Yennaris could return as Arsenal U21s prepare to face Fulham

Arsenal’s youngsters have already made comfortable progression in one cup competition this week, and the U21 side will be looking to do likewise when they travel to Motspur Park to play Fulham in the U21 Premier League Cup tomorrow evening.

A Benik Afobe goal was enough to see Steve Gatting’s side edge past Norwich City in the last round but Gatting will be all too aware that Fulham will provide a considerable obstacle given that they are top of the U21 Premier League at present having remained unbeaten in their eleven fixtures so far this season.

The two sides played out a goalless draw when they met in the league in late September, but Arsenal named something of a shadow side on that occasion, with their line-up for tomorrow’s fixture set to be considerably stronger.

Nico Yennaris, for instance, could feature having returned from a rather frustrating five-week loan spell with Bournemouth. Despite making the bench on several occasions, Yennaris didn’t play a single minute of competitive football for the Championship side and may well head out on loan again before the end of the month.

There have been murmurings in some quarters that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who hasn’t featured since August because of injury, could make his long-awaited comeback against Fulham, whilst Emmanuel Frimpong and Ryo may also be involved.

Several members of the side who helped to dispatch of Peterborough United in the FA Youth Cup on Monday may also be called upon here, with Chuba Akpom poised to remain at the club for the next couple of weeks at least after his proposed loan move to Brentford was put on hold due to the club’s lack of options up front.

With numerous scouts set to be in attendance, a positive performance tomorrow could help the likes of Afobe and Thomas Eisfeld secure loan moves, whilst Matt Macey, who has been largely impressive in goal since joining from Bristol Rovers earlier this season, is set to receive another run-out.

The main player to keep an eye on in terms of the opposition is Swedish striker Muamer Tankovic, who has scored eight goals at U21 level so far this season.




  1. Hmmm. Chuba’s loan move now reportedly back on for the weekend.

    Seeing as how he was held back because of a shortage of options due to injuries, and none of those injuries have healed, might this be an indication we are close to a deal for someone?

    Otherwise it’s a case of unimpressive dithering.

    Hopefully Jebb will be involved tomorrow. It’s understandable how keen they are to develop those special 16 year olds, but would be a mistake not to pay close attention to someone like Jebb.

    1. Chuba is not good for EPL and in any senior competition of the highest level yet. It does not mean we are close to sign anyone. Giroud will be back next week. In case we really really really need a striker Park is better than Akpom by far. Park is an international and someone who was the captain of Monaco in league 1. He might not be good enough for our first team but he is better than Akpom for sure.

      I have no idea what happened with Sanogo. He is also someone who is better than Akpom. Afobe is back too and is also better than Akpom. If we can sign Alvaro Morata from real madrid that would be great.

      1. Don’t know how you have arrived at the opinion Afobe, Sanogo and Park are better options than Chubs at this time, but you are wrong.
        Park, disillusioned, unfit and unhappy, v a hungry young footballer with talent and everything to prove? No contest.
        Sanogo is injured, thus not an option.
        Afobe is still on the comeback from injury. Barely played and struggling for fitness, not an option at all.

      2. Park unfit? He train with the first team all the time. Looks very very happy in training and he got everything to prove. VS Akpom he is a real option while Akpom is only young and eager. If you seriously think Akpom is really going to get a chance for the first team when we are trying to win the league and CL then lets see how many EPL teams he will play for straight away on loan. because he will not play in the first team when we have everything to win for.

        Just to make a comparison… Afobe played in league 1 and a bit in championship while still 18-19 years old. Wellbeck played in EPL team and United while still very very young. Chamberlain and Gnabry is now playing first team football and was 18-19 when they begun doing so. Is Akpom anything close to what those players have got?

        Just think about it. If Akpom really would have been an option for us, don’t you think he would have been training regularly with the first team like Gnabry is doing? Training is the first step and easiest step before playing any matches for the team. He has not been involved that much. And honestly I don’t think he is THAT good either. Lets see what he can do on loan before we make him to a superstar, firing us to the EPL, FA cup and CL title. I have seen Ansah play many times and trust me without the injuries Ansah would have been a really good player for us.

      3. Training does not equal games. Park is not fit, barely played competitive football for 2 years.
        Afobe is not fit, has barely played in the last year and when he has he has missed the next two weeks with strains. Sanogo will have the same issues Afobe is having. Neither are a short term option.

        No-one is talking about Akpom firing us to trophies. How irrational was that comment? We are talking about the very short term, in a game v a 3rd tier side and a possible bench warm.

        None of these players will be required in the first team for league games. Have some rationality about yourself. Giroud and Podolski, then Bendtner in 3 weeks, will be the first options. These four have very little chance of involvement.

        And Akpom HAS been training a fair amount with the first team, but between a youth cup game and a reserve game he will be with the youngers.

      4. “barely played competitive football for 2 years”? He played 21 games in La Liga last year, mostly as a starter. Also as a South Korean fan, Park is known for his work rate and professionalism both on and off the field. His biggest weakness, which the Korean media constantly have speculated is probably the reason Wenger doesn’t use him, is that he is a very uncreative, rigid thinking player on the field – which isn’t suited to Wenger’s free-flowing style which gives players a lot of freedom, especially attackers, and not much structured tactical guidance.

        This obviously limits how effective he can be in the EPL or CL, but as an emergency attacking option and potential cup player, I don’t think it would be that crazy for him to get some minutes. After all if we really rated him below even Akpom and Afobe, why bother to keep him on the squad at all? We already wrote his contract off on the financial statements so it’s clearly not related to money.

      5. You seems to think the lower league teams are weak. We are in a very good competition still. if you only talk about the FA cup then throw in Afobe with more matches on his back. It is more likely Afobe or Sanogo will be those players to play in the league too if they are good enough in those competitions.

        You seems to go only by reputations too. I have seen Akpom play and he is barely league 1 quality. You are talking about playing him upfront. Well then it make sense to think he should be damn good for the U21 and youth cup too right? I have seen Akpom play a couple of times and I am not convince he is that good yet.

        Afobe on the other hand alongside Sanogo is proven to be good. Afobe has been fine a few weeks or months now. You think he will be injured as fast as he play for the first team….. Now how stupid is that? What if he play 20 min and score 2 goals within those minutes? What will you say then? It was all wrong to play Afobe? FA cup vs Coventry is not a simple task to take lightly when we are suppose to win it.

        As I said lets see what wenger do. if Akpom play ahead of Park, afobe and sanogo then you had right about this one. if any of them 3 are playing ahead of Akpom which is pretty obvious they will since Akpom only play vs U18 and some U21 players.

        For me it is clear Akpom cannot play for any Championship team yet because he is not good enough. Afobe, Park and Sanogo clearly can. Altough Park hasn’t play in any competitions yet he is involved with the first team and will probably do a descent job vs Coventry anyway. Do you think he forgot all his experience when he play matches or what? While Akpom needs to think and find the experience when he play for the first time in a real competitions? Just think about it.

        Akpom playing in the FA cup means exactly that he should be the one firing us to trophies! What the hell do you think that means if he is playing??? having fun on the pitch? Again Park is an international and was the captain on Monaco. He seems very very fit and training regularly with the first team every day makes you a better player. probably better than playing vs U18 and U21 games for sure. I never said Akpom hasn’t been with the first team, I said he is not with the first team regularly even though we are lacking strikers. Its a damn long time between youth and U21 games! Man you are coming with stupid excuses. The first team are training 4-5 times a week with 2 training sessions every time. There are room for him to train with the first team like a few others has done. We are lacking strikers and he is not even training regularly with the first team. Afobe, Sanogo and Park is when they are fit.

      6. Akpom would be getting soiid playing time at more than half the clubs in the premiership. I would think he would even be seeing playing time from the bench if he were at Southampton or Everton. Not as a central striker, but a lot of clubs would put him out wide and let him work from there, the same way Villa have used Agbonlahor for a long time or how Wenger used Bendtner in his earlier years. Would not underrate that kid.

      7. David Smith… 8 starts is hardly a sign that Park started games regularly. Misguided belief. He barely played and when he did he was shocking.
        Jom, playing against a league 1 side is not ‘shooting a club to glory’, it is a very small step.
        Why do you fail to acknowledge Afobe isn’t fit? He plays a game then suffers niggles. He isn’t 100% for the reserves and it would be an absolute joke if we expected him to go out and face a first team in his condition. Plus you keep suggesting he has proved himself in the championship? He was poor for Bolton, and had one good game for Millwall before injury. Massively overhyping him.
        Sanogo is not fit so why we keep mentioning him is beyond me.

  2. From what Wenger said earlier Sanogo is now back in training. It could be that Arsène considers him to be ready for the FA Cup game against Coventry and act as understudy for the remainder of January and February. Bentdner’s expected return is in February. All that lessen the need for Akpom.
    It may also signal that Afobe is now fully fit and may be given a chance ahead of Akpom.

    Park could replace Walcott on the wing, but in no way can he play the lone striker upfront. He does not have the physicality (height, body strength, …) nor the cute movement around the box to do it. He may have stamina, but he also lacks very quick pace. I would think that Gnabry and when fully fit the Ox are better options on the right wing than Park. And upfront on his own, Afobe may even be a better option.

  3. If Sanogo can play then let him play. I think Afobe is a damn good option too. I never said lone striker Park though. I believe we have enough quality to change formation and have Park alongside cazorla upfront. Cazorla is a false striker and will move around a lot upfront or we have Podolski. I don’t think Park is good enough on the wings and Gnabry is definitely worth playing.

    If we do play lone striker then Sanogo and Afobe are two options. But we move around a lot in the midfield and we do put in more bodies upfront when we attack this season. I am pretty sure Podolski will play upfront while Gnabry on the wings for the most part. Chamberlain will probably need to have 3-4 weeks before coming back to his best.
    If we get Morata or someone else then we have the titles in our hands.
    If we are going to buy then this is the time to get the players we need. After WC the players will be much more expensive.

  4. it seems we have a glut of strikers that we don’t trust enough to play…what’s that about?

    bendtner, park, sanogo, afobe, akpom…

    surely wenger has to start using at least one of these guys a bit more, if only to give giroud a rest. even park could be worth a goal a game with our midfield playing him in. bendtner is for sure.

    re: yennaris, i think this kid can be every bit as good as say, flamini, in the fullness of time. i really hope he gets a chance to prove his worth.

  5. If there are scouts there I hope eisfeld is impressive because it’s about time he went on loan. He’s about to turn 21and only has a few rare appearances to show for it

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