Assessing The Prospects Of Arsenal Youngsters Making An Impact In The First Team This Season

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Reiss Nelson of Arsenal in action during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais at the Emirates Stadium on July 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Arsenal have one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League at the moment. The Gunners have spent a fortune this summer, securing the services of Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Kieran Tierney among many others. But at the same time, they also have a conveyor belt of young, promising players. And in this article, we will be assessing the chances of these young players making a mark in the first-team this season.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

Since moving to Arsenal at the start of last year, Konstantinos Mavropanos has had an injury-ravaged spell at the club. He suffered a groin strain that kept him out for almost four months last season. The groin injury was aggravated in August, and the Greek is still out till October.

However, Mavropanos does have a chance of making an impact given the lack of defensive options for Unai Emery this season. That being said, he will still have to compete with David Luiz and Rob Holding, if not Shkodran Mustafi. The key will be to make an impact in the Cup games, where he is more likely to receive an opportunity.

Chances of a breakthrough: 4/10

Joe Willock

Joe Willock is one of the most exciting players to come out of the Arsenal academy in recent years. The 20-year-old made quite an impact in the pre-season earlier this summer. He has even played a vital role in the first three matches of the campaign, though he was demoted to the bench against Tottenham Hotspur.

Willock is currently being touted as the prime alternative for Mesut Ozil among the current crop of Arsenal players. And if he can provide a few more exciting performances for the first-team, he is sure to become a crucial part of the Gunners’ setup under Emery.

Chances of a breakthrough: 7/10

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has already become a first-team regular for Arsenal this season. He is currently deputising for the injured Hector Bellerin. But it is to be noted that the Spaniard’s return could minimise the youngster’s gameplay.

He will then have to compete with Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson for a place in the first-team. The departure of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to that extent, has significantly boosted the chance of the 22-year-old making a breakthrough at Arsenal this season.

Chances of a breakthrough: 8/10

Reiss Nelson

Reiss Nelson is being considered as the replacement for Alex Iwobi, who moved to Everton this summer. The England winger is coming on the back of a promising campaign at TSG Hoffenheim last season.

But, things haven’t started quite well for Nelson, who failed to impress in the first couple of matches. As a result, he didn’t feature in the previous two games against Liverpool and Spurs. That being said, he is expected to receive more opportunities, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top between him and Maitland-Niles.

Chances of a breakthrough: 7/10

Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli joined from Ituano for a fee of €6.7 million this summer. He did show glimpses of his talents in the pre-season friendlies. But, he is yet to receive any proper opportunity in the first-team. The youngster only made a late substitute appearance in the opening game against Newcastle United. Martinelli is unlikely to be a first-team option for Emery this season. But, he is an excellent backup to have around.

Chances of a breakthrough: 4/10

Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe is arguably the most exciting talent for Arsenal at the moment. He is also the only player on this list, who is not yet a fully-fledged member of the first-team as he is still playing for the reserves. It suggests the fact that Emery is not ready to integrate him to the senior side just yet.

Therefore, Smith Rowe’s potential breakthrough will mostly depend on whether or not the Gunners suffer from an injury crisis this season.

Chances of a breakthrough: 3/10

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.