Youngsters pondering next step following Capital One Cup exit

Arsenal’s run in the Capital One Cup came to an unusually early end at the hands of Chelsea at the Fourth Round stage last night, with the game also notable for the fact that no players from outside the first-team squad entered the pitch at any stage.

Isaac Hayden and Nico Yennaris were unused substitutes, the latter returning to the first-team fold following his recent injury problems, but the likes of Chuba Akpom, Kristoffer Olsson and Hector Bellerin were left out entirely, whilst Thomas Eisfeld joined his compatriot Serge Gnabry in missing out through injury.

In many ways it was not surprising that Arsene Wenger elected to field such a strong side given the calibre of the opposition, but, now that Arsenal’s participation in the competition is over for another year, it will be interesting to see what the next steps will be for some of the aforementioned youngsters.

Barring a severe injury crisis, none of them (other than Gnabry who is already part of the first-team squad) are likely to compete for a regular place in the team before Christmas, with each fixture in the Premier League and Champions League of paramount importance. There are a whole host of fixtures to fulfil at youth level, with Arsenal competing in the U21 Premier League, the U21 Premier League Cup and the UEFA Youth League, but some players, Yennaris and Eisfeld in particular, would benefit greatly from a loan spell at a Championship or League One club.

Eisfeld will be 21 in January, and, although he scored a well-taken goal against West Bromwich Albion in the last round of the Capital One Cup, the German has just two senior appearances to his name. Yennaris, meanwhile, has found his progress halted by injury, and, whereas he once found himself on the cusp of the first-team squad, he now faces a battle to prolong his stay at the club beyond this season, with his contract due to expire in the summer.

Olsson, Bellerin and Akpom, the latter especially, all have a little more time on their side, but will still have been disappointed not to have been involved last night. Carl Jenkinson’s indifferent performances of late could open the door for Bellerin, but it is questionable whether the Spaniard is ready for the intensity of first-team football.

There was one positive to emerge from last night’s Capital One Cup action from an Arsenal perspective in the form of Ignasi Miquel, the central defender who was amongst the goalscorers as Leicester City progressed to the next round of the competition with a 4-3 victory over Fulham. The Spaniard has struggled to earn a place in the Leicester side in the Championship, but was impressive last night and will be hopeful that his loan side will enjoy a lengthy run in the competition.




  1. Little off topic but Jeorge, when are zelalem and crowley due to be back? And will zelalem go straight to the 1st team training?

  2. I would like to see us retain the younger players so that they can play in all the youth competitions but those born, 1994 or earlier and not currently forcing their way into the first team squad should all be considered for loan, including park and fabianski. I am sure bendtner and viviano can do just as good a job as them at the moment, but I would certainly look towards all these heading out as under 21 is now a bit below them, if they want to force there way into the first team picture

    Emmanuel Frimpong
    Carl Jenkinson
    Daniel Boateng
    Ryo Miyaichi
    Thomas Eisfeld
    Yaya Sanogo
    Benik Afobe
    Nicholas Yennaris
    Semi Ajayi
    Zak Ansah
    Matthew Macey
    Anthony Jeffrey
    Zac Fagan

    obviously jenkinson, frimpong, sanogo and miyaichi are all in the first team, but I believe that there are younger players currently better than them. bellerin hayden, akpom and gnabry for example. all can play in all the youth tournaments and are currently more likely to get a call to the first team

    Tomas Rosicky
    Mikel Arteta
    Bacary Sagna
    Mathieu Flamini
    Per Mertesacker
    Santiago Cazorla
    Lukas Podolski
    Laurent Koscielny
    Thomas Vermaelen
    Emiliano Viviano
    Nacho Monreal
    Abou Diaby
    Olivier Giroud
    Nicklas Bendtner
    Mesut Ozil
    Theo Walcott
    Kieran Gibbs
    Wojciech Szczesny
    Aaron Ramsey
    Jack Wilshere
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Jon Toral Harper
    Dejan Iliev
    Hector Bellerin
    Isaac Hayden
    Kristoffer Olsson
    Serge Gnabry
    Jack Jebb
    Chuba Akpom
    Leander Siemann
    Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill
    Gedian Zelalem
    Josh Vickers
    Austin Lipman
    Tarum Dawkins
    Alfred Mugabo
    Glen Kamara
    Arinse Uade
    Alex Iwobi
    Renny Smith
    Elliot Wright
    Jamaal Raage
    Stefan O’Connor
    Julio Pleguezuelo
    Ryan Huddart
    Tafari Moore
    Daniel Crowley
    Ainsley Maitland-Niles

    That’s not a bad 48 man squad to tackle the remaining tournaments. whilst getting some of our players out there gaining experience will surely be a bonus

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