BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks believes Mikel Arteta could be heading for trouble with his Arsenal selection decisions.
Mikel Arteta made changes to his Arsenal starting XI when the Gunners travelled to Goodison Park on Sunday. £65 million summer signing Kai Havertz was dropped to the bench in favour of Fabio Vieira, whilst goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale made way in order for David Raya to make his debut for the club.
These decisions paid off, as Arsenal won 1-0 against Everton. The all-important goal was provided by Leandro Trossard, who started the game on the bench himself.
The Belgian forward was brought on in the first half following the injury to Gabriel Martinelli. He went on to produce a fine performance that suggested he was unfortunate not to have started the match on the pitch in the first place.
There is fierce competition for places at the Emirates Stadium this season. If Arteta can rotate regularly enough to keep everyone happy, and get the balance of his teams right, then this can be a huge asset for the Gunners throughout the campaign.
However, a lack of game time for certain players could see the harmony in the dressing room negatively impacted.
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Garth Crooks sends warning to Arteta
This is certainly a concern held by Garth Crook. Writing for BBC Sport, the former Tottenham Hotspur forward said, “Trossard is very unlucky not to be in the Gunners’ starting line-up, as the selection process for Mikel Arteta is starting to get a little problematic.”
“Top players want to play in the biggest matches. Leaving Aaron Ramsdale out for David Raya when the England goalkeeper hasn’t put a foot wrong may come home to bite Arteta. The Arsenal manager needs to handle that situation with great sensitivity.”
Arteta will have considered the potential ramifications of each of his selection decisions. Disappointing players is also unavoidable. For instance, the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, and Jakub Kiwior may well be frustrated with their lack of opportunities so far this season.
However, there are plenty of matches to come and Arteta has shown that he is willing to reward impressive training ground performances with first team opportunities. There is everything to fight for for all of the Arsenal players this season.