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3 Arsenal players who’ve sprung a surprise this season including 28-year-old Unai Emery wanted gone

Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League
(Photo by Peter Cziborra - Pool/Getty Images)

Arsenal

3 Arsenal players who’ve sprung a surprise this season including 28-year-old Unai Emery wanted gone

Arsenal have been woeful for much of this season, that’s for sure, but there is some cause for optimism too.

Although the Gunners are languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League and have been knocked out of the League Cup, the Europa League has been a different matter.

Arsenal have cruised through Group B with six wins out of six, 20 goals scored and just five conceded.

And in terms of players, while most have flattered to deceive, there are some who can hold their heads up high.

Let’s take a look at some of those who have been surprisingly good this season – for the most part.

Arsenal v Sheffield United - Premier League

(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Gabriel Magalhaes

The 22-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season, though he hasn’t exactly had much competition amid many of the club’s stars struggling for form.

Arsenal signed Gabriel from French club Lille in September for a reported £27million and the player has hit the ground running at the Emirates Stadium.

To date, the Brazilian has made 15 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, including 12 starts in the Premier League.

Having won the Arsenal Player of the Month award three times in a row speaks volumes about how well he’s done so far, though he really should’ve had competition from some of the attacking players.

 

And while Gabriel’s sending off against Southampton wasn’t a particularly good moment, there’s no denying he has exceeded expectations so far at the club.

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Mohamed Elneny

Last year, former Arsenal boss Unai Emery effectively urged Elneny, as well as Shkodran Mustafi, to leave the club.

Elneny did just that, albeit on a temporary basis, joining Besiktas on a season-long loan, and he became a mainstay of their squad, making 36 appearances in all competitions.

Despite his success in Turkey, few fans thought Elneny could win his place back in the Arsenal squad, given he’d been a fringe player during much of his time on the club’s books.

However, Arteta gave the £50,000-a-week man a chance in pre-season and he took it superbly, going on to become an important squad member.

As with Gabriel, some of his more recent performances have left a bit to be desired, but overall, he has done well, not to mention the hard work he’s put in to revive his Arsenal career.

Molde FK v Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League

(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Emile Smith Rowe

The 20-year-old is considered one of the best young talents at the Emirates Stadium and made six appearances for the Gunners across the Europa League, League Cup and Premier League last season.

In January, Smith Rowe joined Huddersfield on loan until the end of the season and enjoyed a fruitful spell at the John Smith’s Stadium, helping the Terriers survive the drop.

Although Arteta has used the playmaker sparingly this season, he has done well when called upon, with three superb Europa League appearances and a decent outing against Manchester City where he looked bright and lively.

Why the manager isn’t playing Smith Rowe more often is a mystery, but then again there are plenty of players who should be getting more game time but aren’t getting much of a look in, and vice versa – one of just a couple of reasons why Arsenal aren’t doing well.

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