Artetas first Arsenal XI two years ago – and where his new stars were back then

Mikel Arteta has made big changes since becoming Arsenal boss two years ago – and is now reaping the rewards.

On December 20 2019, Arsenal made the bold call of appointing their former midfielder as boss.

And Gunners chiefs are now benefitting from sticking with the Spaniard through rough patches, with Arteta's men sitting in the Champions League places and confidence sky-high.

What has been most impressive about Arteta's two year-reign, that included the club's 14th FA Cup triumph behind closed doors, is the evolution of his side.

The team that drew 1-1 to Bournemouth in his first fixture two years ago is almost unrecognisable in comparison with today's young stars.

His first XI included Bernd Leno and a make-shift back four of Ainsley-Maitland Niles, David Luiz, Sokratis and Bukayo Saka.

Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Mesut Özil formed the midfield while Reiss Nelson and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang supported Alexandre Lacazette upfront.

Since then Sokratis, Luiz, Torreira and Ozil have all been shipped out, while Saka has developed into an attacking star and Aubameyang has been frozen out for a disciplinary breach.

The Gunners defence was maligned by fans when Arteta took charge.

Unreliable Brazilian Luiz was allowed to leave when his contract expired and is now at Flamengo.

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Sokratis, now 33, left in January and is now plying his trade for Olympiacos.

The handling of World Cup winner Ozil was a constant hot topic of debate in Arteta's early reign.

Ozil was frozen out entirely despite being on a mammoth contract and was even left out of last year's Premier League squad list before signing for Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Torreira and Nelson, meanwhile are both on loan spells away from the Emirates.

The Uruguayan midfielder is expected to leave permanently after his time at Fiorentina, while Nelson is yet to find the net for Feyenoord.

Arteta's side that demolished a decimated Leeds side 4-1 to strengthen their grip on fourth place provides quite the contrast to his first line-up after a number of brave transfer calls.

Fan favourite Aaron Ramsdale was lining up for relegation-bound opponents Bournemouth in Arteta's first game.

There is an almost entirely new back four for the Gunners and Ben White was on loan at Leeds from Brighton during Arteta's first game.

White's centre back partner Gabriel was making his mark at Lille, while Kieran Tierney was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.

Takehiro Tomiysau has been one of the signings of the summer and had signed for Bologna before Arteta took the helm.

Xhaka has won over the fans again after a turbulent period under Arteta and has an accomplished midfield partner in Thomas Partey – who was starring for Atletico Madrid two seasons ago.

Arteta, meanwhile, has developed plenty of exciting young attacking talent.

Saka, a goalscorer against Leeds on Saturday, has become an international star in a wide advanced role after previously playing in defence.

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Gabriel Martinelli was an unknown raw prospect when Arteta first took charge but is now maturing into a fine young attacker after netting a brace at Elland Road.

Emile Smith Rowe was on the bench at Bournemouth for Arteta's first game in charge and a loan move to Huddersfield worked wonders for his career.

He is now a fully fledged England international and one of a number of creative players feeding remaining striker Lacazette.

Martin Odegaard is paying back Arteta's faith in his permanent transfer with excellent performances and was gaining first team football on loan at Real Sociedad when Arteta first took charge.

It has been a gradual rebuilding process for Arteta but he is starting to see an exciting team in his mould that is performing to a consistent level.

Arsenal XI vs Bournemouth in Arteta's first game in charge:Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Aubameyang, Nelson, Lacazette.

Arsenal XI vs Leeds:Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka, Lacazette.

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