Monday, July 22, 2024

Cottrell and Azeez can boost Arsenal’s creativity in the Europa League

There weren’t any academy debutants last season but this campaign there has already been one in Folarin Balogun, while Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez could well be next in line.

All three players have travelled with the first-team squad to Norway for tomorrow’s Europa League game against Molde, and, with teams permitted to make five substitutes, Cottrell and Azeez certainly have a chance of entering the fray at some stage.

If Arsenal win tomorrow then it is possible that further youngsters, such as Joel Lopez and maybe even Charlie Patino, could be called upon in the final two group stage games.

For now, though, the focus is on Cottrell and Azeez, who are certainly two of the most promising prospects in the academy.

Catalin Cirjan also falls into that bracket but the Romanian midfielder isn’t eligible to feature in the Europa League as to be on the Under-21 list players have to have been at the club for two years and he only joined last year.

Cottrell has consistently impressed for the U23s and frequently plays impressive passes. He set up Emile Smith Rowe’s goal against Everton last week and is excellent technically. Usually used either deep in midfield or as a number ten, he was deployed as a left wing-back by Mikel Arteta in the pre-season game against MK Dons and has also been utilised in that position during first-team training sessions.

Azeez, meanwhile, has been tipped to make the breakthrough for some time and also has an excellent passing range. The 18-year-old needs to work on the defensive side of his game as he can sometimes be bypassed too easily in midfield, but he is an excellent prospect.

If Cottrell and Azeez are called upon then they are capable of boosting Arsenal’s creative threat, and they will be eager to demonstrate that they deserve further chances in the near future.

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


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They can boost our creativity in the PL too, it’s not hard to get better than zero…


Well, there’s certainly an element of truth in that. Looking at where we are currently is hardly an advert for “creative football”, is it? Or if it is, I wouldn’t buy it.


Inclusion of Omari Hutchinson would of been good if he could get some minutes


How tall is Cottrell? Would be nice to see him with a chance at the # 10.

Tanned arse

His height may turn out to be an issue for him. Having a short player obviously isn’t a huge problem but there has to be a limit on how many you can field at once before being exposed on simple set pieces and we already have a few. Having said that I think cottrell has such a great understanding of what to do and when to do it combined with very sound technique. 12 months ago I was looking forward to Azeez breaking through (and I still think he could be excellent) but cottrell is the kind of player, like… Read more »

Artetas Assistant

Crazy shii

Artetas Assistant
Dave cee

Yeah I agree, he always seems to make an impact and do the right things. A very intelligent player. Would like to see him start tonight.
Haven’t seen anything of Azeez, will be interesting to see if he is as good as many people say over the next few years. Same with Balogun


arteta looks to be dying on his sword, not easy this management lark

Guendouzi Oueddei

Good things to hear but our club sometimes is disappointing when it comes to further develop these young players. We never give those player equal chances to impress. If Gbabry, Jeff Adelaide, Martinez, Smith-Rowe, Willock, Nelson, Saliba etc got the same run of games we gave Bellerin, Iwobi, Saka, Maitliand-Niles, Nketaih etc, then we will know how good they really are. Most of those players never got a fair chance.

Naked Cygan

At this point you could stick fat Sam Allerdyce & Harry Redknapp and boost our creativity.


Thanks for the post Jeorge, always an interesting read, yeah Azeez looks like he’s got top quality running right through him and Cottrell is highly talented with a certain Cazorlaesque swagger about him. Let’s hope we’re well in control of this game early and then Arteta can allow our lads some minutes to strut their stuff…

Gunn Cabinet

Azeez has some really good qualities, which I think far outweigh the negatives. We cannot have a whole team of tacklers. We need players to unlock opposite defences.

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