Konstantinos Mavropanos completed his first 90 minutes of the season on Friday, helping the Arsenal u23s to keep a clean sheet against Tottenham Hotspur.
After missing the first half of the season with a groin injury that took much longer than expected to recover, Mavropanos is making a good impression with the academy since his return.
In mid-January, he completed 71 minutes against Manchester City in a 5-1 win, then earlier this month he started as the u23s went 3-0 up against West Ham United, before the game was eventually called off over poor weather conditions. Then, on Friday, he played the full 90 as Arsenal u23s beat their North London rivals 4-0.
Just one goal conceded in 206 minutes is solid for the Greek 21-year-old, considering the u23s were averaging four goals conceded per game in the five matches before his comeback. He’s confident on the ball, has a great physical presence and he even got himself a goal from a set-piece in that match against West Ham.
Meanwhile, the first-team have failed to keep a clean sheet against BATE Borisov, Cardiff City or Huddersfield Town in the last three weeks. It’s difficult to argue that it’s impossible Mavropanos could do anything to help such a poorly performing defence.
Unfortunately, the centre-back wasn’t selected for Arsenal’s Europa League squad, due to non-homegrown restrictions. However, there’s no reason he couldn’t play when the first team need to rotate. For example, next weekend’s match against Southampton, just days after the second leg against BATE. Let’s hope Unai Emery gives him a chance.