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Arsenal concluded their rampant pre-season in expert fashion, dismantling Sevilla in a 6-0 thrashing, but what did we learn from the outing?
1 - William Saliba is calmness personified
The Frenchman has continued to solidify his position in the Arsenal XI throughout pre-season, and seems destined to make his full Arsenal debut next week against Crystal Palace.
Against Sevilla, the 21-year-old oozed serenity, each touch of the ball an act of mediation, perfectly weighted towards its next destination.
Combining effortless technique on the ball with blistering pace and defensive awareness off it, Arteta is truly blessed with a player that is the definition of a modern centre-back.
2 - Ben White is an apt right-back option
If Saliba is calming the tides, then White is the ocean of tranquillity. Whenever the Englishman received the ball, he was multiple steps ahead of his opponent.
Inverting alongside Zinchenko on the opposite flank, the Gunners were able to build in a distinct 2-3-5 formation, with all players in that defensive five possessing high levels of technical security.
White was also integral to the manner by which Arteta’s side pressed, supporting Saka ahead of him in the press, ensuring Sevilla were continually forced to go long.
3 - Gabriel Jesus has elevated the Gunners from back to front
Whilst this statement is self-evident, witnessing the Brazilian lead the forward line is a breath of fresh air.
Whenever the 25-year-old received the ball, whether between the lines or in the opposition box, there was an expectancy from the Emirates crowd that genius was set to ensue.
The Brazilian duly provided, netting a hat-trick in his first appearance at the Emirates. However, the Gunners no.9 offers much more than that.
Guardiola said recently of the forward:
“He’s the best striker/defender I ever found to play in the three positions. [He] can play 5 minutes, he plays the best 5 minutes of his life. He plays 90 minutes, he will give everything.”
Arteta witnessed that first hand again this afternoon. Jesus is the first defender and final attacker, and elite in both fields.
4 - Nketiah provides worthy competition to Jesus
There is no doubt that Jesus is the main man at N5 currently, but Nketiah certainly hasn’t received that memo.
Whenever the all-time England u21 scorer is on the pitch, there is a deep hunger to score, a relentless drive that seeps into all aspects of his play, for the better.
In what will prove to be a long, gruelling season, this burning desire inside the Gunners no.14 will fuel the Gunners as they push to compete on multiple fronts.
5 - New signings are still necessary
Arsenal have an elite set of 14-15 players, however, this isn’t enough, particularly in a season where squad depth will be more important than ever before.
Arteta is conscious of what the squad requires, cogs that can seamlessly come in and out of the well-oiled machine he has constructed.
Last season, injuries crippled the Gunners’ campaign, with the side stumbling over the line as they faltered in their Champions League chase.
This season, that simply cannot happen. Steps have been taken to address this, signing elite, versatile talents like Jesus, Zinchenko, and Vieira. However, more steps remain.
Competition for Bukayo Saka is a necessity, along with a left-sided central midfielder before the curtain raiser just six days from now.
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