Arsenal close out their Premier League campaign on Sunday afternoon by hosting Watford. Despite having little to play for, here are five key players to watch.
A disappointing Premier League campaign will finally come to a close on Sunday afternoon. Arsenal host Watford in their 38th and final game almost a year after their opening-day victory over Newcastle.
They have been filled with hope, suffered great despair, gone through two managers, 19 players, endured a global pandemic, and now face a midtable finish, their lowest in 25 years.
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With the season-closer looming and an FA Cup final still to come, here are five key players to watch.
5. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
It remains to be seen how strong a team Mikel Arteta fields on Sunday. He will be keen to avenge the disparaging midweek defeat to Aston Villa, of course, and he said that he would take the match seriously, owing to the Premier League and Watford to play competitively, but his players have played a lot of football recently and he may be wary of providing them with ample rest before next weekend’s FA Cup final.
In his pre-match press conference, Arteta also revealed that some players still have the chance to earn a starting role in that final with a good performance. When asked if they can still change his mind, he said:
“Absolutely, they try to do that anyway in training every day but I want to see the players that are in the best condition and the best mind-set to affect the game in the final day against Chelsea.”
One such player is Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who surprisingly started in the semi-final against Manchester City. He was excellent in that outing but has been in and out of the team throughout the Arteta tenure. Can he make one last push to feature in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, a team that Arteta may look to contain in the same manner as he did with City last weekend?