The improvement seen in Carl Jenkinson this season has been shocking. The young right-back looked wildly out of sorts almost every time he saw the field last term and seemed to have continued his poor form during the opening weekend of the Premier League season against Sunderland.
But something happened—he found his way. For all of the grief that the press and the fans gave the 20-year-old, and deservedly so, had not discouraged the young man, nor had it discouraged the coach who continued to play him.
Arsene Wenger has an impeccable eye for young talent, and Jenkinson's rise from then League One side Charlton Athletic to earning his first English cap less than 18 months later, is frankly astonishing. It is time for the other young talents Wenger has cultivated to begin bearing fruit.
Francis Coquelin has performed decently in his nine appearances for the side thus far this season but has yet to threaten for a starting spot. Mikel Arteta will invariably require rest to ensure his longevity for the season, and Coquelin would be an ideal replacement.
German youngster Serge Gnabry should also earn himself more opportunities in the Arsenal side, as the precocious 17-year-old could make himself an invaluable impact-substitute as the season progresses. His pace and footwork is promising, and cameo appearances will help ease him into the first team.
It is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who should be expected to make the step up as a regular in the starting XI, however. The England international displayed glimpses of his potential last season, but Arsene Wenger was shrewd to not heap pressure on the ex-Southampton player.
This season is different, though. He is well-bedded into the team, is a regular call-up for the national side, and his talents are, in some respects, superior to that of Theo Walcott. Blessed with pace and a midfielder's understanding of the game, he could excel from the wing if given the opportunity, especially if Walcott gets his central striking berth.
If any of these players can make the step up to stake a regular place in Arsene Wenger's side, the squad will be all the better for it, and it bodes well for the rest of this season and beyond.