Arsenal U21s end torturous pre-season with 5-1 defeat to Colchester United


Pre-season friendly

Colchester United 5 Arsenal XI 1 (Akpom)

Arsenal U21s concluded a torturous pre-season with yet another heavy defeat at the hands of Colchester United this evening. The Gunners were reduced to ten men following the second-half dismissal of captain Isaac Hayden, but, before then, had already conceded four goals to a rampant Colchester side, who added another late on. Chuba Akpom reduced the deficit for Arsenal, but further questions will certainly be asked regarding the capability of the club’s youth set-up, especially after tonight’s result means that they have conceded 22 goals in their five pre-season games.

Much, much better will be expected when the U21 Premier League campaign commences away to Stoke City on Monday night, but the worrying lack of depth in the second-string squad was also highlighted here, with Algerian trialist Ramy Bensebaini being substituted at half-time after enduring another night to forget.

Coach Steve Gatting made four changes from the side that were annihilated 7-0 by Luton Town last time out, with Damian Martinez, Gedion Zelalem, Akpom and Anthony Jeffrey all coming into the starting line-up. Colchester, meanwhile, named a mix of squad players and youngsters, with their regulars, including Arsenal Academy products Craig Eastmond and Sanchez Watt, given the night off.

Martinez

Bellerin-Hayden-Bensebaini-Moore

Zelalem-Olsson

Eisfeld-Iwobi-Jeffrey

Akpom

subs: Huddart (for Martinez, 20), Pleguezuelo (for Bensebaini, 45), O’Connor (for Iwobi, 68), Maitland-Niles (for Jeffrey, 74). Not used: Jebb.

If Arsenal had been hoping to get off to an impressive start to put the Luton debacle behind them as quickly as possible, they were left startled after conceding inside sixty seconds, with Drey Wright doing well to find Nigerian striker Freddie Ladapo, who slotted past Martinez with ease to open the scoring before Arsenal had even touched the ball.

Hector Bellerin, who, rather surprisingly, has not been in the first-team reckoning since returning from his international exploits with Spain U19s, then had to make an impressive interception to prevent Colchester from inflicting further damage, but Arsenal did at least manage to restore a sense of authority to their play, with Akpom linking up well with his team-mates on several occasions.

Colchester, however, were in the ascendancy, and could have had a penalty when the dangerous Wright was brought down by Tafari Moore in the penalty area, but the referee waved play on. It wasn’t long until the hosts doubled their advantage, though, with midfielder Conor Hubble latching onto a loose ball before firing past the helpless Martinez to make it 2-0.

Tafari Moore. Source: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe

Tafari Moore. Source: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe

The goal may have done some damage to the Argentinian’s pride, but he also suffered an injury in the process, and was forced off the field, with first-year scholar Ryan Huddart replacing Martinez to make his U21 debut.

Huddart was only included in the squad as Deyan Iliev is on international duty and Josh Vickers has joined Canvey Island on a season-long loan, but these were hardly the ideal circumstances for the England U16 international to be introduced to life in the second-string.

Arsenal’s more experienced players were trying their utmost to reduce the deficit, with Akpom and Bellerin in particular attempting to instigate passing moves, but very little of what the Arsenal youngsters attempted came to fruition, whereas, in comparison, Colchester were a constant threat.

Huddart could only watch as Ladapo shot just wide from distance, but the frustration continued at the other end for Arsenal, with Jeffrey delivering an impressive cross which, as is all too often the case, went without a recipient.

Huddart then made an impressive save to deny Ladapo from close range, before Arsenal, in a rare attacking move, saw shots from Akpom, Thomas Eisfeld and Kristoffer Olsson blocked in quick succession.

A miserable half for the youngsters ended on a sour note, however, and trialist Bensebaini was largely at fault again as he was turned all too easily by Wright, who finished adroitly to make it 3-0.

Bensebaini was put out of his misery at half-time, with former Barcelona defender Julio Pleguezuelo replacing him, and it is hoped that, both for his sake and that of the club, that we have seen the last of the Algerian in an Arsenal shirt.

Arsenal, despite the game now seemingly being beyond their reach, began the second-half in determined mood, with Eisfeld shooting over from distance, but the Colchester onslaught continued and, before long, it was 4-0.

This time, Ladapo scored his second of the evening after latching onto Moore’s clearance. Ladapo then almost completed his hat-trick just moments later, but directed his shot narrowly off target.

Akpom, to his credit, continued to battle on in adversity, and it was the striker’s perseverance that helped him to win a penalty just after the hour mark when he was brought down in the area by Tosin Olufemi.

The 17 year old, who, at various levels, has scored plenty of goals this pre-season, continued his prolific goalscoring form by dispatching the penalty himself, but any positive vibes that emanated from the goal soon dissipated when Arsenal were reduced to ten men a few minutes later.

Hayden has enjoyed quite a week, having featured for the final few minutes during the first-team’s friendly with Manchester City at the weekend, but he was brought back down to earth here after being dismissed for a late challenge on Hubble, which rendered any remaining homes of a dramatic comeback obsolete.

Gatting reacted by introducing another centre-back in Stefan O’Connor, whilst Akpom continued to attempt to reduce the deficit, but it was Colchester who would find the net again in the closing stages with defender Mason Spence volleying past Huddart to make it 5-1 and inflict the final dose of damage upon a bewildered young Arsenal side.

58 comments

  1. Academy needs new coach..I would be delighted if any of these legends will take the position:Pires,Bergkamp,Ljungberg or Campbell…..Good Luck to Bensebaini in the future.He looks like a player for whom Liverpool would spend 20M #lol

    1. I keep saying it, get rid of Gatting, get rid of Gatting, get rid of Gatting. I really don’t understand how our standards at arsenal has dipped so low. Gatting has never been successful at any level so why should he have the right to put Arsenal on his CV…. same applies to all the crap players we have spent the entire offseason getting rid off.

  2. Supposedly we’re plundering Dinamo’s youth set up for staff. Wouldn’t complain.

    Youth football isn’t about results, but there is a limit.

  3. I find it strange that there was no dm on our side. No wonder, the defense can be exposed. Not to mention that the team they faced are a CHAMPIONSHIP side. It’s still a hard team for those youngsters.
    Coaching was strange, but they need to play games without changing 5-6 players between two games.

    1. Pushing it with a league 1 side too. This was very much a development team for Colchester also. Other the Cousins (50 odd 1st team apps) and Thompson (70 odd apps via numerous clubs) – the vast majority have yet to even play in the first team. Drey Wright only broke thrugh last season, and Gilbey had the odd appearance here and there and a few games for Newport in the Conference.

      Ultimately you can’t gloss over it Arsenals youngsters were spanked by a team with little ‘experience’ either

  4. what did you expect? A good league one side playing against boys of 17, 16 and 18 years old. Where was yennaris today? And jeorge the reserve side look very thin, do you know if there will be some additions

    1. This wasn’t the first-choice Colchester side, they had quite a few youngsters of their own. I think the u21 side will probably be very young again this year, with a lot of u18s playing in the u21s and a lot of schoolboys playing at U18 level.

      1. An awful sign of the lack of depth in our first team creating a vacuum through the whole club. It worries me when our more hopeful young prospects are repeatedly put through experiences like this.

        How much of this dreadful pre-season has been down to coaching capabilty?

  5. Like people have said we were basically playing with two light weight cms in the double pivot and iwobi as am. Add bensebaini who by all accounts was poor and there’s not much else left defensively. Where’s glen kamara or mugabo? Apparently the work permit (lack of) situation means we aren’t going to buy perez. Don’t mind us not buying a dm for the youth but regardless of attacking talent if they’re not in a position to win the ball it follows they won’t do much with it! If that is indeed the case can’t really expect much from the youth team this season though.

  6. Gone a bit quiet on the Zelallaem hype. seems its easy standing out against Cambodia X1 but not against a u21s mixed League 1 team. Give it 6 months and all the Eisfield hype now on him will be on the next shiny kid weve waived brown bags at. Fact Jebb would look class alongside first team regulars in pre season. If Zelalalem is that good get him a league 1 or championship loan and see how he performs

    1. I sense there’s a bit of tacit racism with how fans are handling Zelalem. When Wilshere broke through I hardly recall this amount of criticism and claims of over-hype. Wenger hasn’t even given Zelalem the same type of chances that Wilshere did, Wilshere if you remember played almost the entirety of the Emirates Cup and immediately after it was finished Wenger told the press he was a first team player and was handed the number 19. Honestly, he’s deserved the hype he’s received because quite frankly he’s been fantastic given his age and the chances he’s been given so far this preseason. But to saying that a sixteen year old needs to be loaned out to prove if he’s worth the hype is quite frankly absurd because its damn near impossible that he has the consistency to perform at such a level. Once again where were these calls when Jack broke into the team? If there were any he certainly had more defenders than Zelalem does

      1. hahahaha there is always some one trying to play the racist card.

        stick to football mate, arsenal fans are the least racist fans I have ever had the pleasure of being with

        I am certain that sunill is not being racist

        and for the record, I happen to think zelalem is every bit as good as Wilshire was. people have to understand at 16 you will have half a dozen good games but then may be a dozen poor to average ones. its to do with stamina, similarly many players retire at different ages and just bcos u are a late bloomer doesn’t mean you will last forever either.

        obviously Wilshire was supported more, we had heard about him being at the club for many years and seeing as the majority of us are English and had witnessed so many England teams without an arsenal player it is natural to be more excited. but I am telling you now, it wouldn’t matter if Wilshire was black white or bloody green we all want him to do well just like we do zelalem. the other difference is 8 years no trophies, so many broken promises and a summer of failed signings so far. had we already bagged cesar, Williams, Gustavo and suarez/higuain everyone would be jumping all over zelalem.

        come on arsene, make everyones summer and land a couple of bigguns by friday

      2. atid has not the slightest clue what racism is or what forms it can come in or what its effects it can be. Clearly he hasnt any idea beyond monkey chants or men on horses in white bedsheets. I dont know why he bothers to reply. Unofrtunately the world is full of such people.

    2. This is stupid. Arsenal has a global fan base made up races you probably haven’t even heard of. Even domestically, Islington and other London areas are full of black, white, Asian arsenal fans and they get along pretty well for the most part.

      Wilshere got more hyped because he played more, he impressed against juventus, real Madrid, even scored against jens lehman, and just looked better for a 16 year old than zelalem looked. Zelalem is obvs talented but he only impressed against the two bob Asian sides, since we played better teams, Urawa red diamonds, gala, and city he has just not had an impact at all. Simple as that.

      Anyways this aint the first time this nonsense has popped up on this site. I remember those stupid accusations when someone said aneke should be converted to a DM. Now look what wenger was trying to do… turn him into a defender LMAO

      1. You miss my point. I’m comparing the reactions to the hype that Wilshere and Zelalem received. By mentioning that Wilshere got more hype you actually in a way prove my point. He did get a lot more hype when he broke through, and by the logic that’s been applied by people who think Zelalem is over-hyped Wilshere should have received equal amounts of trepidation if not more from fans. Yet he didn’t, and not nearly the same amount that Zelalem has even though, as we’ve stated, Wilshere got more hype. So what explains the disparity in the two reactions? two simply put it down to performance would be too easy. Good performances in Preseason, no matter who you’re playing, is not the same as good performances in the regular season. And once again, given that Wilshere performed so well he should have been met with even more anxious fans weary of over-hyping him before he’d proven himself week in and week out; and since you claim that Zelalem hasn’t had the same kind of impact against tougher opponents there really should be no reason why fans should be already claiming that he’s been over hyped because, by your logic and standard (the one we gave Wilshere), he hasn’t. So, I pose the question once again, why is he receiving more backlash than Wilshere did?

      2. Really not difficult to understand this. WILSHERE EARNED THE HYPE, thats why there was less reaction against it. Im gonna turn the race card around now, wilshere has to put up with the “oh they only rate him because hes English” bollocks, zelalem doesn’t face that accusation

  7. I took my 3 and 6 year old to this game, my 3 year old said “dad they are not good enough to wear the shirt” sums it up really from a 3 year old

    1. Are you hinting that was a race issue???? Well I can assure it was for one reason and one reason only. … he was utter tripe.

  8. If it helps your debate the Colchester team had two senior pros, Mark Cousins in goal and the 22-y-o Josh Thompson at centre back, and two 18-y-os, Alex Gilbey & Drey Wright, with more than a token 1st team appearance.

    Goalkeeper Senior pro 2nd choice
    Fullbacks 19-y-o with 1 FL sub appearance & 17-y-o with no 1st team involvement
    Centre Backs 22-y-o senior pro and 19-y-o Chelsea loanee with no FL experience
    Midfield 20-y-o with one FL sub appearance, 18-y-o with no 1st team experience and an 18-y-o with half a dozen FL games and 10 in the Conference.
    Wingers 18-y-o 1st team squad member and 18-y-o with no 1st team involvement.
    Centre Forward 20-y-o with 4 FL sub appearances
    Subs 4 x 19s and 1 x u18 no 1st team involvement between them

  9. I’m a Colchester fan and we were laying almost exclusively our u21 side. The exceptions were our back-up goalkeeper Mark Cousins and central defender Josh Thompson. The rest of the side are all u21 eligible and most of them play in the u21 side development squad. I think it’s a testament to how good the Colchester youth set-up has gotten now that we can field such a controlling side. Drey Wright and Alex Gilbey will be regular first team starters in no time (possibly this season) and I suggest that bigger teams like Arsenal will be looking to add them to their set-ups. The U’s pretty much dominated the game from start to finish. It was really all won in the midfield, where Arsenal struggled to keep the ball or sustain any pressure.

    There were a couple of bright sparks for the Arsenal side though I thought. Your right-back Bellerin was solid and looks to have a bright future and Akpom was lively but lacked any service from his team-mates. On the other hand I thought Tafari Moore was AWFUL, Drey Wright abused him all night and none of your central midfielders should ever be seen on an EPL pitch, they just clearly don’t have the quality.

    I was pretty shocked to be honest. You would’ve thought they got the shirts mixed up with the way Colchester were keeping the ball. I’ve never seen any Arsenal team, youth or senior, pass the ball so poorly. Looks like you might need a coaching change or something.

    …Anyway good luck for the season lads.

  10. Tbh being a youth player at arsenal at this time it’s pretty obvious they’ll be subject to increased scrutiny than their predecessors. Ive said this before but conversely if there was a potential superstar who’s initial performances were by chance pathetic they would ironically be judged with lenience as a consequence of the fact that we spent £30mil+ on them. Similarly if wenger gets 3rd with the current set up his position will be untenable whereas if he splurges and gets 3rd it is more probable he will be given another chance.
    That’s pretty much the state of football these days. Players value trophies and cash regardless of club, fans value trophies and glory regardless of the character of the players who helped achieve the goals (their professed loyalty or humility doesn’t count unless they perform) etc. I used to get into these arguments a lot at one point. Now I just give my opinion on players performances and enjoy them when they’re on the pitch. It’s supposed to be entertainment afterall not egos and glory. I don’t have an opinion on clubs management etc anymore and I think it’s better that way even if ppl say I’m not ambitious enough or don’t care for the club. Obviously I’m making a general statement there are exceptions. I won’t deny I supported arsenal bcse they were successful but now I can’t imagine supporting another club but if I was to be reintroduced to football I may have chosen a ‘smaller’ club.

    1. “Untenable”? “Anothert chance”? Funny!

      You do understand that its more like the club needs to convince Wenger that they will spend money from here on out? He remains in demand, widely respected outside of the clueless English prress and no longer of an age where he is interested in rebuilding projects. Its up to the club now to convince him that they can financially match his ambitions.

      Also you need to go and add up how much money Chelsea has spend to be in 3rd place two season in a row. Or how much Man City spent to be a distant 2nd place last year. That’s “untenable” money – spending 50 million on Suarez would not be even a quarter or that cost.

      1. Don’t misunderstand man. I actually support wenger but by and large what I’ve mentioned is general fan perception. Can’t be bothered arguing about boardroom matters anymore though. With regards to the untenable comment that’s just my opinion though it may last till the end of next season. May be wrong!

      2. Was referring to wengers club status ofcourse. With regards to cash yeah..obiously the two you’ve mentioned are obvious but fact is lots of clubs finances are untenable but that’s precisely my point: the cash has seen football undergo a drastic transformation hence current attitude.

      3. The amounts of money being spent by the top 3 in England mean that no top coach will take the Arsenal job with a remit of winning the title here, unless they are giving quite significant amouts of money to spend. More than even the numbers being bandied about for Arsenal’s budget this summer.

        If you want to see Micheal Laudrup coming here to pad his CV and then get fired in 9-12months, fine. But short of that as an objective, Wenger’s position is not untenable, as if we have big money to spend then he would be just as capable if given that amount of money.

        Looking at what’s been going on this summer its fairly clear that the purse strings are not as wide open as Gasdis implies.

        Meanwhile the fans are already lighting into a kid like Zelalem who could grow into a huge weapon for the club already by next year if given the right coaching and some support from the fans? Wow….

      4. keep in mind city got A LOT more fanbase now a days. Its not only an investment for the #1 spot of the league. Its for the future too. They won the league and one more title I think. Chelsea was way behind us in fanbase and status world wide. They won the CL, something we never have done before. They won the league more times than us the last 10 years. Qualify for the CL gives you 35M. Spending 50M on Suarez seems insane but we are spending because he is a player that has the potential to win us the titles. We have been very very naive for thinking we can win the league with what we have. All teams got dips sometimes but we seems to have it constantly. Thats because our qualities are shit. Some of our players in some years would have never been in any title challenge teams. Talking about the first 5 years of walcott, the first 3 years of Ramsey, the first 2 years of flamini and so on. We need ready made players of talent who are ready for it. Not a team full of potential leavers

    2. “their professed loyalty or humility doesn’t count unless they perform”
      agree 100%……
      just like u i try not 2 think about whats going around….
      just try 2 enjoy our game…cheer 4 the 11 men on the field……
      but the hard thing is….ITS BLOODY TOUGH NOT 2 THINK OF THOSE…….
      and neither can i stop supporting my beloved arsenal…come what may happen……

  11. This was nowhere near a Colchester 1st team, it was all youth and a couple of reserves. Mightily impressed with how Colchester completely dismantled this Arsenal side with such ease. I was always under the impression that out of all the top clubs in England Arsenal were one of the best with kids. Clearly not.

  12. Too many foreign players. Arsenal youth policy is a disgraceful example or affirmative action. It is Wenger writ large. He’s like a slaver bringing over players from all corners of the globe. None of them ever make it. His record is stupendously bad. It is appalling. Don’t blame Gatting. This dreadful failure sits at the door of Wenger and Wenger alone.

    1. First the hyperbole about “slavery” in the Arsenal talent recruiting system is way out of place. In fact what you are doing is denigrating real issues of slavery by using such wild language about teenagers that earn more in a month than some Arsenal players make in a year and are free to come and go, as guys like Ebecilio and Nortveidt have chosen to do.

      Second, England’s record at U21 level underlines the fact that if anything English clubs are indulging too many mediocre young English players. They benefit from the English affirmative action program known as the “work permit” process, which keeps many young talents from coming here. if not for this process, many good non-EU players, such as Angel Di Maria or Yaya Toure for example, would be in an Arsenal jersey today!

      Meanwhile the overwhelming majority of the young English players from the Arsenal system who do not make it here, do not make it elsewhere either, which underlines that the club’s judgement was correct. They either didnt have sufficient talent (eg Hoyte, Eastmond, Lansbury) or the right work attitude (eg Emmanuel Thomas, Pennant, Bentley) and sometimes they lacked both.

      There is no god-given right to a job at Arsenal for English players, not any more than they have a right to a job at their local Tesco – unless they earn it. If for example players have all the resources they have here and they cant pass the ball vs Colchester, well what do you want? We should field them in the premeirship anyway.

      More of them should go to the continent or even latin America and develop their game competitively at leagues that are far better suited to Premiership playing styles than what goes in the reserves, the “Championship” or the “Football League”. That experience in those leagues is actually what puts foreign players at at advantage in becoming better candidates for premiership clubs.

      There are a few that maybe are just in the right place at the wrong time eg Bartley, Meade, who IMO will be premiership players, but just wasnt a place for them at the time they were ready to play. That’s no crime.

      1. They just got destroyed by a Colchester team made up of entirely English players. It was effectively their equivalent youth set up. The proof is there for all but the most blinkered to see. Arsenal are an English club that should be beholden to develop English players. They do after all operate in an English league financed largely by English fans. English players clearly aren’t getting a look in at a club like Arsenal which is why English players take great pleasure in trouncing them playing for ‘lower’ league clubs that still maintain some sense of national pride. Arsenal fc are no longer a community club. They represent everything corporate and bland and corrupt (notice their tie-up with a human rights abusing Vietnamese company HAGL) Look back at Bradford last season to see how that transfers to the first team level. This is clearly not a level playing field despite your protestations. Wenger is turning this club into his own little vassal state operated like a dictatorship. He has done immeasurable damage to this club. He inherited the best players. He promised he would go if his youth policy failed. It has failed by any measurement. If you look at the cup competitions every year the lower league teams regularly hold their own against the much vaunted foreign dominated premiership big boys. This is globalisation writ large and it is enforced because the premier league has been taken over by foreign money. It relies on English fool supporters who will accept anything and ‘foreign’ surrender monkey internet supporting wannabes who have more than likely never appeared at a game to maintain the charade. It has reached the stage that removing Wenger will not be enough. Wholesale changes are needed to the English game that will never be pursued.

      2. Sorry, but again the English U21 and U18 teams show no evidence of this flood of world-beating talent that you speak of.

      3. @ajp Globalization is happening whether you like it or not. England is no longer just for Englishmen, just as Europe is no longer just for Europeans. Arsenal, along with practically all top clubs both in England and in Europe, recruit foreign player because this is the 21st century and with the advances in travel and communication that have been made it makes no sense to limit your talent pool to one island. And of course Arsenal is no longer a community club. There are these things called TV and Internet that allow practically anyone living anywhere in the world to follow the happenings of a football club in a tiny island in the Atlantic. That’s the reality of the fucking world you conservative reactionary prick! Secondly, you quite clearly don’t understand what Wenger has done for this club. You claim that he’s ruined it? By this i’m assuming you mean that Arsenal, before Wenger, was a massive club, one of the biggest not only in England but all over the world. Well that’s clearly just false. The Arsenal name that we all recognize now, the one that’s able to attract a massive following in the Far East, that’s rated as the 4th most valuable football club in the world, and the 9th most valuable sports club overall, that Arsenal is only possible because of one man. He saw where this game was going in the mid 90s and put us on a course to be at the forefront, so show some respect for someone who knows far more about the game and the “club you love” more than you ever will.

    2. @AJP…. your comment about this being on wenger is utterly ridiculous and you are the type of fan that we do not want at our club. I mean where do I begin. Did Wenger hire him? Did he choose his line up? I mean this dummy of a coach played with no DM in a swing pivot 4-2-3-1 system when technically you should have two or at least two defensively sound players CM in that role. Then to compound matters you play bensebaini who is playing for the second time, next to moore who is nowhere near arsenal material. You play zelalem in a withdrawn role when he is slight in stature and is better as an Attacking midfielder. You then have the nerve to play iwobi as the supply man in the middle??? That boy could be be 2cm from the striker and hit the corner flag with his attempt at a through pass. I mean come off it. It doesn’t cease to amaze me what pathetic fans like you would blame Wenger for. The truth is Gatting has no clue what he is doing. His selections are piss poor, his in game coaching decisions are just as poor and to compound matters he does not learn from his mistakes. Wenger cant spoon feed him so come off it mate.

      1. Side note to your comments, I agree with most of them. That said, must point out that part of the job in youth football is experimentation and learning other roles than the primary one.

        As such Zelalem could have been deliberately played deeper in midfield on instructions from the senior coaches, who may for example think he should learn by experience what the midfielders who would support him as a playmaker are thinking and needing from him.

        Also cannot rule out that Zelalem is being considered by the first team coaches to be potentially a Xavi or Gundogan type who is cast as a deeper lying playmaker
        – in addition to making the spectacular killer passes, he was very good at making good decisions on simpler passes needed for team structure and completing them at a high rate.
        – Yes he is slight, but is still 5 10 or 5 11 at age 16 and his frame will almost certainly fill out as time goes on. Fabregas is for example much more sturdy now than the waif he was at 16 or 17.
        – also Zelalem has a very efficient motion. He covers a lot of ground quite easily and can dominate a lot of space in the middle of the field.

        So overall, I wouldn’t say it would be a crazy idea to field him deeper. He could develop well there too.

        In fact if you count Wilshere’s standing and still very young age, it would be smart of Arsenal to make sure Zelalem is equipped to be play more roles at first team level than just playmaker.

        However the key as a youth team coach is you cant do all your experimenation or development on everyone all at once, you have to have a core structure then rotate through a limited amount of chopping and changing. And you really dont want to put your kids through too much experimentation and damage their confidence with a bad loss as a result of the over-tinkering.

  13. Jeorge, is Gnabry injured? He played against Napoli, but not Gala or City and neither against Colchester like other first team hopefuls Akpom, Eisfeld, Zelalem, Hayden did. I was hoping he would be on the bench in our opener against Villa, but worried he might be injured !?!

      1. AHA!😀 cool, then there is a good chance of seeing him on Saturday, I think, from what I can calculate then there are space for 2 youngster on the bench, best bets Gnabry and Hayden I reckon, the latter due to lack of defensive cover. How long will Sanogo and Ryo be sidelined approx.?

  14. 1: So its all foreign players fault, ok col there was 16 aresnal players on da day, 10 of them was English, 5 started and 4 come on so can some 1 explain that. 2: Da problem that arsenal have in da youth level is that there’s no out and out DM, all da midfielders r all boxtobox or cam. Go and check da chelsea youth team they’ve burt all best DM around in last 3 year in youth level both English and foreign, they have a 17 old boy there that on 970k a year.

  15. For me its not so much losing against teams containing full pro’s but the lack of direction on the pitch the team seems to be showing (from reading Jorge’s reports). There seems to be a lack of any type of system that was there when Benfield and Bould were in charge regardless of what players are on the pitch.

    In the past i have heard or read bits of criticism/rumors/fallout’s on the youth coaching set up at arsenal over the last 5 years on social media such as certain people were getting jobs because they are mates with Brady or Court rather than getting the job through proven reputation. These comments were always laughed off at the time due to the youth teams doing well and players breaking 1st team but now it seems that some of these criticisms may have some truth to it.

    Stewart Robson is someone i cannot stand but i believe he was also one of the high profile people who questioned certain things in the youth setup. Maybe some of the things he has said is right.

    1. Gatting is coming from U16 football. He is now in charge of U21 which is a much much higher step up. This is preseason and its most likely an even higher level than in the U21 league. After this season or during half of it we will know for sure if Gatting and Laraman are the coaches for our youth teams. Arsenals U16 teams and below always do great. Always one of the best in the country, but when U18 and above we suddenly drop in quality.

      We shouldn’t be dropping in U18 level when only a few players are given the chance to keep their career at Arsenal. Our strikers and midfielders we bring in are suppose to be very very good but I don’t know why Austin Lipman isn’t scoring as much when his finishing are actually pretty good. Hopefully the strikers learn how to score goals and not only link up well.

  16. Re. Zelalem, u need to realise that he had travelled to Finland for the mancity game,
    he was tired. the kid is only sixteen. am sure he was not even fully fit to start the game.

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