Football News

Mikel Arteta must make midfield decision on Arsenal’s No.10

By James Amey

Published: 10:02, 27 May 2024 | Updated: 10:46, 29 May 2024

The 2023/24 campaign might have just finished, but Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will already be planning for next season. 

Despite the disappointment of finishing as runners-up for a second consecutive campaign, there is a lot of positivity at Arsenal as they once again showed why they might be the side to end Pep Guardiola’s dominance in English football.

The Gunners were incredible defensively in 2023/24, keeping more clean sheets and conceding fewer goals than any other side in the division, but ultimately fell short despite setting club records for their highest goal difference as well as their most wins in a single Premier League campaign.

A crucial decision for Mikel Arteta this summer will be which players to bring in to elevate his side to another level once again and which players to let go. Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Kieran Tierney will all be looking for new clubs after spending last season out on loan, while Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson’s future at the club seem to be in the balance.

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His biggest decision, however, may be in which midfielder he should keep at the club next season out of Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira, with both players struggling for game time last season.

According to a report from The Athletic, Mikel Arteta’s concerns over Fabio Vieira’s poor performances in training has led to the Portuguese midfielder falling down the pecking order at the Emirates.

The 23-year-old who was signed from Porto in 2022, has only made five league starts in his Arsenal career and played just 292 minutes of Premier League football last season, scoring one goal and providing two assists in his 11 appearances and has struggled to make any kind of mark on this Arsenal side.

He arrived in England full of promise having been named the 2021 U21 European Championship player of the tournament and finishing the 2021/22 Primeira Liga season with the joint most assists of any player in the league with 14, as well as scoring six goals in just 1,327 minutes of action.

Despite his lack of action at the Emirates, he may be given another chance to prove himself next season.

This depends on the future of academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe, though, who after having the best season of his career in 2021/22 when he scored 10 goals and provided a further two assists in the Premier League, has also struggled with injury problems and form.

Arsenal’s number 10 has started just three Premier League matches across the last two seasons, accumulating just 511 of playing time, but if he can put his injury problems behind him and rediscover his form from 2021/22, then Mikel Arteta has a tough choice in which player he should keep in his squad to give competition to Martin Ødegaard.