Arsenal on Loan: Szczesny’s Struggles Continue

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.

The players away on loan are:

  • Wojciech Szczesny (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
  • Jon Toral (MID), on loan to Birmingham City in the Championship
  • Emiliano Martinez (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

Thank goodness for Jon Toral, who continues to be the standout performer among Arsenal loanees. While a few others have had decent campaigns so far, Toral has risen to new heights in recent weeks. 

Wojciech Szczesny was an unused substitute in Roma’s 2-0 defeat over the weekend. Then, to make matters worse, reports came out suggesting that the Arsenal man had been dropped by Rudi Garcia because he had been caught smoking again. Garcia and Roma club director Walter Sabatini both claimed Szczesny was dropped for football related reasons, with Garcia saying:

“Szczesny hasn’t done anything wrong and he isn’t responsible for anything. We all need to be better, including the goalkeepers. Roma’s problem isn’t in goal.”

A midweek match-up against Barcelona saw Szczesny’s struggles continue in a 6-1 loss, which may have been the reason for giving the goalkeeper a break at the weekend. Nonetheless, controversy again surrounds Szczesny, and his form has not been good as of late. This was supposed to be a season for the Poland international to gain experience in a new environment, in the hope that he would return to Arsenal ready to challenge for the number one job and kick on in his career progression. Instead, the same problems that plagued Szczesny at Arsenal seem to have followed him to Italy.

Carl Jenkinson played the full 90 minutes as West Ham drew 1-1 with West Brom. Jenkinson was solid defensively, but offered less in the attack than normal. West Ham as a team managed 17 shots, but only a single goal. For West Brom, Serge Gnabry did not play.

Yaya Sanogo made the bench but did not play as Ajax won 2-0 against PEC Zwolle.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles put in a solid performance, starting and going 84 minutes in Ipswich’s 3-0 win at Charlton. Maitland-Niles did nothing to stand out, but was tidy in possession in an all-around solid performance for Ipswich.

Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom both came on as second-half substitutes in Hull’s 2-0 loss to Derby County. Akpom came on in the 75th minute and created one chance. Hayden entered in the 82nd minute. Manager Steve Bruce affirmed his belief in Akpom’s abilities over the weekend, saying:

“He’s going to be a very, very good player. He’s still got to keep his feet on the ground and work hard at it but we’re starting to see him.”

Jon Toral was again the highlight, scoring what was then an equalising goal in Birmingham City’s 2-1 loss to Brighton. It was not the greatest goal you’ll ever see, as Toral headed home a rebound after Brighton’s goalkeeper saved an initial shot, but it was a bright spot on a bad day for Birmingham.

Emiliano Martinez did not play in Wolves’ 0-0 draw with MK Dons.

Wellington Silva was left off the teamsheet for Bolton’s match against Brentford on Monday, as he continues to recover from injury.

Gedion Zelalem started and played the full 90 minutes as Rangers beat St. Mirren 4-0 in the Scottish Challenge Cup Semi-Final. Zelalem nearly scored his first goal for Rangers in the seventh minute but his curling shot was somehow tipped over the bar superbly by St Mirren goalkeeper, Jamie Langfield. Rangers will face Peterhead in the final on April 10.

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