for the club which is an impressive haul for a player who’s still developing.

Unai Emery – 7/10

When Arsene Wenger said goodbye to Arsenal after 22 years at the club, whoever succeeded the Frenchman was going to be the most important piece of recruitment under Mislintat.

Wenger waved goodbye to Arsenal in May 2018 after 22 years in charge

And generally, Emery has been a success. He guided Arsenal to a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions earlier this season. The fixtures were generally quite kind to them but it’s still a noteworthy achievement.

However, with the departures of Mislintat, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and director of football Raul Sanllehi all in quick succession, the circus upstairs could prevent the Spaniard from restoring Arsenal as a team that regularly makes the top four.

Emery has made a good start as Arsenal boss