Sunday, March 3, 2024

Mavropanos arrival gives Bielik extra incentive to impress on loan

Having been identified as a possible future first-team player for so long, Krystian Bielik has received a setback in his quest to succeed at Arsenal.

The signing of fellow centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos, who is less than a month older than him, has pushed the Polish youngster further down the pecking order, with his path into the first-team squad now less clear.

Having made a major impact in training after joining the club, Mavropanos was named on the bench for the Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg fixture away to Chelsea this week, while he has also been added to Arsenal’s first-team squad.

Bielik was training with the senior squad recently but hasn’t done so since Mavropanos’ arrival and now has an extra incentive to impress if, as expected, he goes out on loan this month.

Having produced some excellent performances for Birmingham City in the Championship in the second half of last season, it was anticipated that Bielik would go out on loan again this campaign.

However, an injury suffered during an U23 game against Manchester City scuppered those plans and Bielik only returned to action last month.

Having worked his way back to full fitness, Bielik should head out on loan again in the next couple of weeks, with the Championship likely to be his destination once more.

After joining Arsenal as a defensive-midfielder, the prospect has developed well as a centre-back during his three years at the club and will still harbour hopes of making the breakthrough.

Mavropanos, however, now represents an extra obstacle in Bielik’s path, especially given that the club already have two other young first-team centre-backs in Calum Chambers and Rob Holding.

Bielik was already determined to impress on loan, but now he has an additional reason to demonstrate his credentials and it will be intriguing to see how he fares.

Competition for places is part of football and if Mavropanos turns out to be a success then there will be few complaints if Bielik is frozen out as a consequence.

However, the latter’s chances of becoming a first-team player at Arsenal are far from over and he will now be eager to demonstrate just what he is capable of.

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

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Lord Bendnter

Such competition is always healthy


True said Lord


Slightly too much now. 3 youngsters competing for one (possibly 2 )spots in first team defense is one thing. The work is on the experienced end. Monreal and Koscielny are on the high end of fully developed. But of course that also carries wear and tear issues. Monreal may need to cover Lback as AMN may need to shift right (and natural side) should we be able to move on Debuchy. I don’t count Per of course. He is the truly senior man really there for absolute emergency. Truth be told he should have retired last summer after the FA… Read more »


I’m sure you never liked Gabriel and only changing your tune about him because he is doing well at Valencia. I’m confident you were also praising how well Per did in the FA cup final that we had enough at CB and getting rid of Gabriel was fine.

Mayor McCheese

I have deep knowledge of Mavropanos’ one youtube clip, and what I like is that a lot of the time, the attacking player ends up on the floor weeping after a challenge with him. Only thing that scares me somewhat is that he seems to be a bit Lungey McLungey.


lets be honest, he was never going to make it


Personally I’ve always rated bielik higher as a DM, maybe now it would make more sense to convert him back to one.


The problem is we need the ability now. With Coquelin gone, we have realistically let go our one and only true and accomplished tackler. Jack puts in a good tackle but he’s injury prone. Granit has got better but its still not what he’s good at. Ramsey ditto. What do we have AMN? Yes he tackles but we are (like at Cback) again entrusting a young player to have to step up. I say “have to”. We give him no leeway and we accept no alternative. This is very risky. Even more so we are again asking him to adapt… Read more »


Then keep AMN at DM since that is the position he was coming out of the academy and forget about FB. You are suggestion doing the same thing to AMN that you claim has hurt Chambers


Tbh, I’d prefer to trust the young and have hope/optimism and go on a journey rather than the old that continue to disappoint.

But some fans don’t have the patience. Sometimes we hold our own players back by being so inpatient. (i.e. Gabriel)

Kwame Ampadu Down

Despite Chambers’ youth coaches at Southampton confirming they always saw him as a future centre half, despite his England u21 manager only picking him at centre half, despite him always looking better playing for arsenal at centre half than at right back (it was while playing at right back for Arsenal that his confidence got shattered, a fact you are completely ignoring), despite the Middlesbrough manager almost always picking him at centre half (he only played him at RB when they had no other option) when there on loan…..despite this I imagine you must be right : he really is… Read more »


It would be good for Bielik to have flexibility by being able to play DM or CB. He looks calm and composed as a player. Hope he has a successful loan if he does go. Too many of our players moving on loan and not getting games…


If Bielik was showing delivery on potential, he would be in for either Holding or Chambers by now never mind Mavropanos.

Faisal Narrage

One could argue the main reason Mavropanos is where he is because he was getting first team playtime, which accelerates development (see Cole, Bellerin, Niles, Song, and countless other academy prospects that first seemed like a fish out of water but simply being around the first team accelerated them). Not everything is as simple as you say it.

This is something that’s affected previous academy prospects. It’s why I rate Chris Willock for taking the risk of going to Portugal for first team football. He’s betting that the same will happen to him.


Oh man, when did 3 years pass?!

Faisal Narrage

” then there will be few complaints if Bielik is frozen out as a consequence.”

Except from me, because he really should be a DM, where’s always looked impressive, other than CB where he’s looked pretty good but that’s about it.

There’s less competition in DM than in CB too.


The decision to convert him was always bizarre. It’s almost as if Arsene doesn’t believe in proper DM’s any more, certainly not big, physical ones.


Maybe Ancelloti does ?

Faisal Narrage

He 100% doesn’t, that much is clear. Evert DM either gets converted into a CB or Box to Box CM. If they are big and good on the ball, he turns them to CBs (Song, Djourou, Bielik, Hayden, Shaef, etc.) If they are small, he turns them into CMs (Coq, Frimpong….who was sh*t but only got the nod over Coq because of his conversion to CM, Flamini, etc.). Only anomaly was Song, who he first tried to convert to a CB, then later converted into a CM, lol. It’s so bizarre, coming from a man who built his best teams… Read more »


put him back to DCM, wasn’t that always the plan anyway?


i LOVE Bielik as a player, and Arsenal have been in dire need of players with his physicality for too long

i don’t understand how Wenger can neglect this aspect of the squad after having enjoyed so much success with the likes of Campbell and Vieira

with the right coaching Bielik can be as good as anyone


So Coquelin was a starter for the Europa/B team. With him gone maybe we can at least keep Bielik on the bench for those matches and slot in AMN into midfield or maybe even give him a start?
There is no actual defensive midfielder in the entire squad right now. Neither Elneny, AMN nor Willock are DMs. Why not keep him and develop him for that role?

Faisal Narrage

Because as Wenger has said many times, he doesn’t believe in DMs.


Is this a joke?

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