Which youngsters will feature for Arsenal in the Emirates Cup?

GettyImages AsiaPac

GettyImages AsiaPac

Arsenal’s pre-season trip to Singapore couldn’t have been much more successful, with the Gunners returning to London with the Barclays Asia Trophy in tow after two victories and a week of intense training sessions.

The preparations for the new campaign will step up yet another gear over the next few days as this weekend’s Emirates Cup creeps into view. The Gunners will face Lyon and Wolfsburg on Saturday and Sunday respectively as they look to win the tournament for the first time since 2010.

Four players from outside the first-team squad- Alex Iwobi, Jon Toral, Dan Crowley and Chris Willock- travelled with the team to Asia, along with fringe senior players Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem, but which of them will remain in the set-up for the Emirates Cup?

Akpom, after his impressive hat-trick against a Singapore Select XI, seems a certainty for inclusion, with the England U20 international’s cause helped by the fact that fellow forward Danny Welbeck is still struggling with an injury which could rule him out of the weekend’s games.

Likewise, the continued absence of Tomas Rosicky is likely to open the door for a young midfielder to play some part in the Emirates Cup, but, at present, it seems as if Crowley, rather than Zelalem, is the prime candidate to feature, with the former Aston Villa player having enjoyed a more consistent 2014/15 campaign. Both players, though, remain excellent prospects for the future.

As far as the rest of the squad is concerned, Arsenal have at least two senior players available in most positions, as detailed below: (based on where players have tended to feature in pre-season)

Goalkeepers Cech, Szczesny, Martinez

Right-back Debuchy, Bellerin

Centre-backs Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gabriel, Chambers

Left-back Monreal, Gibbs

Defensive-midfield Coquelin, Flamini, Arteta

Central-midfield Cazorla, Ramsey

Right wing Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere

Central attacking-midfield Ozil

Left wing Walcott

Striker Giroud

This suggests that there may be an opening for a youngster on the left flank (such as Iwobi or Willock), although the situation is complicated a little as there is a possibility that either Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere could also be deployed in that position.

Another potential option is Serge Gnabry, who hasn’t featured for the first-team, competitively or otherwise, for well over a year. The young German was due to return to training this week after representing his country at the U21 European Championships and he will be hopeful of at least playing some part over the weekend after suffering terrible misfortune with injuries in recent times.

David Ospina, who has been strongly linked with a move away from the club this summer, is on holiday until Monday, meaning he won’t play any part this weekend, whilst Alexis Sanchez is not due back until August 3rd. Joel Campbell is another absentee following his involvement with Costa Rica this summer.

There is a slight possibility that some youngsters who weren’t selected to go to Asia could feature this weekend, with Julio Plegueuzuelo, for example, ready to provide cover at centre-back in the event of an injury to a senior player. Krystian Bielik, meanwhile, is unlikely to feature because of injury.

There is some uncertainty over Wellington’s participation. The Brazilian winger, who is now eligible to represent the club competitively, didn’t travel with the squad to Asia and instead remained at London Colney to undergo fitness training. Wenger is likely to assess the 22-year-old in training first before deciding whether to use him this weekend.

Those youngsters that aren’t used will probably feature for the U21s against Boreham Wood on Friday, whilst there is the possibility that some players, such as Toral, could be loaned out in the near future.



  1. Jeorge, can you enlighten us on the squad preparing for the game against Boreham Wood?

    Are they training separately or the players will be picked also from the Senior squad as alluded to by you in the article?

    1. Some of the youngsters who went to Asia, such as Willock and Toral, could play against Boreham Wood if they aren’t needed for the first-team, but the squad will be made up of U21 players, so I wouldn’t expect any older players to feature apart from maybe Wellington if he needs to play for fitness reasons.

      On Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


  2. Looks like Zelalem has regressed over the last season… too bad since he was hailed as the next big thing,

    1. Oh, really? Haven’t you seen him play lately? Cause i think he’s progressing just fine and not so far away from 1st team. It’s just that there hasn’t been any praising news about him lately, so he must have been regressed, that’s not true. It’s just that his problem is physics, slightly weak body to make trough in premier league. I think he has to work hard with his physics if he want to break trough, but otherwise, he’s ready to make it. I just wish good luck and hard work to Gedion!

  3. jeorge any report on the youth teams defeat in Germany today, seen someone say AFC’s no.17 scored an unbelievable goal, in a 3-1 loss

  4. Jeorge do you know anything about João Virgínia the 15 year old goalkeeper joining Arsenal from Benfica, some reports in Portugal say he has signed on a four year deal

  5. I suspect Wellington and Hayden were kept back for fitness training because the Emirate Cup could be the big decider in their Arsenal careers, as neither of them are youths anymore. I think they’ll both get game time and if they don’t impress then the best they can hope for this year will be a loan and if they don’t impress on loan then they’ll be leaving.
    But I could be wrong!

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