5 reasons why January was good for Arsenal
Not all the fixtures went in favour of Arsenal, but January has been an emotional rollercoaster for many. From laments about Alexis Sanchez to bidding an emotional farewell to Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, January had been an extremely eventful month for the Gunners.
However, January has been a beneficial and good month for the team.
#5 Trimming the squad
With the promotion of academy players into the first-team squad, the strength of the squad improved and there was more competition for a place in the starting lineup. With so many players eagerly waiting for a chance to play, it was near impossible to give everyone an equal share of game time.
When Arsenal bought Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud had been forced to remain on the bench as a substitute.
Since it is difficult to maintain the wage demands of players and their game time, it was crucial for Arsenal to examine the players they can afford to loan out or sell before deciding who will come in.
Four first-team players were deemed to be surplus. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, both forwards, left Arsenal in the January transfer window.
In June 2017, it was rumoured that Giroud had been looking for more opportunities to play, in order to secure a place in the French World Cup squad. Walcott had also been dropped from the lineup and fans were seemingly getting more and more discouraged by his performances. As a result, both were sold - to Chelsea and Everton, respectively.
Francis Coquelin was one of the four players that Arsenal chose to let go of. His playing time had been significantly reduced this season as compared to the last three seasons. Recalled from loan in December 2014, Coquelin impressed fans with his superb partnership with Santi Cazorla.
After Arsenal lost Cazorla to a long-term injury, Coquelin has struggled to regain his form and fans were increasingly impatient. He has since joined Gabriel Paulista, another former Arsenal defender, in Valencia FC. The French player left Arsenal without scoring a single goal.
The fourth player who left Arsenal is Mathieu Debuchy, who joined Arsenal from Newcastle United in 2014. He made ten Premier League appearances in his first season. For the next 3 seasons, he made just 3 Premier League appearances in total. His contract with Arsenal had been terminated prior to reaching the end, and he left Arsenal for St Etienne.