Arsenal fans have really taken to Matteo Guendouzi in the last few weeks, and their admiration grew even stronger after his impressive performance against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Unless you were a fan of Lorient or a keen follower of the PSG youth system, you probably hadn’t seen Guendouzi play until he was linked to Arsenal in July. Just a few weeks later though, and he’s making headlines for all the right reasons.
First he made a brief but solid debut appearance against Boreham Wood, coming off the bench late in the game. Next, he put in a good showing against Atletico Madrid, but was mostly overshadowed by Emile Smith Rowe and his top corner finish.
Then he faced PSG, and really started to make a name for himself. Up against one of Europe’s best in Adrien Rabiot, Guendouzi rarely struggled, and ran the show in the middle as Arsenal ran away 5-1 winners.
Which leads us to Wednesday, and the 19-year-old’s first match against Premier League opposition, Chelsea. Arsenal started poorly, and were deservedly behind at the break. Nonetheless, Guendouzi hardly put a foot wrong on the ball. His range of passes was eye-catching, and he regularly skipped away from Chelsea pressure with ease.
Eventually the rest of the team caught up with the youngster’s performance, and turned the game round to win on penalties. Guendouzi himself converted Arsenal’s third spot kick of the shootout, holding his nerve in the big moment.
Arsenal fans were predictably over-excited about the showing from their latest summer signing:
— L (@FutbolLacazette) August 1, 2018
Guendouzi again, £8M was a bargain. Hats off to Mislintat because nobody knew who he was a month ago. Also our perseverance, like @LacazetteAlex said it’s not over until it’s over. Let’s take this attitude into the new season. #COYG
— Arsenal Dan (@ArsenalDanAFC) August 1, 2018
Guendouzi is a beast
— Sports Discussion (@HSOpinion) August 1, 2018
This guy is rocking at the moment. Long may it continue.
— David Gower (@SerpentSatin616) August 1, 2018
Ghendouzi making £8m look like a paltry sum of money. To make any football hater love the game, let the person watch this young lad doing his thing…
— A4Arsenal (@A4Arsenal_) August 2, 2018
Guendouzi has outdone zidane
— 👑Lacazette👑 (@Lacasweatyy) August 1, 2018
Guendouzi, because of the confidence he has had so far. It's like he has been here at Arsenal for ages. Very solid!
— Luka ™️ (@iamtheluka) August 2, 2018
Guendouzi because he kept the game ticking even when we were not playing good
— Sahil Budhiraja (@1ac3e12dbb514f3) August 2, 2018
Guendouzi for his composure, decision making and technical quality.
— wayne stansby (@stan0811) August 2, 2018
Brotherly imagine if adli came, we would have missed out on guendouzi
— Kriston V (@itskristonv) August 2, 2018
It’s worth mentioning that we shouldn’t go too overboard. The competitive matches will provide sterner tests, and there were still a couple of issues to iron out in Guendouzi’s game. Chelsea found it too easy to break on Arsenal, and both Elneny and Guendouzi have to take a share of the blame for not providing any cover.
The French youngster could also work on his aerial duels, considering he has the physical advantages to dominate more in the air than he has been so far.
Those problems should be easily fixable though, and overall it’s a fantastic start for the former Lorient man. Let’s hope it continues at the weekend.