Thursday, December 7, 2023

First-team players provide youngsters with memorable experience

Yesterday’s Reserve game against Norwich at Carrow Road was something of a throwback, with the Arsenal side comprising several familiar first-team names, including Andrey Arshavin who just 12 months previously scored the winner against Barcelona in the first leg of a Champions League Last 16 tie.

Joining Arshavin in the side were Yossi Benayoun, Ju Young Park, Marouane Chamakh and Carl Jenkinson, players who, either through injury, international commitments or a lack of form have struggled to command regular game time this season.

The result was emphatic with the Gunners running out 5-0 victors against an admittedly young Norwich side. Arshavin scored twice, which will hopefully help restore his confidence, whilst there was also a rare goal for Park. Benayoun shone throughout and also got on the scoresheet whilst the other goal was also a success story in that it came from Benik Afobe, the promising young striker who was making just his second appearance of the season after injury halted his progress. Afobe also found time to miss a penalty, whilst Arsenal created countless other chances as they dominated proceedings.

This is not a common occurrence at second-string level, with coach Neil Banfield usually calling upon young professionals and, increasingly, members of Steve Bould’s under-18 side to make up the numbers. The Reserve league is now effectively an under-21 league, but last night showed that it can still be used as it used to be in previous decades: as a stage for senior players lacking game time to prove their worth and increase their confidence.

In that regard, last night looked to have served the club well, despite the loss of Chamakh to injury just before the break. As well as the first-team members, Oguzhan Ozyakup was dominant in midfield and the player, who recently switched his international allegiance to Turkey, looks set to be the next member of Banfield’s side to head out on loan in order to garner further experience.

Afobe’s return was also a welcome boost, although it would perhaps be asking a little too much to expect him to have any say on the first-team picture in the remainder of the season given that he is lacking fitness having been out for so long. Nonetheless, a Championship loan next campaign would stand him in good stead for the future.

Recent signing Thomas Eisfeld was again absent through injury having failed to recover from the problem sustained on his debut against Swansea. The young German suffered a setback in training recently but the blow is not thought to be too serious.

For those youngsters that did feature, however, last night would have been both a memorable and useful experience, as well as being a reminder that you are never too good to play for the Reserves (unless you’re Robin van Persie).

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”…as well as being a reminder that you are never too good to play for the Reserves (unless you’re Robin van Persie).”



I don’t mean to get all negative but I don’t understand why Rocisky has been playing at CAM instead of Benayoun. Every time the former touches the ball in the attacking third it’s a guaranteed turnover. No final ball, no shooting threat.


Because he didn’t perform well when he started against Swansea. Guess he just made 16 passes in 60 mins or so. Can’t remember.

Dick Swiveller

A little harsh there, given that Rosicky’s last few performances have been pretty fricking good, he’s not what he once was but he can still contribute in that position, especially given the lack of experience around at times. Okay, his shooting is shit but he finds dangerous balls in the final third, not as many as we’d all like but it’s rather difficult to do when there’s a lack of movement ahead of you and the opposition is sitting pretty deep.


Ramsey!!!!Ram sey!!!! is the prob . Not rosicky for heavens sake


I understad why people are frustrated with Ramsey (so am I ), but for God’s sake please don’t tell me that Rosicky is better than him. Rosicky from 2007 yes but this one ? He hasn’t scored a goal in 2 years. And just to compare them : Ramsey – 3 goals 7 assists Rosick- 0 goals 1 assist It can only tell you 1 thing and that is that Aaron simply isn’t ready to play a full season, I mean you know what that Stoke cunt did to him. Aaron needs to get stronger physicaly and simplify his game.… Read more »

Alex Song's already been booked!

To be fair Ramsey is a CM that Arsene’s trying to shape into a CAM and I don’t think it’s working.


You’re watching a different sport fella or making your own game up. Rosicky according to stats and opinion has been one of our best all season. His pass completion ratio is second only to Arteta.


I disagree. Sure he can make passes but he hasn’t had a productive touch in the attacking third since the dinosaurs died. His last shot went out for a throw for God’s sake, and frankly, his other recent shots have been of the same quality. For an attacking midfielder, he’s just not good enough at well, attacking.


That’s correct, but what we really need is a good playmaker. We’ve all seen that we are very good in possession and in keeping the ball, plus maintaining good build up play.

But as with Arteta and Ramsey, Rosicky cannot produce assists for van Persie, especially against teams tight defences.

What really matters at the end of the game is the scoreline anyway, not the possession percentile. While it’s great that he has a good pass completion rate, can it make us win?

Perhaps with Jack coming back it’ll be better. Then we can make the possession count.


His horizontal pass success ratio, right?


Rosicky has actually played really well overall this season (in my opinion), but definitely agree that Yossi could’ve had more chances, especially in games like the Sunderland one where we had nothing more to lose. I like his attitude.


Yossi is just a loan player. Rosicky has been more effective than Ramsey in some occasion because of his forward run. He’s good at CAM and not as a winger where sometime Wenger puts him. Why not try put Arsha in that position? He can get behind the striker but the only problem he’s bit slow/lazy to track back. But your assessment on Rosicky is not fair at all.


Any links to some highlights blogs?


Well said Diefenbaker. Ramsey needs time on the bench. Surprised AW doesn’t do this sort of thing more often, especially if people need to build confidence.


fuck wenger!! lets sack him.we going nowhere with that cunt!!!!!


Evening Samir, it’s always a pleasure!


fuck wenger lovers who wouldn’t even question him!!!!..


Constructive as ever, well done you.


There are 2 things I really fear from fallout of the much anticipated clearout in Arsenal: Arshavin leaving and looking like a world-beater in his next club and/or Diaby forced out because of frustrations with his injuries and becoming a useful star for a top club for the next 7 years. These two are gems and stats wont make me feel otherwise. Use Arshavin where he doesnt have defensive duties. Train Diaby less, just like ol twitchy does to his crock, and watch him get over his injuries. Lets explore ways to annexe what we’ve got.


well said mate!more concerned about arshavin.we can keep him next season in my opinion.but wenger is gonna think we’ll get ryo back and would consider him as a direct replacement for arshavin.i feel we should let the ox and ryo slowly develop and we should have arshavin with us.besides he is the russian captian and he is our most experienced winger.but i can’t wait to see ox and ryo play!


ryo is going to need a lot of time to develop his pace is great and his dribbling is pretty good by his passing is horrible


There are 2 things I really fear from fallout of the much anticipated clearout in Arsenal: Arshavin leaving and looking like a world-beater in his next club and/or Diaby forced out because of frustrations with his injuries and becoming a useful star for a top club for the next 7 years. These two are gems and stats wont make me feel otherwise. Use Arshavin where he doesnt have defensive duties. Train Diaby less, just like ol twitchy does to his crock, and watch him get over his injuries. Lets explore ways to annexe what we’ve got. Like they say, lets… Read more »


Not sure how you can use diaby less even in training as the poor bloke is always injured so therefore only really trains to get fit then gets injured again within a game or two. Agree about arshavin, the bloke could move and be world class again. His talent has never been in question it’s his commitment to the club that’s the problem. But if we don’t play him in his best postion that’s not his fault either. Arsene won’t play him behind rvp so we will never get the best of him. So for all parties it’s probably best… Read more »


Arsenal should not limit the reserves to U21s. If a first team player is fit and has not played for a week, they should immediately become eligible for the reserves. That way players will be made more aware of having to fight for a place, and youngsters will get used to playing with more experienced players, so when they do start to play for the 1st team they are more familiar with the style of play of their team mates.



Please discuss


Scrap Walcott and replace with Zhervinyu. Happy to then discuss.


Give Arshavin some champagne and he’ll be happy to discuss it too.


@Voldermort. I am talking about a certain Ledley King in Spurs. He was so prone to injuries that he is now given a special concession. I think he trains once or twice a week and this season has been his best as per match appearances. And the last time I checked Spurs were yet to lose in any game he partook, meaning if we put a lil effort into analysing our players problems and find the right solutions it may not even impart so much on their performance. And about Arshavin, anytime I see him I just imagine Paul Scholes… Read more »


AND it will give them match fitness(albeit not on top top level, but still…).


Thorough, I no exactly what you mean mate but I just can’t see diaby being fit enough to train let alone play. Wasn’t having a pop
Mate and agree about arshavin, but wenger just won’t play him in his best postion so we will never get the best out of him.


It’s almost a sick joke but Arshavin is about as close to a LANS as you can get this season. He’s the Russian skipper, he’s laid on goals over the last few months where others have failed to (Blackburn excepted). I say fuck it, play him behind RVP and hope he had the same effect he had when he joined. If he has no effect at all, at least it’s been tried and I won’t knock anyone for not only trying, but trying something different. The status quo clearly isn’t working, so if we’re going to hell in a handcart,… Read more »


Why not try Arshavin behind Park at least once? Kill two birds with one stone by playing Arshavin in his ‘preferred’ position and we’ll also see if Park is really as ‘shit’ as people seem to think.


Here are some highlights, have at ’em!


From those highlights ozyakup looked awesome!


And Arshavin looked right comfortable down the middle. Something for Wenger to think about.


Bang on mooro, just a shame arsene dont see it that way


In 30 years following the Arse, I can’t remember being so frustrated by two players – Walcott and Arshavin. The first because he gets every opportunity in the world and puts in a good stint every 6-7 games, at a stretch, and the other because he’s one of the most talented players we’ve had that I’ve seen, and yet we don’t get the best of him. I really hope we get to see Arshavin make an impact, because he can. If he then decides he’s off, then fair enough, but he’s still got something to offer this season. Walcott and… Read more »


Every time I see Yossi’s picture, I always pity the guy. Such a hard worker, yet never got the chance to establish himself in any of the English clubs since 2005. Thought we might have played him more often when Gervinho went to AFCs and Walcott in poor form, but no.


@mooro,. I am inclined to agree with your point about Arshavin, I think we should play him in behind van persie, and we should also try reverting to 4-4-1-1 to accommodate him, not forever but perhaps in a few games, even if it was only when we are cruising with about 20 mins left in a game. I’d have more faith in arshaving coming good playing in his preferred position than I would Walcott who IS playing in his preferred position. I really don’t know what to make of theo, he seems to be stuck in limbo regarding his development,… Read more »


Again Mooro I agree mate, but the problem is wenger won’t play arshavin in the middle and as in the past it will take arsene years to realise how bad walcot is and I honestly think he will get his new contract in the summer and we are stuck with him for years.
This is a manager that still plays squillachi and gives djourou a new 50 k a week contract.


Arshavin is the only guy other than Van Persie, that is capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. It’s time to play him in the middle.

Van Persie

In Wenger we rust!


sorry should be the Ox on the wing not Walcott


From Comments Policy page:

“We will delete all comments which say ‘In Arsene we rust’. Not because we won’t criticise Wenger, but that rust thing is boring and stupid now.”


Merlin's Panini

bye mate. enjoy supporting shitspur.


Fuck Walcott, sell him to Kenny for £20million; he’s always desperate for a shit British player to sign.

Put a midfield three of Arteta, Song and Arshavin, a front three of RVP, The Ox and Gervinho, and tell Song to fucking stay put on the halfway line and pass before he’s swamped by an opponent closing him down.

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