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This man has been brilliant...

Arsenal’s 5 most significantly improved players in 2023-24: Jorginho, Havertz…

Arsenal are on a rampage at the beginning of 2024 and it’s becoming difficult to ignore their very obvious Premier League title credentials. Several key players are responsible for their sensational season so far.

The Gunners came agonisingly close to a first Premier League title since 2003-04 last season, their young squad pushing Manchester City all the way but falling apart due to inexperience and looking wet behind the ears.

A number of their biggest stars have learned from that slip-up, however, and made it their mission to improve and fire Arsenal towards glory exactly 20 years on.

We’ve looked at the five Arsenal players who have improved considerably this season.

Jorginho

It felt like the signing of Jorginho in January 2023 was a quick one from Arsenal to try and bolster their squad with some experience for the second half of their title charge, but his impact was fleeting and Mikel Arteta’s side fell away.

Jorginho had his doubters heading into 2023-24, but he’s recovered some of his very best form working alongside Declan Rice, who himself as been excellent and brought the best out of his Italian-Brazilian counterpart.

At 32, he’s found his groove in his first full season at the Emirates and is pinging around passes for fun to keep Arsenal ticking towards the title.

His performances are going under the radar, but he’s at a level similar to the one he was at when Chelsea won the Champions League and Italy won Euro 2020.

He’s been absolutely vital to the Gunners.

Bukayo Saka

Saka’s lofty potential and already ridiculous talent has been public knowledge for some time, but it feels like we’re watching him skyrocket towards superstardom in real time in 2023-24.

Bullying defenders with a wicked cut-inside and monstrous left foot, this season he’s added greater strength and – crucially – a right foot into his arsenal of weapons. And it’s proving lethal.

Sixteen goals and 13 assists across 34 appearances in all competitions don’t even tell the full story, because the eye test is even better. The 22-year-old has undoubtedly unlocked world-class levels and deserves his flowers for a significant step up when needed.

The stats don’t lie. World-class.

Kai Havertz

People still don’t want to admit it, but Havertz has quietly been excellent for Arsenal, even if not all the time.

In his first season as a Gunner after signing from Chelsea in a £65million deal, Havertz has always been the name in everybody’s mouths, but Arteta has always believed in the German and it’s paying dividends in the form of beautiful – and effective – football.

A freakishly complete footballer, Havertz will run through brick walls for Arteta and look brilliant while doing it, be it in midfield, on the wing or as the centre forward. Numbers don’t do his availability, tactical understanding and versatility enough credit.

Arsenal would simply be nowhere near as good without the 24-year-old.

David Raya

A somewhat sneaky pick as Raya wasn’t actually playing for Arsenal last season, but to say Raya hasn’t improved considerably from 2022-23 when he was between the sticks for Brentford.

Eyebrows were raised when Arteta landed on Raya ahead of 2023-24, and even more were when he dislodged Aaron Ramsdale to become the first-choice goalkeeper. After a shaky start, however, the Spaniard has looked like a shrewd signing and has been pivotal in Arsenal’s improvement as a whole.

Ramsdale has been unfortunate, but in a game of fine margins, Raya has proven more composed in the tense moments and more consistent with his distribution. It’s marginal gains like that which the Gunners needed to find to go one better, and Raya’s rise has been key to that.

Jakub Kiwior

Flying completely under the radar, Kiwior might be one of the most underrated players in the Premier League right now and his improvement since signing has been stark.

Another young and shrewd signing completed last season to set Arsenal up for the future, Kiwior endured a slow start to his time in London after leaving behind Spezia in January 2023.

He struggled to find his groove as their title charge fell away and has had to be patient again this season, but injury has given him an opportunity and he hasn’t looked back.

The 24-year-old Poland international is flying at left-back in place of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

While still very clearly having room to improve, Kiwior has been crucial to Arsenal’s defensive security in 2024 and provides a technical base for Arteta to work with.

His influence on their defensive improvement shouldn’t go unnoticed.


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