The Unai Emery reign started with the first Premier League game of the season which the Gunners lost 2-0 to the Champions Manchester City. Game where new Arsenal signings also started their new journey, most notably Matteo Guendouzi. As expected it is not the easiest of starts Emery has got with, as his team facing Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge this Saturday.
Thank you so much for your great support in our first day at home. Today we look ahead and push ourselves to work harder. And doing it together, for you to enjoy. Go @Arsenal ! pic.twitter.com/UFRpxPZsMe
— Unai Emery (@UnaiEmery_) August 13, 2018
Arsenal still adapting to the new style of play under the Spaniard were a little nervous on ball at the high pressing of Citizens. But so were City sloppy at times and had the Gunners been more clinical, the result might have been different. Taking a few positives from the game, one man who stood out on his debut for Arsenal was 19 years old Matteo Guendouzi.
The young French kid is a typical Arsenal signing from Lorient, who play in the Ligue 2 of France. After his impressive and robust performances in pre-season friendlies, Matteo earned his debut and was named in the starting Xl against City.
He made mistakes but was never shy of making himself available for a pass or putting in a tackle. Guendouzi faired very well in the 90 minutes he played and his performance was noticed by the Arsenal faithful.
Matteo Guendouzi completed 38 passes with 80.9% accuracy, according to Whoscored stats.
The French midfielder was aggressive in tackling where he made four tackles, four interceptions, two blocks and had the most touches (71) in the game for Arsenal. The substitution of Lucas Torreira for Xhaka midway of the second half showed that Emery had also made a note of Matteo’s performance. The confident rookie showed excellent passing range, played through City lines and also offered long balls switching the play somewhat disrupting City’s shape.
Guendouzi also dropped deep in defense to receive a ball and also played it forward even when under pressure. This showed his ability to play out of tough situations even when he had made two bad errors previously in the game one leading to a counter which Cech saved one on one with Aguero and other where he gave too much shooting space to Raheem Sterling where he scored a goal.
Disappointing result against Manchester City.
We have to be strong and continue the work 🔴⚪️
It’s the beginning of the adventure 💪🏽
Thanks for your support ❣️#COYG #StayFocus#KeepYourHeadUp #WeAreTheArsenal pic.twitter.com/EKCGiJsBAz
— Matteo Guendouzi (@MatteoGuendouzi) August 13, 2018
Former PSG youth prospect tried to keep quiet the likes of a Bernardo Silva and Ikay Gundogan making his presence felt and conceded only one foul in the process. The player never looked startled by the lime light he was put into with Premier League stars of Arsenal and City. The occasion brought out the better of him with some situations left for self-assessment.
Emery also tried to look at the positives after his first game at the Emirates pointing out Matteo Guendouzi’s performance at his post-match Press Conference. Emery backed the young Frechman saying,
“It is his first match here in the Premier League.
He has the personality and quality and if he is on the pitch he is improving very quickly.”
– Emery Unai
This suggests that we might see Matteo Guendouzi partnering Lucas Torreira who is more defensive type of player as we are playing away at Chelsea complementing the Frenchman to do his job.
Matteo Guendouzi became the 27th French player to represent Arsenal in the Premier League. In a short space of few weeks he has come to the hardest league from the second division of France and has left a mark on Arsenal supporters in his first game specially at this very young age. A few days after his debut the Gunner is feeling confident and optimistic of winning the league with the staff and quality players around him. The Frenchman said,
“I believe we can win it this season because of the players and staff we have. We can win tittles because of the environment we have here and the quality of players at our disposal.”
– Matteo Guendouzi
With his ability to learn and adapt quickly he might become a mainstay in Arsenal’s starting Xl minus the big mistakes he made in the first game. Him and Arsenal management both would like to take one step at a time at this moment without getting ahead of themselves as Premier league has seen a lot of rookies taking the league by storm but invisible after few games.