Arsenal on Loan: Up and Down Season for Arsenal Loanees – Part 1

This season, Last Word on Sports will be keeping you up to date on the Arsenal players out on loan, as they continue to develop their skills and prove they are ready to compete for a place in the Arsenal side. There are currently twelve players out on loan from Arsenal.

The players away on loan are:

  • Wojciech Szczęsny (GK), on loan to AS Roma in Serie A
  • Carl Jenkinson (RB), on loan to West Ham United in the Premier League
  • Yaya Sanogo (ST), on loan to Ajax in the Eredivisie
  • Serge Gnabry (MID), on loan to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles (MID), on loan to Ipswich Town in the Championship
  • Isaac Hayden (CB/MID), on loan to Hull City in the Championship
  • Chuba Akpom (ST), on loan to Hull City in the Championship
  • Daniel Crowley (MID), on loan to Barnsley in League One
  • Jon Toral (MID), on loan to Birmingham City in the Championship
  • Emiliano Martínez (GK), on loan to Wolves in the Championship
  • Wellington Silva (MID), on loan to Bolton in the Championship
  • Gedion Zelalem (MID), on loan to Rangers in the Scottish Championship

 

In the midst of an international break, only two teams with Arsenal loanees played games this past weekend, and neither Daniel Crowley nor Gedion Zelalem played as for Barnsley and Rangers, respectively.

So, instead of a regular weekly update, this international break offers the chance to take a look at Arsenal’s players out on loan and how their seasons have gone so far. One fifth of the way through the season, it’s been a bit of an up and down campaign for Arsenal loanees, with some players making regular starts and others rarely playing, and the same goes for performance. A few players have been consistent performers for their teams, while others have been inconsistent at best.

This update will be broken up into two parts. Check out Part One below for updates on Wojciech Szczęsny, Carl Jenkinson, Yaya Sanogo, Serge Gnabry, Isaac Hayden, and Chuba Akpom. Part Two will be out later this week and will offer an update on the other six players out on loan.

Wojciech Szczęsny has been one of the inconsistent performers so far this season. True, an injury he picked up in Champions League action caused him to miss a few weeks and may have thrown him off after a decent start to the year. Szczęsny has been fairly good for Roma, helping them to secure three wins and a draw in four appearances, though keeping only one clean sheet. The Champions League has been a different story; he was average against Barcelona prior to picking up an injury that forced him off in the first game, before being quite lacklustre in Roma’s 3-2 loss to BATE Borisov. Inconsistency is one of the main things that led to Arsenal loaning Szczęsny out this year and replacing him with Petr Čech. If he wants to come back to Arsenal and compete for the number one job, he needs to develop into a consistent goalkeeper. No one will deny that on his day he’s brilliant, but those days need to come more regularly, and he’s not showing the progress that he needs to so far this year at Roma.

Carl Jenkinson has also had a bit of a shaky start to the season, but then so have West Ham. The Hammers have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City, while losing to Leicester and Bournemouth and drawing Norwich and Sunderland (yes, they also beat Newcastle, but that doesn’t stand out in any way). Jenkinson’s defensive performances have very much matched his team’s play, as he’s been generally poor during losses and very good during wins. On the attacking side, Jenkinson has been productive, creating a decent number of chances for a right-back, and even picking up a goal. The plus point for Jenkinson is that he’s getting first team minutes at a Premier League club. He’s played well enough to continue in the first team, which is surely a good sign for either his future at Arsenal or for the transfer fee Arsenal will receive should they decide to sell him.

Yaya Sanogo’s loan to Ajax has been disappointing, to say the least. While many Arsenal fans seem to have given up on Sanogo ages ago, his loan to Ajax was seen as a positive sign, that a quality manager and a quality European side saw talent within him enough to take him on for a season and help his development. Maybe that development is happening on the practice pitch, but, if that’s the case, why not develop on the practice pitch at Arsenal? Sanogo has made just three league appearances and played a total of 53 minutes. He has yet to attempt a shot and has completed just 38 per cent of his passes. To sum it up, it is not going well.

Serge Gnabry’s loan to West Brom has gone almost as poorly as Sanogo’s, though seemingly through less fault of his own. Gnabry has made just one appearance in the Premier League, coming on for the last 13 minutes in a 3-2 loss to Chelsea, and has made two starts in the League Cup. Gnabry has looked bright in his limited opportunities for West Brom, whilst looking dangerous on the ball and showing flashes of the ability his Arsenal coaches and teammates have raved about. It’s disappointing, to say the least, to see a player of Gnabry’s potential sitting on the bench at a club like West Brom. It is a bit curious that Arsène Wenger would send a player like Gnabry on loan to a club managed by Tony Pulis, a manager not typically known for putting out teams that play attractive, possession-based football like Arsenal, but a more defensive approach to the game. Unless Wenger specifically feels that Gnabry needs to improve his defensive play and work rate, loaning him to a Pulis side seems like an odd.

Isaac Hayden enjoyed a bright start to the season, making appearances in each of Hull’s first six games; three of them from the start. However, since then, he has gone four straight matches without an appearance in the league. Hayden has made two more starts in the League Cup. Playing in the centre of midfield, Hayden has been solid defensively and tidy in possession, completing 89 per cent of his passes in league play. Hopefully, this is just a blip and Hayden will work his way back into first team minutes. With Hull near the top of the table and expecting to be pushing for promotion, this is exactly the kind of experience and pressure Hayden needs if he’s going to develop into a player that can play for Arsenal in coming years.

Hayden’s Hull City teammate, Chuba Akpom, got off to a flying start, scoring in the season opener. He’s appeared in all ten games for Hull this season, making seven starts. While he hasn’t scored since the opener, Akpom has been a constant threat and consistently part of the Hull attack. Many were surprised when Akpom was allowed out on loan, as it left Arsenal with so little depth within their striking force, particularly when the injury to Danny Welbeck was announced. However, it looks as if this loan is working out quite well. If Akpom continues to earn minutes, it will greatly help his development into a future Arsenal striker.

 

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