ARSENAL LOAN WATCH

AUGSBURG, GERMANY: Herthas Dodi Lukebakio (v) und Matteo Guendouzi celebrate during the Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and Hertha BSC at WWK-Arena on November 7, 2020. (Photo by Stefan Puchner - Pool/Getty Images)

Keep up to date with all Arsenal’s players who are out on loan in leagues across England and the rest of Europe.

Nice's French defender William Saliba looks on during the French L1 football match between Nice and Bordeaux at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, on January 17, 2021. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Marseille manager backs Mikel Arteta’s William Saliba assessment

Marseille's manager has told William Saliba the same thing as Mikel Arteta - he has a lot to improve.
William Saliba arriving in Marseille (Photo via Mode55489648 on Twitter)

Official: Arsenal ship William Saliba out again

William Saliba has signed for Marseille on a season-long loan with no option to buy.
William Saliba of OGC Nice vs Stade de Reims - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Nice - 11/04/2021. Norbert Scanella / PanoramiC

William Saliba makes Team of the Season shortlist

William Saliba is on the shortlist for Ligue 1's fan Team of the Season award, with the voting currently underway.
Zech Medley with Kilmarnock (Photo via Kilmarnock FC)

4th Arsenal loanee relegated

Zech Medley became the latest Arsenal loanee to experience relegation on Monday, with Kilmarnock dropping down to the Scottish Championship.
William Saliba and Khephren Thuram of OGC Nice - Lyon vs OGC Nice - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Lyon - 23/05/2021 Photo: NorbertScanella / PanoramiC

Video: William Saliba scores his 1st senior goal

William Saliba scored the first goal of his OGC Nice loan spell and his first in senior football this weekend, a match-winning goal against Lyon.

Nice's French defender William Saliba looks on during the French L1 football match between Nice and Bordeaux at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, on January 17, 2021. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Marseille manager backs Mikel Arteta’s William Saliba assessment

Marseille's manager has told William Saliba the same thing as Mikel Arteta - he has a lot to improve.
William Saliba arriving in Marseille (Photo via Mode55489648 on Twitter)

Official: Arsenal ship William Saliba out again

William Saliba has signed for Marseille on a season-long loan with no option to buy.
William Saliba of OGC Nice vs Stade de Reims - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Nice - 11/04/2021. Norbert Scanella / PanoramiC

William Saliba makes Team of the Season shortlist

William Saliba is on the shortlist for Ligue 1's fan Team of the Season award, with the voting currently underway.
Zech Medley with Kilmarnock (Photo via Kilmarnock FC)

4th Arsenal loanee relegated

Zech Medley became the latest Arsenal loanee to experience relegation on Monday, with Kilmarnock dropping down to the Scottish Championship.
William Saliba and Khephren Thuram of OGC Nice - Lyon vs OGC Nice - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Lyon - 23/05/2021 Photo: NorbertScanella / PanoramiC

Video: William Saliba scores his 1st senior goal

William Saliba scored the first goal of his OGC Nice loan spell and his first in senior football this weekend, a match-winning goal against Lyon.
Atletico Madrid squad celebrate winning La Liga (Photo via Torreira on Instagram)

Lucas Torreira dedicates La Liga win to his mother

Lucas Torreira and Atletico Madrid were crowned champions of La Liga this weekend, concluding his loan spell away from Arsenal.
Joe Willock celebrates the opening goal during the Premier League match at Craven Cottage, London. Picture date: Sunday May 23, 2021. Copyright: Matthew Childs

Joe Willock writes himself into Newcastle history books with spectacular solo goal

Joe Willock became only the second player in Newcastle United’s illustrious history to score seven Premier League goals in seven Premier League games.
Daniel Ballard (R) celebrates a goal in Blackpool's play-off semi-final (Photo via Ballard on Twitter)

Arsenal loanee provides assist in semi-final to book date at Wembley

Daniel Ballard provided an assist to help Blackpool through to the play-off final, though he was withdrawn at half-time of Friday's semi-final second leg.
Daniel Ballard of Blackpool during the Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off Semi-Final 1st leg between Oxford United and Blackpool at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford. Copyright: Martyn Haworth

Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard impresses in playoff semi-final

Arsenal loanee Daniel Ballard started the League One playoff semi-final for Blackpool away to Oxford United on Tuesday.
William Saliba in training with OGC Nice (Photo via Nice on Twitter)

Mikel Arteta lays out plan for William Saliba

Mikel Arteta says William Saliba is 'our player' and they'll soon take a decision on his role next season after getting the run of games he needed.

ARSENAL LOAN WATCH

Arsenal 18yo excels on loan amid referee controversy

Mark McGuinness helped Ipswich Town to keep a clean sheet on Tuesday night in rather controversial circumstances.

Mark McGuinness with Ipswich Town (Photo via Ipswich Town on Twitter)
Mark McGuinness with Ipswich Town (Photo via Ipswich Town on Twitter)

To be clear, there was nothing controversial about Mark McGuinness’ individual performance itself as he took on Northampton Town on Tuesday.

The defender made three clearances, one interception, one tackle, blocked a shot, and won nine of his 12 duels without being dribbled past once. He also completed 88% of his passes including three of four long balls as his team kept a clean sheet.

Yet the match ended in far from normal fashion. With Ipswich Town pushing for a goal, their midfielder Alan Judge was booked for simulation as he looked to win a penalty.

Bizarrely, the referee squared up to the player before showing him the yellow card.

The ref then sent off Ipswich’s Flynn Downes for violent conduct a few minutes later, and there’s already talk of an investigation into the official’s actions towards the end of the match.

Thankfully, McGuinness helped his 10-man side over the line for their second clean sheet in the last three games.

Arsenal 19yo blocked from playing due to loan limit

Arsenal loan centre-back Harry Clarke missed out on Oldham Athletic’s defeat to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday due to a limit on loanees.

Harry Clarke celebrates his winner against Cheltenham (Photo via Clarke on Twitter)
Harry Clarke celebrates his winner against Cheltenham (Photo via Clarke on Twitter)

When Oldham Athletic named their team to face Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night, Harry Clarke was a surprise absentee. Clarke had started their last 12 league games and there were no reports of an injury problem ahead of the match.

Contrary to some of the fan theories on Twitter, Clarke also wasn’t suspended. Though he did recently pick up his fifth yellow card of the season, that was after the suspension deadline. He already featured in another match after the fifth yellow anyway.

So, why didn’t he feature? It comes down to the EFL rules on loanees. Though you can sign more than five loanees if you want, you can only name five at a time in your matchday squad.

On Tuesday, Oldham boss Harry Kewell decided to have Ian Lawlor, Marcel Hilssner, Alfie McCalmont, and Bobby Grant in his starting lineup, with Serhat Tasdemir on the bench.

That meant he couldn’t include any more loanees, which led to the exclusion of Clarke and Ben Garrity.

The good news for Arsenal fans is that excluding Clarke proved disastrous for Oldham defensively. They let in four goals for the first league game all season in a 4-3 defeat. You’d expect Kewell to pick someone else to leave out next time.

Clarke initially joined Oldham Athletic on loan until January, but he extended his deal to the end of the season in the winter window. For the most part, things have gone well, so hopefully he was only selected for exclusion on Tuesday to give him a break.

Bizarre: William Saliba blocked from playing for Nice vs Marseille

William Saliba playing for OGC Nice (Photo via Football.London)
William Saliba playing for OGC Nice (Photo via Football.London)

William Saliba can’t play for OGC Nice against Marseille on Wednesday night, because of when the fixture was initially scheduled to take place.

There’s no doubt that Arsenal loanee William Saliba is starting to become a key player for OGC Nice. He won their Player of the Month award in January, and put in another strong performance against Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.

Yet when Nice face Marseille on Wednesday night, Saliba won’t be involved.

The Ligue 1 fixture was initially scheduled for November, before Saliba joined Nice, yet it was postponed to 17th February after a number of Covid-19 cases in the team.

According to reports, only players who were eligible for the initial fixture can feature in the rescheduled one. That clearly doesn’t include Saliba or Jean Clair Todibo, who weren’t registered with Nice at the time.

It’s a big shame for the club, who started Saliba and Todibo as a pairing on Saturday and now have to leave both of them out. The duo can return to the team this Sunday against Metz at 14:00 GMT.

William Saliba caught the eye with his performance for OGC Nice against PSG on Saturday, despite defeat to the reigning Ligue 1 champions.

William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)
William Saliba playing for OGC Nice against Paris Saint-Germain on 13th February 2021 (Photo via FEP / Panoramic)

Despite spending two seasons in senior football with Saint-Etienne, William Saliba had never played against Paris Saint-Germain before this week.

In his first season in senior football, Saliba was on the bench for both PSG clashes. Then, after becoming a starter in his second campaign, he picked up an unfortunately-timed injury that ruled him out of two further matches against the side.

There were still another two chances to face PSG that season, but the early cancellation of Ligue 1 due to the pandemic meant the first one was called off, and Arsenal and Saint-Etienne couldn’t reach an agreement for the second (the cup final).

As a result, Saliba got his first chance to face PSG on the seventh attempt when he made the starting lineup with OGC Nice on Saturday.

By all accounts, it was a solid individual performance, even though PSG ended the game 2-1 winners.

Saliba made two clearances, one shot-block, three interceptions, and a tackle without being dribbled past. He won all three of his individual duels and didn’t make a foul across the 90 minutes. He also completed 92% of his passes and five of seven long balls.

The 19-year-old didn’t seem to lack in confidence, showing good composure under pressure.

It wasn’t a perfect performance, as he perhaps could have anticipated the header back across the box for PSG’s winning goal. But those are the situations you learn from as a teenager facing a top club. On the whole, Saliba will be happy with his display.

Konstantinos Mavropanos is completing almost as many tackles a game as anyone in the Bundesliga, after making another 10 on Saturday.

STUTTGART, GERMANY: Dominik Kohr of Mainz is challenged by Konstantinos Mavropanos of Stuttgart during the Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Mercedes-Benz Arena on January 29, 2021. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller / Getty Images)
STUTTGART, GERMANY: Dominik Kohr of Mainz is challenged by Konstantinos Mavropanos of Stuttgart during the Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Mercedes-Benz Arena on January 29, 2021. (Photo by Thomas Niedermueller / Getty Images)

VfB Stuttgart and Hertha BSC played out a 1-1 draw this weekend, and Arsenal loanee Konstantinos Mavropanos was particularly busy. The centre-back made three clearances, five interceptions, and 10 tackles, winning 16 of his 22 individual duels.

Overall, Mavropanos has made 3.67 tackles per 90 minutes this league season, which means only Dominik Kohr, on 4.12, has a higher total in the Bundesliga (minimum 10 appearances).

Even then, Mavropanos has the higher tackle-success rate of the two, at 72%.

Up until the last month, Mavropanos wasn’t playing as often as he would’ve liked. He only made one appearance in the first couple of months of the season due to a torn meniscus, and he was in and out of the team for a while after he returned to fitness.

That’s starting to change now. The Greek defender started Stuttgart’s last four games in all competitions, completing 90 minutes in the last two.

It looks like he’s in favour at the moment, and will hope to hold onto that starting space for as long as he can.

Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac kept a clean sheet together for FC Schalke on Saturday, but draws may not be enough for them right now.

Schalke's German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In January, Arsenal sent two of their defenders away to Germany to join FC Schalke. Sead Kolasinac joined the club on loan, whilst Shkodran Mustafi moved on a permanent deal – six months before the expiry of his contract in North London.

The pair didn’t have the best first game together last week, losing 3-0 to RB Leipzig. However, they turned things around with a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Union Berlin this weekend.

It was the team’s first clean sheet in six games, with Mustafi putting in a particularly strong performance. He won 13 of his 16 individual duels and made eight clearances in a busy evening.

Yet, Schalke fans will still end the game feeling disappointed. Their team dominated the possession and yet they were outshot four-to-one.

It’s all well and good keeping clean sheets, but they really need wins. They’re nine points off safety as things stand, having only picked up nine points in the first 21 games of the 34-game season.

Schalke director Jochen Schneider has admitted the club want to sign Kolasinac permanently, but it’s not going to happen if they can’t stay up. So they need to start scoring if Mustafi and Kolasinac’s defensive contributions are going to mean anything.