Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Bielik thriving at Birmingham but must wait for Arsenal chance

Krystian Bielik is no stranger to senior football, with the prospect having already played for Legia Warsaw’s first-team prior to joining Arsenal.

Now the Polish youngster is at the stage where first-team football is becoming a necessity rather than a desire. Having featured prominently at youth level in the two years since he arrived at Arsenal, undergoing the transformation from defensive-midfielder to centre-back in the process, Bielik was sent out on loan to Championship side Birmingham City in January.

After initially being an unused substitute for Gianfranco Zola’s side, Bielik has subsequently forced his way into the starting line-up and is thriving as part of a three-man back-line.

The youngster, who made his debut for Poland U19s during the international break, has been assured at the back for Birmingham, winning possession with regularity and, in typical style, bringing the ball out from defence when the opportunity has arisen.

Gaining regular playing time in England’s second tier will undoubtedly accelerate the development of the 19-year-old, who has long been seen as one of Arsenal’s standout prospects.

The occasional mistake is still present in Bielik’s game, but that is to be expected of a player who is still learning, and the overwhelming response to his displays for Birmingham so far has been one of astonishment at just how good he has been.

The problem Bielik faces, however, is that, no matter how much he catches the eye at Birmingham, he still has a very difficult task ahead of him in terms of breaking into the Arsenal first-team.

There are currently five centre-backs in the first-team squad – Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel, Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding – while Calum Chambers, another player capable of playing in that position, is on loan at Middlesbrough.

With Mertesacker having signed a one-year extension and it looking rather unlikely that there will be an exodus of centre-backs, Bielik will surely have to bide his time before the opportunity arises for him to truly stake his claim at Arsenal.

That could well mean that the youngster is sent out on loan again next season as it will surely be felt that he is beyond playing at U23 level. An alternative would be for Bielik to play for Arsenal in the EFL Cup, but perhaps spending time elsewhere again would be more beneficial for his overall game.

In general, though, the situation surrounding Bielik is a very positive one and he will hope to continue to perform to such a standard for the rest of the campaign.

Had Bielik remained as a defensive-midfielder then, given the current uncertainty surrounding Arsenal’s options in that position, his path to the first-team may well have been rather clearer.

Now, as a centre-back, it may take him longer to reach the top, but the early evidence suggests that the decision to deploy Bielik in that area of the pitch was the correct one.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Bielik’s future lies away from Arsenal. Too many established duds in the first 11 for him to get a realistic chance of breaking through. The lad has to move on.

Unless there’s a change manager.


If I was Beilik, I wouldn’t be considering Gabriel or the ageing Mert as barriers to the Arsenal first team…


Holding and Bielik could well be the future in a couple years. Promising

David C

I’d put Holding in for Mustafi now. Holding’s looked very calm every time he played for us this year. Mustafi looks like he’s trying to hard to justify his big ole transfer fee.


Given his age, it would probably be too early for him to get regular playing time at Arsenal. A full-season loan at a Championship side targeting promotion would be best for his development. Holding might have to bide his time as well in his hopes for regular game time, though he has performed commendably whenever called upon

Arse City Blues

If he gets loaned out next year, it should be with a premier league club. Fighting for his place, earning it, and getting top tier experience. Really like the look of him.


If he continues similar rate of development bielk will only have koscielny , mustafi and holding ahead of him.

Mertsacket will move on , Gabriel is error prone and bielk looks better than chambers.


I don’t agree Bielik is better than Chambers. I also think Chambers is better than Mustafi. In fact my gran is better than Mustafi and, as many on here know, she’s dead.


He’s playing in a back three? The Devil’s Trident?! Not for us, thanks.


I read a recent article which said Chambers has also developed strongly at Middleborough – so we seem to have a very promising set of young defenders


Considering how well Jon Toral did at Birmingham and still didn’t get a chance at Arsenal before being shipped out on loan again, this lad may have to wait another two years or so before he gets a chance at Arsenal, by which point it would be unlikely he would want to stay.

Faisal Narrage

“Had Bielik remained as a defensive-midfielder then, given the current uncertainty surrounding Arsenal’s options in that position, his path to the first-team may well have been rather clearer”

Which is why I’m quite annoyed we decided to convert him into a CB. There is simply no need. Sure he has the qualities to become a great ball-playing CB, but has great qualities to become potentially the complete DM (Xhaka-passing with Coq defensive mobility).

We have tons of CBs and few DMs. There was no need for this. It’s like when we tried to turn Song into a CB.


Who’s to say he can’t be played at either position in the future? I’d love him to come in at centre mid next season and boss proceedings. He’s big, pretty mobile, and great on the ball. He looks the business.

Faisal Narrage

Because Wenger has effectively deemed him a CB.
I would love it if he became a DM again, but considering the opportunity now and he’s not being considered a DM, Seema a great miss as we’ll probably by another.


Just a few Brighton thoughts on Akpom after today’s game. He is possibly the laziest striker I have ever seen, and he seriously needs to buck his ideas up. He looked 1/4 the player of a 34 year old with an injured thigh (Glenn Murray, who scored) today. That says a lot. It’s a shame because I had high hopes for him after his sporadic Arsenal appearances but my god he genuinely doesn’t look like he cares. A real shame.

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