Which Arsenal players are “kidders” and which squad members are “fighters” after the nightmare start?

Arsenal’s terrible start to the season continued with one blow against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. Jamie Redknapp described the club’s experienced stars as a “team full of children”.

The Sky Sports expert insisted that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta can only rely on three or four players in his squad because players like David Luiz and Mesut Ozil are “bored” after some good performances.

However, Arteta himself claimed he saw “a lot of fighters” after the City loss and claimed the players continued to show spirit despite conceding four goals against Pep Guardiola’s men.

So who from Redknapp and Arteta is kidding? Here, Sportsmail analyzes each member of the Gunners squad and whether it matches the description of the former or the latter with the current number of players with the team from the League Cup and is in 15th place in the Premier League table.

Jamie Redknapp called Arsenal “a team full of kids” after losing to Manchester City

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insisted he see “fighters”. Who is right between the two?

Bernd Leno

Alex Runarsson’s nightmare performance against City only seemed to illustrate how well Bernd Leno has done in the Arsenal goal since moving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2018.

The established number 1 has demonstrated his propensity for parrying and is a member who deserves the jersey he currently owns. Although there are areas that need improvement, like the home defeat to City last season, he has often made goal lines more respectable than they should have been.

Verdict: fighter

Bernd Leno made sure that the scorelines look more respectable than they should sometimes have been

Alex Runarsson

The warning signs of the Icelanders’ shortcomings were noteworthy in the Europa League group stage this season, especially against Dundalk and Molde.

But the summer signing of Dijon’s true nightmare came against City when he was to blame for at least one of the goals and a free kick from Riyad Mahrez hit the net.

He went ahead and made a few saves, but there is no doubt that he is currently kidding the club with his recent performances.

Verdict: Kidder

Alex Runarsson’s nightmare appearance against Man City showed that he is not up to the task

Hector Bellerin

Four Gunners managers have moved on with the Spanish international on the right, but he has never looked like this since he broke his anterior cruciate ligament in 2019.

The 25 year old vice captain has frustrated fans at both ends of the field. Often times he is missing one final ball to find a teammate to score and he struggles to mark and track the runners in his own defensive third.

Verdict: Kidder

Hector Bellerin continues to frustrate Gunners fans at both ends of the field

Cedric Soares

In the midst of Bellerin’s poor form this season, it is telling that the Portuguese international failed to prevail in the pecking order ahead of the Spaniard.

The former Southampton right-back made an impressive start to the club’s life on his debut but has rarely been thrilled since then, although Arteta dubbed the 29-year-old one of the Gunners’ strongest players in wide areas when he first appeared played joined.

Sometimes operating on the left didn’t help but this could be another player they’ll find it difficult to change given his age and the four-year contract handed over to him last summer.

Verdict: Kidder

Cedric Soares has shown little evidence that he could oust the below-average Bellerin

David Luiz

One of the players featured by Redknapp, and despite his good performances so far this season, the Brazilian’s previous performances justify the criticism and he has reportedly even quarreled with Arteta.

“David Luiz will play 10 or 11 games well and you will say ‘he is a good player’ then he will start making mistakes because he will be bored,” said Redknapp.

Red cards to Chelsea and Manchester City last season were evidence of that, and while he seems to be doing well on and off the field for Gabriel Magalhaes and the younger players, rivers of blood in his head often tarnish anything he does well in that regard.

Verdict: Kidder

David Luiz’s past of hasty decisions means he’s not the kind of fighter Arsenal needs

Rob Holding

The last week has summed up the career of England center-back Arsenal. It is promising, but not consistent.

He was instrumental in ensuring Arsenal held a draw with Southampton last week with some excellent header clears and blocks, but was completely dominated by Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the loss to Everton in which he was named captain.

Arteta has clear confidence in him after telling him to reverse his decision to loan to Newcastle this summer, but almost five years after joining, the 25-year-old has yet to show consistently that he has what it takes .

Verdict: Kidder

Rob Holding made some promises, but there was a lack of consistency in the ads

Gabriel Magalhaes

An impressive start to life in north London stagnated last week after being sent off against Southampton and looking just as hasty against Man City.

But it shouldn’t be distracting from the get-go which the Brazilian did in north London and he offers a certain physical presence and dexterity on the ball that his fellow defenders lack.

While his excessive eagerness to help his struggling team after entering a new league and country has contributed to his accomplishments over the past week, there is no doubt that he displays the fighting stance Arteta demands.

Verdict: fighter

Gabriel Magalhaes had a bad week but overall a good start to life in North London

Calum Chambers

Another English defender who has shown promise and inconsistency at times during his Arsenal career after joining in 2014.

The 25-year-old looked like he was an integral part of Arteta’s plans after the Spaniard joined a year ago. However, a serious knee injury against Chelsea last December has meant that he has only just returned to training and U23 football.

Whether he can regain this form after so long on the sidelines remains to be seen, and if he doesn’t, he could go down the same path as Holding.

Verdict: The jury is out

Calum Chambers suffered a serious knee injury last year after playing well under Arteta

Shkodran Mustafi

Again demonstrating against Manchester City why he failed the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium, failed to follow Gabriel Jesus and Aymeric Laporte’s runs for their goals and then raised his arms and yelled at others in a seemingly automatic form after seeing an answer as his side has admitted.

The German arrived for £ 35million in 2016 but has made countless mistakes among four Arsenal managers and has become one of the club’s most vicious figures in the eyes of fans.

The center-back reportedly turned down the Gunners’ surprise renewal proposal in October and if he leaves for free in the summer, which he is expected to do, there will be few free words to describe his time at the club.

Verdict: Kidder

Shkodran Mustafi has continued to make mistakes since joining the club in 2016


The Greek, who was banned from Gunners’ Premier League and Europa League squads after failing to make a move with Napoli in the summer, is another recruit who has failed to resolve the club’s defensive problems.

The former Borussia Dortmund defender was already rated as not good enough by Arteta in March because he felt uncomfortable from behind. The decision to ban him from the team has reportedly resulted in dressing rooms.

Verdict: Kidder

Sokratis was expelled from the Gunners’ Premier League and Europa League squads in October

Pablo Mari

Has only played four times for Arsenal since joining Flamengo in January after sustaining a knee injury that kept him away since the first game after the restart at City.

Due to the lack of pace but the ability to read the game, there are still doubts about how Arsenal’s career could develop due to Mari’s injury.

Verdict: The jury is out

Pablo Mari has only played four games for Arsenal since arriving from Flamengo in January

Kieran Tierney

The Scottish international has been one of the club’s few shining lights this season and the leadership he shows has resulted in some sections of the fan base calling for him to be handed the armband.

The 23-year-old is an excellent defender and capable of delivering dangerous crosses – a rare trait among current players. From the left he is already becoming a fan favorite.

Tierney is one of the few players who are genuinely ready to fight his team’s current troubles to speak to the media and accept criticism after the home defeat to Arsenal.

Verdict: fighter

Kieran Tierney’s actions on and off the field make him a player Arteta can rely on

Sead Kolasinac

Another player, whose promising start was made in North London, has shown very little productivity at either end of the field.

The 27-year-old was an attacking threat who had defensive rounds in 2017 after moving from Schalke, but since then even the ability to score and assist has been lost in his game.

A move to the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen didn’t succeed in the summer, but he didn’t show why he should stay after having had chances with the team again this season.

That being said, there is no doubt about his incredible off-field spirit. The Bosnian defender battled potential muggers last year when he and Mesut Ozil were attacked by armed moped drivers.

Verdict: Kidder

Sead Kolasinac’s attacking strength has weakened, as has his performance at Arsenal

Dani Ceballos

The Spain international secured a second move from Real Madrid this summer after an excellent end of last season and looked like a shadow of the player who helped the Gunners win the FA Cup.

Often sloppy in possession and with no legs and creativity to drive around a midfield, it is very difficult to see how his career at the Emirates Stadium will extend beyond the end of the current season.

Arteta has often praised Ceballos’ passion for gambling, but she’s been misguided and turned into irritation over the past few weeks, particularly against Everton when he was lucky enough not to be sent off.

Verdict: Kidder

Dani Ceballos lacks the speed and creativity many had hoped for from Real Madrid

Thomas Partey

Arsenal haven’t had a top win since Thomas Partey inspired them to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford in early November.

The Ghanaian’s hamstring injury has kept him from most games since then and his return in the north London derby only made the problem worse.

The Gunners midfield looked utterly lost in his absence, and a man who has spent most of his career under Diego Simeone will understand the fight on his hands when he finally returns to the game.

Verdict: fighter

Thomas Partey’s career at Arsenal has been marred by injuries since moving from Atletico

Granite Xhaka

Another player who has just been given way too many opportunities to show why he’s not the answer to midfield control.

Xhaka’s poor discipline has cost him multiple times, the most recent being when he was sent off in Burnley’s defeat after grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck.

This was highlighted by Redknapp who said, “You are going to have (Granit) Xhaka and you think ‘Wow, he’s a good player too’ then he will be sent off” to demonstrate that his fighting skills have not been channeled again Benefits of the team.

He’s struggling to give the team defensive solidity or offensive creativity, and a year later, when Arteta convinced him to reject Hertha Berlin’s advances, he now appears to be destined for the exit door.

Verdict: Kidder

Granit Xhaka’s constant lack of discipline makes him one of Arteta’s most unreliable players

Mohamed Elneny

The Egyptian started the season well alongside Thomas Partey and looked confident in possession and was able to abandon the game.

But the return to the club after a loan period at Besiktas appears to have subsided and since the Ghanaian’s injury, Elneny seems clumsy and slow in possession.

A stunning goal at Dundalk has been a rare high point since then, but he is certainly a player Arteta will take off for the next few seasons.

Verdict: Kidder

Mohamed Elneny has started the season well but has looked sluggish and sluggish lately

Joe Willock

The 21-year-old has been given plenty of opportunities to impress this season and appears to add a threat to the midfield drive and goal that others at the club cannot bring.

However, Willock still seems too raw given the added pressure of playing on a subpar team to become a regular at Emirates Stadium and his pre-goal decision making has often failed him.

There is no doubt that a player can enjoy a successful career in the Premier League, but he would raise a few eyebrows if it happened to him at Arsenal.

Verdict: Kidder

Joe Willock adds momentum in midfield, but his choices leave much to be desired

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Arguably the club’s most versatile player, challenged many to give him a starting place in midfield so that he could get legs into this area in the absence of Partey.

Arteta himself has admitted that Maitland-Niles has made tremendous improvements in his game over the past 12 months and he has felt comfortable in both right-back and central midfield.

His lazy style seems to symbolize a carefree demeanor, but Maitland-Niles is one of the few youngsters who appears to have the qualities to be at least part of the roster.

Verdict: fighter

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a versatile option who has held up well in defense and midfield

Mesut Ozil

Another high profile omission from the Premier League and Europa League squads, the call for the German reintroduced in February, has grown louder amid the team’s inability to create opportunities.

The 2014 World Cup winner has established himself more on social media during his exile and reportedly wants to stay at the club in January and see the final six months of his club record deal over £ 350,000 a week.

However, as Redknapp pointed out, it’s unlikely that Ozil is the answer due to his propensity for not showing up in big games.

“The manager will probably bring Mesut Ozil in and say, ‘We shouldn’t have left him out at all,” said Redknapp. “He’ll do it for a few games and then get bored.

Few would doubt its validity and so are another player who can go to the exit door in June.

Verdict: Kidder

The most controversial omission in October was the return of Mesut Ozil

Bukayo Saka

In addition to the summer commitment, Gabriel Magalhaes has been Arsenal’s Player of the Season so far.

The only striker who appears to be able to create any chance – as his run for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Southampton shows – seems unfair with so much expectation being placed on the 19-year-old.

His recent appearances in England and his regular appearances on Arteta’s starting line-up, mixed with his constant pace to beat the defenders, show that Saka is poised to become a leading figure on this side sooner rather than later.

Verdict: fighter

Bukayo Saka is the light of a bad Arsenal season and looks like one of the club’s few sparks

Emile Smith-Rowe

He was on loan in the championship last season at Huddersfield but has had a few minor injuries since returning to Arsenal.

Amid their creative troubles, Smith-Rowe has shown in his cameo appearances this season that he is capable of making things happen, and why Arteta turned not to him but to the tried and tested mistakes is a mystery .

The midfielder is still highly valued at the club and many are hoping it won’t be too long before he gets his chance, despite possible new additions to his position in January.

Verdict: The jury is out

Emile Smith-Rowe, rarely giving Arteta a chance, was able to add some kind of creativity


Willian’s start in life in North London has been the main lead in the club’s current recruiting battles on recruitment and nothing short of a disaster.

A Sky Sports statistic over the weekend showed he had just one shot in his last 11 Premier League games and the Brazilian didn’t seem interested in working hard on the Everton loss.

The alleged favoritism shown by Arteta, who, despite his ill-advised trip to Dubai, consistently picked him during November’s international break, has also created friction in the dressing room.

Still, the Gunners appear to be sticking with the 32-year-old, who has not met or assisted since opening day in Fulham after handing him a three-year high-wage deal the summer after leaving Chelsea.

Verdict: Kidder

Willian was a disastrous signing and had only one shot on goal in his last eleven top matches

Nicolas Pepe

Arguably the most frustrating member of Mikel Arteta’s squad, few doubt the Ivorian’s ability but there are plenty of critics for how capable he is of showing his talent on the field.

The club’s £ 72million record signing appears to be drifting in and out of the games but has occasionally made for that little piece of magic, particularly in the Europa League this season.

But many fans were upset with his petulance after his departure at Leeds and with the Côte d’Ivoire international yet to show consistent performances at Arsenal, he could still prove to be the Gunners’ most costly mistake.

Verdict: Kidder

Nicolas Pepe is one of the most frustrating players due to his talent but lack of end products

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Generally, if he has not scored a goal in the past 12 months, his team has not scored a goal. With just three Premier League goals this season, Aubameyang’s loss of form is just one of the club’s many problems.

Just brilliant at the end of last season, especially en route to the FA Cup this summer, the Gabonese international’s goals have dried up and his pace of work has gradually slowed.

His perceived unrest at the former Borussia Dortmund club led to tension there, but while there are still no signs of it, his decision not to fight for interviews after defeats has raised questions about whether he is the right man to wear the armband.

Should he find his scorer boots again, he will become the core of a team that urgently needs rebuilding.

Verdict: fighter

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s bad return this season is a symbol of the club’s current slump

Alexandre Lacazette

The Frenchman never fails to try but has missed huge opportunities that could have turned the game back in favor of the Gunners on many occasions this season.

The 2018/19 striker now looks unconfident and even failed to get the result with a header against Man City.

He only has a year left on his contract and despite the criticism he receives, he never seems to hide and could fight for this team if he rediscovered his shooting boots.

Verdict: fighter

Alexandre Lacazette looks unconfident, but few can doubt his pace of work in every game

Rip Nelson

Has won many admirers in the fan base and club for his tricky skills and forward runs, but so far, minor injuries have prevented him from maintaining a run in the side.

Certainly a threat in wide areas, but the lack of appearances this season – only eight in 2020-21 – means there are still more questions than answers, but the hope remains that he may be part of the future.

Verdict: The jury is out

Due to injuries, Reiss Nelson missed the opportunity to find a regular place

Gabriel Martinelli

The biggest positive result for the Gunners over the last week and his performance in the first half against City showed everything the striker line is currently lacking.

The young Brazilian showed what Arteta described as his contagious demeanor with his lightning-fast pace to close the city’s defenders and goalkeepers and his final product by crossing for Lacazette’s equalizer.

A post on his Twitter account has allayed fears about the issue he picked up in the first half and after an impressive first season in North London, the 19-year-old only seems to be building on that.

Verdict: fighter

Gabriel Martinelli showed against Man City what the striker line was missing

Eddie Nketiah

Surprisingly, Arteta wasn’t loaned out after being recalled from Leeds last January and has shown a lot of confidence in the England U21 striker.

But there seems to be little else in his game other than the ability to finish from close range and his inability to hold the ball up has resulted in the ball relentlessly returning to the Gunners’ defense.

He grabbed the golden chance at Everton to show off his cool in front of goal and while the desire to score goals is there, the talent required to follow in Aubameyang’s footsteps may not be there.

Verdict: Kidder

Eddie Nketiahs begrenzte Fähigkeiten scheinen ihn bei Arsenal unter Arteta nicht zu erreichen

Noch zu kennzeichnen

Der Torhüter der dritten Wahl, Matt Macey, hat in der Saison 2017/18 nur einen Auftritt für Arsenal absolviert.

William Saliba hat seit seinem Wechsel von Saint-Etienne im vergangenen Jahr von Saint-Etienne im vergangenen Jahr keinen einfachen Auftritt in der ersten Mannschaft mehr.

Daher bleibt die Jury bei beiden Spielern aus.

Matt Macey (links) und William Saliba (rechts) haben in dieser Saison nicht für die Gunners gespielt

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