LOAN REPORT: Daniel Ballard impressing at Blackpool

by .

Young Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard has recently gone out on loan to League One Blackpool and we caught up with Sean McGinlay from utmp who gave us an insight into the young Northern Ireland international’s impact so far at Bloomfield Road. 

Daniel Ballard is someone that has come to Blackpool with a lot of promise. At the age of 21, he didn’t have much first-team experience before this season having only made one start for Swindon Town, but is already a Northern Ireland international having captained the Gunners at youth level. That shows his pedigree as a top prospect and from his early spell at the seaside so far, he has all the makings of a real top talent.

For context, the Seasiders’ defence struggled quite significantly in the early part of this season and were desperate for a real commanding presence to organise the back four. We played a different defensive pairing in each of our first few games as we tried to find the best one, which resulted in very inconsistent performances and results for the team. Head Coach Neil Critchley, who managed Liverpool’s U21s before coming to Bloomfield Road back in February, was a keen admirer of Ballard having seen him through the various youth teams, and made clear that he was high on the club’s shopping list in the summer.

Ballard’s debut came in Blackpool’s 1-0 home defeat to Charlton. After our captain James Husband was sent off inside the first minute, it was a baptism of fire for the Northern Irish international who came on after just four minutes, but he took it all in his stride. Immediately, the Tangerines looked so much more assured at the back with him in the lineup and straight away you could see he was a step up from the quality on the pitch, not least with his ability to drive out with the ball.

Critchley has a clear long term philosophy he is wanting to implement at Bloomfield Road, and Ballard fits the role of the aggressive, confident, assured centre half both on and off the ball that Critchley requires. In that debut appearance against Charlton, Ballard made the most interceptions in the Blackpool side as well as the most clearances, showing his superiority against strong opposition. He was voted Man of the match, despite the night ending with an unfortunate 1-0 defeat.

Ballard has significant leadership qualities despite his young age and has showcased his ability to lead by example. In the previous games before Ballard came in, we’d leaked seven goals in our previous two games, but with him in the side we’ve turning the tide to make the back line a more compact and organised setup and only conceded once in his opening two games – following up the defeat to Charlton with a 1-0 win against MK Dons. Ballard again won man of the match with another assured display.

He made a frankly obscene nine clearances in the MK Dons fixture, miles ahead of any other player on the pitch. But what really summed up his all-rounded nature is his 76% pass success rate which was only better by one other player on the park. Not only is he confident in his ability to win a duel against an attacker, he’s also confident to take the ball from that duel, stride out of defence, and play a forward pass to spring a counter-attack. Now if that doesn’t fit the Arsenal mantra I don’t know what does.

His most recent game for the side came away at AFC Wimbledon. Again he proved his worth with and without the ball. His 10 aerial duel wins were way ahead of anyone else on the pitch and he also completed the most amount of passes on the pitch. He has this assured calmness about him that screams top level. Unfortunately, there was a sour note to this game, Blackpool losing 1-0 but Ballard also getting sent off. The red card was fairly bewildering and for an apparent elbow, and even having watched the replay countless times, it’s hard to see anything that happened – the club was even unable to appeal due to insignificant evidence. Since then, he has been serving a suspension, although he is back in contention for the club’s next vital game away at Peterborough United and surely likely to slot straight back into our back four,

Ballard will get his chance again and show us exactly why he is the best centre half at the club right now. We have seen that calm assurance from a previous centre half loanee in Taylor Moore who plays for Bristol City. He fits a similar mould, although I think Ballard is superior to him on the ball. Moore is destined for the Premier League within twelve months after adjusting to life in the Championship with ease. Ballard will ultimately follow that same trajectory.

His attributes culminate into exactly the kind of young centre half you want to see Britain producing. Despite his modern traits, he acclimatises to the more physical and demanding elements that lower league football can bring. The fact he can brush off those challenges with relative ease and come out looking assured is always a good sign when you are trying to develop a player into someone who could play at the highest level.

It is certainly early days for Ballard and he has been incredibly unfortunate in the sense that, had it not been for his serious injury last season, he would probably already find himself at a top-end Championship club. It’s vital that he finds that full season of game time to really build on the talent that is quite clearly there and I’m sure he will be hopeful that Blackpool will provide that for him.

At 21 years old he is already at an age where he should be looking to cement a top division starting place by the age of 23 if he really wants to see himself in that Arsenal first team. I think, barring any major injury or severe lack of game time, he’ll naturally find himself on that progression path. As is the case with many really talented loanee that come to League One, their next season tends to be spent at a top-half Championship club, before they make the step to a West Brom or a Fulham, impress there and that’s when they see their chance come at their parent club.

Daniel Ballard can absolutely make it at Arsenal and I think Arteta is someone that will appreciate what he has to offer. We will make the most of him here at Blackpool and he fits exactly what the manager is trying to achieve with the squad. He just has to hope a bit of luck comes his way because his development has no doubt been affected by his injury.

165 Responses to “LOAN REPORT: Daniel Ballard impressing at Blackpool”

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  1. Mark S

    Upstate-If he was a midfielder or an attacking player I would agree, however at 21 a CB is still relatively young. Like the article mentioned, he’s got about a 2-3 year window where he either is going to make it with us or not. Time will tell. Hopefully we can sell him for a nice fee though if he doesn’t make it with us.

  2. Upstate Gooner

    Mark
    Saliba who’s younger and for whom we paid some serious cash can’t break into the team. That’s why I think this kid has no chance. If he was out on loan at a PL or even a Championship club, I’d say maybe but I really don’t think it’s gonna happen for him at Arsenal.

  3. Jamie

    I like Ballard too. Hope he develops over the next 24 months.

    It’s a sad state of affairs when folk are writing off 21 year old central defenders.

    VVD was playing for Dutch gaints Groningen until he signed for Celtic at the age of 22. Then Southampton at 24. Give Ballard some breathing room.

  4. Pedro

    Jamie, agree. Chances of making it as a top-level centre-back are low in general… but writing players off at 21 shows how many people don’t understand what it takes physically to be a top-level center-back. The writer even notes, at the level of Blackpool, centre-backs don’t hold down places until they are 23.

    To add to the VVD thing, he was being written off at 18 as not good enough at all.

  5. Herb'sArmy

    Good luck to all our loanees, it seems so few of them make it to first team level.
    Pedro, could you please transfer my comment to ‘Graham 62’ from your last post to this one so that he and others can offer their thoughts.

  6. Champagne charlie

    Writing any 21 year old off with a certain level of ability is a bit of a con. Takes a marriage of a good club/environment and a level of application and you can explode as a footballer.

    Why I’m always so bemused at how pitiful our academy asserts itself in terms of letting youth players go with little to no legal recourse sewn in.

  7. Upstate Gooner

    Ballard this, Ballard that… people can’t even be honest with themselves on a fucking blog. Who actually believes that this kid will be playing for Arsenal’s starting XI in the next two years? No one. So stop with ” can’t believe some are writing him off at 21″ bull crap. As Sid rightly pointed out that for one VVD success story there are thousands if not millions of those we don’t hear about.

  8. MidwestGun

    I don’t know if this Ballard kid is gonna be any good or not.. never seen him play…. Hope he is..

    But what I do know.. is never ever, ever sign a blank piece of paper. Y’all can thank me later for this advice.

  9. Wengaball

    Marc

    “ I don’t understand some posters who seem to have this memory of Wenger’s latter years being some feats of amazing football that fell just short of glory.

    We’d been on the slide for a long time.”

    Yeah. It’s just that now we are off the slide and wallowing in the sandpit.

  10. Marc

    Cc

    It should be standard practice for us that all youth players sold have a sell on clause inserted.

    Also I couldn’t figure out what ManU were doing in the summer with Pogba – he was down to a year left and yet no effort to sell him. Turns out they had the option (their choice not his) to extend by a year – this is something we should look at as well.

  11. Jamie

    Pedro –

    “To add to the VVD thing, he was being written off at 18 as not good enough at all.”

    Bet there were loads desperate to be the first to announce he’d never make it. Elite foresight.

  12. Pierre

    Ballard is much too clean cut , his nose is perfectly in place and looks to have a full set of teeth…..obviously doesn’t put his head in where it hurts ….has no chance of making it.

  13. Pierre

    “, he’s also confident to take the ball from that duel, stride out of defence, and play a forward pass to spring a counter-attack. .”

    A forward pass? ..i need reminding what that is.

  14. PieAFC

    Players get written off far too easy these days. Everyone peaks at different stages. Just we see players appearing earlier and getting better and more promising at a younger age. In football terms being 30 something is old, makes me laugh.

    CB’s need to have physical and mental strength. Some have the physicality, pace when they are young and makes up for their lack of reading the game correctly getting them out of issues that arise.

    I think it’s great we have some promising CB’s at the club or out on loan that people are rating highly. Only can do wonders for us finically with a resell or on the pitch.

  15. Marc

    “CB’s need to have physical and mental strength. Some have the physicality, pace when they are young and makes up for their lack of reading the game correctly getting them out of issues that arise.”

    And then there’s Mustafi who someone wanted to give a new contract to.

  16. Dissenter

    Grealish is such a special player, players like he’s Brazilian.
    There was that move he puked off in the second half spontaneously with the flick.

    Jadon Sancho is looking like the players I was knew he was; overhyped because he’s English

    Saka had a very good game. Nice to see an Arsenal player play for England again.

  17. Dissenter

    Pedro
    Do you think we would be better off with Arteta just retaining his head coaching position under a very good technical director.
    Arteta the head coach needs lots of time to get it right
    Arteta the manager, co-equal to an inexperienced technical director is not a good thing for Arsenal.

  18. PhD2020

    Champagne charlieNovember 15, 2020 21:51:59
    Weagle will be here in an hour to take your pants down on Sancho there Dissenter. Or maybe not given your track record on players lol
    —–
    Did he not right off Federer a few years back in the Wimbledon Final.That he was done,spent,should retire?

  19. Dissenter

    CC
    Wenger Eagle believes Sancho is this super-special exceptional talent and I obviously disagree with him. He places him at just a bit lower than Neymar. I place him in the same category as Hudson-Odoi or Saka. Either of these two will look like demi-gods if they were plying their trades in the Bundesliga.
    I don’t think he’s better than Sterling or Grealish, even when adjusted for his age of development. He’s just another English player that can beat a man with spontaneity.

  20. PhD2020

    Champagne charlieNovember 15, 2020 23:46:41
    Dissenter
    Like I say, he’s going to whoop you for the initial comment, but even more so with that follow up.
    —–
    Bit like Trump-he likes to double down,even when the tide is going against him.
    Not much difference between him and Bumford..Two birds of a feather flock together malarkey..

  21. izzo

    Sancho is tailored to Dortmund but elsewhere he’s nothing special and would be found out in the PL. He can get away being tubby running against weak Bundesliga defenders that back off him and make him look like a worldie but he is overhyped to the extreme. He would be just another good winger in the PL. Not enough goals or assists even at Dortmund to be classed anywhere near Neymar and co.

  22. Nelson

    Saka is developing in front of our eye. If Arteta doesn’t play him on the left wing, then I’ll really question his knowledge to build an offense.I can predict Saka will gain some penalties. Today, he was brought down twice inside the opponent’s box.

  23. Bojangles

    The second occassion since I’ve been here I find myself agreeing with Dissenter. Sancho is overhyped here because he’s English. He may turn out to be a good player but not worth the 100+ mil that Dortmund are asking.

  24. The Godfather

    Dortmund may rue not selling Sancho earlier. Not just in today’s game but he hasn’t looked the same player using the eye ball test this season. He is not playing poorly but just not the electric difference maker that you always expected something magical whenever he touched the ball.

  25. Tom

    No player is worth 100m in today’s market, although Sancho looks way more impressive than Grealish did when he was 20.

    I don’t think there’s a single fan , a manager, or DOF who saw Grealish play in 2015 and said he would become the complete player he has.

    Forget the impressive flick Dissenter was talking about , every time Grealish was on the ball in the final third three Belgium defenders closed him down.
    KDB doesn’t attract this kind of attention.

  26. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal may have an awful lot of so called “promising” young players on its books, but the concern and priority at the moment has to be to build a successful and consistent senior team.

    There is very little benefit in producing youngsters like Ballard to play at Championship or League 1 level apart from earning perhaps “small beer” transfer fees.

    Arsenal have produced in recent years a large number of average centre backs at U23 and Academy levels, but none have progressed to first team level at Arsenal since Tony Adams!!

    As discussed on many occasions we have an excessive number of CBs in our first team squad. The only one who looks remotely like a game changer is Gabriel. Saliba was considered also to be good potential, but has yet to prove his case. At 18 he is three years younger than Ballard.

    Arsenal are in rebuild phase at the moment and there is currently an opening in the team for
    a right sided centre back to play alongside Gabriel. I don’t believe that Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding or Chambers are the solution.

  27. Upstate Gooner

    “Arsenal have produced in recent years a large number of average centre backs at U23 and Academy levels, but none have progressed to first team level at Arsenal since Tony Adams!”

    And there it is… thank you, and good night.

  28. Tom

    “KDB/Hazard all day over Grealish“

    The fact you even have them in the same sentence tells it’s own story.

    Not to mention Grealish plays on a club that avoided relegation last season if only just, while the other two are on two of the richest clubs in the world.

    Btw, Grealish scored/assisted in 34% of Villa PL goals last season, to KDB’s 32%
    Without Grealish last year Villa go down, without KDB City probably still come second.

  29. Tom

    Grealish -4 goals 6 assists in 700 min
    KDB. -1 goal 7 assists in 700 min this season.
    Where do you think KDB numbers would’ve been had he played on Villa last year?

  30. China1

    Imo Grealish is a good example that genuine quality does not require some magical hipster insight to understand

    Even in a crap team he has consistently dominated his position against opposition of all levels.

    This is why I don’t get overly excited about players like zaha or Traore who look incredible on their day but there’s a lot of chaff with the wheat. Genuine class will be self evident even in average and poor teams

  31. Tom

    China
    Traore is a one trick pony best deployed late in games Wolves drop deep on defense.
    In possession against another low block team he’s practically useless.

    Zaha is way better as an all around player but still lacks Grealish’s touch and vision.

  32. China1

    Tom I felt that was how wenger should’ve used Walcott after it became clear he wasn’t going to coach him to develop further

    He was a frustrating player in a dozen ways but make no mistake whenever Walcott came on against a tired defense in the last 20 mins he had them for breakfast with his direct running and pace. Far more threatening than if he started the game imo

  33. Tom

    Btw, the only goal KDB has scored so far this season came from the spot after he had won the pen.
    When Grealish won his pen he gave the ball to Watkins.

  34. Tom

    “Imo Grealish is a good example that genuine quality does not require some magical hipster insight to understand“

    That’s exactly right

    Can he receive the ball in tight spaces ? Yes
    Can he retain the ball in tight spaces under pressure? Yes
    Can he dribble with the ball to create overloads? Yes
    Can he run away from defenders? Yes
    Can he score? Yes
    Can he find the pass in a required range with the exact weight on it? Yes
    Can you bully him out of possession? No

    Now make a list of players who tick all these boxes ………….it’ll be a short list.

  35. Sid

    Btw, Grealish scored/assisted in 34% of Villa PL goals last season, to KDB’s 32%

    You do realise if KDB played for villa the percentage of his contribution would go up since the rest of the players do not contribute.

    And if Grealish was in a bigger team he would not be as important.
    He is good but other nations have similar players and not much fuss is made about them.

  36. Tom

    “You do realise if KDB played for villa the percentage of his contribution would go up since the rest of the players do not contribute.“

    Pure speculation on your part.
    Fact is KDB is a different player than Grealish in that he is capable of beating his marker to create space but rarely more than one. Grealish ,on the other hand , notoriously dribbles past two or more defenders drawing fouls or creating overloads.
    KDB is also less robust than Grealish.
    I’m not sure how well Grealish woul do on a club like City, but I’m pretty sure It would’ve been a lot easier to neutralize a KDB on talentless Villa than a Grealish.

    Just look at Grealish’s numbers this season ( yes , it’s early) after Villa added some more talent.
    They are way up.
    What does that tell you?

  37. Tom

    CT
    I didn’t say he was better, I said he was more valuable in the context of last season’s contributions to their respective sides and that he’s a complete footballer.
    Very few of those around.
    Arsenal have none.

  38. Sid

    Grealish completes 2.4 successful dribbles per 90 minutes at a success rate of 66.6%.(he plays a free role)
    Ndombele is 5.65 with 81% success

  39. Sid

    The point is it depends on the role given in the Villa team, he is good but the praise is over the top in comparison to players with similar qualities.

  40. Sid

    Ndombele has 2 goals and 0 assists in almost as many minutes as Grealish
    Tell me you’re joking.

    The real Bamford has more goals than Auba
    Im not joking

  41. Emiratesstroller

    Why on earth do we keep on discussing buying English players. Most are average at best and are sold at grossly inflated prices.

    You need only take a look at Man Utd’s recent track record in spending a world record fee for
    Maguire!!!

    Recruitment of English born players should be confined to the Academy eg Saka who has
    similar potential to many of the players who are frequently discussed on wish list such as
    Grealish and Zaha, but cost us nothing.

  42. Graham62

    ES

    You do realise that there are many players playing in the lower leagues who are better than some of the players who have represented Arsenal over the past 14 years.

    We purchased far too many substandard overseas players during this same period.

    The snobbery at Arsenal, and in the higher echelons of the EPL, will always be there because clubs aren’t prepared to look at and accept the obvious.

  43. Gonsterous

    Saka is a baller but like pepe needs to get stronger. I don’t want to talk down about our player but saka needs to strip getting over played by arteta or else we will have another broken player on our hands. He has been playing non stop either starting or coming on as a sub for club and country.

  44. Pierre

    To play like Grealish you need total confidence in your own ability, plus you need the trust of the manager, whether it’s at club level or international level.

    Grealish has the trust at club level and is slowly gaining the trust of southgate at international level..

    The villa manager should take massive credit for the way Grealish is playing.
    He has always been a good player but has never been given the freedom to express himself..

    Grealish is now at the stage where he knows he is playing at the very top level and he is thriving on the responsibility that comes with being the talisman at the club..

    I believe that Grealish hasn’t reached his peak yet, he is more than capable of scoring 20+ goals a season..
    He loves receiving the ball in the left hand channel and knows that when he is on the ball , he has total control of the situation ..
    He can show defenders the ball in the penalty area knowing that they won’t attempt to tackle him as he has the quick feet to draw the foul and the penalty..

    Afteŕ that , it is all about his decision making , whether to lay it off or go for goal himself.

    I read on here of a comparison to Debruyne , i don’t see that .
    Grealish is very similar to Thierry Henry in the way he travels with the ball in the left hand channel.

    Henry was the master at making the right decision, he would draw defenders in and release the ball at the perfect time..hence his superb assist record.

    It has been noted on here that Grealish draws as many as 3 players in , that is the time when his decision making has to be perfect, with one 5 yard pass he can take out half the defence , it’s all about the timing.

    Of course, if he is one on one moving into the box , Grealish can turn defenders inside out , similar to Henry, and that is why i believe he can increase his goal scoring..

    Grealish on the ball is a joy to watch .

  45. Nelson

    Saka is gaining confidence and respect from his teammates in the NT. I remembered watching him played in his 1st game in the NT. His teammates ignored him and he was replaced by AMN. Now he is even picked to play in a real game when Chilwell is injured.

  46. Pierre

    Gonsterous
    “Saka is a baller but like pepe needs to get stronger”

    Lack of strength is not an accusation i would throw at Saka.
    Saka has a football brain that is only matched by Ozil, Aubameyang and Partey in the Arsenal team, having an exceptional football brain is way more important than getting stronger.

    Fabregas was years ahead of his time in his awareness on a football pitch, his decision making was near perfect from day one..

    Saka is not quite at that level but he has the potential to go to the very top..
    For a winger/wide player he is not exceptionally fast (though not slow) and that his where his footballl brain kicks in and he is learning very quickly to assess sitiations in the final third..
    We will find that the more Arsenal improve offensively, the more prolific Saka will become as he will be receiving the ball in better positions and with increased regularity.

    As for Pepe, his strenghth is not performance related, it’s all about giving him the ball in the right areas for him to be productive,, until that happens no improvement will be forthcoming.

  47. Nelson

    Yesterday, Grealish was given a free roll. Saka at times played like a left inside forward. He attacked the box and passed the ball like peak Ozil. One thing he needs to improve is his shooting.

  48. Kaz

    Grealish is good but our own Jackie boy was a clear level above.

    So don’t understand the hype on him right now.

    I still can’t understand how our players are cursed with their injuries.

  49. Tom

    “Grealish is good but our own Jackie boy was a clear level above.“

    A clear level above you say…………. hmm, Grealish can match Wilshere’s entire PL career goal/assist output in the next game or two.

    While Wilshere was surrounded by some of the best PL players most of his Arsenal career the best Grealish partnered up with up until til this season was Agbonlahor.

  50. Kaz

    @Tom

    You stat guys are so dead upstairs it’s unreal. There’s more to a players ability than output of goals and assists.

    That’s like saying Xabi Alonso is inferior to Luka Milivojević because Luka gets more goals and assists than him.

    Watch the best games of Wilshere compared to Grealish and it is a huge difference in ability.

  51. Champagne charlie

    Kaz

    Level above in promise, but Grealish has delivered more than Wilshere did and will only better him on that front.

    You’re basically eulogising what Wilshere could’ve been. Fact is, Grealish is a genuine top tier player about to play his best years amongst the elite while Wilshere hunts for a club that’ll let him keep fit at 28.

  52. Kaz

    CC

    I’m not eulogising what he could have been, he played at a high level from a very young age. Injuries have destroyed him.

    His best games for us were better than Grealish’s.
    Barca is the famous obvious example but there were many games he was fantastic.

    Maybe in a few years Grealish can dominate in that way but right now he isn’t at that level.

    What he does give you is more end product.

  53. Tom

    Kaz
    Let’s forget the dead upstairs part for a moment, although it’s a hard ask when someone mentions Xavi Alonso and Luka Milivojevic in the same sentence, but just out of curiosity how many Villa games have you seen since their PL promotion last season?
    Because I’ve seen them all and there hasn’t been a more consistent performer than Grealish in the PL since Villa got promoted.

  54. Champagne charlie

    Kaz

    You’re eulogising Wilshere and citing a game he played TEN years ago. He arguably had more talent, but Grealish is delivering at a level Wilshere never touched.

    I’m talking reliably, which is a major ingredient casually getting lost as you cite peak games and odd matches.

  55. Kaz

    Tom

    Coz Wilshere never was hardworking and dedicated right? Usually why he was always kicked the shit out of.

    But no I haven’t watched all Villa games, I’m an Arsenal fan, I catch the highlights when I can.

  56. Dissenter

    Grealish is the real deal
    He’s always had the talent and then he’s had it forged into a fearsome weapon in the most difficult places.
    He should have moved to a bigger club, that way people like kaz won’t still be slinging shots at him.

  57. Tom

    Kaz,
    What happened to Wilshere was a travesty.
    Between Wenger overplaying him at a young age and PL refs’ ineptitude ( the McNair tackle at OT) his career ended prematurely, but to take his best handful of games as a yard stick is short sighted.
    Don’t you think having players like Santi, Sesc, RVP , Sanchez, Ozil had any impact on those performances you bring up ?

    Who’s on Villa playing along Grealish that would make those Arsenal teams Wilshere performed so well on?

  58. Calypso

    Wilshere’s performance against Barcelona was hyped up during the game by match commentator Andy Townsend which influenced viewers to believe his performance was better than it merited.

  59. Thorough

    Funny enough I agree with Upstate. I think any CB that’ll come into this team has to be an extraordinary talent. When the oldies are gone we would have Gabriel, Holding, Saliba and Mavropanos (whom I have high hopes for).
    If Ballard will make it hell have to be Saka level of amazing at the very least.

  60. Tom

    “But no I haven’t watched all Villa games, I’m an Arsenal fan, I catch the highlights when I can.“

    Kaz, that’s understandable.
    The PL is the only league I watch and therefore I never render opinions on players from other leagues because highlights can be deceiving.

    Last time I joined in the hype based on a ten minute highlights reel was when Arsenal announced the Pepe deal.
    I’m still recovering from that one.

    Grealish is the real deal.

  61. Champagne charlie

    “Last time I joined in the hype based on a ten minute highlights reel was when Arsenal announced the Pepe deal.
    I’m still recovering from that one.“

    Haha Pepe has stung Tom like a first timer in Bangkok.

  62. Sid

    Wilshere had poor nutrition from childhood(fish and chips),
    Guendozi didnt suffer injuries playing almost similar or more amount of games.

  63. Kaz

    Tom

    Fair enough, was wrong to put you in the Ozil pitch fork brigade.

    I’m not saying Grealish isn’t a great player either.

    He would absolutely improve us for instance.

  64. Pierre

    Sid
    “Wilshere had poor nutrition from childhood(fish and chips),
    Guendozi didnt suffer injuries playing almost similar or more amount of games.”

    I would imagine that Grealish and Wilshere have a very similar diet.
    This would have nothing to do with injuries , both commit the opposition but Grealish knows how to ride a tackle and draw the foul.

    Wilshere unfortunately never learnt this part of the game and it has cost him dearly.
    His injuries were not from over playing , they were mainly(not all) from impact injuries.

    Guendouzi is a completely different player to wilshere as he doesn’t look to commit the opposition, so no comparison.

  65. Marc

    “even the staunchest Arteta supporter must, at some moment after the final whistle, have pondered whether the figure in the dugout frowning amid the autumn rain was really the right person to lead them forward.”

    Who can name who didn’t?

  66. London gunner

    I’m a massive fan of grealish but let’s not downplay kdb talent he is top 10 player in the world.

    One of the best passers to every grace a pitch and all rounder in regards to pretty athletic, great shot and can beat a man on the dribble.

    He is like a sniper with his passing, awareness and vision.

    Also why does it always have to be so adversarial I like x player so therefore y player can’t be good… doesn’t make sense

  67. Danny+S

    Wiltshire was apparently told time and again by coaches to change his playing style, and he refused to listen.

    Diaby had similar issues and when you watch he was similar in that he left his leg in a lot. Stood firm rather than riding the tackle.

    Both ended up as fragile as glass.