by Tony Attwood
We’ve got so used to having youngsters break through into the first team from the youth sides that it seems almost inevitable that we will have another such player this season.
Another Bellerin, Coquelin or Iwobi. Or looking back a bit, another Ramsey (who came aged 18, and then did loan spells at Forest and Cardiff).
As the season progresses so we start to get clues as to who it might be. The contenders are…
- Reine Adelaide
- Chris Willock
And we should perhaps add Jenkinson now back from being done in playing for the State Aid team.
It’s a fair old list of talent – nine if we include Jenkinson, and I wonder if they are getting a bit frustrated by their lack of chances to move forwards. But hopefully most of them are sensible enough to realise that it is the overview of Arsene Wenger that is helping to push them forwards into becoming the next Iwobi, Coquelin, Bellerin…
But hopefully the guys will have been encouraged by a recent statement from Mr Wenger to the effect that…
“Our challenge is to compete for everything starting… in the League Cup against Reading. We need to fight for absolutely everything. We have a squad for the first time in five or six years that is more mature and better equipped to face the challenge for all the targets.”
And that’s really the point I’ve been trying to make of late – that we have a first team squad of 25 (as opposed to most clubs that didn’t manage to get 25 into the squad), and a group of youngsters already in the first team squad (but not counted in the 25)
|Player||Position||Date of birth|
|Rob Holding||CB||12 Sep 1995|
|Alex Iwobi||Forward/MF||3 May 1996|
|Hector Bellerin||RB||19 Mar 1995|
|Chuba Akpom||Forward||9 Oct 1995|
|Jeff Reine-Adelaide||Forward||17 Jan 1998|
So, 25 players in the first team, nine up and coming, five youngsters in the first team not in the 25, less two players counted more than once, that makes 37 players. Which means that even playing a completely different XI in the League Cup, not everyone is going to get a game in the four competitions.
And now we have so many players and could cope with injuries, it turns out that our injury list is rather small:
- Santi Cazorla
So certainly Mr Wenger’s commentary about going for all four trophies ought to be seen through, because we have the resources without actually over-playing anyone.
Over the last ten years our league cup results have not been particularly successful – runners’ up twice and beaten semi-finalists once….
|Season||Prem Lge||FA Cup||Lge Cup||Champs|
But of course we are not going to play a straight team of youngsters – the senior squad players who are not getting games will play, as will those returning from injury. Which reduces playing time for the youngsters and enhances our chances of winning.
I will write up a possible starting XI in the next post, but just because I have it, here is the team from the League Cup 3rd round played between the sides at Highbury on 11 October 1967.
Storey McLintock Neil Ure McNab
Radford Simpson Graham Sammels Armstrong
Now that might look completely wrong, but it is a lineup that reflects the numbers the players wore that night – this of course being before the time of squad numbers. So Graham did indeed wear number 9, and Radford number 7. I don’t have a report that tells me where they actually played, but normally the shirt numbers did reflect the line up. George Graham did wear the number 9 shirt all season and was the top league scorer with 16 goals.
I suspect the forward line was based on the earlier model of the inside forwards dropping back so we had a 5-2-3 line up…
Storey McLintock Neil Ure McNab
Radford Graham Armstrong
Anyway, we won 1-0; Simpson scored.
We then went on to the final after beating Blackburn, Burnley and Huddersfield, and lost at Wembley to Leeds. It was Arsenal’s first cup final since 1952 – 15 years before. And we didn’t even build a new stadium during that era.
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