Miquel, Akpom and Zelalem feature as Arsenal lose to Monaco

There were fewer youngsters on show today as Arsenal missed out on winning the Emirates Cup as they lost 1-0 to Monaco.

Arsenal lacked some of the flair that was on display in their comprehensive win over Benfica yesterday, with a comparatively experienced side creating little in the way of clear-cut chances.

Monaco pounced upon some slack defending to score what proved to the only goal of the game, with Falcao finding the net in the 37th minute.

Things marginally improved for Arsene Wenger’s side after the interval, with Alexis Sanchez moving into the central-striker position, but Monaco proved to be a resilient unit.

Ignasi Miquel was introduced at the start of the second-half in place of Calum Chambers, but the Spaniard wasn’t especially impressive. He came close to scoring, as he did yesterday, but was also booked for a clumsy challenge and, despite his aerial presence, the 21 year old doesn’t seem a reliable option at the heart of the defence.

The decision to introduce Miquel was rendered all the more baffling by the fact that Isaac Hayden remained on the bench throughout. Hayden, who wasn’t even named in the squad yesterday, appears a considerably better prospect, although, for whatever reason, it seems that Miquel is still rated ahead of him for now.

There were late run-outs for Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem and both players made something of an impact during their short time on the field. Zelalem, evoking memories of his performances during last year’s Asia Tour, unlocked the Monaco defence with a precise pass. Akpom raced onto it and was brought down, apparently in the area, but a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the area instead.

Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, replaced Mathieu Debuchy for the final few seconds.

Arsenal squandered the opportunity and the result means that Valencia won the Emirates Cup. There were far fewer positives to take than there were from yesterday’s encounter, although, assessing the weekend as a whole, it was good for some of the youngsters to play in a first-team environment.

Now the decisions will have to be made regarding which of the prospects will be promoted to the senior squad for the new season. Martinez seems a certainty to be named as the third-choice goalkeeper, whilst Bellerin is looking increasingly likely to be installed as the second-choice right-back.

Miquel, on this evidence, is also in with a chance of promotion, even if his performances do not exactly merit such praise. As for Akpom, he has considerable promise, but needs to hone his talents via the medium of a loan spell.




  1. Chambers looks like he could be first choice central defender for the next decade. Great Potential.
    Akpom is a promising player too, and Zelalem just needs to bulk up as he already has the vision and passing ability, what potential.

    1. Hayden is a probably the better prospect but I didnt think Miquel was poor today. At the moment I still feel he is slightly better than Hayden

      1. Yes, exactly. I don’t know what Jorge is on about, Miquel was very stable in his time on the pitch and even got close to scoring. Plus the ‘clumsy’ tackle was anything but, maybe he should have left him and prayed that Szcz would have saved? Come on Jorge, you can do much better.

      2. Completely agree. Miquel does have a tendency to be a bit erratic but he’s commanding in the air, read the game well, and his aggression on the tackle has improved. I would like to see him use his strength a bit more though, too often he loses 50/50 shoulder barges that he shouldn’t. But nonetheless he’s got all the tools to be a pretty decent modern CB and IMO deserves a promotion and a chance to prove himself as fourth or fifth choice CB this season.

  2. Hi George,

    I just wondered if you would offer up your thoughts on Coquelin. I personally think he is a good player. Tigrish in the tackle and can hit a good long ball too.


    1. I think Coquelin is very good at winning possession but his passing in pre-season hasn’t been the best. He does have quite a lot of talent, but I think his chance at Arsenal will be gone if we buy another defensive midfielder.

  3. On yesterday’s performance one can see Bellerin is sharp in attack, but am not convinced he is going to be a better defender than Jenkinson and certainly at the moment is really not even at jenkinson’s level, plus gives up a lot of size.

  4. Debuchy was shit. I didn’t like him before he came to Arsenal either but this is only preseason so I will give him 5-6 matches to prove himself. Akpom is looking like he has a lot more to offer than Giroud. Miquel is not good enough. A lot of balls was hoofing up to nobody.

    Overall I thought the team played really bad. Wilshere looked horrendous. Hope we get schneiderlin or khedira soon.

    1. Debuchy was rated the best RB in the epl last year with the highest rating. Thats impressive. And he started over sagna in French squad so hes obviously talented and good.

    2. I think you may have made up your mind about Debuchy before he started. He played well – was solid defensively and although he didn’t get forward as much as Sagna when he did he put in a couple of crosses.

      Wilshere did ok but Monaco dominated the midfield. There was a lack of sharpness to Arsenal.

      Akpom looked promising. But he is a different player to Giroud – he has more pace. Hopefully he will get some chances next year but he isn’t going to replace Giroud (remember Giroud got 22 goals last year and around a dozen assists).

  5. One thing for sure is how different people see things.

    I thought miquel was superb and his loan spell for me reminds me of the one that gibbs had at Norwich. I have actually been impressed by coquelin’s passing. I don’t recall him even attempting long passes before his loan, but he has added that to his game. Coquelin flamini arteta and diaby are all in their last year now. It will be interesting to see if wenger thinks any of them have a future at arsenal beyond may 2015.
    I would be quite happy to see bellerin coquelin martinez miquel hayden and akpom confirmed in the squad, however the inexperience in defence will worry me if vermaelen goes.

    1. I think Bellerin is a very good player. I just love his ball skills and aggression. I also think he can do as well as a right wing midfielder. Akpom, once again, showed why he should play more regularly in the first team as the first academy graduate striker in recent times. Am not convinced on Miguel or Hayden; they seem to lack the requisite confidence and aggression needed to move to the next level particularly when compared with the younger Chambers who plays like a veteran at 19! Zelelam will be ready next year.

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