Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Arteta suggests academy could provide options for squad depth

‘We have an academy as well that we have to use and we will try to do that the best possible way.’

Those were the words of Mikel Arteta when asked at his press conference today about Arsenal’s squad depth.

With Arsenal’s first-team squad consisting of 24 players, it seems inevitable that there will be academy callups at some stage this season, and Matt Smith was the first of those when he was named on the bench against Aston Villa.

Smith, a midfielder with an impressive passing range, could be involved with the squad again at various points over the next few months and he will hope that at some stage he will be able to make his competitive debut for the club.

Jack Henry-Francis is another midfielder who is in contention, while there are plenty of players in other positions who will also be hoping to be drafted in, such as striker Khayon Edwards, full-backs Reuell Walters and Lino Sousa, winger Charles Sagoe Jr and centre-backs Zach Awe and Zane Monlouis.

In the second half of last season it was a somewhat similar situation with academy players frequently getting called up to matchday squads. However, none of them featured in the Premier League and at times it felt as if they were never going to come on regardless of the situation.

Perhaps this season, with five substitutions available, there may be a chance for some prospects to get on the pitch. Whatever happens, it seems likely that there will be plenty of academy callups.

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

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David C

Hopefully someone steps up and takes their chance. Still can’t believe we couldn’t get one midfielder before the deadline…

Partey the new Ramsey/Wilshere sadly…not sure we can rely on his fitness.

Johnny 4 Hats

“In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity” Carl Jenkinson

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

I recall an injury crisis on another trip to old Trafford in august 2011, when Mr Jenkinson had to step in for the injured Sagna and Armand Traore stepped in for the injured Clichy. It was the week we signed Arteta as a player. Fair to say Jenko did not seize the opportunity, we lost 8 2 and Traore was sold 2 days later 😂

Johnny 4 Hats

In the midst of every crisis lies Championship football” Armand Traore

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

After selling Traore we had a left back crisis so we signed Andre Santos

Johnny 4 Hats

“In the midst of every Andre Santos lies crisis” Arsenal Wenger


I’m pretty sure Jenkinson was sent off that day too. How did he ever even get a game for arsenal lmao

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

When he ran his arms were straight and all his fingers pointed out like a star – it was the same running style as a player on Pro Evo when you were tapping R2 and using sprint mode – I think that is what drew us all in – we associated his weird running style with skinning a player on pro evo and assumed he must be good

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

A classic case of don’t blame the player blame the game

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

See Kim Kallstrom for reference. The broken back didn’t help but clearly Championship Manager set expectations too high for his loan spell to ever be a success

Alan Baverstock

He played for England.

Teryima Adi

Ouch! That hurts.😄

A Different George

Those weren’t the only injuries. I’m pretty sure that was the first appearance of a very unready Francis Coquelin in the midfield, who apparently did recover (though it didn’t look like he would at the time) and went on to better things, for Arsenal next to Santi and then in Spain.

Naked Cygan

Agree with you, Partey, Tierney, even Tommy are always injured. We should have atleast got someone on loan or kept AMN as a cover. Who knows, hopefully one or two of these academy players will get a chance and we get another Saka or ESR I will be happy with that.


Except our top CM talent was sent on loan this season. Henry Francis is not it, I mean, probably not, right?

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

Really like what I’ve seen from Lino Sousa; LB not an area we’re short in with 3 options if/when Nuno returns, but high hopes for Lino nonetheless


He will hopefully take Tierneys place after we sell him to barca for 40mill in 2 yrs. Cuffy has to be our RB in the near future, that’s just common sense.

Boy Bastin

Why not? We may uncover a diamond or two who are ready and, more importantly, able to compete in the PL – if only on a limited basis.

Heavenly Chapecoense

We have an academy as well that we have to use and we will try to do that the best possible way.’”
Translation : “Europa League sacrificed”.
No replacement for Auba and we missed top 4 and it was fine with Arsenal leadership. Now we have a very promising season and it may be fine that we miss top 4 again, this time because of injuries…as long as we have a reason, it is fine.

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

As well as being a superb football club, Arsenal is also a business. Books have to be balanced. On deadline day we shifted £150k+ of wages in bellerin and AMN. It gave us little time to manoeuvre – and I doubt we could have done much until those wages were off the book (we are walking a FFP tightrope). The lack of time to complete deals willI leave us short for a window, but considering we’ve spent £250m+ in the space of 12 months and gone from also rans to contenders in waiting, I don’t think we can complain too… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

Have a day off mate.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

You really are the most negative “supporter” on here. I really think you are Spurs supporter. No one could be this negative and be a real supporter.


Fine for the bench of our European games or the League Cup but not PL.


Probably could of done with Patiño for Europa now that sambi will be busy in the prem


Love the way the club is being run now. If we can’t get players at our valuation then we’ll use the academy. Youth can see a path to the first team. For me that’s what a club is all about.


Well said!


I really liked the look of Jack Henry Francis during last year’s preseason games, was surprised he didn’t play this year’s preseason games. Europa will be a good place to try him out.


Francis, with respect, kinda looking like a pound land Scholes, always passing sideways.

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

100% this – and whilst teams like city and Chelsea pay high wages / signing fees to attract the cream of youth – in time the cream of youth will choose us because they can see we will give them the opportunity to play rather than loans.

City and Chelsea make a packet out of selling their youth players, but through examples like Saka, nketiah, martinelli and ESR we should be able to attract them to our youth setup without having to dangle money

VAR will solve all the problems

Edu just walks away when a youth player is motivated only by money. So Chelsea or City can keep their Hutchinsons, Galaghars and Hudson-Odois. Ultimately, it is the “pashion” not money that will turn a “super talent” at a young age into an established player at a top 6 team!

One Beat Off

It is the way.


Well last time I checked the official arsenal website there were only 23 players in the first team. [-Elneny out for months] makes 22. Vieira and Nelson have not had a pre-season, [20]. Thomas a guaranteed starter is out injured for weeks; and Zinks may be in contention or not, so 18 able bodies.
The Academy is also threadbare as it has only 12 players, 16 are on loans.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Vieira will get the Europa League games.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

Come on. We have seasoned youngsters 2 levels above the rest and we send them to loans because they are not ready for the PL. Patino is 3 levels above everyone else and he’s still not ready. We even have doubts on how ready Lokonga and Nketiah are. The answer is Lokonga playing at the level he played vs Villa and hope Vieira will help there too.

Merlin’s Panini

I have no doubts about Sambi and Nketiah. They both need regular game time. They’ve done enough previously to show they can do a job. Sending Patino out on loan was a good idea for his development although I think he would have had a good chance at a solid number of minutes. Sending Azeez to a second division side in Spain doesn’t really bode so well for his chances in my opinion but you never know. I had expected Matt Smith to leave this summer but here’s hoping he can cut it when called upon. This has also made… Read more »


I think I read Tom Cruise is an accountant now but he’ll always have that Champions League debut in Athens to tell the grandkids about. We’ve had a whole host of youngsters that got minutes but who weren’t good enough, JET, Watt, Simpson, Randall, Rodgers(only naming him cause he was in my year at school, 45 minutes at Burnley in a League Cup defeat, had an awful game & he was never seen again), Eastmond. Hopefully a few in this current crop are more Saka/ESR/Eddie than that lot

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

“I think I read Tom Cruise is an accountant now”. I heard he was counting cards in Vegas

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Tom Cruise would be the first to admit that only A Few Good Men make the grade at Arsenal.

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

I don’t think there are any doubts about Eddie or Sambi – they are premier league ready. The article is about the youth team – and I think it is a positive sign that the likes of Patino and norton-cuffy are getting first team minutes at a lower level rather than being first team squad members on the periphery – they’re in-between the two levels. Of the youth team members who haven’t gone on loan, I’d say they’ve not been sent on loan for a reason – as I’m sure there would’ve been takers – who knows what those reasons… Read more »

Merlin’s Panini

What’s happening with Catalin Cirjan now as well? Is he still around? I saw an article a while back saying he was playing well recently.


on the bench at the last game. two of the starters have gone out on loan transfer deadline day.


The golden rule with all football managers – especially when it comes to team selection & transfers – is to pay close attention to what they actually do, and
less to what they say.


Like others have said, don’t see anybody capable of stepping up for EPL games though Walters and maybe some others might provide cover in Europe.

I do wonder if we might see Tierney play as a left attacker, I don’t mean taking Martinelli’s place but as a way to rotate the squad. We have this perfectly balanced defensive squad but very little cover for the front 6 positions so I think Arteta will try to utilize our defenders in other positions when possible. Zinchenko’s the obvious one but White and Tierney also, even Cedric if Walters plays at RB.

Death by 300,000 Passes

“However, none of them featured in the Premier League and at times it felt as if they were never going to come on regardless of the situation.
Perhaps this season, with five substitutions available, there may be a chance for some prospects to get on the pitch.”

I have my doubts. Seems like Arteta prefers to make only 4 or even 3 subs, instead of giving some academy player his debut.

One Beat Off

On that subject, has Arteta ever given an opinion on the five subs? It almost feels as, if he could end the game as started, that would be best … Yes, I know there have been subs, but I just wonder what his honest take it on the development.


Despite five wins, we have had only one game in which we had time to kill at the end – Bournemouth. Arteta did make 5 substitutions in that game; he probably did not feel comfortable enough to alter much in rest of the games.

Forrest Moore

We need to kill off games sooner, giving a ‘comfortable’ last 10 minutes for debutants.


I can see a reverse of the Man United 3: Arsenal 2 feature played at OT on Feb 28, 2016 where we underestimated United squad because they were missing like 8 first team players. We thought we could roll them over but Rashford gut his debut goal and a brace against us.
This time around, United will think we are also a push over because we are missing key personnel in the middle of the park.
This is the game that will bring ASL to limelight. I see an Arsenal victory here.


We can be heroes.

Just for one day decade.


well, unless you have another miracle in there, of Jesus like proportions-I still think we have fucked up in the middle.

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