Sunday, September 24, 2023

Involvement of first-team players in U23s could become common

Arsenal U23s drew 3-3 with their Manchester United counterparts yesterday in an enthralling encounter.

Steve Bould’s side were 3-1 down at one stage but a brace from Folarin Balogun, whose future remains unresolved, saw them salvage a point.

The game was notable for the involvement of five first-team players, with Cedric, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and William Saliba all featuring.

Nelson found the net with a free-kick, while Smith Rowe was taken off at half time in a pre-planned change as he works his way back to full fitness following injury.

With Arsenal having a rather large first-team squad and a somewhat small U23 squad, it seems likely that the involvement of senior players at this level will continue for the foreseeable future when games don’t clash with Europa League commitments.

The likes of Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Gabriel Martinelli, who are all stepping up their respective recoveries from injury, could feature for the U23s at some stage, while it is possible that others could be involved if they are omitted from first-team matchday squads.

Following the recent flurry of loan departures, there are just nine outfield players who can be considered full-time members of the U23 team (i.e. too old to play for the U18s). Therefore, first-team players could be used to fill the gaps, especially in the case of Saliba, who wasn’t included in the Gunners’ Europa League squad.

Arsenal’s start to the season has been rather disappointing at U23 level – they are second bottom with two points from five games – but the involvement of some senior players could see their fortunes improve somewhat.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Not great if we conceded three U23 goals with Saliba and Soares on the pitch…

Heavenly Chapecoense

If it was with Runnarson as a GK, I would have agreed with you.


Good to know Arteta deems our £28M CB signing good enough for the u/23s.


And yet the team still conceded 3 goals with our 28£mil signing. So obviously chances are he isn’t good enough.


And that is something to celebrate?

And I mean, with such a comment you must have watched the game and can only be blaming Saliba for the goals right?


Obviously you must know something that no one else knows, since you are criticising Arteta for leaving a center back with the U23s. Are you delusional?


I’m sorry that I’m critical of Arsenal for (1) leaving him out of Europa squad when we are playing teams about half the quality of the French League that deemed Saliba one of the best defensive talents of his generation, (2) bringing in a player for £28M that the manager deems not good enough for 1st team football, (3) for bollocksing him around by suggesting loans back to France and even St Ettiene only to have them fall through, (4) for bollocksing him around for the cup final, (5) for his remaining situation in the current time being ONLY u/23s… Read more »


Due to his youth status, Saliba doesn’t have to be registered in order to play Europa games. In any case, that the U23 team conceded 3 goals is another sign he’s not ready.

Cape Town Gooner

Not true. U21s need to have been with the club for over two years in order to qualify without registration.

Teryima Adi

Spot on


1) “generational talent” that has played multiple U23 games and still not convinced the manager of his quality, yes he is talented but so is Ozil, so was Robinho, talent doesn’t equal performance.
2) Arteta didn’t buy Saliba, most of the guys involved in that deal are gone. It’s been made clear that just because a player costs a lot of money doesn’t mean he gets to start and fits the system.
3/4) So you actually think it’d have been smart for Arsenal to pay a couple million to let a player play for another team?


I said all along that I think we should keep him and play him in cups and Europa. I think it’s fucking plain stupid leaving him out of Europa competition, especially given our opposition. He should have played in caraboa Cup too. People talk about opposition in that but both other teams made more changes than us in both games. I could understand sending him back to France if rumours of family loss are true. But our handling of that is beyond ridiculous. By all reports a loan was in place and fell through. Honestly how do you think he… Read more »


He is a professional footballer, paid good money for his services, should he be loaned back on the basis of family loss? a few weeks off sure, but his career at Arsenal is very much in his own hands, if he doesn’t play it is not cause we want to mess up his career and owner investment!


Agree With injury to Holding , would be ideal to play him on Thursday night


So our club is deliberately fucking up, that’s your conclusion? I agree it smells bad, Yet I can see a few reasons why saliba is not yet involved, the best being 1. we are easing him back, the worst being 2. We are making a strong stance for all players, if you are asked to leave permanently or on loan, it means you will not get game time If you stay – Sokratis, ozil, sideshow bob jr, and potentially Saliba. I support both Above management directions, with the 2nd to pay off in the long run, accepting transition costs this… Read more »


Our relation with St Etienne doesn’t seem to be the best, which given how much we paid for this guy already can explain why we don’t desperately take their request to loan him back once more.

KingKong's Pants

Yet maybe. Give the guy a chance FFS

Ray's Parlour

From all the bullshit comments I have encountered here yours is easily in the top 5. Don’t even know where to start…just how this got 5 likes is even more mindblowing

SB Still

This discussion reminded me of the 8-2 game.

I still don’t get how we concede 8 with the like of Szcz, Kos, Coq in the team.

I’m sure there are plenty of articles and insights on the performance that day. However, on paper the two teams wasn’t an 8-2!

Ofcourse they were the Fergi times i.e. that team played with 11.5 men on the field, including the man in the middle.


If rvp had scored the penelty weveiujd have been one nil up and gone on.. that penelty save have David DevGea his confidence

Heavenly Chapecoense

What Arteta is doing with Saliba is strange. Deciding he wasn’t going on loan means he wanted him to spend the season with U23. This is a guy who was playing regular football in Ligue 1 and could have played in CL. He may become bewildered, unhappy which is very bad for performance.

Tanned arse

Fofana, saliba’s center back partner last season at St Etiene who is only slightly older and not considered to be quite as good was deemed ready for Leicester yesterday. Annoying but if it’s only because of emotional reasons and looking after the wellbeing of a youngster then I’ll understand (just hope that’s the only reason).

Teryima Adi

It beggars belief my Brother.


Good to know Arsenal care that much for the U-23 that they buy £28M players to play for them.


Are Ozil and Sokrates under 23 years old?


Arteta don’t like playing expensive players for the senior side. Ozil is an example.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

You can play 3 that are over 23 I think…


Anyone now thinking we let the wrong keeper go? 20 million for a keeper like that is a bargain.


Not this again. Do u have any info about a bid for Leno during the summer? Arsenal had two excellent goalies, needed to raise money and a bid came in for Emi. Leno had 295 career games in the bundesliga and epl vs Emi’s 17 in la liga and epl. Emi may turn out to be the better goalie, but I totally understand the decision to let him go.


We had options. This was a choice. Look at all the keepers we have sold. The starting keepers for Juventus, Napoli, the Premier League leaders and West Ham. All sold or released for pennies on the dollar. And we’ve done it again with Emi. Emi is likely the best of all of them. We’re Arsenal, we shouldn’t sell our best assets because no one wants the alternative.


Sometimes hard choices are needed and you cannot please everyone. Would you rather we kept Emi and did without Partey in midfield?
This made money and makes a lot more sense than the goalkeeper deals in the past.


The money for Partey came from the owners, the pittance we got for Emi changed nothing.


You’re totally right Danny, we have seriously weakened the team to strengthen the team. I’m angry that Emi wanted to go when he’d nearly won the fight for the number one shirt, and I’m really angry that the club allowed it when they could just have said no. That 17m didn’t pay for anything and we’ve let the best goalie we’ve had go. Everytime I see Leno flapping about it makes it even worse. If Emi doesn’t win the Golden Glove I’ll be surprised.

Teryima Adi

They said we needed the dough. It’s obvious to the majority that we let the wrong keeper go.


yes the majority that got Leno second best arsenal player last season after Auba
wait !!! you mean the loud minority of the usual online brigade, the same brigade that cry about an has been former footballer that was call world class many years ago and suppose to be our saviour this day
anyone remember the majority “black Bin” protest, they were the majority of arsenal fan ,about 20 turn up that day,


Back in the days of the Football Combination, having a mixture of youngsters and more experienced players was normal, players returning from injury, those who had fallen out of favour and those making their way from the youth team and hopefully to a career at Highbury. To me it was beneficial as the older players could pass on their experience to the youngsters, so I don’t see this as anything other than players keeping match fit.
Surely a game in the U23’s has to be better than watching a game from the stands.


Or from home lol


Come on guys, let’s not draw all the conclusions on Saliba after 1 u23 game. He has performed well in France, he is young, with time on his side.

Overall we have to many players, which is not a desired state, it’s a transition state. Next summer most of the players we want to offload will be out of contract. If you complain about how we have to many players, Would you have prefered Arteta not strenghten this summer?

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