Arsenal’s future: Ottewill, Hayden, Bellerin, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Zelalem, Akpom, Gnabry, Campbell, Sanogo, Lipman, etc?

Gedion Zelalem: Cesc potential?
Gedion Zelalem: Cesc potential?

To buy, or not to buy. That is the question?

The big questions over transfers are:

A; What position? i.e. to replace who? in the short/medium/long term, and with that comes B.

B; Do we really need somebody if we have someone in the academy ranks that could do that role in a year or two years time?

We, as intelligent supporters tend to stick with the A, often without the secondary thoughts of how well they might fit in with the team? And then, later to whom it might affect?

I will run through a few names from the academy, who in the near future could develop into our main squad/first 11:

GK – No real problems here, imo. Martinez is out on loan and will be an able deputy long term. Plus Iliev, and the new guy from Bristol, Macey who from reports is big and commanding despite his age, just 19. So unless we are replacing our current Number 1? I doubt we will be buying anyone?

CB – Only one name in the frame here. Isaac Hayden. He must be a very good listener as AW is clearly rating him highly, but not necessarily in this position? But he is versatile. That could leave an opening for Ignasi Miquel, currently out on loan. If that is successful, he could be a useful back up? While Boateng and Fagan’s turn is probably a little way off, should they be of such quality?

So I think new blood here is pretty certain.

LB – Again, one name that has blossomed recently, Brandon Ormonde Ottewill, aka BOO54.

Seriously good prospect in the period beyond Monreal’s tenure.

Position covered in the short and medium term. BOO54 could be such a talent to take us beyond that?

RB – No question, Bellerin is the one. …. (if he stays in this position? – personal note!). Recently injured in the Dortmund junior game, after playing well. He looks like overtaking Jenks especially when/if Jenks goes out on the loan which would give regular games to get more varied experience? That may be harsh on Jenkinson, but the alternative would likely mean a transfer in? We just need Sagna to sign up for another 3 years – I year playing at top level. I year as mentor/rotation. 1 year back up. Not to mention usefulness at CB throughout?

Essential note to management – Do it!

Midfield: sub division; Defensive; Isaac Hayden looks to be the one at the present time to take over or cover for Flamini? He needs to be guided, but as I said earlier, he must be a good student. He is also the marker for the younger ones hoping to make it one day. Not unlike many a young player, prone to try too hard to impress, but he has all the attributes to become a great DM.

Not forgetting Nico Yennaris. Alas his progress has been stalled by injuries at crucial times. If he can secure a decent loan deal where he can play week in week out, and stay out of the treatment room, then you could be looking at Arteta’s natural successor, although he can play RB too. Very few deserve it more, but sadly, it may not happen? Such is the pressure for the here and now? It is likely a new face will be brought in that will change the whole dynamic in this area. We shall see?

Other areas of midfield are so competitively covered it is hard to see who can break through, or where? However, such is the talent brewing, that current players, and those on the fringes may need to improve just to keep their places in a year or two?

The candidates are plentiful, but perhaps not all will make it at Arsenal?

Attacking/creative midfielders: Eisfeld looked nailed on to force his way into the first team squad, yet has hardly made the bench this season? Niggling injuries, some criticism of his ‘team play’, and others breaking through, all seem to have contributed to him slipping out of contention. He probably needs a loan spell to develop his undoubted talent further? His position, or where he performs best, is probably the one that Podolski plays most often: near the main striker, where he can ghost into the box and shoot with either foot. That is strength, and his weakness for a future here?

If ever we do sign a second striker, his potential is at most risk? In the deeper role, Ozil seems to have the only other option, and that position looks secure for some time to come?

Second striker?

Zelalem surprised many on tour pre-season, and showed he lost none of his flair in the recent Dortmund game. Again injury halted his progress so he missed the COC matches, but he looks destined to play, despite his young age, in that all round creative role that Ozil or Cazorla play? In the short term, he will find opportunities, longer term he could be the real reason why Cesc does not return …. as a player at least?

Position covered!

Jon Toral is another who made a comeback from injury in that Dortmund game. Made one goal, scored another, missed two easy chances. Rosicky mark 2 by any other name? I would go so far as to say, he is the only player at the club that is closest to the TR7 in style. When he breaks through into the squad, and with enough mentoring from the same TR7, he will be an absolute star. Not only that, he can play anywhere behind the strikers.

Positions covered – In spite of my tendency to covet another young player in the short term, it will have little effect on young Toral’s advancement into our list of great players.

The deeper lying Kristoffer Olsson has also claims on the box to box role, but has several young players ahead of him already in the squad, and he too, may need to go out on loan to get game time. Then we might see how he fits in at a later stage? Quality player none the less, and should any of the senior player fall by the wayside he could be ready to take on that role seamlessly.

That is all the midfield positions covered. Re-read this list in two years time, and tell me I am wrong?

Striker/Front line? The most talked about roles in terms of transfer in news presently.

Mostly because it is thought the young players are not enough like Giroud to lead the line, or not experienced enough to either support him in the second striker role, if we should ever demand that starting position. Alas, all of this is true, with the exception of Gnabry, who is gaining experience, and adding width to our play. The others have yet to experience this.


I will put Gnabry in this category, because, although untried, he could be a contender for Giroud’s understudy? If anything, he has more claims than Walcott for example, given he can shoot with either foot, he can dribble, has pace, above all has the physical build to bully his way past defenders. But like all of these young players, close support around them in the early stages will be necessary, whilst they fully learn their skill to do it alone? None are at the stage that can take on the Giroud role in the way he does, but Gnabry is just one who could do a job there if called upon?

Akpom heads the queue of those outside of the current squad, and although is different in style to Giroud, I believe he is not far behind Gnabry in skills and build, to command a leading role? It is whether the team can adjust to his style of play? He is a ball player, rather than a hold up guy. You play the final pass to him in and around the box and he will work a shot away almost every time. Expecting him to hold off two or three defenders near the halfway line, take a ball down with a deft headed touch, and you will be disappointed. Play a ball to his feet and watch him twist away for a couple of one-two’s and he’s your man. He is your RVP replacement far more than Giro is, but he needs playing time to get to that level? In the meantime, he would be your Podolsksi deputy ..if only Podolski held a regular spot in the team? Or playing with Podolski would be equally interesting for him and Gnabry?

Sanogo has all the attributes to be a top class striker, except the physical body to match. I believe physically he is a late maturing type, and his injuries have held him back considerably. He is going to be a slow, long term project that I hope the club persevere with. If he follows the Gibbs line and develop his core strength through exercise, whilst gradually getting the confidence to withstand what is the norm in the EPL we could have a real star on our hands. Ignore stories of him going back to France, or out on loan. What he needs is right here, and Gibbs has shown it can pay off in a big way, that what you do off field will bring all you deserve it you want it badly enough. I hope he sticks with it and achieves his goal for himself and the club. It may take another year before he blossoms, so providing that space has not been filled by some big name transfer, we should see the benefits for years to come?

A similar type of player to the above is currently on loan, but may well return next season? He is the slightly in and out Joel Campbell? He would bring a Thierry Henry type flair to the team. Skills to burn without a doubt. Hopefully he is learning all the time how to put it all together. The big problem with these players is they need playing time. I think he might like the regular game at a lesser club rather than irregular games here? No disrespect to him, but for visa issues he has not been able to ‘associate’ himself with the club. That needs to change if we are going to profit from his undoubted talent?

He has got the Walcott position very much in his sights. A striker who can play out wide, and cut in and score goals from the most unlike of angles. Not bad at developing his assists to his repertoire either?

Should Walcott fancy a move to where he got married, then we need look no further than this lad to fill his shoes, as long as he continues on this upward curve?

Austin Lipman has been prolific in his scoring recently, and is the other name that has the potential to develop further, and could be considered down the line, but he has to displace a lot of others to get there?

Sadly, any signing will knock the prospects of all back a little, and in football, timing is everything. Most of these strikers are a year or so behind the club’s need, and need that time to break into the squad to develop? But if nothing happens in the forthcoming windows, next season could change our view of who we need?

I am caught in the middle of my own argument here, as, like many others, I see a young striker of huge potential and think, Yes, he’d be great in an Arsenal shirt … and then I look up this list and think, yes so would these in a year or two? I am hoping that Arsene Wenger will make the right decisions and we get to keep the best from those I have outlined above, and at the same time can secure players that will get over the line in the short term. But quality is essential.

I will not name players, but from the above I think we do need a DM for when the going gets tough, and our current small squad is stretched beyond its limits.

A CB, beyond what we have in the squad at the moment.

Sagna’s signature at RB, a priority.

The luxury of a Rosicky back up, as well as his signature on an extended contract, also a priority.

Main striker, who can also play alongside Giroud, and be a model for those I named above?

The one signing I will name, Dennis Bergkamp as coach to these fine prospects would be the icing on the cake?

Β Written by: Gerry

112 thoughts on “Arsenal’s future: Ottewill, Hayden, Bellerin, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Zelalem, Akpom, Gnabry, Campbell, Sanogo, Lipman, etc?

  • Cheers Merry Gerry, what a comprehensive review of our up and coming talents! πŸ™‚

    Such a shame we are out of the League Cup and will not see any many of your named players much in action this season.

    Agreed on the need to buy a DM.

    I really want to see more of the German talents Eisfeld, Zelalem and Gnabry. From your post, I also now want to see Toral and Hayden…. when are the Reserves coming to Norwich….?

    Top stuff Gerry – this will keep the blog going for a while! πŸ˜›

  • Really interesting read. I love seeing the youngsters come through, it gives much more satisfaction than buying ready mades. Imagine a complete team of academy products winning the Premier League, highly unlikely I know but I can dream.
    No mention of Afobe or Aneke, do you think they may not quite make it?

  • It iis a shame that EPL Clubs are not permitted to have reserve teams in any of the 4 division of the FA or SFA. What a great opportunity it would be for these kids to play in the 4th division and work their way up as well as enter the FA Cup and other competitions in order to face tough competition as well. I wonder if a true European reserve league could be created by EUFA and FIFA to offer this level of competition but my guess is that it wouldn’t bring in enough money to entice the porkers in authority.

  • I’ve said it before, and will probably get a bit of stick for it – but I’d like hernandez in the team as backup/rotation with giroud for the time being. He’s proven that when he plays he can rack the goals up, and he’s not too big to be moaning about not playing every game, and is very professional / would be a good influence for the even younger lads.

  • Great review Gerry. My priority list would be CB and Striker – as before, a really top class DM would be fine too, but I think we already have adequate options here. An injury to Giroud or our 2 first choice CBs though (neither scenario would be freakish!), and we are in trouble. For CB we are looking at a 4th choice (which is why we didn’t get Vertonghen) so probably young talent. Striker is either an understudy for Giroud, who could fit straight into our team – big, physical, brings other in; hard to look belong Benteke for this as Lukaku won’t be for sale. Or else someone who can play alongside Giroud, in the Suarez mould – but I agree Gerry, Gnabry looks like he might fill these shoes of we can’t find SQ. Can’t see us forking out for Benteke though. So where that leaves me is feeling good about our youth prospects for a year or 2 ahead, but worried about our current squad strength. My punt would be lots of transfer speculation in January, with at best a young CB purchased – unless Giroud has a bad injury that is! And actually if that’s all we buy its ok with me, so long as the injury situation doesn’t get worse; as I’ve argued before, a small cohesive squad is part of our core strength this season, and not to be messed with lightly.

  • Hi all..
    Wow Gerry.. very nice post..
    Thank a lot for giving us so much information about our youngsters..
    Very nice to have a break and discuss our future for a while.. cause We also have a break in 10 days to come..

    In my opinion.. Saying about our future team.. first We must give a range of time..
    Maybe let’s say 5 years to come.. because I don’t see any major change in a year or two..

    5 years to come.. there will be no Sagna.. Rosicky.. Arteta.. Flamini.. Monreal.. Podolski..Vermaelen.. Mertesaker.. Koscielny.. and maybe also Cazorla and Giroud.. no need to say about Diaby.. Bedtner.. or Park.. cause all of them will be 32 and more..
    Yes maybe some will still okay.. but not as our starting eleven.. hehehe..

    So We will miss a lot of our main team.. Only Szcesney.. Walcott.. Wilshere.. Gibbs.. Jenkinson.. Ramsey.. Ozil.. Ox.. Gnabry.. Frimpong.. Sanogo and Miyaichi remain.. according to our first team today.. but sure Zelalem.. Akpom and Eisfeld must add to this squad..

    So We will need to add our defenders.. especially CB and DM..
    Hope Hayden.. Bellarin.. Miquel.. Yennaris will be good enough to cover..

    Yes We must add some players.. someone in range of early 20 or below..
    Nigerian kids maybe a good option also.. hehehe..

    Go Gunners..

  • Good morning all, I guess this is where my day job begins, responding to all who comment?

    TA – Thanks for allowing me the opportunity. It began as just a ‘comment’, but grew πŸ™‚

    I also like your intro last night, … ‘Intuitive’, and with ‘passion’. The former has to be a major part behind the writing, because so much can happen in their young lives, and circumstances around them can change, nobody can ever be sure how they will develop?

    Passion? Oh yes. I just admire those that make it, over coming all the obstacles and yet remain level headed and committed to do their best. I name Gibbs as being such a player.

    But when I think of Nico Yennaris, there is something there that tells me, if ever he had open heart surgery, the surgeon would be intrigued my the makers mark somewhere tucked away on his left ventricle that reads …. ‘Made for Arsenal’ …

    But as i said, timing is everything?

  • zOYE – I am sorry but your point of correction somewhat is misplaced. Yes he has his visa now, but when we signed him he was without a visa, due to the number of matches he had played for Costa Rica. The application this year was the third attempt.

    Now he could have been a fringe player here, true, but his previous loan spells had shown consistency issues, so he got a season long loan in Greece. If he can keep his place, and continue his progress, then this move would be seen a great success.

    He is now 20 years of age, and has yet to spend any meaningful time at the club, and that is what I was getting at when I said about his ‘association’ with the club. I feel sure he will develop further once he gets opportunities here, but after this season of regular games it will be whether he is prepared to sacrifice that for the long term?

    Great talent nevertheless.

  • Domhuail – Yes, I agree. It is lack of opportunity to play and get the experience is a real problem.

    If the proper coaching ground work is in place, and the talent is there for all to see, then the next step is they do need play proper games regularly. This is what the reserve league was set up to address that to some extent.

    I also think the Next Gen series last season helped in a big way for those special players who are likely to get into the top echelon. I feel a bit sorry for the sponsors of that tournament got so quickly usurped by the Uefa one. However, this makes more sense for those involved at a senior level, as both squads travel together, and it brings them all into the single ‘family’ unit for each club. It’s weakness is that, like the senior level, once past the group stage fewer teams are involved, so what happens to those teams then?

    The big problem with a full blown reserve team, is the demands on young developing bodies could be counter productive? It has its pros and cons I guess? It does seem to work abroad, though?

    The main problem remains on how players break into the first teams, and then get to play for their teams? It would probably too proscriptive to make it a requirement that every team has to play a fully qualified academy player, but perhaps having two among the list of subs may be another solution?

  • AB- Thanks for your input. I agree with your choice regards CB. With that improved performance of Kos/Verm on Sunday, you may be right about it being a 4th choice option?

    It is the ‘Per’ factor that lies behind this uneasiness with us fans. The ‘What if’ question that never quite goes away?

    The big problem is attracting someone to come, of any quality, young or experienced, who will not get that many games. TV5 had his first start on Sunday, despite being back from injury for a good few weeks?

    Yes, then we come back to rotation. But we don’t do we? I mean rotate the Mert/Kos pairing,? They are simply too good. One of the reason’s that Hayden could be keeping a bench spot is his versatility? I am not sure what AW is thinking, but my instincts tell me he has been the shadow for Flamini, and it will be no surprise to me to see him get a start, or at least come on, probably alongside Arteta in the Southampton game?

    Moving on to the point on the clamour for a striker. Yep, their are names I would personally rule out not on talent grounds, but as unsuitable for the team. Benteke for example. He is more a replacement for Giroud to mind. I just cannot see those two playing successfully together? On the other hand, I can see a Podolski/Gnabry pairing working really well, and I think we may get an opportunity to see that before the TW opens, and both can play either side of Giroud.

    Of course, first we have to see how a fully fit Podolski works, as you are aware that we lose a midfielder to accommodate him (or any new signing), so he is going to have to be productive on the goal scoring front from the very start? But after Southampton we play Cardiff away. So I guess one half of the Flamteta duo will make way for Poldi on the left in that game, in order to keep Ozil, Santi Ramsey midfield trio, or have room for a Rosicky/Walcott/Gnabry on the right? Complicated bit of shuffling around? But it would be a good game to rest Giro after the Marsielles game mid week, and possibly even the Hull game the next Wednesday, where Akpom could also feature?

    I say this because what follows is another triple nightmare of Everton – Napoli – Man City? So yes Podolski is going to have to hit the ground running, but ideal to have these two league games to try out the different partnerships before that big week that could decide a whole lot more than in both league and CL?

    Once we have a reliable back up pairing, I think we may be able to be a bit more selective about who needs to come and join in January? So your final point about messing with our core squad is very valid indeed. I hope I have indicated, that even at 18, the likes of Gnabry and Akpom, may not be too far away from being part of that?

  • Hello it is clear that we have beads and I hope that these young people will have their chance and that we will not let them in from another club.
    A.Wenger before play the card of young people but it looks like he has lost confidence rather that protects themin my opinion they should be put to the test to really see their talent . Akpom, Gnarby, Hayden and some cited in the commentary will not be ridiculous in the first team.
    I wish to thank Gerry for his Article very relevant on the youth of Arsenal, with such player is not worth going to look elsewhere we have everything we need in the home πŸ™‚

  • Henry – Thank for putting the longer time span into this discussion

    It really will vary very much on how these youngsters make it into the squad. Very few that have not made it before that 5 year team you put forward as our likely core, as contracts will not be renewed, and so they move in. Others will be deeply involved, like Gnabry, even before the start of next season, with others on the fringes.

    It really is about timing and being fit at the right moment to slot in, and if good enough, hardly ever move out again. You have put names in that team that I think will simply be back ups to some of these players. We may have one of the greatest midfield pairings of all time in Zelalem and Toral, so good is their potential …

    And yes, for now, that is all it is. Others are much closer to the action already. Akpom is not far off following Gnabry. Hayden has Arsene’s confidence, and i am sure he will feature as this season unfolds. Then there is Bellerin. If Sagna gets his deserved new deal then I think he too will get to shine before the end of the season. If a new signing comes in, then it may be a blessing in disguise, as he can become a devilishly good winger?

    However, I think Arsene Wenger is developing an alternative strategy by creating these advanced wing backs. By having a twin DM positions covered, and mobile CB’s, these wing backs will actually only support the deep defensive positions in the collective sense. Their main duty will be to attack and provide width, the way that Gibbs and Sagna have done so effectively recently. Young Bellerin is born for such a role.

    So your overall view that our current younger team members will be the core of the future? I disagree. I think they will be surpassed, and need to be, by the talent that is yet to blossom?

    There will be casualties along the way. I did not bring in Coquelin into my thinking, party because I think his time here may have passed by. I could be wrong. In the same position is young Frimpong. I fear his injuries may have cost him. This season may decide that. I worry for Yennaris if a quality player is bought capable of being the lone DM, or a more attack minded version, as his options get reduced. However, if no such player emerges in January, he may still have time to prove his worth to the team? Eisfeld I feel almost guilty at putting his name amongst those who may miss out. There was talk of a return to Germany which might be ideal, even on loan if not permanent. He has got to develop his own game, a bit like Ramsey had to do after his injury. Whatever the future hold for him, his time at Arsenal has not been wasted. he has developed a passion for the game, rather than the shy boy wondering if he was really up to it. If he gets it right, he will be a terrific player in some future German team for sure.

  • Macko – I am going to have to be short with my reply to you. Apologies

    Yes I too think some will surprise this season if they get their opportunity. The ‘If’ is the problem.

    Many thanks for your comment. Alas my morning slot is done.

    I will be back around midday for a couple of hours, then again around 5.0pm.

    After that I will have to see how the evening pans out, but I will get through all the responses at some point.

    Hopefully these longer answers will cover other points that might be raised in the future comments?

    Thanks again to all

  • Gerry.. I agree that a lot of this youngsters will not be gunners in next two or three years..

    That’s the way it should be.. cause our first team can only fill with 25 players.. cmiiw.. and we have so much youngsters.. and young academy only have limmited time.. not more than 5 years.. maybe 15 to 20 yo.. but first team have more longer time.. 18 to 33 yo..
    So not every 5 years all team will be replace.. hehehe..
    And not every youngsters will become a star.. or a good player.. that what we call.. nature selection.. hahahaha..

    Coq and Frimpong will fade away.. 100% agree.. but Gnabry, Zelalem, Eisfeld somehow I think will stay.. doubt about Sanogo and Miyaichi.. although I hope they will stay also..
    Hayden.. Bellarin.. Miquel.. Yennaris.. never see them properly.. can’t give a better comment.. hope some will stay..

    For next year.. I hope for Vela and Fabregas to comeback home.. Than we will be much stronger than today.. and buy some good defenders from Holland.. hahahaha..

    Go Gunners..

  • Morning Stuttering Sploogecakes πŸ˜†

    You may be from the wrong side of the Tamar and from someone who is probably BK`s most knowledgeable expert on dogs doo dahs, that was the dogs bollocks !.

    History tells us only a minority few will make it, so it has to be a mixture of academy and supermarket and weighing heavily in the percentage of the supermarket. I have watched the youngsters on “player” and from the ones I have seen, only Akpom, Bellerin and Zelalem will make it imo, I wont add Gnabry as he is already 1st team squad.
    Some are late developers, but to me, if they are SQ, they will be challenging in their teens, all the great footballers were great before they reached twenty and playing 1st team football.

    Shame it`s the interlull as this post deserves more of a response !.

  • Henry – Yes, I know what you are say regards the first team life being longer, so you would expect that, having made it, the younger ones should still be in the team?

    My reading of the list of player you thought would/should survive, I would only back 7 at the most. Some will move on simply because of fresh signings, but others will find the pressure from within our current crop too great, and will be pushed to the fringes.

    I agree with you that Myaichi is looking vulnerable. i think we have a dilemma over traditional wingers, which basically comes down to AW not liking their limitations of being wide players. He is developing these advance, technically gifted advanced wing backs, that add to the attack, but also defend. The likes of Bellerin and BOO54 are going to be the 2nd generation of this type of player, whilst at the same time getting the balance right with mobile CB’s, of which Koscielny is the template, and DM’s that are equally technically skilled going forwards, as they are moving side to side. Flamini is the template for that.

    You remember you said that you thought that Ramsey was not so good out wide, in the previous post? Well when I watch the game against Man U I made a note of when Ramsey was out wide right. It may surprise you to know how many times he was there, that is apart from when he was defending in the first half, when he was supporting Sagna down that side, he has played at RB so only natural he would find that easier. But his first run wide in attack was inthe 12th minute, then again in the 34th minute, and a couple of times in the last 5 minutes of the first half? Do want to know what dictated this, and why this small unit of players is evolving so well? It was all down to where Flamini was. It is true, honestly. If Flamini was attacking or defending down the right, then Ramsey moved to the middle, or at least away from the right touch line.

    For the reasons we now know, Arteta was not asked to do too much advanced work, nor did he move away from his left side duties very often, as they were unsure of how the bug(and the previous hard game?) might affect him. In the end he lasted longer, and got stronger as the game wore on. Mind, Flamini covered a lot of ground, and occasionally found himself on the left side. hence Ramsey moved wide.

    At the start of the second half he was twice out wide with Ozil on his inner, then two minutes later he was hugging the right touch line with Santi moving across. That interchange was less noticeable when Jack came on as he tended to be more central, and late on Gnabry sparkled for the short time he was on down the right side.

    I onlly say this in passing as an illustration as to why we are unlikely to see likes of Di Maria or Capella on AW’s short list? Instead the fluidity of DM to inter change with the other attacking midfielders, who all provide cover for the attacking wing backs as and when necessary is the way I see our teams developing. Those coming through the ranks, and indeed those quality purchases that may happen, will be part of this blueprint.

    At least that is the way I see it. Others may want a different approach?

    On your final wish … Sorry, I do not see it. Vela because he does not want to, and Fabregas, possibly when he hangs up his boots?

  • TCM – Thank s for the bigger exposure bit. I think TA is hoping it will have enough legs so he can get on with his day job? πŸ˜€

    I agree with you on the percentage call. Some will not fail through lack of talent, but more especially because too many are aiming for very similar positions In fact the only name I would add to your short list of three is Jon Toral. For him there has to be that bit special to come back after nearly a year out and produce a performance like he did against the quality of Dortmund’s juniors. That says to me he is a bit super special?

    Like yourself, I have not not seen these players in the flesh, but I read other peoples comments who do see them and build up a picture of how they are coming along. Walter, of Untold Arsenal, was at the Dortmund game and he was particularly impressed with Zelalem, along with Toral and Bellerin.

    Hayden is on the list because I think AW rates him. He is also the sort of player, when he reaches his peak, is the very model of a DM that I highlighted above in Henry’s reply. I also think, as we get more selective about players who come into the academy, a much higher %age will come through. Every now and then a junior team will have a golden year. I suppose the best example would be the Man U one that had Giggs and a whole bunch of players that made it to the top. It might be that we have a similar group right now?

    I agree that there will be additional players from outside that will bolster the strength of the squad, but I see them being a very select few of the ‘ready made’ variety, and more of the younger ones who we can develop and reap the rewards at their peaks?

    In line with most peoples thinking, a CB is very likely. A RB if we have lost Sagna already – Big mistake! – A DM, unless Hayden can prove it unnecessary in the meantime. An attacking midfielder who can add that same drive and movement that Rosicky provides, but we have Jack and the Ox to make that less likely. Ox probably has more scope, being a similar type of player, whist Jack develops conducting from the middle of the park, in Cesc-like fashion?

    But then you come to the biggie? Striker or striker/second striker? Big guy, little guy? Long term,short term?

    Those arguments will run and run ..

  • Gerry, Excellent post. I have a feeling, being the cheapskate that I am, that if I were in London I’d take in reserve matches whenever I could and I’d know a lot more about the guys on whom you’re reporting.

    As it is, I remain awfully confused by how the “youth system” really works. Obviously, in lean times our younger players get forays into the first team so the better prospects then are kept in the reserves? Are loans a signal that players are on their way out or can they actually work for us and the player in question? I would guess a loan with a lower level club is a bit of a “last chance,” and an indication that the player needs (multiple and very) successful outings to prove his level. With the clubs committed to higher spending levels (City, Chelsea, United) featuring much deeper squads of established players, can we actually compete with them using a different model and integrating our academy players? The deeper issue, I guess, is where the sport is headed (for the top teams) and how youth players integrate. Without (meaningful) roster limits and/or FFP rules and/or a reform of the loan rules it would seem the top teams will continue to just cherry pick players from other (lower level) clubs and dispense with the whole youth/reserve set up completely. What are the other (bigger) clubs doing in terms of youth development? Like I say, I just don’t quite get it…

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the report on the up and comers…So, thanks again…

    On other matters….Sorry for dropping off the face–We actually left not long after the United match concluded and were without computers through the bank holiday (yesterday)…I object to people calling our players “pussy’s” (sic) but I guess I’m alone on that front or that it’s an acceptable term equivalent to “playing nervous.” We didn’t start the match well but I thought we came into it and did alright, despite the squad limitations enforced by the virus. Truly a shame about RvP getting the set-piece goal which turned out to be the difference…

    One point about the match (which perhaps gets us back to the youth player issue…) is that United did well using their “mid-youth” guys (Smalling, Jones, Evans and Cleverly) and didn’t touch their one, very young, very hot prospect, Januzaj. Our firmly established younger players, Gibbs and Ramsey, had tougher days while Wilshere looked more combative than completely effective (or a true game-changer…) in his substitute appearance. 18 year old Gnabry (one of the flu sufferers, I think…) looked as good as any option from our bench and likely deserved more minutes. I think our young guys will need to contribute at a higher level as the season wears on but maybe turning the corner on these bigger (domestic) matches will require better displays from the players we’ve bought already developed (Ozil, Cazorla, Arteta, Giroud, etc.)…Getting Poldolski and Walcott (and Oxlade-Chamberlain) back (to vary our attacking options) seems essential…

    Hopefully we can have a “successful” Int’l break and return with a deeper, more refreshed squad for the next set of (make or break, as always…) fixtures…

  • for the avoidance of doubt – there is a difference in calling PLAYERS PUSSY’s and actually saying “PUSSY MENTALITY” – some people like AW call it being NERVOUS , some call it having GLITTERS – ONLY I, called us playing with a pussy mentality instead of champions mentality, so you can actually refer that one to me as opposed to “People” –

    i call it how i see it, and what i saw in the first half – prompted in me saying that we played like pussy’s instead of playing with a lions heart in the first half.

    you told me, you had a problem with it there and then and i replied to you there and then – not sure why you still keep harping on about it ? especially when i was commenting on the performance and content yet you included a couple of personal “digs” in your comments which were not appreciated it at all – re a man who lost money and then “the sauce”.

    i understand emotions were running high on the day and plenty of things were said in the heat of the moment, with quite a few people sharing my views and then there were some who disagreed – which is fair enough, nothing wrong with that – however, it’s a thing of the past and football is always about now and tomorrow, hence we look forward to our next game.

    Sorry Gerry, i haven’t forgotten you – the next one will be on your fine article.

  • that’s a very fine scouting report @ Gerry – good 1 and thanks.

    i agree with everything you’ve written and you’ve spotted some fine fine names there, how many of those actually end up playing for the 1st team, remains to be seen though

    history tells us that there are a usually 2-3 players every 2-3 years that make it to the team from the reserves or juniors and then actually stay there , so i won’t mind if there was at least 1 player coming through the ranks from now every season for the next 5 years making the transition from being a youth player to a 1st team player, it gives us a nice balance as well.

    a very important point you made was that our senior players like Rosicky, Sagna, Arteta and co, taking our younger ones under their wings to nourish them – i actually think, it’s already happening looking at the training ground photos every week when there is a nice mixture of youth taking on the seniors !

    there is another upcoming player in Dan Crowley , he’s another one for the future along with all the fine promising players you’ve already mentioned.

    loan deals are all jolly good but it all comes down to playing time, take the example of Miquel for instance, he’s at the foxes and he finds himself mostly on the bench ? just as Frimpong did with Fulham

    out of the loanee’s, only Joel Campbell is getting developed with plenty of minutes on the pitch to showcase his skills, and boy – is he one for the future or is he our own future Bale/Townsend ? the lad can play and has a good solid shot from distance… the rest include our defensive players in Germany with Coquelin playing out of position (least he’s getting minutes under his belt) and DJ , who i doubt will be returning to us .

    i would look to send out RYO on a loan deal ASAP, along with Yaya – with the likes of OX,TW and Podolski returning, it’s the best for both of them to go out and get a good run in- championship side, premiership lower table or mid-table teams, both are fine really.

    there are 2 positions that need to be strengthened for me – a DM and a striker , in my opinion, we can and will address these positions by January if not by the summer announcing pre-contract deals.

    Sagna, has earned a new improved 3 years deal in my opinion and warrants a new much improved contract along with Per – let’s get them both signed up along with Rosicky – all 3 to sign at the same time by Xmas , same thing we did with our British contingent last year ?

  • Ozil and BFG – ill – not part of the germany squad for italy (might play against England) yikes

    Sczny – Injured ankle

    TV5 – Calf injury ( The belgium coach is a nutter and most likely will play him).

    Bendtner – ill

    very concerned about our French players, Ukraine is a tough team and place to visit – i hope they can win on friday with a 3 goal advantage, also in a way, it’s good that Giroud hasn’t been scoring lately and Benzema has been scoring, makes Benzema the favourite to start against Ukraine , i hope he starts and Giroud is not needed (sorry Macko, Alcide, i know both of you want France to qualify with Giroud playing) – i just want him rested πŸ™‚

    wales are only playing 1 friendly ? so that means Ramsey will get a breather as well.

    i hope JW plays both games for England though, he needs minutes under his belt !

  • I forgot about Crowley…….he looks the biz and is only 16…..add him to my list !.

    I`m sure it`s not just me, but you know when you watch a game and there`s one player that really stands out head and shoulders above the rest and you know he is going to be a top player, well, I was watching our youngster`s against ManU last season ( I think it was on a live stream, because I saw the whole game ) and Bellerin looked the biz and scored a cracker ( we won 2-1 ), but ManU had a player and I thought…..”fcuk he`s good ! “…..well it was that kid, Januzaj !. He looked class !.
    The last time I used to go to Reserve games was in the 70`s and remember thinking that sort of thing about, Brady !. Actually, on something 17 said, if I still lived in London, I would probably go and watch more reserve/youth games and just cherry pick the 1st team games !.
    I think our other “septic” cousin RedickulArse used to do the same sort of thing. Although I would actually pay and not be hiding behind a bush groaning with a bag of sweets !. hahaha

  • 17 HT – I have made some mini posts in my replies, which I hope by the time every body has read them all they’ll have forgotten what their question was?:lol:

    So, on to your first point – The youth System?

    Well that really has been a problem for years. it is gradually being addressed, with more clubs having academies. The latest change in the Reserve League came in last season, so it is supposed to support the Under 19’s who qualify at the start of each season, plus an allowance of over-age players, which may be as low as one, but don’t quote me. It mirrors the the league teams, so they tend to play on or around the same weekends. Obviously teams with smaller squads tend to bulk out the second string side with younger players from the Under 18 level, who have a separate league. That means for us, that often that team is weakened by the absence of players flirting around the first team squad?

    All I can say is they are getting there, but no system is perfect.

    As to what other teams are doing, I only know of a couple The Man City project is quite ambitious, and should produce better players down the line. The big thing is there is an area restriction where they can recruit the very young talent. This means that Arsenal are more or less fishing in the same pond as Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Tottenham.

    Same applies in Manchester, Liverpool, and Newcastle, but fewer Premiership rivals?

    This means that forward thinking clubs Like Southampton have been able to exploit their EPL position, and indeed when they were in the Championship division. Bale Walcott and the Ox are three such examples of what good recruiting can unearth?

    Beyond that, you don’t hear too much about them as 9 an 10 year olds don’t tend to make media headlines? I mentioned yesterday that Coventry were using a squad that 11 of the 18 players came through their academy. Neither myself or my long time ex Coventry buddy knew anything about, as neither live in the city now. But they too, like Southampton, have a had a dominant area of recruitment south of Birmingham, and it has clearly paid off?

    What happens then is, as you say, the bigger clubs simply cream off the top talent with offers of higher wages at a higher profile club. Southampton have survived by selling their best talent in the past, but now they looked to have got themselves established so they can keep the likes of Luke Shaw and others, especially while they are riding high in the league.

    What I am saying is, it was very ad hoc before, it is slowly getting more structured. Once a young player becomes 18 they have entitlements in law to be able to ply their trade wherever they want. So it is up to the FA/Uefa to restrict the buying clubs, as the cannot stop the selling club because of the restriction of trade rules? My idea of having to include two of their own academy players on the subs bench might at least prevent teams harvesting youth, just because they can. But more could be done.

    On the question of loaning out. It can work in two ways. Sometimes because the competition is so hot in a club they cannot get regular games, so loaning might address that, and then see if they stay or move on. Perhaps limiting the loan numbers down to, say, two, then a club has to register the player in their squad or sell them? That might help? Loaning within the same division is another contentious one. As Maureen pointed out with Lukaku, he can help take points off rivals, but cannot damage the parent club? Again, perhaps the clubs taking the loanees should have more say in the matter. Maybe they should be a buy in clause attached, with the player able to tilt it one way or another?

    From the players point of view, it may give them an opportunity to move on, or prove their worth to the parent club. We have Miquel on loan at Leicester, and he scored a goal in the FA Cup game, but never got in the team for the next league game? Martinez is hoping to be able to push for more than a subs bench spot, but there are no guarantees.

    It is without doubt part of the overall problem that allows the very big clubs to hoover up young talent, without any possibility that they can fulfill the ambitions of all? We are not as guilty as some, but we do do a bit of cherry picking ourselves?

  • Loved the Post, Gerry. It is right to the point and helps focus the mind on the resources we have been cultivating in the youth ranks as an alternative to a ‘bought in’ ready made replacement.

    A couple of players you have not mentioned in your review is Afobe and Aneka.

    Not too long ago they were being spoken of as the next coming, but as usual, injuries and the dreaded loan system have seen them slide into near oblivion.

    I think it may have been Aneka you might have been thinking of in the pre-season games where he played very little game time, and presumably because he is big and tall, he played most of that at CB.

    On the other hand as he and Akpom are physically very similar looking, I may be wrong. πŸ™‚

    I think it is sad that so many promising young players like these two and others like Frimpong and Coquelin, for example, seem to be on the same pathway after shining briefly and then fading away.

    The competition in the first team squad and the temptation to ‘buy in’ is a heartbreak for these kids.

  • Cockie Monster,

    What have you done to VCC? Come on admit it – you’ve eaten him, haven’t you?


    Oh yeah, I suppose that is what you are! πŸ™‚

  • Next! Ah it is JB- Good point about Crowley. He slipped under my radar, partly because he is not in the Under 21 teams, and another coming back from injury.

    Where he fits in with the similar aged Zelalem, might be his first problem. The older Toral the second,

    This brings me back to the point I made about cherry picking in HT’s reply. Can we satisfy all of these players demands, given we have so many. Or are simply going on the line … ‘Not all will make it?

    You have agreed with me on many points, so this reply will be shorter.

    I do not want Sanogo to gout out on loan because I don’t think it is regular games that will bring him on at this stage. I think he needs to build himself into a stronger unit, with just the occasional sub appearance to remind him what he is fighting for. When he plays it should be as a support striker, so he gains the confidence without getting clattered every few minutes. Which he would if he takes on the Giro mantle?

    He is a delicate, but very fine wine, that just needs time to be at his optimum. By the March April time, when battle weary strikers are beginning to show it, he could be like a new signing? Then with a full pre-season behind him he will be close to what he is fully capable of? I just think expectation is high because of what he has shown already at Under 19 level, but that is different to a weekly shift in a very demanding league?

    I know you’re thinking DM for Arteta, but if the opportunity arises, I would like to see just how a Yenmini pairing would do before this year is out? it ought to work fine. They are both quick to see danger. Both capable in the tackle and moving forwards. i would hazard a guess that Yennaris has score more goals than Flamini? He is a better header than both Arteta and Flamini …

    Yes it is just me, wanting a fairytale ending, with Nico leading the team up the Wembley steps to receive the FA Cup as a future captain of Arsenal …

    Back to you insistence to have a striker in January. Of course you are right in the short term. But again, I want to see Gnabry in there, with Poldi as wide man before we commit?

  • Josh Vickers on loan as well. And the Nigerian defender Ajeyi, somethng like that. How’s his performance?

  • RA – Thank for the comments. I did not consider them for very long, and you are right. Injuries at the wrong time can really foul things up for these young players.

    I keep coming back to my sheer admiration for Gibbs, who at 18 had an England place and a first team spot here … all to be snatched away. Yet he has stuck to it, despite repeated setbacks, to be the player he is today. He probably had Diaby pushing him along when things got tough. These players coming through, like Sanogo, Toral and Zelalem, can really use his example to get through the tough times?

    Afobe was close to getting a spot at the beginning of last season, but things went wrong. It is tough on them. Aneke’s lack of mobility is another contributing factor I think. For all of Akpom size, he does glide along the ground quite well?

    I’ve only mentioned Coquelin and Frimpong in replies. I would have thought Coquelin had enough experience here to do well in Germany. He has scored a couple of goals, but also got sent off recently, but hopefully he will make a permanent move in the summer.

    Frimpers has the wit to do well in the media if BT run a spot for the satirical look at football? Alas, two cruciate ligament injuries I think makes it hard for him at the top level. Which is why the younger Hayden looks to have jumped the queue? I know McCarthy thought the world of him at Wolves, but then the first injury!

    Like I say, I swerved those in the current set up that look doubtful, and those that had been there and missed out. Concentrating on the ones that have yet to have, and hopefully don’t, suffer the pitfalls of injury at the wrong time. I mean the Ox could have been a regular but for that knee injury, which at the time looked harmless enough?

    You just never know what will happen …

  • TCM – I am sure HT will like a read of that Manchester link. I saw it the first time around.

    On the Jack Wishere link, I suppose it is better that being Right Back …
    Right back in the dressing room .. Boom! boom!

  • i hope Akpom is back from his suspension TCM?

    Which reminds me, Thursday night BT are covering the Under 21’s and I think Hayden got a call up?

  • Yep BOO54 is also in there with Hayden, Bellerin and Akpom..

    Villa were tough last season, but I fancy our chances with those in the side?

  • I see from the team sheet it is like a who’s who of my list. Yennaris at RB and Toral in midfield. Akpom on the bench

  • Great stuff Gerry.

    The one downside about our increased financial muscle is less opportunity for the youths

    If it was down to me the whole side would come from our ranks, but thankfully i am not the manager.

    Theres no doubt you have to be exceptional to make it. When you think that the Club is gearing itself up to chalange for both Leagues and Champions Leagues, you can see how difficult it will be.

    Its not that some of the boys you have mentioned will not become great players, its just that they may not get the chance.

    I admit my focus on our youth development has waned in the last year or two. Before, it was our fountain, a place were you could observe future first teamers. Now, the emphasis has shifted somewhat to one of procuring established players, hopefully with a potential to improve

    By the way, that Coventry final is also one of my favourite games. “Seven times weve won the Cup, and number eight is coming up” Yeah, right. hahaha

  • Stretch.
    Your focus on youth development probably coincided with the removal of the trees and shrubs in your local park, on the plus side you get to keep the sweets for yourself !. hahaha

  • I’ll be back with a reply in a minute Terry

    This under 21’s game is really ringing my bells.. The GK Macey is living up to his blling too?

    Afobe and Frimpers are out there too

  • Great reply @ 18:49 Gerry.

    Cockie is right, I did go to youth matches a lot at one time, and first spotted Jack when he was about 14 y. O.

    Emanuel Thomas was my tip for the future about that time and look what happened to him — so I know nozzink.

  • I just want Yennaris and BOO54 to chip in with a couple of assists and my night will be complete πŸ˜†

  • ahahahahahahahahaahhahaahahahah @ Glics

    seriousyly ? the vampire Diaries ?

    if you want to watch all that you have said then start watching “Spartacus” , here’s a link to it if you want to know more ; )

    the game is a smashing one, with Frimmy, Afobe and Gnabry bossing it , in front of Arsene Wenger

    PS: will get back to you later Gerry

  • Oh dear, this Villa side had 8 players who won last season’s Next Gen Series …

    and now the are 4-0 down. Frimpers with a header with a Gnabry assist!

    Friimpers nearly had an assist but Afobe fluffed his lines

  • have you watched “Rome” ? chances are they you may well have done, if you haven’t then it’s also worth a watch πŸ˜‰


    yes, for now Yaya needs to bulk up a little more – agreed

    that would be a dream come true for Nico, the lad can no doubt do a decent job, i think he is more along the lines and very similar to Flamini, as in he can play both at RB and a DM.

    Gnabry, no doubt can play in a variety of positions and in a couple of years he can be our own Suarez minus all the baggage (i hope) and one that reaches new heights and takes the whole team with him, but for some reason, i see AW developing him like the OX and being very cautious with him – rightfully say

  • Pay no attention to Bondy Cornwall.

    Ive knocked one off many times watching vampire diaries.

    Mind you, ive also knocked one off watching, Dr who, match of the day, the flintstones, wacky races, stingray, start trek, question time, panorama, the world at war, jeremy kyle show, teletubbies, 9 oclock news, luther, thunderbirds, crimewatch, etc

  • yes, 4-0 vs last season champions – the FA cup just got a tad more interesting, i reckon.

    so easily could have been 5-0 with Afobe scored there

    ahahahaahahahahaahahhahaah @ the vampire diaries fan club with TMHT joining in πŸ˜€ what next, GLEE ? :O:

  • Right Half time:

    TMHT – Yes, it is not alway down to talent. Timing Timing Timing.

    The right timing to be at your best when an opportunity arises

    The wrong timing to get an injury when an opportunity was there, but the player isn’t.

    The really wrong timing to get a second injury that takes the confidence away from the player as well as those around. That can be a career breaker ..

    Gibbs is an exception!

    All is not lost for these players, just because we have more money to spend. AW still like to see his seedlings grow into mighty bushes or whatever the correct metaphor is?

    Glad you too like that Cup Final. Me and my mate went to all the youth games and reserve matches when we had season tickets there. Always good support for all the young players on both sides – Some thing Walter(of UA) said about the Dortmund Youth game too.
    I remember a very young Micky Adams having a tremendous duel down the touchline, but such was the spirit in which it was played, they each gave the other a pat on the back with smiles all round at the end of the game.

    Not like some of the prima donna’s you see strutting the first teams?

  • Boo54 nearly answered my call for an assist – Toral, that great waste of space I mentioned somewhere missed a sitter from 8yds! πŸ˜†

    He is getting more and more like Rosicky … oops Sorry Tomas!

  • RA @ 19.42 (my brother was born in that year) ..

    Funny you should mention E Thomas – his goal put his side through into the next round of the FA Cup, so he is still doing okay, just not at Arsenal.

    As for my replies, i am trying my best to keep the one-liners from commenting πŸ˜€

    No, it is about looking at the bigger picture. So if somebody raises a point, I am doing my best to give a complete answer that also might include some side issues. Hence they tend to get a bit long.

    But hey,there is a whole 10 days to catch up .

  • JB on Nico? I see him as a steady type like Arteta. He has been captain of the youth team, I’m not sure I would promote Flamini to that level?

    See how Frimpers comes out of this match first, eh?

  • I think Maitland-Niles is a bit more defensive than Toral, who is still getting his fitness back to last 90 minutes?

  • indeed @ Gerry

    which reminds me of Arteta and his long range shots at goal – what on earth has happened to him pulling the trigger or taking free kicks ? he was very decent at them, if memory serves.

  • JB – I don’t think he has got into many advanced positions recently, and the other midfielders are pretty useful.

    Interesting that Gnabry took the corner for the last goal, a certain RVP has done that/ Do you think Serge is trying to tell us something/

  • In a safe pair of hands now, with Olsson on? too many running out of steam I think. there were a few that have hardly played recently?

  • Right, I’m off too. I have spent too long on the computer, so I will pick up any replies and comments in the morning.

  • Good evening Saggy scrotum smootchers!! πŸ˜†
    Thanks Gerry for a fine post and also your fine follow up comments!!
    All those hours dressing up as Barney in the training kids playing ground really paid off!! πŸ˜† haha!!
    Seriously well done!!
    I know it …. I mean “I’ve heard” it can get really hot in there!! πŸ˜†
    For me Zelalem and Bellerin look to be SQ for sure… Won’t count Gnabry/sanogo as they are through now. Haven’t seen much of Toral but hope Afobe can burst through.
    Who would you guys consider SQ in the young ins??
    Sorry if you’ve already said it!!
    Oh the big, black and white cat Sylvester is dry humpimg my slippers again!! πŸ˜† he’s such a kinky bastardo!! πŸ˜†

  • Seriously .. The noises he makes !! All he needs is a lasso and cowboy guns!! πŸ˜† you go booooyyyy!!!
    Hell this definitely NOT what you meant when said “pussy mentality” BJ!! …. This cat is a fricken legend!! πŸ˜†

  • I thought ice, ice baby maybe SQ but he’s gone off the boil a bit right? Still plenty of time though πŸ˜€

    Sylvester has now finished dry humping my slippers and is now reclining with a catnip cigar and brandy cream cognac!! πŸ˜†
    I’m serious!! He has this brown long cigar catnippy thing that Mrs P brought him!! Then he goes for the cream after!!
    He’s the Stretch of cats!! Hahaha!! πŸ˜†

  • Hell it’s quiet in here…. You mincers must be touching your erogenous zones again …. Probably my fault for the cat porn!!! πŸ˜†

  • Gerry. Thanks for the considered response – I’m sorry I’ve not been around to reply until now.

    On the CB role, I think we agree. Where we differ slightly (possibly?) is around the role of rotation. You are right, we don’t do it at present, as Mert and Kos are a top pairing. But I don’t believe that this is sustainable over a season – in fact its clearly not. Moreover, it creates a serious risk for us, in that we can’t control when injury/illness will strike, so we may as well assume it will happen at the least opportune moment; such as last Sunday. We have to have a squad that is capable of fielding 2 sets of fully competent CB pairings, and they have to have sufficient playing time amongst them that we can deploy our ‘second’ pairing in emergency against the top flight. This means Verm must get serious action and, if we assume that Sagna is not being groomed for more than a stand in CB role, we need another player of the calibre to be a replacement for Mert in years to come.

    On the DM role, Hayden may indeed be Wenger’s vision for the future after Flam; I have not seen enough of him to really have a sense of his potential – though I have huge faith in Arsene’s judgement. As I have said, I don’t think we need more depth in DM cover, unless we buy at the highest level – if RM want to sell off one of their’s (Khedeira) for instance.

    Striker is the most uncertain issue for me. Yes, I am sure you are right that we will see Akpom given his head soon, and of course Sanogo is barely tested yet either; one or both may prove outstanding. And we are also yet to see the best of the Pod – will his second season with us show the improvement that Giroud has shown? Maybe, but in my mind he is more likely to be an impact sub, or played alongside Giroud, rather than start many games alone up front. And with our greater midfield strength, we may well see Gnabry and Theo develop in more SS roles as well as their conventional wing play. All these options, as yet largely untested due to injuries, leave me feeling that we won’t buy in January unless a) there is top quality available at a good price, and/or b) we have a significant injury to Giroud. Otherwise, Wenger will continue to invest in the development of the talent he has within the squad. Seeing how Wenger opts to bring Pod and Theo back, when he has Ozil, Santi, Ros and Jack all available as well, is for me the most fascinating question for the inter lull, and I can’t wait to see what the vision will be.

    My comment on Benteke by the way is not that he offers to play alongside Giroud, but that he could be a ‘similar’ striker to rotate/provide cover for Giroud – in a manner that does not force changes on the shape of the rest of the team. I doubt we will even look at him to be honest as I don’t think we would be willing to pay the asking price.

    The more I mull the questions you pose, the more I end up thinking we will not buy (much) in January, and CB is the only spot that demands action before too long.

  • Good Morning all. I am up early so I can finally get around to watching the Dortmund game in full.

    But first ..

    Fozzie I am glad you took in the answers ans well as the post. It shows you are a glutton for the big read πŸ˜€

    After the Under 21’s game last night, I think AW has a lot more to think about now?

  • TA – yes, it may be limited in the number of responses, but made up for in quantity in the responses … well on a word count level.

    Definitely a thinking person’s post …

    Which brings me to my next reply.

    thanks TA

  • Hie Gery. Am a staunch gooner in South Africa. I only watch the gunners on tv. I rely on you guys on the state of gunners, the arsenal website and a few other (decent)blogs like untold arsenal and one nil down. Of late, the arsenal website is not updating much on academy which makes it difficult for us to have a clearer picture of what we have for the future. I urge you continue with these analyses for our youth teams. Now to the Under 21s match yesterday, any comments on the performance of the central defenders?

  • AB- You are my type of poster, somebody who thinks about the bigger picture.

    Thank you.

    As you say, I don’t think we are a million miles apart on our thinking either. When I said ‘We don’t do rotation’, you are of course quite right, it should happen. It is largely down to to lack of options. I was pleased to see both Kos and TV5 do a lot of finger pointing and organising, perhaps this is something that they have been working on in training. But beyond that trio, plus Sagna, who is even more vital at RB, it only leave the rookie Hayden?

    I nailed my colours very firmly on one player’s mast for who I would like to see come in … and then he picked up a 10 match ban after a leg breaking tackle that went horribly wrong.
    I suspect that may end any thoughts of a move by AW now? But you never know. But he (and I am sure you know I mean KZ4?) is an immense talent, and for an 18 year old to be so commanding in the box, he will only get better. Who better to partner him than our club captain in the second pairing you suggest? This incident aside, he remains my No1 choice, but there are a few options out there?

    So we agree on that being perhaps more of a priority than some others positions?

    I still think AW has an eye for a DM though. Khediera put his own position at risk with his very public support for his close friend Ozil, even though the fans may have put that aside, I doubt their manager has? Gundogan is another name, who funnily enough, is the very player I see Hayden becoming if AW has got it right? Being a CB he is tall, and like Vertonghen (who I think turned us down because he did not want to play the DM role, and then became a life long Spurs fan πŸ™‚ ), is a good mover going forwards, and can develop his passing further. Like you say, we will have to see how that develops?

    Likewise with the striker thing. I am hoping that my post has made a few others wonder about this one? It is such a delicate issue. The short term need because we have an excellent chance of going very close, if not winning the title this year. (Putting the last game aside as we can easily set them back by getting the 3 points at home?) Against that, we have a collection of bodies who could be a much better long term solution .. given time to develop?

    I am like everyone else really, but I keep thinking of something TA said a while ago, ‘Arsenal not normally play with the traditional No9’. Big, commanding centre forward for the high balls to be aimed at, in the hope that 1 in 3, 5, 7 will produce a goal? That to me also counts against Benteke, but the increase in price is another factor? Giroud, as his previous headed stats show, does not get many headed goals. He is different, and has been an absolute rock which we have learnt to play around? But the rock can also turn and shoot himself. Not often or accurate enough for most, hence the call for another. Which very much blots out his tremendous team work and defensive contribution, which will have to be covered even if we get a new guy in?

    I admit, I was very much in the pro Saurez camp when I thought we had a chance of getting him. I doubt very much that option remains. He is putting it all in for Liverpool in the hope it will get him a dream move abroad, and that is the only place that ‘Pool will let him go.

    So, like you say, I don’t think AW will splash big money, in any position, unless the player is in the Ozil class. Which leaves the other end of the market. Short term but quite possibly effective, like Chelsea’s Ba – what a bad move that was for him? – but would they sell to us? Or the young, up and coming type … Which immediately brings us back to the point of my post. We have several candidates already on our books? And like I said earlier, most are really like the strikers we used to have, ball playing, intelligent movers, who can score exquisite goals … Akpom, the RVP type(when he reaches his full potential); Joel Campbell, the Henry type (ditto); and just possibly a Serge Gnabry type, being himself?

    He played in the middle last night, so just may be, that could be a runner over the next month or so. Particularly now that Giroud has admitted he has lost his edge. So we will have to see after this break whether he needs more time out before that triple header in December? The fixtures allow for it, although it would be a bold move to go into the Southampton game with a change up front?

    I hope, like yourself, this post does at least give pause for thought?


  • sinday – What a pleasure to hear from you, in sunny, warm South Africa πŸ˜€

    Yes, I too have difficulty in keeping track of the academy group. For example, the website preview suggested it was an opportunity for Bellerin … except it wasn’t. It was only when I saw the team sheet that I remembered he took a knock in the Dortmund junior game. So they are not that reliable?

    If I do a report on the game last night, it will be in the comment section, not a blog. Also it will only be from the highlights on the ‘Arsenal Player’, which sometimes they make those free to non members anyway?

    I did not take too much notice of the CB pairing, but I was interested in Macey the GK. He is 6’5” and big with it, so they made a point of commentating/tweeting on how well he got down to low shots. Alas a poor clearance from him led to the Villa comeback. But apparently he saved plenty more before the goalmouth scramble that got their second goal.

    Overall, I think they were likely to struggle a bit late on, as Afobe was having his first game back after a long injury break, and Toral too, only his second, and Yennaris also.
    Hopefully they have all come through unscathed?

    That was a very strong Villa side based on their Next Gen performance last season, so to blitz them in the first half was something to behold. I too will be looking forwards to the reports later. Although I am a lot nearer than yourself to the Emirates stadium, I cannot get there to see matches live. But I am pleased that posts on here can keep you up to date, along with your other excellent choices of reading.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  • Before we get a New Post signal, can I just address something from yesterday.

    17HT – You are not alone on comments made in the heat of the moment, that were more than a little offensive towards our players efforts in the Man U game. I couldn’t comment at the time because I had not seen the game, only caught the audio.

    So when a still angry JB virtually told you to piss off and lump it, I understand why you would want to ‘revisit it’.

    Therefore JB, I am probably less disappointed (compared to HT’s) in your far from contrite reply when you had calmed down. Especially as you had somewhat repositioned your earlier comments by saying their ‘play’ was ‘pussy like’? The evening before you most definitely gave the impression that the players themselves were ‘pussies’. Now that word could have different strengths of meaning in different cultures, hence HT condemnation at the time where he thought you were off the mark? I took it you thought they were a load of ‘pansies i.e effeminate, which is only slightly less offensive than the possibility that they were … well that four letter word beginning with ‘C’.

    I know you are now trying to contrast it with ‘playing like lions’, which you did when challenged on the night, but it does not excuse the continued defence of your comments, and to again, virtually tell a much respected fellow blogger, to ‘piss off and lump it’ a second time?

    Your hurt at his suggestion that you were ‘talking through you pocket’ also has that ring of ‘he doth protest too much’.

    JB I hate to write this as we enjoy a good rappor, as you did with HT. Please, take a deep breath and think about what I am saying here.

    I too have taken to having a huff, but sometimes it is better to say nothing than dig a deeper hole?

  • sindy – may I turn your,and others, attention to the latest ‘Untold’ blog – Walter has expanded his views on the youngster on display.

  • Brilliant read Gerry. My favourite articles are the youth ones. Cheers. Will get back to you on this.

  • Gerry, good stuff all around…It seemed like you guys had some good fun watching the U21 match yesterday…

    Regarding my contretemps with 007… I actually had written something and hit the post button on my way out of the house yesterday morning but it got caught in the wordpress log-in stage…When I returned home it seemed a little “stale” and you guys were into the match. Bond seems pretty dug in with his position but I’d prefer to bury the hatchet and let it go rather than dig the hole any deeper. In the end, I guess I like to think of pussies (not pussy’s…) in only positive terms so I don’t favor it as a pejorative, and yes, around here, it is a “fighting word”… That being said, I did feel regretful that I had made comments suggesting that James was embittered due to gambling losses. On that account, I’m sorry…

    So, like I say, I’d prefer to move on and I appreciate the wider explanation of the youth system, loans, etc. To me it’s intriguing how observers want to scout players on so many levels. Sometimes it’s who we should buy (and for how many 10s of millions of pounds) and at others it’s about who looks good at youth level. It seems very difficult to translate talents from one level to the next AND there’s just so much luck/timing involved. Some players look to have “it” and it’s really pleasing if you can see that before the masses do likewise…Arsenal *seem* to be swinging back towards developing some youth after going a little too deep in that direction then having to buy (and buy) as our best players left us. One would guess that it’s going to be (very slightly) easier for young players to break through with us (relative to the silly money teams) but still plenty tough… Given the pressures we’re under there’s hardly ever the luxury of “easing” players in…

    OK, enough said (for now… πŸ˜† )… I gotta take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather around here while we’ve got it…

  • 17HT – Unfortunately I wasn’t watching the game last night, only following it at twitter level which TCM kindly put up the link for. JB I think had real time viewing.

    I found the first half hilarious, as every time I went back after updating here there were 3 new tweets that began ‘Goal! Arsenal’.

    Topped off, of course, because it involved the players I had highlighted. Indeed, Gnabry playing centre forward, at least that is how I read it on the team sheet? and ‘my boy’ Toral coming in with a goal and two assists. Magic!

    I made a slight error in my reply to you. In saying these reserves games were for Under 19’s, when it is for under 21’s, as per last night,

    I saw a thing on the BBC site that said the FA and UEFA were in talks about making it mandatory that teams competing should field i.e. play, 3 ‘homegrown’ players in every match? The premier league are against it. Surprise surprise?

    As for the other matter, I’ll say no more. Although I might get a chilly blast my way anytime soon?

    My post certainly got a restricted readership, I am still hopeful that Geoff might chip in, but I guess like yourself, and the poster from S A, sindy, it is difficult to put names to faces, and playing styles unless you see them on the box?

    Take care over the interlull, duck for cover if it is all transfer chatter, eh?

    Cheers, Gerry

  • consider the hatched buried @ 17HT – shakes hand like a true gent ! apology accepted and please also accept apologies from my end for saying things, which may have come across as out of order or gave the wrong impression – that was certainly not the intention.

    ha ha @ Chilly blast –

    not at all Gerry, it’s water under the bridge now and we are all respected bloggers here, i could never say “piss off and lump it” to 17HT or anyone else , it’s not my style nor a good example for the young un’s on here.

    John Lennon said it best “Peace and love – Imagine.


  • Evening Glistening Gonad Guzzlers!! πŸ˜† thanks for the link Cockadoodle!! NZ 4-0 down to the burrito boys 😦

  • Hell poor Ugandan gooner … What a mare!! Losing on a bet only to be evicted by Manscum!! Talk about a swewage problem!! 😦

  • Ice, ice baby looked razor sharp in that game!! Me likey likey!! Not quite as much as Sylvester likes my slippers because that’s orgasmic!! πŸ˜† but it’s right up there! πŸ˜€

  • Evening all πŸ™‚

    Good to see that two of my favourite bloggers have made up again! πŸ™‚

    Super responses again, Gerry. We are lucky to have you on the blog and you have generated a lot of enthusiasm for our youngsters over the last few days. Top stuff.

  • TA – On the last point first. I am hoping plenty of people took a look at it?
    The ones that have commented also opened up different aspects of the ‘bigger pitcture’.

    For that I am grateful to them. Thank you very, very much.

    The Villa highlights that TCM mentioned, is as expected, is very brief and centred mostly around the goals. Thanks again TA for your timing of posting this blog. Perfect!

    That said, the build up to those goals was pretty amazing. HT made the point about judging talent against their own age level being difficult to translate or predict development on the senior stage. Well the thing you cannot take away is the quality of passing the ball, which is in the control of the individual?

    There were two or three from Toral that would have graced any premiership game? The ‘chested’ one to Eisfeld was inch perfect over a distance not usually achieved from that manner of pass?

    It was good to get a glimpse of Eisfeld’s talent with a little mazy run and pass that led to the 2nd(?) goal too..I was wrong about Gnabry playing in the middle, that honour went to Afobe, who also went close to scoring. He was only having his first start back from a really bad injury. so it could look promising for him too. Think back to the pre-season tour over a year ago, and he looked like being a regular in the squad?

    I don’t know what happened on the ‘player regarding the Dortmund Youth game, as it seemed to be more about Maitland-Niles and Lipman? Perhaps they’ll get the ‘proper’ one sorted out soon. That was the game that had 16 year old Gideon Zelalem imperiously strutting his stuff … ‘Ooh, we should be so lucky, so lucky. We should be so lucky’?

    It is true, not all these players will make it at Arsenal, but the ones that do will be the very best. Because they have seen some team mates breaking through, that gives them the drive to follow suit. But they also know it takes dedication that Gibbs has shown, to become a regular first team player, and to even keep out a Spanish international out. …

    Their paths should not be blocked by who is there in front of them, it should only be determined by their own talent and putting in the effort to reach their goals?

    Via this blog, and others.I like to think they have a bigger audience to wish them well in pursuing their dreams?

  • JB – My only excuse for my input was that I felt HT’s hurt, and the reason for it, and felt you missed it. You have now acted like the gentleman we know you to be.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • I think this International break could not come at a better time on the FFF front. For the second week running I have scored less than the average, and in the Boing! league I have dropped from 2nd to 9th.

    Mind, it was a bad time to have so many player not starting. Even 2 of my subs went missing!

    Be warned, I am playing the long game .. I’ll be back!

  • It seems others are getting in on this theme? Check this link out:

    If he is that good at senior level, my comments seem less fanciful, and he is progressing nicely on his comeback.

    Also, check the second video along the top row when that finishes. Some super goals by Gnabry and Eisfeld, and a little glimpse of Zelalem.

    It is funny that I did not realise at the time of writing that only Akpom and Hayden were the only two that might step up to senior level, and play for England in the near future, of the key ones I mentioned.

    Does it matter to you if we are nurturing the next big things in the German national side? I never worried about Henry, Viera, and Pires being and French, or DB himself being Dutch. So, from a club point of view, I am not too bothered now?

  • thanks for the links @ Glics – interesting colours for the away kit , in particular the black one ? i personally like it but i’m not sure if the majority would ! our current away kit the yellow one with stripes socks is a bit uneasy on the eye for me, especially if the ball is also yellow – that’s way too much yellow in one sentence, ha

    agreed, shame about the poor gooner losing out to the scum but that’s outrageous, the manu scum put his wife on the line ? (shocking) the mancs really do have no shame , none what so ever, well – do you blame them ? as their main player is a granny shagger ? @ Fozzie B

    HI TA πŸ™‚

    seems like you have been extremely busy busy lately, the break has come at the right time for you knowing that there is no pressure as such for you to release new posts, hope all is well !


    it’s very considerate and thoughtful of you to do so, i also took that into account but since i know 17HT a bit, due to our endless encounters and banters and quality discussions, i thought he wouldn’t take it in such a way, either way, i have a lot of respect and love for most of us on here as i consider ourselves to be a gooner family – differences and some heated discussions sometimes are inevitable even amongst blood relations, so it’s only natural that we have such moments and then move on back to normal mode when we have returned to our senses.

    besides, where would i be on match days and most days without 17HT’s espresso’s and insightful comments πŸ™‚

  • no, it doesn’t matter where they come from @ Gerry

    currently we have a nice blend of present and future stars from most european countries or leading countries that are doing well at the respective levels – maybe we need to get a few quality up coming rising stars from Africa and Asia ? (fan base )

    in that match, i was particularly impressed with Frimmy and Afobe (he reminds me a lot of BA ) and i think if he can stay fit, then he might be ahead of yaya, akpom and any other young strikers we have in the reserves currently.

  • Yes, JB – I should have added the Frimmer’s goal in my bit. Perhaps he is moving upfield now, but I never expected him to head a goal?

    Afobe was so close to being a useful squad member, if not quite sq at this stage, at the beginning of last season. He has a month to push for a place I guess?
    I still favour Akpom long term.

    I don’t know what to make of the transfer chatter on NewsNow, concerning RB?
    Are we, AW and co, just making sure we have a back up policy if Bacs doesn’t sign the final offer?
    Or has he said he will not be signing?
    Or are they just putting rumours out to concentrate his mind a little?
    Sauce anybody/

    See how Jenks does in the Under 21’s for England KO 7.45 gmt tonight.

    You mention getting young players in from Africa, there was an Under 17 player, Nigerian I think, who got a mention today. I think the only Asian player we might get is the RB (again) from the Bundesliga, I forget his name, from Munchen’? He is in ‘our mold’ as an attacking wingback.

    It would be nice if Ryo made it into the squad on a regular basis, but we may have to wait on that?

    Other depressing news, for me was that Man City and Napoli might do battle for KZ4?
    If he does not come here then I would rather he stayed out of the EPL. Trouble is Man C could do with someone? Mind, we would bring him along slowly here, whereas they want a ready made replacement for injured Kompany?

    The lack of activity has meant I am the first to slip into TW talk. Ha Ha

  • Evening Totals Turd Transgressors πŸ˜†

    JB. I`d love a black away (3rd) kit, but didn`t like the one in the picture of the link I posted. I think one which is a black version of our iconic home kit would be best seller !.
    Malaga had something on the lines of it, but I`d prefer a white collar !.

    I`m only showing this as an example and it has nothing to do with anyone in particular in the photo who went for a paltry Β£25M, who I`m so over !.

  • OK, it looks like we can move on from “the troubles” of the immediate post-match commentary from last Sunday… (Cheers, Bond…) In addition to whatever reaction an individual word might engender, it’s a timing thing (obviously)… It’s hard not to think–in that moment–that had we gotten a better result, such utterances would have been reserved or even reversed(!) It’s an individual thing (and I know some prefer to ride the roller coaster…) but I often feel like we should be our most “supportive” during the tougher times and our most critical when things (results…) are going well–much as a (good) manager would. My first “big” run-in here was with AFC after we’d won at Fulham, last Spring. The result was good but the performance (I thought) woeful. BTW, where is that guy? The discussion about the already signed (young guys) is morphing into transfer talk… Maybe it’s time for a pop-by… πŸ˜‰ Thanks to Gerry, for running the show here, and giving us kids a little push to get it done…

    Yeah, transfer talk, lol…I guess it goes hand in hand with Int’ls… Another element of the “scouting process” for fans of the game. We get a name in our mind, maybe associated with a highlight or two and then it’s all so much Christmas (or New Years) eve…wanting the new toy… So much easier than the slog of trying to enjoy what you’ve already got in hand… The rolly eyed emoticon sums it up for me… but everybody should feel free to carry on… πŸ˜€

    I do believe the club will make earnest efforts to retain key veterans like Sagna, Mertesacker and Rosicky and that (in lieu of transfers) they might try to push such signings as the “big” story in January, much as getting Theo to sign “da ting” was a year ago. In the meantime, it’s the job of the 4th estate to get everybody into a froth about all these issues… When the time comes I will indulge James’ idea that “this year is different” because of the WC. Let’s see who gets into the tournament (this week!) to narrow potential transfer targets with that on their minds…

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