Guendouzi: Let’s be honest. No one had ever heard of me!

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Matteo Guendouzi says he’s desperate to repay Unai Emery’s faith after establishing himself as a first team regular despite arriving as an unknown quantity from Lorient in the summer.

Guendouzi earned praise and respect from the Spaniard for a pre-season decision to forego international duty with France under-21s and he hasn’t looked back since impressing in the clubs friendlies in the Far East.

The 19-year-old has started 25 games so far this season – second only to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – and hopes to continue going from strength to strength under the tutelage of a coach who has made a big impression on him.

“Let’s be honest, apart from the players here who follow a bit of the French leagues, no one had ever heard of me,” he told the Evening Standard when asked about his start to life in London.

“It was very important for me to show what I was capable of as early as possible. I had a chance during the pre-season tour and I took it. I showed I could be part of this team. I still didn’t expect to play so much because I know I’m at a top club with great players.

“I’m a bit surprised that everything has been going so well. I’ve played well when I’ve featured. I think I showed that I could bring something to the team.

“I am very happy with how things have gone for me at the club so far and if I can keep playing as much in the second half of the season, it would be great.”

Having benched Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for long periods of the season, Emery has handed a lot of responsibility to Guendouzi and fellow new boy Lucas Torreira. The latter made a big impact earlier in the season, but it’s the Frenchman who has come to the fore in recent weeks. As a difficult season unfolds, the performances of both represent a big positive for the club as we try and rebuild the squad for the future.

“I owe him a lot because he has trusted me from the beginning,” said Guendouzi of Emery’s trust. “He has a lot of faith in me and it is boosting my confidence. To give so much playing time to a 19-year-old at Arsenal is rare.

“I always want to repay his faith by doing well on the pitch. I have much more to learn with him. We talk a lot, he gives me a lot of advice on my positioning, playing forward.

“I can feel how much better I am now compared to the start of the season. I know all the teams we face better. I know myself better and my game is stronger.”

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berlingoon
berlingoon

Future captain. Without a doubt.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

I thought we were selling him to PSG for 60M?

KongoKim
KongoKim

he might be capable of but lets not rush things.
at arsenal there is only heaven and hell, nothing inbetween.

Berlingoon
Berlingoon

I don’t rush things. I just say that he’s a natural leader. He’s coming from the 2nd devision of French football with 19 in a team full of established internationals and instructed the players around him from the very first day.
So as I really like him as a player I obviously hope that he will stay with us for as long as possible and then it’s just a matter of time until he gets the armband, if you ask me. I don’t say make him captain immediately.

Penfield
Penfield

Favorite player. He’s gonna be huge

Jalex
Jalex

Why, is he changing diet or something?

no_name
no_name

He just bought a penomet extender. That’s why

Alex Healy
Alex Healy

‘Nobody had heard of me’

Well apparently Sports Interactive had because he had a 178 potential in FM18 a whole year before your transfer to Arsenal, making him one of the top rated young Frenchmen in the game. In my save he was bought by Fenerbache and in 2024 moved to Monaco for £40mil where he’d stay as a first team regular for the rest of his career.

roof_attack
roof_attack

classic. i love this kind of stuff. the last time i played FM , bergkamp had retired as manager of England.

DB10s Air Miles
DB10s Air Miles

I hired Bergkamp as one of my coaches when I was managing Bromley….. those were the days.

Anders_B.
Anders_B.

He had a -85 potential which grants a PA between 140 and 170 which is why in over 2 dozen saves on FM18 I had never heard of him. Maybe you downloaded a data update that pushed his Potential Ability up to -9 (150-180)

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi

Has the energy of Modric. The guile would come with time.

Thierry Bergkamp
Thierry Bergkamp

What I like most about him is his attitude and he doesn’t hide. A few times this kid has let his frustrations with his experienced teammates out for missing sitters. My favourite one was when Lacazette slipped and missed an easy chance that Guendouzi put on a plate for him. He went absolutely crazy, forgot about it, picked Lacazette up and then jogged back into position. That’s my best memory of his season.

Tapps

If just a bit of his enthusiasm and work ethic rubbed off on his team mates, we’d be in a far better position than we find ourselves in. Easily my player of the year so far.

Ram
Ram

A player with lot of passion and he loves Arsenal football club.
His passing is amazing, he has great potential with little bit improvement in certain areas.

SB Still
SB Still

I agree and second everything except the ‘loves The Arsenal’.

I don’t expect it from any of the modern players, maybe even fans, who seem now to follow a particular player, than a club.

He seems settled and happy – yes.

Mistafi
Mistafi

Get out with your maturity. Enough! Jeez!

EmmEss
EmmEss

I could see him stay with us for a long time if we can match the ambition of the kind of player I think he will become. That means we regularily qualify for the CL and as reach the QF, SF stages more often than not as well as launch a serious title challenge in the PL. In such case I could imagine him to be a loyal player and long term skipper.
If we continue to play for 5th or 6th place in the PL and drop out in the Europa League in the QF stage most years, no top class player loves a specific club enough to sacrifice a much better career just to stay at a club.

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

Confidence, good. Now please focus on winning games.

Bendtnerschristmastree
Bendtnerschristmastree

We don’t know how high this guys ceiling really is, but it sure seems he’s determined to smash right through it. Love his attitude.

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

I love this kid! His energy is contagious, his talent undeniable and only 19 yo. I’m so excited by this Arsenal team. Unai’s eye for quality is gold. Yes we can improve but the future is bright!! COYG let’s play CL next year.

Alex
Alex

Matteo didn’t come thanks to Unai’s eye though…

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

He had the balls to play to give him the chance. In this stage we’re in not many managers would’ve risked it with a 19 y.o midfielder.
Both need to improve tho no doubt.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Exactly, Mourinho did not believe in De Bruyne at Chelsea.

EmmEss
EmmEss

Completely agree. Now it’s safe playing him as it’s almost demanded by the fanbase, but Unay risked alot by playing him almost always initially. This could have truly bombed as well and the blame would have all been on the manager … err … head coach.

Caligunner
Caligunner

I think he started off great. He has shown his age lately but overall awesome.

But…

Realistically who was Unai going to play in the 4231 midfield at the beginning of the season? LT, ME, GX were all delayed because of the World Cup. Unai wasn’t going to use Ramsey there as shown during the season. They just spent 7m on him and I know that’s not a lot but it’s still an investment.

Gooners & Roses
Gooners & Roses

I like to compare him to Cesc. Not exactly like-to-like, but more of the role they play for Arsenal. Cesc at 19 is ridiculously smart. Efficient is perhaps a better word. At the moment, he is playing rather instinctively, running non-stop and sometimes passing just for the sake of passing. So I hope in season(s) to come, he can improve his running and passing and that would be a hell of a player. Captain to boot perhaps?

MrSymes
MrSymes

A leggy pass-and-move CM. Reminds me a bit of Diaby but maybe better long passing and less good close control (if I remember – so long ago). Even when he’s having an average game it’s so easy to forget how young he is. His attitude is incredibly rare.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Tbf I imagine there are few in football even right now that have better close control than Diaby.

Pogba himself said he wasn’t the best player he’d seen for the French team.

Goontang
Goontang

Just needs to add some end product which will come with experience. Can pass the ball unbelievably well and works his ass off. The goals and assists will surely come.

roof_attack
roof_attack

i just wish he would cut his hair! unless we are in some kind of samson deal.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Why does that matter? Are you one of those hat would give Bellerin abuse because of his hair styles?

EmmEss
EmmEss

Well, if he had short hair, the c**t Fellaini couldn’t have pulled him to the ground in that cup game. 😉
But anyway, jokes aside, Ref just needs to spot that and it’s a dismissal. Mat should stay as he is, cool fella, like him alot.

Moses
Moses

No!

Sue

Love this guy! Come on Matteo, about time you scored another goal

shokim
shokim

The future is bright for Matteo. Keep it up!

rpsport
rpsport

Guendouzi will be a wonderful player but I’m not sure it’s fair to burden him with a role as pivotal as he had tonight and as for Xhaka what did he contribute tonight.
Ask Auba who he wants on the pitch to create for him next week

facts
facts

we need more Guendouzis and less primadonnas

Shank

Is it just me or is there some justification for this marvellous young player playing so much, but Mavropanos/ Willock / Saba (is that his name , I’ve nearly forgotten?), Nketiah , not getting a look in?
I mean what is it about Arsenal……….Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain……….in and out of the team and roundly derided by so many ( never got a stable position or any love), but go to Liverpool, and he is appreciated, given a number, and a position……and when he’s fit it’ll be straight back into the main squad, champions league challenging for a title, blah blah blah.
Anyway, Guendouzi is a fabulous player, but all I’m saying is…….he is given his chance and has returned the favour with gusto.
Would it be worth trying that with a couple of others?

Arse-Head
Arse-Head

The Ox would have ten poor games for every good game he had, don’t miss him at all. Watching the bayern, mugsmashers game and wish we kept or tried harder to keep Gnabry. Exactly the kind of player we need

EmmEss
EmmEss

Agree with you about Serge, but that’s the power of hindsight. Cause I must admit that when we let him go, I didn’t mind very much and didn’ think it was a wrong move. So at least I can nowadays certainly not blame the people who decided that back then.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Ox was actually pretty consistent in his last year for us and was one of our most creative players statistically. All while not playing his best position. He also really developed that year in Liverpool before his ACL. I think he goes right back in the Pool first team when fit. Agree on Gnabry though, hope we don’t make the same mistake with Nelson.

Santori
Santori

On the face of it, his done well.

But consider without him we have Granit, Torreira then a steep drop in quality with Elneny.

The assets are sparse in deep midfield.

Which Is Prob Why We Made The PANIC LOAN for Dennis even if as yet he has been a bit timid in performance.

OTOH, City have only Gundagan and Fernandinho.

We need to find midfield fluency between attacking and defending.

That will be the issue that will dictate further success this season or not.

yea mon
yea mon

he’s aight

Ash
Ash

I remember Fabregas, RVP, Wilshere at his age. Not a patch on them. Looks good in a pretty miserable Arsenal team

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Douzi might look even better in a better team as well, tbf.