Pre-season preview (part 2) – Will Smith Rowe get a chance?

Pre-season gets underway next week and, having already looked at the goalkeepers and defence, here’s an assessment of which young midfielders and attackers could be involved with the first-team this summer.



Several of Arsenal’s midfielders have been involved at the World Cup, with Mesut Ozil, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka all falling into that category.

With Germany and Egypt both suffering early exits, Ozil and Elneny should be able to play a significant part in pre-season, but they won’t be available at the very start, and especially not for the game against Boreham Wood, which will feature some first-team players.

Aaron Ramsey is available, as is Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who will hope to receive some run-outs in central midfield.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide is back from his loan spell at Angers and is determined to make a major impact, with circumstances dictating that there should be space for him to be involved.

Joe Willock, having been involved with the first-team last season, is a strong candidate to play at least some part in pre-season. Josh Dasilva has yet to commit to a new contract but could feature if he does stay. Gedion Zelalem, meanwhile, needs to prove his fitness before he can be considered for action.

Reiss Nelson, who has yet to sign a new contract, seems likely to be involved in pre-season and will be determined to impress.

There could also be some opportunities early on for Emile Smith Rowe, who produced some excellent performances at youth level last season and impressed after switching to central midfield.

Kelechi Nwakali is likely to go on loan to Porto rather than spend pre-season with Arsenal.



Arsenal can call upon arguably their first-choice front three – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette – for the entirety of pre-season, with none of those players having been involved at the World Cup.

Returning loanee Lucas Perez will look to prove to Unai Emery that he deserves to be part of the squad for the new season, but it could be difficult for Chuba Akpom to get much of a look in with Eddie Nketiah having made such significant progress.

Stephy Mavididi is back from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic but there may not be room for him to be involved with the first-team.

Alex Iwobi, Joel Campbell and Danny Welbeck have all been away at the World Cup.

PRE-SEASON PLANS (Players in blue likely to be involved in early pre-season fixtures)

*= Yet to sign new contract


Aaron Ramsey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jeff Reine-Adelaide

Unavailable: Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil (World Cup)

U23 options: Reiss Nelson, Josh Dasilva*, Charlie Gilmour, Joe Willock, Gedion Zelalem, Trae Coyle, Emile Smith Rowe, Kelechi Nwakali, Robbie Burton


Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Perez, Chuba Akpom

Unavailable: Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi, Joel Campbell (World Cup)

U23 options: Stephy Mavididi, Eddie Nketiah, Xavier Amaechi, Tyreece John-Jules, Nathan Tormey




One comment

  1. is definitely an area where a youngster or two will get a look in, with almost every senior option being at the World Cup.
    Would definitely like to see AMN and Jeff get the chance to forma a 3 with Ramsey.
    Nelson and Smith-Rowe should get a look in, with Iwobi, Ozil and Welbeck absent.
    Josh and Vlad may get a call up to push them into signing new contracts!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s