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Could Another Arsenal Redemption Story Be On the Horizon?

Building on last season’s theme of redemption…

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi, and even Mohamed Elneny may still have a role to play in the upcoming Arsenal season. Even if the first two played no part in Saturday’s winning squad.

In Mikel Arteta’s first half season at Arsenal, there were several mini redemption stories. Shkrodan Mustafi regained some confidence and enjoyed his best run of form in a long, long time. Dani Ceballos, who was mostly underwhelming at first, turned his season around and is now back in London after playing superbly during Project Restart. Ainsley Maitland-Niles went from first choice right-back to benchwarmer, before playing an integral role at left wing-back in the FA Cup.

Most notably, Granit Xhaka looked set to return to Germany in January after a falling out with the fans, but our manager convinced him to stay. While he may no longer wear the armband, Xhaka is unquestionably one of the squad’s true leaders on and off the pitch, and the decision to rebuild his Arsenal career rather than sell him has certainly been vindicated.

The moral of the story is that, under Arteta, the door is never completely shut. Prior to the Community Shield win over Liverpool, the boss reiterated that he is prepared to let bygones be bygones, no matter who you are: “I’ve been really clear that everybody starts from zero…what you did two weeks ago or two years ago, doesn’t really matter. It’s what you are able to contribute to the team now.”

This would seem to indicate that the door remains open for Guendouzi and Ozil, provided they can display the respect, humility, and commitment that Arteta values extremely highly. Neither appears close to leaving the club at the moment, so hopefully we can get some value out of them on the pitch.

Ozil no longer looks an outcast, as he featured in a recent behind-closed-doors friendly against Aston Villa. Guendouzi has also returned to first-team training after captaining the France Under-21s in their European qualifiers. Both players still have the talent to make a difference, as midfield creativity and ball progression are clear weaknesses in our squad.

Another player whose Arsenal career appeared over is Elneny, who stands all as one of the top two Egyptian players in the Premier League! In all seriousness, though…. he can still be a useful backup midfielder, as he demonstrated in the Community Shield. He may not excel in any one area, but Elneny is usually a pretty solid, dependable player who Arteta has spoken fondly of, describing him as a “a really positive character to have around, and he has some really good qualities as well”.

Next: Mikel Arteta is Now Arsene Wenger’s True Successor

The clock is ticking on the transfer window, and while I am hopeful we can bring in a new midfielder, the reality is that we still have plenty of them in our bloated squad. While we are undoubtedly trying to offload them, it should not be at all surprising if at least one of Ozil, Guendouzi, or Elneny redeems themselves this season; it’s the Arteta way.

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