Pablo Mari made his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt when he turned out for the under 23s in their game against Chelsea.
The new Arsenal signing is expected to become a key member of Mikel Arteta’s team in the coming months, but he was asked to get some minutes with the club’s reserves first.
He started the game in central defence alongside Rob Holding who is just returning from injury and hoping to win a starting XI shirt back too.
Mari played the first 45 minutes of the encounter and impressed U23 manager Steve Bould with his showing.
Arsenal lost the game 2-1, but Bould was full of praise for the first team players who helped his side and claimed that the experience is a worthwhile one for the youngsters who are also hoping to win a first team call-up.
“It’s fabulous for the young players to play alongside them,” said Bould as quoted by Goal.com. “It’s a learning programme and we don’t very often get older boys and men playing with us, and that’s how I learned my game when I was a kid so it’s something we miss out on lots of times.
“It was actually a very good game for them to come in to. I think Chelsea’s striker is a good player and they have good players all over the park so it was a good test for them and a good 45 minutes. I’m sure they will go on and use that for first-team value.
“I thought the performance was really really good, especially in the second half. I think they edged the first half they had a bit more of the ball and we struggled a little bit to retain it.
“In the second half, the boys have done everything that we’ve asked of them and I couldn’t ask of any more from them apart from scoring another goal.”
Mari will be hoping that he has shown Mikel Arteta enough to trust him with a start sooner rather than later.
It can only be a matter of getting properly attuned to his first team mates until Mari becimes a regular and first choice CB. Perhaps two more matches in under 23’s and then watch him go! And thereafter watch Sokratis , Luiz and Mustafi, at least two of those three clowns also go. Go through the door marked exit that is, before August is out.
Let’s hope Holding and Mari get an opportunity to form a partnership at CB in the not too distant future.Holding is taking longer than I anticipated to return to full fitness and the only way he can get up to speed is to play in competitive matches.I have every confidence in Arteta to bring him in as and when appropriate. Our current CB pairing has done well in the last two matches but they are likely to have a sterner test in Everton on Sunday.Longer term like JF, I do hope we do not have to rely on our three most experienced centre backs next season.They simply do not have the pace and composure to deal with the better sides in the EPL.Nothing against them personally.
The right attitude is what I think mari will bring.
It’s already set into thus club with the new regime.
Just look at Ozil after we scored our first against newcastle. He went and got the ball to go again whilst the rest rightly celebrated.
I’m looking forward to thursday night. Not something fans are openly saying but I like days when my club plays, that’s just me.
We are only as big as where we are. Something the clubs owners will need to remember.
For the first time in a really long while, Arsenal is actually sorting out the defence. That for one is something to be excited about. With the likes of saliba, mari, Chambers, holding, mavropanos and even mustafi in contention for first 11 cbs next season, I would say Arteta has got some selection headaches on his hand, however a very good headache to have especially if they are all performing really well.