Arsenal U23s attempting playmaker experiment with Thompson

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Arsenal have three left-backs in their U23 squad – Tolaji Bola, Cohen Bramall and Dominic Thompson, but, bizarrely, none of them were selected to start in their natural position in the 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City this week.

Bola was left out of the squad, Bramall was named amongst the substitutes, and Thompson, intriguingly, was given the number ten shirt and deployed as an attacking midfielder.

The Hale End product has been heavily involved for Freddie Ljungberg’s team in recent months but it was Julio Pleguezuelo, who usually plays at centre-back, who started on the left side of the defence.

Thompson also featured as a number ten in the previous game against Tottenham, but, while it was initially thought that the switch was just a one-game experiment, it appears that it is something more substantial than that.

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal are looking to mould Thompson, who has trained with the first-team on several occasions, into a playmaker in the long term, but playing him there can certainly help the 18-year-old to develop aspects of his game.

Against Swansea, for instance, Thompson made an impressive cross-field pass on one occasion, while playing in that area of the field could also aid his dribbling.

Thompson’s overall performance against Swansea wasn’t especially impressive, however, with the youngster having some teething problems adapting to the demands of the position.

Arsenal U23s are back in action next week when they travel to face league leaders Everton, and it will be intriguing to see whether Thompson is used in midfield again or instead reverts to his usual position of left-back.

With Gedion Zelalem set to leave the club in the near future and Joe Willock seeking to push on and play senior football in some capacity next season, there could well be a chance for Thompson to receive regular playing time in midfield, which may ultimately give him a better chance of succeeding at Arsenal.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Hantal
Hantal

I’d imagine it’s to help him with the attacking side of his game rather than a position change

Cygans Parting
Cygans Parting

We did a similar thing with Isaac Hayden a few years ago when they were trying to turn him into a box to box midfielder from his regular position of centre back. We played him as a no:10 in a few games to make an assessment of him playing on the half turn, look at his distribution and vision and eye for a pass and a goal. Although he didn’t make it with us, hes made it back to the premier League as a midfielder.

Timsh
Timsh

I’m curious to see how they will use Willock next season. Kinda think a loan to a smaller club would be best but if we (hopefully) sell Elneny and because Ramsey is leaving, he may get chances with the first team after all. Considering we don’t have much money to spend, maybe the latter makes more sense…

Hantal
Hantal

Definitely interesting, he’s been my favourite youth payer this season so I’d love to see him stay and get oppportunities but realistically a loan is most likely

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

I.ve totally forgotten ElNeny even existed..unreal how much he has been sidelined

Merlin’s Panini
Merlin’s Panini

Which one in the photo is Thompson?

wash_dc_gunner
wash_dc_gunner

Doesn’t look like they’re fed enough, poor blokes.