Willian, Rob Holding and the five Arsenal stars who must justify Mikel Arteta’s faith

Since the day he arrived at Arsenal Mikel Arteta has not hesitated when it comes to showing his trust in those Arsenal players already at his disposal.

Indeed it may be one of the greatest success stories of his early tenure. In that short space of time he has managed to push forward the careers of players whose development appeared to be flatlining (Ainsley Maitland-Niles), were struggling with limited game time (Emiliano Martinez) or whose relationship with the club seemed to be utterly fractured (Granit Xhaka).

It is not an approach that everyone else would have taken when they inherited a squad that was on course for Arsenal’s worst league finish in 25 years. There was no radical clear out of the first team either in January or in the summer. Some left but others who many might have parted ways with were retained by Arteta.

The coming months will dictate whether he has put his faith in the right men. Questions will be asked of Arsenal’s depth in a span of games that even by English standards will be gruelling indeed. Between their return from 2020’s final international break on November 21 and the end of the year Arteta’s side will play 13 games in 42 days.

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To navigate that period successfully Arteta will need to rely on the vast majority of his squad, if not all of them. For some of them that will mean vindicating the faith their manager has shown in them. examines six of those players below.

Bernd Leno

Leno does not need to prove his quality to Arsenal. There is a reason why he finished second to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the player of the year vote last season.

But that does not mean that he does not have a point to prove or a decision to vindicate. After all a defining question of this summer was who would win the battle to be named Mikel Arteta’s first-choice goalkeeper.

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