Arsenal carried an unwavering sense of momentum into the 2022/23 season and for some supporters, it was no surprise the Gunners enjoyed the success they did after starring in the summer.
The north London club have once again been active in the transfer market, splurging over £200m on three players before jetting across the Atlantic for their second consecutive tour of the States. However, while Arsenal enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season last time around, it hasn’t quite been so straight forward for Mikel Arteta and his squad on this occasion.
The Gunners are only halfway through their summer schedule, but we’ve seen enough to gauge some standouts from pre-season so far. Here are three of them.
Timber’s arrival somewhat went under the radar due to Arsenal’s pursuit of £105m man Declan Rice, but the Dutchman has quickly adjusted to Arteta’s demands and impressed the most out of the Gunners’ summer signings.
The former Ajax star was excellent off the bench against the MLS All-Stars and was arguably the club’s most impressive performer in the 2-0 defeat to Man Utd.
It feels like Timber’s potential under Arteta has only been teased thus far, but his profile adds another dimension to the Gunners and certainly makes them more unpredictable. He’ll be a crucial part of their evolution next season, and while the competition is stiff on the right side of Arsenal’s defence, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Timber quickly blossom into a protagonist at the Emirates.
An under-the-radar January arrival, Kiwior featured for the Gunners down the stretch last season and outside of his brain fade against Brighton, added some stability to a defence that was reeling from William Saliba’s absence.
He was deployed in a traditional left-back role to conclude 2022/23, but this summer we’ve seen the Polish international utilised an inverted full-back function amid Oleksandr Zinchenko’s absence. While Kiwior wasn’t seen against United, he showed his potential in the role against FC Nurnberg before impressing against the MLS All-Stars.
He doesn’t come close to boasting Zinchenko’s subtlety or expertise at the position, but there’s certainly untapped potential for Arteta to work with.
It’s fair to say there haven’t been too many standouts in pre-season for Arsenal, especially in the attacking third where the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka have performed to a standard expected of them.
Nevertheless, an attacker who’s caught the eye is Trossard, but much of the Belgian’s best work this summer has come in a deeper midfield position.
It appears as if Arteta’s greatest concern heading into 2023/24 is how he’ll replace Granit Xhaka in the left-sided #8 role. Kai Havertz failed to convince there against United, but Trossard, who was used sparingly in the role this summer, has shown the boss something. Dynamic and excellent in tight spaces, Trossard has shown he can contribute to the build-up phase and provide some magic between the lines.
He’s also blessed with the requisite ball striking to do some damage when space opens up in and around the opposition’s box. The Belgian has picked up one or two knocks this summer, but he’s undoubtedly been one of the Gunners’ brightest sparks.