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Arsenal’s second, third and fourth squad: a quick review.

Untold Arsenal is available both on twitter and on facebook – details at the end of the article

By Tony Attwood

This season Arsenal are running four squads of players, rather than the five that have been used in the past…

  • The first team squad (quaintly known as “the 25”)
  • The loan squad
  • The reserve squad
  • The youth squad

What is quite obviously missing when compared with previous years is the League Cup squad.  This season the league cup team is being picked from the 25, as is the Champs League team (at least away in the Ukraine).   There is of course still the option to pick youth players who are registered but not in the “25”, but so it is looking as if this would be a one-off, if it ever occurred.

The benefit of this new approach is twofold. First it means that squad members of the 25 do stand a chance of more games, and second it means that the loans can get moving early, rather than waiting for the league cup run to come to an end.

And of course this change in approach has come about as a result of the “25” rule, which prohibits the easy movement of older players around.  While we are not particularly challenged by this rule this year, we will be next year when several of our younger players reach 21.

However I believe the development into four rather than five teams is also the result of something else: the completion of the production line and the maturity of the squad.   We were able away to Shakhtar to put out a team that was missing four of the first choice back five, two of the first choice midfield, and two from the forward line.  OK we didn’t win, but we still put up a good show.

That shows just how far this side has come, and just how close we are to getting a “25” that is going to be truly interchangeable.  The time could well come when there is no first choice starting XI – just an ever rotating 25.

But moving away from the 25,  Arsenal currently have 14 players out on loan.

  • Benik Afobe – Huddersfield Town
  • Nacer Barazite – Vitesse Arnhem
  • Kyle Bartley – Sheffield United
  • Pedro Botelho – Cartagena
  • Francis Coquelin – Lorient
  • Thomas Cruise – Carlisle United
  • Cedric Evina – Oldham Athletic
  • Luke Freeman – Yeovil Town
  • Samuel Galindo – Salamanca
  • Gavin Hoyte – Lincoln City
  • Vito Mannone – Hull City
  • Mark Randall – Rotherham United
  • Armand Traore – Juventus
  • Sanchez Watt – Leeds United

Not all are making progress, and not all will come through to play for Arsenal. There’s a run down on Arsenal.com and Young Guns does an excellent job in keeping us up to date of course, but here’s a few snippets, and maybe you can help me out with some other news beyond the bare facts and figures of the Arsenal site…

Kyle Bartley’s got a broken jaw.

Pedro Bothelo is playing and scoring, but has had passport problems.  However I would imagine he’ll get a Spanish passport this year, and that will allow him to join us.

Francis Coquelin has hardly been playing for Lorient, which surprises me, but then I don’t see the French League, so I don’t really know what’s going on (no change there).  But he did play in the last game and apparently did well.

Gavin Hoyte was on loan at Brighton last year I believe and seems to be slipping down the pecking order.

Vito Mannone has not yet played for Hull, but is learning how to spit.

Mark Randall got injured almost as soon as he arrived at Rotherham, and is out for six weeks.

Similar thing happened to Armand Traore, and he hasn’t played for Juve.

Sanchez Watts is playing regularly in a very ordinary Leeds team who are struggling to do anything in the Championship.

Of course as players go out on loan, or (as in the case of JET, Lansbury and Eastmond, move up to the higher levels) the reserves have to pull in new, inexperienced players, and that has affected the team – who in their last match suffered their first defeat, against Villa.

The team was

  • James Shea
  • Havard Nordtveit
  • Thomas Cruise
  • Nico Yennaris
  • Sead Hajrovic
  • Iganasi Miquel
  • Gilles Sunu
  • Oguzhan Ozyakup
  • Rhys Murphy
  • Chuks Aneke
  • Conor Henderson

The result leaves us second, four points behind the leaders Villa, with two games in hand.

If it is getting tougher in the reserves, it is doubly so in the youth team, who sit in fourth in their league, and have lost their last two matches.

Overall I guess the trick now would be to try and identify the players who might step up in each case.

From the loan players I might go for over time would be…

  • Benik Afobe – Huddersfield Town
  • Kyle Bartley – Sheffield United
  • Pedro Botelho – Cartagena
  • Francis Coquelin – Lorient
  • Thomas Cruise – Carlisle United
  • Luke Freeman – Yeovil Town
  • Samuel Galindo – Salamanca

although that’s a fairly wide choice I admit.

From the reserves, how about

  • James Shea
  • Thomas Cruise
  • Iganasi Miquel
  • Gilles Sunu
  • Oguzhan Ozyakup
  • Rhys Murphy
  • Chuks Aneke
  • Conor Henderson

which is hardly any reduction at all.  (You can tell I’m an old softy at heart – I want them all to do well).

And there is Wellington Silva from January of course.

——————-

You might also like: The Oldest Man Ever to Play for Arsenal

11 comments to Arsenal’s second, third and fourth squad: a quick review.

  • theusualsuspect

    Though we maybe running four or fourty squads i cant but help feel that Wenger has got selection and formation wrong. This is not a new concept, he as been doing this for a long time. The only decent full back we have is Gibbs and Wenger wont select him above his love child Clichy. Eboue is a disgrace and should be booted out now, I would be happy if we gave someone £5million to take him off our hands. Bendtner would improve with a better service and a strike partner, why are we playing with only one up top, this allows our midfield men to fancy dan around doing very little, Rosicky and Nasri are in their element

  • walter

    I think you are right abou some things. For the moment some players like JET are very close to the first team and thus miss games with the reserves like. And this could cost the reserves points. And so youth players have to fill in and this cost the youth team points.

    But what a lot of promising players we have for the moment and I really cannot understand how we can make and keep them happy at Arsenal. We probably will not succeed in this and will have to sell some players. Couldn’t they change the rules and allow us to play with 22 people on the pitch? 😉

  • Ghena

    this is all good and well tony but i feel that our club is a business and when a comodity is not performing, we should get rite of it.. Eboue.. he’s probably our weakes

  • kassa

    How many Thomas Cruise’s do we have? You mentioned his name both in the reserve and loan list.

  • Kassa

    He’s so good I counted him twice.

  • Fem Dee

    Theusualsuspect & Ghena:
    Eboue lost his No.2 position to Sagna and comes in occasionally as a mid-field, right-back or left-back sub when the key players in the positions are out. Most times he gives a good account of himself; sometimes he plays exceedingly well and sometimes too he makes mistakes. By the time Ransey his in better shape, I see him have even lesser playing time.

    Eboue may not be your cup of tea, but in the big squad that teams competing across 4trophies have to keep, he has his usefulness. He is rated/played consistent with his overall squad utility value rather than as a regular.

    I see no reason for the clamor for his head at this point.

  • theusualsuspect

    I’m not having a pop at van Persie here, I just think his priorities are wrong. He owes it to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and us, the fans, to begin playing regular football.

    Robin, for me, loves Arsenal and clearly loves playing for his country but he needs weigh things up. I’m sure a break from international football would help him in the long-run despite it being painful turning down Holland in the short-term.

    Essien has done it, so can van Persie.

  • Anon

    theusualsuspect – your clearly copied and pasted that from the wrighty7 blog yesterday.

    Anyway I feel we will need to soon start sellin g some 1st teamers or letting there contract run out if we are to promote the kids into 1st team. I.e. Ramsey might eventually replace denilson. This will have a positive effect cause we have so many great young players. We will end up only being able to keep your new fabregas’s and Van persie’s

  • Anon – thanks for the tip off. I missed it , but will investigate now.

  • Kyle

    One of the few reserve players you left off actually is probably, to me, one of our best prospects, especially considering our current squad. He’s one of the better young defenders in Europe imo, and is very versatile, having played CB, RB and DM for various clubs while on loan.

  • Kyle

    And stupidly I forgot the name. I could see Nordveit making the first team in the future.