Hayden impresses in disappointing Arsenal defeat

It was a frustrating game for Arsenal as they failed to break down a well-organised New York Red Bulls side today, but one player to emerge with credit from the disappointing 1-0 friendly defeat was Isaac Hayden.

The 19 year old, who formed an unorthodox central-defensive partnership with Nacho Monreal in the first-half, made several important interventions during his 45 minutes on the pitch as he staked his claim to be the club’s fourth choice in that position for the new campaign.

Chuba Akpom, who was rather surprisingly left out of the starting line-up, showed some neat touches after the interval but failed to get on the scoresheet, whilst Damian Martinez was assured in goal as he looks to finally earn promotion to the senior squad this Summer.

Hayden was the only member of the U21 squad to start in the first-half as Arsene Wenger opted for a rather bizarre formation that included no orthodox striker; Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla alternating up front.

Wojciech Szczesny made an impressive save to deny Thierry Henry a dream goal in the opening stages, with Santi Cazorla, who was making his first appearance of pre-season, responding by shooting just wide at the other end.

Gedion Zelalem, stationed primarily on the right flank, struggled to have much influence on proceedings, and much of Arsenal’s play seemed a little too intricate at times, which wasn’t exactly surprising given the number of midfielders on show.

Abject defending from a corner enabled Bradley Wright-Phillips to score what would prove to be the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time, although the introduction of Akpom did at least mean that Arsenal had a recognised striker on the field after the break.

Hector Bellerin and Ignasi Miquel also received run-outs, although neither of the Spaniards were posed too many problems defensively, whilst Bellerin was unable to venture into the attacking third very often given the resilience of the opposition.

The remaining two youngsters, Jon Toral and Kristoffer Olsson, were introduced during the second-half, although neither was especially influential.

A trip to Austria and then the Emirates Cup are the next assignments for Wenger’s side, and it will be interesting to see which youngsters remain with the squad over the next week. Martinez, despite the impending arrival of David Ospina, seems likely to be named as third-choice goalkeeper, whilst the confident Hayden has barely put a foot wrong so far this pre-season.

The situation is more complicated for Bellerin, given the expected acquisition of Calum Chambers, whilst Olsson and Toral may be limited to Capital One Cup appearances this season. For Akpom, things are still undecided, but, despite his obvious technical qualities, the 18 year old is still in need of a loan to a Championship side. Miquel, meanwhile, has a lot of experience for a 21 year old, but Hayden appears to be the more intriguing prospect.




  1. Thought that Miguel had a pretty good game winning the ball and made a few good passes out of the back. Coqualin had a good game. Akpom seems very ready for the show, ready to leave U21 behind.
    Regardless of whom we bring in, I hope that Hayden, Miguel, Coqualin and Akpom get good chances with the first team.
    Bellerin, Toral, Olsson and Gnaby might do well to go on loans to good teams where they get proper playing time, not like the loans we have been having lately.

    1. I have been arguing that all years long. He is not physically ready. He is too easily bullied and pushed away from possession. He also has a tendency to dally on the ball rather than taking people on. When played on the right of midfield, he will always make a pass back to either the right back or a centre midfield whose run is blocked. He may be learning, but on the right his passing ability is wasted. When played in the middle of the park, unless he has a strong defensive midfielder behind him he quite often put his own team in danger. Especially when even at U21 he is played as a deep laying midfielder. Lose the ball there and the opposition is straight through to the centre of defense.
      Against New-York Red Bull, he was more than useless, he was dangerous for the team. Ineffective going forward and losing possession in dangerous place. TH14 who now plays in midfield in a kind of quarterback role, kept bumping him off the ball and then try to thread a ball to Bradley Wright-Philips or cross to Tim Cahill.
      The problem is that people want him to succeed and refuse to accept the facts. IMHO, he needs at least one year playing U21 football and going to the gym/swimming pool every day for 1 hour plus then 1 year on loan at a passing Championship or lower tier premiership team.
      Arsène Wenger is the biggest culprit in cultivating that hype. Zelalem should not be near the first team right now. Willock and Crowley have been more impressive than him. They both look like they could play in a lower league team. Zelalem does not.

      1. Wenger has never hyped Zelalem. Also you forget that first team role was the promise that got his signature, so obviously Wenger has to keep his word.

  2. A very dull match, glad I streamed and didn’t pay the £30 to watch on premier. Wenger really should have took afobe along for this one, i thought he was going to play the false 9, but he clearly doesn’t know how to change from his 4231 or is too scared/stubborn to do so. Instead he used rosicky or cazorla as a 9 when afobe could have done a far better job.
    Obviously beniks time at the club is coming to a close, which is a real shame, he showed real promise until his main injury, unfortunately unlike Ramsey, rvp, sagna afobe has not come back well, instead he has declined like vermaelen, eduardo and one or two others. I just hope that diaby, Walcott, wilshire and chamberlain can comeback like ramsey, if they do we will have 4 outstanding players.

    Let’s not be disappointed about the result, however united beating galaxy 7-0 and us losing 1-0 is a little worrying as galaxy are not worse than nyrb.

    1. This was our first test on a decent level. We played with kids and players not in their real position. How many kids did United play with? They are playing in a more competitive preseason friendlies while this is only our warm up. When emirates cup is over then you can start worrying. Worry with lots of kids in it.. most of them will not play a single minute in the first team and even if they do, they will only play 10-15 min at most and in situation we most likely don’t need them that much. Thats the reality. We still got like 10 first team players out. and I am talking about world class players. This was nothing really. Could have won the game and we was for sure the better team. This is more like a show for the scouts watching our kids. Hopefully some of them goes on loan and show what they are made of.

      1. @job

        Please don’t tell me when I can worry! I have been worrying about my club for 45 years now, I will worry about arsenal like I worry about my kids until the day I die. Nothing will change that especially your opinions.

        Even if we win the quadruple this season I will worry all next summer how we are going to retain it.

  3. Hopefully Akpom’s performance has put paid that he should be ahead of Sanogo. He was lively, but you could see that decent but not great defenders would just be able to handle him. The New-York Red Bull defenders were roughing him up without really breaking the law of the game and that clearly rattled him. He had no answers to their treatment.
    Sanogo may not have Akpom’s technique, but he would have been the one doing the roughing up. Akpom needs one loan to be more street wise and learn to handle himself in a real competitive game. Game where people will push, shove, cheat and sneak on you.

    1. I also thought Akpom looked good. He reminds me a lot of Remy. I hope he goes to Holland or something because championship and EPL is some of the worse place to be loan at. Really man our records has been really bad.

  4. JB – did you manage to find out if ryo and campbell are homegrown or non-homegrown? If they are non-homegrown then we are on our limit 17,

    Also just wondered how our a list and b lists are shaping up for the champions league qualifiers? If I am right we have to.submit those lists on the 11th August.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s