Jo Willock has faded in the bright light created by Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Eddie Nketiah.
Reiss Nelson too, has shone a little brighter and profited from a less competitive position.
These youngsters have forged a very real place amongst the first team squad, and their stock is rising quickly. On their current trajectory, and if they choose to stay, then they will be lynchpins of this Arsenal side.
Alternatively, Willock has been at somewhat of a standstill.
He has obviously impressed, as Emery has chosen to keep hold of his services. No loan for Willock, part of the pre-season action, the young midfielder is on Emery’s radar.
This season though, could make or break Willock.
Ahead of him right now, lie Torreira, Xhaka, Ramsey, Elneny and Guendouzi. It could also be argued that Maitland-Niles, when fit, would get the nod ahead of Willock.
That means that even in the Europa League group stages, Willock will have precious little opportunity to strut his stuff.
At his tender age, to push on he needs games at the highest level. Under-23 games will help, but they won’t give him the developmental increase he so desperately needs. If he wants to continue at Arsenal, then a loan in January will most likely be needed.
If he stays, then he will be relying on an injury crisis in central midfield for him to start games. Without a host of crocked middle men, Willock will be lucky to even make the bench,
Willock has the qualities, now he needs the experience.
He could play in the Premier League or at a promotion-pushing championship club. If he grabbed a first team place, he would be getting exactly what he needs.
Without this intervention, Willock will stagnate, grow frustrated and depart the club. Perhaps even Emery may decide to sell the kid if he is content to ride the bench.
Willock needs pitch time, and it is clear he won’t get it from where he is standing right now.