Arsenal’s win against Newcastle United in their first Premier League fixture at the weekend was made all the more impressive when you look at who they left out.
Despite Arsenal getting a rare win and a clean sheet away from home on Sunday, many fans weren’t satisfied. Unai Emery’s team weren’t exactly dominant on the day, and Newcastle looked just as likely to score for much of the match.
To cheer those cynical supporters up a bit, let’s look at the context of the match. Arsenal made six signings over the summer, but not one of them was ready to start against Newcastle.
Saliba went back on loan, Tierney is injured, Pepe and Ceballos were lacking match sharpness after missing most (or all) of pre-season, Luiz was only three days into his Arsenal career and Martinelli only turned 18 a couple of months ago.
In addition, there are long-term injuries to Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin, who should both be returning in the coming months, plus Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac’s personal situation kept them at home.
Alexandre Lacazette had a knock, Lucas Torreira wasn’t quite ready after his extended summer holiday thanks to Copa America, the list goes on. In fact, you could put together an entire team of players that didn’t start against Newcastle, and it’s not a bad side:
Slowly, all of the above players will be integrated into the first team, starting matches more regularly and improving Emery’s options.
There might be a few disappointing results before that happens, and fans need to be prepared for that. When the team get it together though, they should have a great shot at achieving this season’s goals.