Matteo Guendouzi: At the heart of Arsenal’s future

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Arsenal have had a mixed start to the season and the fans certainly have a lot to reflect on 7 Premier League games into the campaign.

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Depending on what way you look at it, the Gunners have been good – 4th place, top of their Europa League group and only lost 1 game all season. Others will argue they have been underperforming – failing to dominate in league games, only won 3 out of 7 in the league and sitting behind Leicester.

One thing nobody can argue about, though, is the form of Matteo Guendouzi. The 20-year-old enjoyed a good debut season last year following his move from FC Lorient. This season, he appears to have stepped up a level again and is consistently one of the Gunners best performers when he plays, which is becoming all the more frequent.

Already standing at 6ft 1’, Guendouzi has a great physical presence on the pitch and at the same time he plays with great guile and technical ability.

One area he still needs to improve on is his end product and particularly his goalscoring influence. The Frenchman is yet to score a senior goal, but in recent games we have seen him come close on a few occasions. His forward run to win the penalty against Aston Villa highlighted his growing attacking influence.

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When you watch Guendouzi play, it’s very easy to forget how inexperienced he really is. He plays with such maturity when on the ball. When you consider he has only one season under his belt of top tier football, it makes for very exciting thought, about where he could get to by the age of 25.

He is also crucially demonstrating leadership skills on and off the pitch, often seen galvanizing his teammates at crucial moments of games, like after scoring or conceding goals. Leadership is an area that every Arsenal fan would agree the club have lacked in recent years, so it is great to see that some of these young players, like Guendouzi, are already demonstrating such qualities.

For more Arsenal analysis, follow me on @OliPriceBates.

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