Premier League 2018/19: 5 unsung heroes of the season
We are into the final stretch of the Premier League 2018-19 campaign and our season has somewhat started to take shape. Liverpool and Manchester City are battling it all out for the title whilst Spurs, United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are playing catch-up for the remaining Champions League spots.
Fans around the world have witnessed stellar performances in the league this season with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Eden Hazard running the show again, as they have been doing in recent years. However, these superstar players often overshadow the contributions of other team members whose understated qualities and contributions remain equally important.
The media, critics, and football pundits have a habit of judging players on the basis of their goals and assists. People often seem to neglect the fact that football is a team sport where each pass, tackle, and interception count.
In the following article, we take a look at five unsung heroes of this remarkable Premier League season. Let us dive in.
#5. Matteo Guendouzi
It is safe to say that Unai Emery has had a decent first season in charge of Arsenal. The club parted ways with their legendary manager Arsene Wenger after a 22-year spell at the end of last season. Since then, the Gunners have settled in well through the transition period and fans have seen glimpses of the new, exciting era which is taking shape at the Emirates.
This season’s Arsenal is not the greatest side on-paper, but still, possess some of Europe’s greatest talent on-show. The likes of Ozil, Lacazette, and Aubameyang are world-class in their own right, along with Ramsey, Koscielny, and Monreal who have been great servants to the club.
However, Emery has shown that he does not shy away from giving the young players some responsibility. His philosophy matches with the club’s ambitions and the recent acquisitions of German goalkeeper Bernd Leno (26), Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (23) and Denis Suarez (25) reflected just that. Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin, and Maitland-Niles have come to the Arsenal forefront through the academy ranks in recent years. However, the find of the season has to be the young French teenager Matteo Guendouzi.
The 19-year-old midfielder already has 24 appearances in his debut Premier League season. People who haven’t watched the youngster in action must think that he is only used for substitute appearances, however, Guendouzi has started 18 games out of a possible 28. The French U21 plays in a three-man midfield with Torreira and Xhaka in Emery’s midfield and has somewhat cemented his place in the starting XI after composed displays on a consistent basis.
The midfielder has been likened to fellow countryman Adrien Rabiot, who himself has been in the news lately regarding his impending transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. Guendouzi has a long way to go before becoming a world-class player, but his raw ability is highly impressive.
Lying deep in midfield, he does not pose a serious goal threat but fans have applauded his brilliant work ethic and positional awareness. He often takes up the left side in the middle of the park, often combining with full-back Sead Kolasinac, who makes his marauding sprints. He even slots into left-back when the Bosnian remains further forward.
Matteo Guendouzi’s ability is evident, and his dream debut season at Arsenal is just the beginning of many great things to come.