Zelalem amongst four youngsters to feature in Emirates Cup

The 2013 Emirates Cup ended in disappointing fashion for Arsenal as a Didier Drogba-inspired Galatasaray side came from behind to win 2-1 against the Gunners in the tournament’s final fixture, and, in doing so, claimed the trophy.

There were very few positives to take from the weekend from an Arsenal perspective, although Aaron Ramsey was largely impressive in midfield in the first-half today, whilst several youngsters who remained with the first-team from the Asia Tour received run-outs at some stage over the weekend, with Gedion Zelalem making his first appearance at Emirates Stadium as a 61st minute substitute.

Source: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe

Source: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe

The 16 year old midfielder, who was hugely impressive during the games in Asia, played some neat, short passes and again emphasised his tactical awareness and appreciation of space, but wasn’t heavily involved overall.

He was joined on the field for the last ten minutes by striker Chuba Akpom, but only after Drogba had scored his second goal to put Galatasaray ahead and continue his phenomenal scoring record against the Gunners. Akpom also featured as a late substitute in the 2-2 draw with Napoli yesterday, but on both occasions was forced to operate in a wide role, indicating that he may have to bide his time for regular substitute appearances following the acquisition of Yaya Sanogo.

Sanogo himself was not overly impressive on his Arsenal debut, as, despite playing a couple of impressive passes and demonstrating his adroit link-up play, the French striker squandered several inviting opportunities to score his first goal for the club.

Serge Gnabry, meanwhile, started against Napoli and played the first 56 minutes, indicating that he may well be part of Arsene Wenger’s plans for the first half of the campaign at least, especially with Ryo Miyaichi having suffered another injury which is likely to keep him out for two weeks.

Ignasi Miquel, too, could be part of the squad this year given the current lack of cover at both centre-back and left-back, but the young Spaniard doesn’t seem eminently suited to the latter role, and was caused numerous problems by Drogba today.

Goalkeeper Damian Martinez was on the bench for both fixtures and remained unused throughout, but will also be hopeful of earning a permanent promotion if the club do not sign a new goalkeeper before the transfer window closes.



  1. i have no idea who peaceheaven are but their u18s lost to our u16s 8-0. What i liked were some of their comments on twitter. On of their player said “i wanted to celebrate some of their goals they were that nice” and “just played against future england stars” while @PTFCu18 (whose account all these quotes are from) stated “it was a pleasure to lose 8-0 today” though i wonder what that says .about Corinthians. Doesn’t compensate for u21 result but certainly uplifting.

  2. Senior players don’t seem to trust the young players like Zelalem and Akpom. i noticed they’re not passing the ball to them, they only do it when they have no other option. too bad really, this will not help at all.

    1. @guest, thank u that’s what I feel even in Asia tour… I don’t think trust is the case may be jealousy? specially Zelalem he have equal potential as anyone of “senior players” if he is not better!

      1. I noticed this even in Man Utd team when senior players like Scholes / Giggs would not pass to Pogba unless if it was the only option available. Maybe that is how juniors get treated initially.

        If he impresses and plays ore regularly I think the situation will change.

      2. probably, they don’t want kids to outshine them. we can’t really blame the youngsters if they don’t make any impact in such circumstances. this will affect their confidence, and overall game, bcoz of this type of selfish reaction from ‘senior players’. i hope Monsieur Wenger takes this seriously.

    2. I noticed that too. Especially Akpom was not trusted with the ball. They analyze the team performance after every game and this will take into consideration. It was only in preseason this time but when it really matters this kind of things won’t be ignored. When the star players feel threaten from the youngsters they might as well go elsewhere to play with the big names because they will feel bored playing with youngsters.

      When you know you have the quality to play for a big team, noticed I said big team and not big club, HUGE different. Why would you stay in Arsenal with a weak team with players not able to challenge for the title? I doubt fabregas would left if we won CL and the league regularly.

  3. Im glad I was not the only one to notice that the players did not want to Zelalem, ‘while he is wide open”, Why have him on the field if they dont want to pass him the ball?

    He could have done something had they not treated him like a defender for the other team. Hopefully he makes them pay.

  4. I think Zelalem distinguished himself throughout preseason. Very few players get such chances so young and even fewer come out looking any good. The pressure from the fans on the first team is enormous at the moment, every decision Arsene takes represents a risk, especially surrounding up and coming players. Physically mature players can be very good, but only mentally mature players become greats 😀

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