Arsenal vs West Ham – Premier League
Arsenal vs Newcastle United – Carling Cup
(Players in bold are normally part of the first team on a regular basis)
I was at the game midweek against Newcastle and went home wondering who, from our talented crop of youngsters, would make it at Arsenal. Add to the team against West Ham the remaining older first team members – Lehmann, Gilberto, Gallas, Rosicky, and Eduardo – and you have the main players Wenger will play this season. Many of these are not that old, only Almunia, Lehmann, Gallas and Gilberto are 30+ years old. Therefore there isn’t room for everyone. I will look at the players from midweek and anyone who has played for the first team and give me views on them:
Lukasz Fabianski – Arsenal’s future number 1. His handling was very good and his shot stopping very promising. Wenger has said he’s a future world class keeper and he will be here for years to come.
Justin Hoyte – Having signed a new 4 year contract Justin Hoyte must have been a little confused by the signing of Sagna. However Eboue has moved to midfield and Hoyte can have a part to play at Arsenal – for now.
Alexandre Song – This is an interesting one. Song doest look like he can make it as a midfielder for Arsenal, there is simply too many ahead of him already. However centre backs we are short on, especially when you look ahead to January when Kolo will leave for the African Cup of Nations. Song showed he could convert to a centre and this is worth a try. If Wenger doesn’t feel it is working I feel Song will be moved on.
Johan Djourou – He is out on loan right now but will come back in January to replace Toure in the squad. Djourou has really impressed when he has played for the Gunners and the time out on loan will help him. He has the ability to succeed here as long as he works hard. If he wants to move to midfield I would feel he won’t get that chance at Arsenal. At centre back however he could be a future rock for Arsenal. He is above Song in Wenger’s thinking I think.
Armand Traore – Traore is a future world class defender. He is blessed with blistering pace and good natural ball skills. His defending is improving and he is only 18. He will soon be pressurising Clichy for the left back slot and will be here for a while.
Gavin Hoyte – Like his brother he is an Arsenal fan and has been at Arsenal since a young age. Rumours from the club is that he is better than his brother and when he has more experience and is older he could force his own brother out of the club!
Lassana Diarra – Arsenal already had a wealth of central midfielders when Wenger signed Diarra and I for one wasn’t so sure this was a good move. However when I witnessed how Diarra ran the midfield in midweek I changed my mind. He is different to nay midfielder we have. Similar to Makalele in his work but has the strength and power of a young Vieira. He can play across the back four aswell and will be part of Arsene’s squad in years to come.
Denilson – Like Diarra Denilson is very different to other Arsenal midfielders. He has the passing of Cesc and is most similar to him than anyone. He is seen as a second ‘Volante’ back in Brazil. This is similar to Gilberto, sitting back and affecting the play with interceptions and simple passing. This isn’t normally good for the premiership and someone like Diarra would do better in a holding role. I will risk a wrath here by saying I feel Denilson could not make it at Arsenal. There are too many young midfielders at Arsenal already. Diarra is most likely to be the man to sit in front of the defence. Flamini will still be there if he continues this form. Diaby is more likely to come in and replace Cesc at times and does this leave space? We will wait and see.
Fran Merida – Another very young midfielder to add to the collection. Like Cesc in his play, he is far younger and will be peaking later than the other central midfield players mentioned, maybe when some others have moved on. Wenger made efforts to get him from Barca and what people have seen has been very promising.
Nacer Barazite – I feel he will go quite soon. He is similar to Rosicky in play but can play wider but I feel he might not quite have the quality. It would be good to give him a chance though.
Kieran Gibbs – The performance given by Gibbs against Inter Milan was very god and he will be a very good winger. We don’t have much width right now and maybe he can be the answer. He just signed pro terms and Wenger clearly thinks he is worth a shot after picking him in a big game such as one against the Italian side
Theo Walcott – The boy has the talent and I’s sure it will come to fruit soon. We’ve seen glimpses during his career at Arsenal and will be a future star at the club; we just need to be patient with Theo.
Nicklas Bendtner – Strength, pace and natural finishing. All attributes of a great striker and Bendtner has these, he can be a world class striker and Wenger knows this and will keep Bendtner.
There are plenty more youngsters and I will put myself out here and tell you all to watch out for:
Jay Emmanuel Thomas
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