Until Aouar arrives, where will Arsenal get their creativity from?

Without Aouar, We Need to Trust Our Own by AI

And so the reports turned out. We were close to having Aouar, quite close. But we couldn’t get him at the end of the day. And the all-important question remains unanswered: where will our creativity come from?

On Sunday against Leicester City, it came from David Luiz and Bukayo Saka. The Brazilian defender was a rock of pure class, oozing control and dinked balls over the top that regularly resulted in chances. Bukayo Saka shared the responsibility of receiving these diagonals with Kieran Tierney and was pretty much our best attacker until he was forced to come off.

Elsewhere, Pepe and Bellerin were entrusted to make something happen with the ball. Bellerin did pretty well and should have scored while Pepe was played out of possession. Ceballos who was given the job of making the right side of things click was anonymous, wasteful as he was irrelevant. It was on the average a dour showing from Arsenal, especially in the second half.

Aouar would have played as an 8 in this setup and his ability to receive under pressure, turn into space and release the ball accurately would have been very well welcome. Now we don’t have him. Who else do we have with roughly this same skillset?

There is Willian, who played fantastically in the 10 role for us for some minutes against Sheffield United. Willian is one of the most progressive attackers in Europe’s top 5 leagues. He keeps things ticking, doesn’t go for the spectacular. His ability to receive under pressure and manipulate himself and the ball into space is part of why he looked so good playing in between the lines against Sheffield United. But Willian is not a midfielder and Arteta seemingly does not want to play with an attacking 10. That means he would more than often be used on the wings rather than in between the lines.

There is Reiss Nelson whose playing style is similar to Willian. Capable of receiving under pressure and beating his man, Nelson has experience playing as the most advanced midfielder. He excelled in that role for Hoffeinheim in the Bundesliga and would be capable of doing the same for Arsenal. But Arteta’s preference not to play with a midfielder behind the striker makes the possibility redundant. If the 21-year-old were to influence things at Arsenal, it would be from the wings.

Then there is Emile Smith-Rowe. With his ability to receive, turn, pass under pressure, the Croydon starlet can play as an advanced midfielder. He has shown plenty of ability to attack space and combine intelligently with others. There is no doubt about his mentality at the top level: he’s ready to work hard and selflessly for the team. Emile Smith-Rowe has the required ability and personality to play as an 8 for Arteta. The only thing he requires from the gaffer is an opportunity to earn his trust. With an heroic campaign for Huddersfield in the Championship under his belt, the ‘Croydon De Bruyne’ can really go all the way and solve our creativity problems.


Tags Nelson Smith-Rowe Willian


  1. I totally agree with you on this one admin. We do need some creativity and I think arteta may need experiment a bit more in the middle of the park.

    We saw an outstanding performance from Mr willock on Thursday and we have all seen ESR put in performances whilst on loan. Similarly as mentioned we have seen the same with Nelson. I think with this in mind arteta should put these boys against each other including ceballos. I don’t think cebellos is on a different level to any of the young stars we mentioned and should have to fight for his place.

    I think perhaps this should also be applied to our strikers but that’s another conversation

  2. If MA understood his lesson, the first thing he should do is playing Auba as ST and give Pepe the chance to move freely with Saka from right to left. Playing at least one of the two (Willock or Nelson)

    Partey and Xhaka with 4 defense players that’s sound like a smart move rather than losing Auba on the wings and giving Laca more chances without scoring. Man, U are getting better and Rashford has become their top scorer so far and I doubt that we can stop him now. Time to act smart and focus on the attack MA!

  3. With ESR, its his fitness, he always seems to be on the physio’s table, he has the talent but he’s just another Wilshire in that regard

    Personally, i would drop a striker ( Lacazette) and play with more creative player, we can field SAke left, Auba down the middle and Pepe on the right with Willian or DC in the more conventional no 10 role with TP and Xaka/Elneny holding.
    this should be more than enough to cope defensively and give us more going forward.

    Thats what I would like to see, play with no fear and take the game to UTD

  4. But MA is reluctant to leave his 3-4-3 and give chance to these kids…
    Nelson, ESR and Willock should be use used in EPL…
    But MA don’t trust them..
    He can trust wasteful 3-4-3 but can’t trust these kids…
    Started the game with 4-3-3 against Leicester but soon Xhaka was deployed as LCB and sometimes Ceballos as makeshift RB…. No use do these things… Play players on their natural positions…
    Try kids along with experienced Partey and Ceballos….
    He could ESR with Partey and Ceballos…

  5. ESR has massive potential.I would love if MA give him a chance in the PL.

    Willock is not a 10 but with his energy he can easily play 8 or the ramsey role.But as AMN sometimes his decision making is poor.Need to read better if he is to play in PL.

    Willian is way better than nelson when it comes to PL.Nelson has many skills as a winger but no pace and end product and if he can work out a plan i think he could have a great future.

    At the moment, i think MA relies on his CBs than the midfielders…Luiz can pick a ball but we need our midfielders to step up, specially ceballos.And i hope he will tmrw.

      1. Its simple right
        Let pepe,willian and nelson race and lets see who finishes first….his dribnling skills covers that fact.He sure is talented but he has areas to work on to become a better winger.

        Just my opinion

    1. Nelson has Pace but he lack final ball or end product….
      But that’s the case of all Arsenal players lately so can’t blame him…
      If your senior players are performing pathetic in final 3rd then you can’t blame youth if the y can’t perform..

    2. Shakir, “Nelson has no pace?” You can only surely be referring to the statue inTrafalgar Square and NOT to our pacy young winger with his startling burst of speed.

    3. Nelson has a lot of pace and all the trickish movements. The only thing he lacks for now is end product, and that’s because he is not given deserved match runs to stabilize.

  6. “The Croydon De Bruyne”! No pressure then, eh Agboola? An unhelpful comment a for keen, talented but still raw youngster to have to wear. Not a wise comment I’d suggest.

    I do, sometimes, appreciate a writing style with imagination and strong phrases but in THIS way over the top phrase , you are not helping our fotball club or young Emile but actually piling on unnecessary pressure . Just my take.

  7. There are no more such things like “specialist creative players, defensive players etc” in the modern game…

    Football has now evolved to a more “teamwork based style” rather than “individual skill based”.

    Conversely, players like Van Dijk, Debruyne, Thiago are no where near defensive and creative players of old since the pressing system of their teams make them thrive more.

    If anyone thinks that buying a “specialist creative midfielder” will solve our creative problem, then they’re ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!

  8. Arteta just needs to take the handbrakes off the players for a minute.
    I like Arteta but I think he over thinks, too cautious.
    He is mostly more worried about the opposition. He should also get the opposition be worried about us for once. This is why teams are not afraid of us. They know we will just park the bus no matter what.

    I say let the team express themselves here and there instead of always being timid about every team.

    Come on Arteta.

  9. Whatever happens, Maitland Niles is one who needs to play regularly. He was a few of the better players last season after lock down.

    I’ve given up on the main forward players creating chances.

  10. We don’t have any player within the team not in ranks to take up that responsibility other wise why do you think MA n Co wanted Aouar at first place. You guys want to bet your house on ESR to be that man in EPL when he can not even break into an Arsenal team who is struggling for creativity and I didn’t hear any big club even in EPL inquired about him to take him on loan. He may be or may not be a star for future but is certainly far away from it at the moment. Some ppl here really are so funny with their comments. You lot think championship standard Willock and Nelson can take us forward???hahahaha. They have been given so many chances and have failed. Can we stop praising them like they have some sort pedigree and exceptional youngsters bec they played well against a third division Irish team. Perhaps what Arsenal fans need is a look around Europe top clubs to see the level of their youngsters coming through academy to realise what crap players we are producing…only gem that has vomemout of academy after Wilsher is Saka, you can see the difference between him and your so called other talented youngsters Willock, neslon n co. It feels like Arsenal fans have buried their head in sand. Being positive is one thing but calling an apple a peer is another.

  11. Seems the above conversations are going round and round in circles. Creativity is the buzzword,but then we are scraping the barrel when suggedting reinforcements. The usual suspects,AMN,Nelson, William keep coming up,but really only add to the gloom because they don’t exactly fit the bill. The one player who could do it must not be named and probably rightly so because he has been given enough chances and doesn’t have the mental desire to prove everyone wrong.

  12. “…Arteta seemingly does not want to play with an attacking 10. That means he (Ozil) would more than often be used on the wings rather than in between the lines.”

    This to me is at the heart of the debacle around Ozil. Arteta forcing a player into a mould he is not suitable for.

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