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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, March 4, 2024

The Final Whistle: What will Leandro Trossard bring to Arsenal?

Graphic by Aliza Kibel

History beckons for Arsenal. For the first time in over a decade, the North London side look like potential Premier League champions. A convincing derby victory against Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur and a nail-biting 3–2 thriller against bitter rivals Manchester United proved once again the quality of Mikel Arteta’s team. 5 points clear at the top of the rankings, with a game in hand over Manchester City, the Gunners look poised to claim their first title since 2004. But this season is far from over and a string of poor form, injuries and fixture congestion are all factors that could end Arsenal’s title dream. To avoid this, Arsenal has reinforced their squad with Brighton’s Leandro Trossard. 

With seven goals and two assists in 16 appearances for Brighton this season, the 28-year-old has been a key asset for the Seagulls, who are chasing Fulham and Tottenham for the final European spots. A proven attacking threat, Trossard will give Arteta a versatile option to deploy in games where key players have to be rested. Arsenal’s current 4–2–3–1 system is anchored by the fluidity of their front six with captain Martin Odegaard serving as the creative focal point. During Belgium’s disappointing World Cup campaign, Trossard was used both as a wide left attacker in a 3–4–2–1, slotting in behind Batshuayi and as a false 9, and should ease into Arteta’s dynamic attack. 

Against Manchester United, Arsenal fans were given a glimpse of Trossard’s ability. Brought on for Gabriel Martinelli in the second half, Trossard immediately announced himself to the Emirates with a few great touches as he dribbled past United players. He was also involved in Eddie Nketiah’s game-winner as the Belgian picked up a loose ball in the United half and drove towards Wan-Bissaka before finding Zinchenko’s supporting run. The Ukrainian drilled in a dangerous ball that was eventually flicked in beyond the reach of David de Gea.

Current assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg was Trossard’s coach at Belgian club Genk back in 2017, so there is already existing chemistry between the forward and the coaching staff. Genk’s academy has delivered a handful of talents to the Premier League including Kevin De Bruyne, Leon Bailey and former Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois. Trossard’s strength lies in his ability to link the midfield with wider players, a role that is usually shared between Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka. Trossard also excels in the distance he covers when carrying the ball. The 28-year-old covers roughly 120 yards with the ball in progressive plays, ranking in the top 9th percentile. This will allow Arsenal to maximize counterattacks before their opponents can reset their shape in defense. 

Arsenal’s remaining fixtures include the double against fellow title challengers Manchester City as well as games against struggling Chelsea and Liverpool. With star striker Gabriel Jesus sidelined with an injury, the Gunners needed another option in attack and have found a near-perfect replacement in Trossard.