Football Features

“Leo supremacy” – Trossard’s importance grows as Mikel Arteta completes Premier League checklist

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:22, 11 November 2023

Leandro Trossard has once again laid down a gauntlet to the rest of Arsenal’s forwards after he starred in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over Burnley.

When Arsenal failed to win the Premier League last season despite leading the table for so long, a lot of focus was placed on their lack of a natural striker as one of the key reasons. The Gunners had signed Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City the previous summer and the Brazilian started the season well before injury interrupted his progress. Eddie Nketiah fared well at times in his absence, but the need for a devastating finisher was clear at the times.

This summer, Arsenal bolstered their attack by signing Kai Havertz from Chelsea, but the 2021 Champions League winning goalscorer hasn’t been the threat in front of goal many had hoped or expected to be. The German has just one goal in the Premier League for the Gunners, a penalty in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth. Havertz has been playing in a deeper role for Arsenal, however, and has earned plaudits from some for his work further back.

But, again, it left Arsenal without a goalscorer outside of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, with the latter being out of form in front of goal this season. Step forward Trossard.

The Belgian was signed in January after Arsenal missed out on Mykhailo Mudryk, offering the Gunners a more experienced player with Premier League history, and in good form. Trossard had been directly involved in 10 league goals for Brighton before his move to Arsenal, scoring seven with three assists.

It was a good start to life as a Gunner too, as Trossard ended the season with another goal and a further 10 assists, including a hat-trick of assists in a 3-0 win over Fulham in March. Then, he wasn’t the goal threat Arsenal needed him to be in terms of scoring, but he has made that change this season.

After 14 games across all competitions, Trossard has scored six goals, with no Arsenal player netting more — level alongside Saka. Five of those goals have been either the opening goal of the game (three), or Arsenal’s equaliser (two), adding to one opener last season.

Playing through the middle once again, Trossard’s opener against Burnley came just before half time, following Saka’s header to the far post, nodding the ball past James Trafford. A Saka assist (shock), it continued the partnership between the pair, with the Englishman assisting all seven of Trossard’s Arsenal goals since he signed. A nice moment, it was also the 1,000th goal Arsenal have scored across all competitions at the Emirates Stadium.

But Trossard wasn’t done there. He helped double Arsenal’s lead in the second half with a great corner into the box which was met by William Saliba, who headed in to make it 2-0. Since joining Arsenal, Trossard has been directly involved in 15 Premier League goals for Arsenal, with only Saka (20) being directly involved in more.

There was some worry for Arsenal when Trossard went down after scoring the opener, colliding with the post and hurting his shoulder, but to the relief of Arsenal fans he got up and was able to continue. What a loss he could have been if the injury forced him to come off, with Arsenal fans high in praise of Trossard, and thankful that the Belgian joined last winter.

The win over Burnley also means that Arteta has now won at least one game against every single side he has faced at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League, with the Clarets the 25th and final side to be checked off the list.

The Gunners are also unbeaten in each of their last 38 home league games against newly-promoted sides, winning 33, since a 3-2 defeat at the Emirates to West Brom in September 2010.