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Premier League 2018-19: 3 Arsenal players who could play a major role in the crucial home stretch of the season

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Feature
606   //    01 Apr 2019, 19:05 IST

Arsenal v Stade Rennais - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
Arsenal v Stade Rennais - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg

While the race for the first two spots on the Premier League table is quite undisputed with Liverpool and Manchester City dominating the league in terms of most points and wins, it is the remaining two positions that have kept everyone hooked.

Going into the final quarter of most seasons, there usually is considerable daylight between the third and fourth placed teams and thereafter. However, this time, there is just one point that separates the teams placed from third to sixth.

While Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have momentarily found themselves in the top four, Arsenal sit fifth above Chelsea with 60 points with a home game against Newcastle United remaining on Monday night. And one look at the remaining matches of these four teams would give a good hint of the eventual outcome on May 12.

While there are no easy fixtures in the Premier League, as was evident in Manchester United winning against Watford at home by the skin of their teeth and Chelsea doing the same away at Cardiff City, Arsenal do seem to have the most favourable fixtures until the end of the season. While United’s remaining fixtures will see them welcoming both Manchester City and Chelsea, Spurs having a trip to Manchester City, and Chelsea having trips to Liverpool and United, the toughest Arsenal would be having is Wolves away.

To further provide the icing on the cake for the Gunners, Unai Emery has found himself welcoming players into form and from injuries at a time when Arsene Wenger used to see his squad reducing to the bare bones with injuries. With Arsenal in a good position to both challenge for the Europa League title as well as finish in the top four, here are the three players who are likely to play a major role.


Mesut Ozil

The former German international has found a place in Emery’s squad once again as he appeared in four consecutive league matches, something that had last happened back in November. And while Ozil has upped his work rate as Emery has demanded throughout the season, the Spanish manager is also seen changing his preferable 4-3-3 setup to a 3-4-2-1 to start matches within a bid to accommodate Ozil.

While the result hasn’t been more than a goal and an assist, which came against Bournemouth, Arsenal’s upcoming easy set of fixtures will see the Gunners have more of the possession and Ozil getting more time of the ball to work his magic. With a brilliant 88.2% passing accuracy from the pressurized attacking third, Ozil produces 1.9 key passes every game according to WhoScored.com, and could do wonders against the likes of Burnley, Brighton, Watford, Leicester City and more, whom Arsenal would face next. 


Denis Suarez

Brought in the January transfer window on a temporary basis, the Barcelona player has found it difficult to find his footing in the Arsenal system so far, failing to make even thirty minutes on the pitch.

However, with Emery coming out in public to state that the player has now become ready for the starting eleven and the side continuously shifting between 3-4-2-1 and 4-3-3, the two setups that suit Suarez very well, the time might have come for the 25-year-old. Being utilized as a central midfielder, a winger, as well as a wing back, in the six appearances that Suarez has had for Arsenal, Emery’s expectations from him has been enormous and it was only right the Spaniard took the time to get integrated to the physical rigours of the Premier League before taking the field.

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His passing and dribbling abilities were never in doubt and now with the psychological inhibitions removed, Arsenal fans should see a new star emerging in the upcoming two months.


Lucas Torreira

To start with the clarification, the Uruguayan international hasn’t hit a low this season and him hitting peak form makes a very different meaning here. Despite being a regular in the side, the 23-year-old midfielder had stopped becoming effective up top, which wasn’t the case early on in the season.

Whether it be a subtle change in his role asked by Emery, or a burnout rooting from a relentless December and January, but Torreira had lost the sheen that stood him out. However, now with the player getting the much-needed break owing to the red card and refreshing wins in the international friendlies, Arsenal fans might see that hunger back in the midfielder, who is overshadowed by Mattéo Guendouzi’s wavy locks and vibrant presence in the midfield. 

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