In this article, we will take a look at how some of Arsenal’s more high-profile loanees got across the continent this weekend.
There is only one place to start when it comes to the crop of talent currently honing their craft away from the Emirates, and that comes at the Stade Velodrome.
William Saliba is a name which has of course long been on the lips of the Arsenal faithful, with the gifted young stopper yet to make a senior appearance for the club, despite having been signed a full two years ago.
And, this past weekend, the Frenchman, once again, proved exactly why is held in such high regard in his home country.
After shining in a Europa League meeting with Lokomotiv Moscow last week, Saliba was in from the off again on Sunday, as Marseille played host to Stade Rennais in a Ligue 1 clash.
And the up-and-coming defender went on to command OM’s backline in dominant fashion, barely putting a foot wrong all night en route to a 2-0 victory:
William Saliba vs Rennes
99% pass accuracy
3/3 accurate long balls
2/2 successful dribbles
1 tackle won
1 blocked shot
2/3 aerials won
5/7 duels won
The Art of Defending. pic.twitter.com/YRTA682C9G
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) September 19, 2021
Marseille, in turn, have climbed to the dizzying heights of 2nd in the French top-flight, behind only Paris Saint-Germain, whilst boasting a game in hand.
Coincidentally, impressing alongside Saliba at the Velodrome 24 hours ago came another member of Arsenal’s loan army, too.
The player in question? Matteo Guendouzi.
Unlike Saliba, midfield talent Guendouzi is guaranteed to depart North London on a permanent basis next summer, with Marseille’s loan deal with Arsenal possessing an obligation to buy.
And the 22-year-old, versus Rennes, went about reminding his soon-to-be ex-employers of what could have been, thoroughly impressing amid a trademark all-action display.
Despite being hauled off a little over ten minutes from time, Guendouzi’s efforts even proved enough to earn him a spot in L’Equipe’s Ligue 1 Team of the Week:
Team of Matchday 6 of the Ligue 1 season.
Mattéo Guendouzi partners Lucas Paquetá in midfield after their stellar performances against Rennes and Paris Saint-Germain, whilst Nicolas Pallois, Ludovic Blas and Randal Kolo Muani after smashing Angers at home by a 4-1 margin. pic.twitter.com/q7t8tZJpVD
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) September 19, 2021
Another of the more noteworthy names to have been granted a temporary departure by Mikel Arteta this summer, Hector Bellerin lined out for beloved Real Betis for the 2nd time this weekend.
The Spaniard is of course fresh off the back of another difficult campaign at the Emirates last time out, but has already begun to showcase glimmers of the player who, at one point, was tipped as a potential star in the making at Arsenal.
After looking solid throughout his Betis bow en route to a 2-1 downing of Granada last time out, Bellerin took things up a notch on Sunday.
A 2-2 stalemate with Espanyol (which saw Betis hearts broken by a 97th-minute equaliser) saw Bellerin shine along the right flank, even teeing up his side’s 2nd of the day courtesy of some determined work on the stroke of the interval:
Betis take the lead just before the break! 🟢⚪
Fantastic work from Hector Bellerin and Nabil Fekir applies the finish 👏 pic.twitter.com/TB83grJokI
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) September 19, 2021
Greek stopper Mavropanos has opened the new season in impressive fashion, picking up from where he left off with Stuttgart in the 2020/21 campaign.
The 23-year-old was handed his latest start at the heart of Die Roten’s backline on Sunday, in a meeting with high-flying Bayer Leverkusen at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
And though Stuttgart were ultimately put to the sword by 3 goals to 1, Mavropanos, once again, caught the eye of onlookers with his unwavering defensive presence both on the ground and in the air.
As the weeks pass, his loan club’s reported €3 million option to buy next summer is beginning to look like more and more of a potential bargain.
Azeez lasted just shy of an hour on his Portsmouth debut, as Pompey fell to a 3rd straight defeat, this time at the hands of Cambridge United.
The highly-touted midfielder struggled in his efforts to exert some much-needed creative influence on proceedings, and was guilty of surrendering possession in cheap fashion on more than one occasion.
Speaking post-match, Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley provided the following assessment of the England U20 international:
‘Miguel is such a young player who is finding his way in professional football.’
‘It was a tough start but this is the life of a professional footballer – it’s not always easy.’
‘But he’s a top player and he will learn a lot from today.’
Danny Cowley said Miguel Azeez will learn from his near hour-long #Pompey debut after admitting the life of a professional footballer is not always easy.https://t.co/LU4QDFC7Si
— Pompey Live (@pompeylive) September 19, 2021
Failed to make it off the bench as Fiorentina continued their stellar opening to the campaign with a 2-1 downing of Genoa.
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