Arsenal currently sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League as we enter the final stretch of the season. We sat down with former Liverpool winger John Barnes to discuss everything Arsenal. Barnes gave us his opinion on Arsenal;s acquisition of forward Leandro Trossard and how he’s settled into life at The Emirates. Barnes also shared his views on the return of Gabriel Jesus. Lastly, the Liverpool icon tells us whether Bukayo Saka can win the PFA Player of the Year award.
Arsenal spent most of the January transfer window pursuing Ukranian wing wizard Mykhailo Mudryk. After a number of failed transfer bids, the Gunners were pipped to their number one target by local and fierce rivals Chelsea. However, Arsenal weren’t bitter in their response and highlighted their ability to manoeuvre in the transfer market through the signing of Belgium international Leandro Trossard.
The signing has proven to be a masterstroke for the Gunners. Trossard has settled seamlessly into Arsenal progressive, possession-based game. He has proven himself a great technical fit. Furthermore his ability to play outside as well as more centrally has been of huge benefit to the fluidity of Mikel Arteta’s team. Trossard now has five assists and a goal since joining in January and Barnes has been impressed with his adaptation to life at Arsenal.
“He can play anywhere in the midfield and he can also play out wide.”
“He can attack with the ball and he works hard for the team. Importantly he’s got a good attitude.”
“Trossard is a Belgium international for a reason.”
“He’s done better than I expected. He’s surprised me but he’s intelligent and knows how to fit into any system. He’s done very well for Arsenal.”
With Trossard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka proving to be a fluid and exciting front three for Arsenal, a big question on the lips of Arsenal fans is how does the returning Gabriel Jesus fit in. The Brazilian is now back and fit after a lengthy lay off with a knee injury. Many expected Arsenal to struggle in Jesus’ absence. Yet, the Gunners remain five points clear of Manchester City in the race for the title. Barnes has been impressed with the way Arsenal have managed without Jesus. However, he is wary that as we get closer to the end of the season, Arsenal will need a number nine to help seal what would be a remarkable title win.
“Saka, Martinelli and Trossard are doing well so he doesn’t have to come back in right away.”
“However, the longer the season goes on the more Arsenal will need a striker. Nketiah is now out of the team so will they continue to score goals without a number nine on the pitch?”
“They’ll create but will they score? Ultimately they will need Jesus because he’s a nine.”
“Right now they’re in good shape because they haven’t missed Jesus or Nketiah so they don’t need to rush Jesus’ return.”
Since returning from the World Cup Bukayo Saka has scored six goals and laid three assists in 11 league games. He has been in stunning form and is clearly now a leader on the pitch through his actions going forward. The Hale End graduate will no doubt be a contender for the PFA Player of the Year award. Barnes believes Saka, alongside Martin Odegaard and Erling Haaland are the three players most likely to walk away with the individual award.
“Right now you would look at Saka, Odegaard and Haaland for the PFA Player of the Year.”
“Saka might be a better candidate for young player of the year but there’s still a long way to go.”
“Saka will be in with a shout.”
“The player of the year is an individual award and it shouldn’t go to whoever wins the league. It’s about the best and most consistent player.”