Monday, July 4, 2022

Youngsters suffer heavy defeat, whilst Aneke rejoins Crewe

On the whole this pre-season has been positive for Arsenal’s youngsters, with several such players featuring prominently during the first-team’s build-up to the new campaign, whilst three new signings have been brought in at youth level in Dan Crowley, Jamaal Raage and Julio Pleguezuelo.

The latter, however, was involved in a morale-sapping 7-0 defeat away to Luton Town in a friendly last Saturday which raised serious questions about the club’s youth development system, and, in particular, the capability of coach Steve Gatting, who has been filling in for the U21s since Terry Burton was named as Liam Brady’s temporary replacement as the club’s head of youth development.

Gatting’s team selection for the Luton fixture was certainly out of the ordinary, with Tafari Moore, a right-back, starting at left-back, Alex Iwobi, a winger or attacking midfielder, operating as the lone striker, and, rather bizarrely, Isaac Hayden, one of the club’s best prospects at centre-back or in central-midfield, being deployed in the playmaker role. Added to the inclusion of Pleguezuelo, who was making his second-string debut, and trialist Ramy Bensebiani as an unorthodox and highly unfamiliar central-defensive pairing, it was recipe for disaster.

Arsenal should still have performed better with the options they had at their disposal, however. The Gunners were able to call upon Nico Yennaris and Thomas Eisfeld, who have both represented the first-team competitively, whilst Wellington, Kristoffer Olsson and Hector Bellerin, the latter having just returned from the U19 European Championships, were also involved.

The result and, more importantly, the performance, was all the more disappointing given that it came just a few days after the youngsters had demonstrated terrific resilience to come from behind to draw 4-4 away to Leyton Orient, with defender Daniel Boateng scoring the dramatic late equaliser. According to reports this week, however, Boateng has had his contract with the club terminated for as yet unexplained reasons.

Another player to have departed the club, albeit on a temporary basis, is Chuks Aneke, who has returned to Crewe Alexandra on loan, where he spent the vast majority of last season. Aneke, a powerful midfielder who is a graduate of the club’s Hale End Academy, has found first-team opportunities difficult to come by at Arsenal and spent much of the recent Asia Tour operating in the unfamiliar position of centre-back. He has returned to Crewe with a flourish, however, and scored as they progressed to the second round of the Capital One Cup last night. All of the indications suggest that, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, this loan move could be the precursor to a permanent departure to the Alexandra Stadium for the 20 year old.

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Brian Mendoza

So I am assuming that GATTING OUT is now a thing that we do?




So they lost part if the development at youth level. Doesn’t matter if you lose 7-0 or win 7-0 at that level it’s about correcting the wrongs more so than the rights


I quite like Aneke. I hope he stays.


It isn’t the selection and it’s not the formation. It’s the players! They just aren’t very good and highlight what a dreadful failure Wenger’s youth policy has been. It is an absolute shambles and an expensive one at that.


You’re some clown!


Its not like if Wenger played Sagna at lb, Mertesacker as no.10 and the Ox as the striker we would perform just as good as normal…


See what happens when you let your fat cricket loving brother Mike do you a favour for 90 minutes?

N21 Tone

Love Liam Brady to pieces – he was my childhood hero but I think his tenure over the youth set up has been a disaster and he will leave a god awful mess for the next person in. The lower leagues are heaving with Project Youth rejects. We just could’t find the right players…?

Tapscotts testicles

Aneke leaving permanently, if it happens, will be a mistake we will regret. I can see an Andy Cole situation all over again.


Its football though at some point in time you’re gonna be on the wrong end of a mauling. just hope they learn from it and keep it together for the upcoming under 21 season.

(Side note: the defence was a complete shambles)


Off topic: mr blog I cant seem to view or post comments on my new iphone 5. The comment icon is not available. Any suggestion?


Yes .. escape from the iphone hype and get an Android phone


Seems like there’s a lot going on at youth level these days.
A change in head of youth development, massive clearout of players and now a 7-0 defeat.


@ kermit if you had nothing reasonable to say, shutting your trap would be sufficient. You just dont make comments for the sake of it.


Did arsenal not field 11 players?

Indonesian Gooner

And they say arsene produces young players. What a joke club..we might as well make actual trophies for 4th place.


yeah, how about we make a large batch so you and other so called “supporters” can shove them all up your arses


I was at the game as I live fairly local and couldn’t make the emirates cup. It was a reasonably tame affair to be honest. with a clearly lightweight young side against older experienced non league no nonsense players. I didn’t catch who was who before the game so felt I had an unbiased view on who looked good, then checked the match report after the game to put names to faces. For me Yennaris and Bellerin stood out as players who can hold their own in the positions they played and looked mature enough to cope well at a… Read more »


Nice one Gooner Dan, apprichiate the effort in explanation there.

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