Arsenal star Leandro Trossard is perhaps the unluckiest player in the whole squad, given both his high-performance levels and the competition he has for a starting spot.
The 28-year-old has been one of the standout players of Arsenal’s pre-season campaign, and scored the equaliser, via a deflection, against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Given just how impressive his performances have been, no one will disagree that he deserves to play from the start, but he faces a problem as he looks set to be benched for the opening league game against Nottingham Forest.
Trossard can play in midfield, on both wings and as a false nine. Despite this, he has so much quality ahead of him that he still cannot find a starting spot.
Record signing Declan Rice and captain Martin Odegaard both started in advanced midfield positions, whilst first-choice wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka will likely continue against Forest.
This leaves the central striking spot as the only available option, and new signing Kai Havertz was deployed as a target man against Man City, where his hold-up play proved very useful.
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Mikel Arteta seems likely to use the same front five against Forest, meaning that despite his incredible displays so far, Trossard will still have to settle for the bench.
The ideal squad signing
Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal bought Trossard for an initial £20m in the January transfer window, following his exile from the Brighton squad, but he became popular very quickly after some stunning performances in attack, providing a lot of assists as his side chased the Premier League title.
Given his versatility, quality and experience, he is arguably one of Arteta’s most impressive signings as Arsenal boss, and the squad as a whole is a lot stronger with him in it. Even whilst Gabriel Jesus is injured, Arteta has Havertz and Eddie Nketiah to pick from as well as Trossard, and he may bemoan his bad luck that the squad now has such incredible quality in depth in his natural positions.
As recently as two years ago, Trossard would have been an almost-guaranteed starter at Arsenal. In this current side, he is a rotational option, and this speaks volumes about the strength of Arsenal’s squad that a player who Arteta deemed “really impressive,” has to settle for the bench.