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July 2021

Untold Awards: 1 – Player most likely to break through to the first team next season


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By Tony Attwood

The idea of our doing our own  Awards arose as Robin won the first of his two awards this season, and we discussed not only that award of player of the year, but also other awards we would like to see.   The discussion is still there, and you can see exactly what people said on each topic.

Anyway, we came up with four awards of our own, and we were greatly helped on our way by a listing for the awards on    Many thanks guys.

So, onto the business.  One of the awards was:

The player who has not been regularly playing with the Arsenal first team this season but who is in the club, who you think is most likely to make a big impact next season.

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We excluded Jack W from this, as he’s obviously a special case, and invited readers to nominate up to three players.   We also decided that the Untold Awards would not be given following exact voting numbers – but rather as a result of discussions on this site.

Here are the players that got nominated as of the last time I looked…

  • Diaby
  • Mertesacker
  • Oxlade Chamberlain
  • Gibbs
  • Coqeulan
  • Frimpong
  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Ryo.
  • Joel Campbell
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • Oguzhan Ozyaghup
  • Nico Yennaris
  • Thomas Eisfeld
  • Benik Afobe
  • André Santos
  • Henri Lansbury
  • Martin Angha
  • Serge Gnarby
  • Wellington Silva
  • Carlos Vela

That is, I think 20 players.  Now of course they can’t all get into the first team, and some may not even be with us next season but the fact is that serious supporters of the club can come up with 20 names.  Twenty players who are in contention for first team exposure next season.

And even if you disagree significantly with some of these – even if you have a reaction that says, “Oh come on – he won’t make it” then you are still probably left with 10 nominees for who a case can be made.

Based on conversations with fellow fans, my own prejudices, and the number of votes cast for each player I came up with a short list… (and I am sure you are going to rub my face in this when next season comes along and I am hopelessly wrong)…

  • Diaby
  • Oxlade Chamberlain
  • Gibbs
  • Coqeulan
  • Frimpong
  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Ryo.
  • Joel Campbell
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • André Santos

Working on that list, I think we ought to say that Gibbs and Santos (like Mertesacker) are effectively already in the first team, and only injuries and the growing competition for places keeps them out.   One might also say that of the Ox which then gives us…

  • Diaby
  • Coquelin
  • Frimpong
  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Ryo
  • Joel Campbell
  • Ignasi Miquel

Seven strong names – plus the fact that I have now probably cut someone who is going to burst through.

On the couple of occasions we have seen Diaby he has looked magnificent – and in a season when Robin has risen from a lifetime of injury to have the player of the year awards, Diaby deserves a strong mention.  Frimpong too has been blighted by injuries – and before we was injured at Wolverhampton reports were very encouraging.

Joel Campbell has been playing fairly regularly for L’Orient – and scoring occasionally, and we know Mr Wenger wanted him to have the right to play in the UK, but was refused. I don’t know if he is applying again – but if he is refused again, that might count against him.  (I have always thought Park was grabbed because of the refusal to allow Campbell in – and that suggests Mr Wenger values him highly).

We’ve seen Ryo in bits on TV at Bolton – and again Mr Wenger rated him highly enough to get the work permit this year.  Ignasi Miquel we have seen occasionally too – and if it is the centre backs who get the injuries next season, he could get his chance.

But I am giving the Untold vote to Francis Coquelin.  He has played 15 times for us and will I think really break through next season.

Coquelin came from Stade Lavallois and in 2008 we saw him for the first time at Barnet and then in Austria.  His first proper game was on 23 September 2008 v Sheffield United at right back.

In 2009/10 he played in the reserves and in the league cup side, and then last season as noted above he played for FC Lorient making 24 appearances.   It is said that the club wanted to keep him, but were turned down.  Gilles Sunu did in fact sign for the club, and is now with them.

This season Coquelin was man of the match in the defeat to Tottenham in December.  He signed a new long term contract in January.

He has played for France at under 17, 18. 19, 20 and 21 level.

So there he is: Untold’s Player Most Likely to Break Through Next Season.  I am sorry to say I haven’t cup a cup or trophy to give him, but I do hope that someone at Arsenal gets to tell the young man how much impression he’s made on us.

And of course we look forward not only to him making it big time, but someone else bursting through.   Just look back at the final short list again, and then add Jack Wilshere, and you’ll see, it is looking rather amazing…

  • Diaby
  • Coquelin
  • Frimpong
  • Jenkinson
  • Ryo
  • Campbell
  • Ignasi Miquel

Coming up tomorrow: The Untold Award for the worst player of the year who has played against Arsenal.


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37 comments to Untold Awards: 1 – Player most likely to break through to the first team next season

  • jeremy

    RYO, Jenkinson and Campbell

  • WalterBroeckx

    Could have added Arshavin 😉

    Coquelin has looked impressive when he played most of the time I must say so I could agree with you. But my god this is difficult. I think he is standing the furthest of them all.

    I think Ryo and Campbell if he gets a permit will be more breaking in in the CC games and FA cup games. Unless Ryo does a Jack Wilshere (and I don’t mean the injury season of course…) and takes a flying start next summer in the pre season…

    Jenkinson will have to wait for Sagna to get injured I’m afraid. Unless Wenger wants to rest Sagna a bit more and use Jenkinson against the smaller teams a bit more? Be my guest Arsène.

  • Byron

    Jenkison may get more games next season as the boss looks for height agaisnt the likes of stoke.

  • julian philpot

    what about kyle bartley? is he still an arsenal player and just on loan at rangers?

  • I agree with you Tony. Coquelin has looked fantastic – a very intelligent player.

  • Hashim

    Ryo, Eisfeld, Lansbury or Bartley

  • Dan T

    Yeh, If I could only choose one I think Coquelin has my vote too. His maturity on the ball is amazing.

    Jenko and Miguel would both need an injury to get a chance, Frimpong will most likely need a loan spell to get over his injury and Campbell has visa issues and I think needs a while longer on loan. That leaves Diaby, Coquelin and Ryo. I think all 3 of these could feature quite heavily next year. If Diaby can stay fit he could be a major force for us next year (unfortunately we have been saying that for years).

  • Dan T

    I would love to see Gnarby and Eisfeld get a few games in the carling cup though.

  • Bartley was not nominated at all. He signed a new contract in August last year and has played for Rangers getting on for 20 times this season. But apart from a news story saying nothing was sorted, as Rangers went into admin, nothing has been heard and he played in the game against Hearts on 21 April.

  • Tee Song

    If you put Diaby on this list, you should put Wilshere on it too. Both Diaby and Wilshere ARE DEFINITELY first team players and if they come back from their respective injuries successfully, they will immediately come back into the first team. As for players likely to break into the squad, I’d say Coquelin, Ryo, Miqel, and Bartley all have a decent chance. Campbell or Afobe are both long shots but have a shout.

  • Gerry Lennon

    Well I am very happy, as my No! choice wins the award, and my No2 got the most votes.
    What I liked about Coquelin when I first saw him was his ‘abilty’ to see and excute a long range pass, along with his ‘duracell’ type energy, and to try his best in whatever position he was played.
    His big problems will be the resurgence of Diaby, the durability of Song, and the reliability of Arteta … and those are the ones currently on the books??
    I have no problem with the other names mentioed, but all have similar problem. Frimpong I thought may go for another loan spell to make up for what he lost through injury? J.Campbell will also go on loan if he gets his permit, and probably Gnabry too.
    Ryo has an excellent chance of getting in some games, but no more than that. His stumbling block will be the same as my third suggestion, Eisfeld. That is the signing of Podolkski, and the possible use of Santos as the wide midfielder. The reason why I like Eisfeld over the others is that he too, like JW, is coming back from a bad injury that might threaten his career. Prior to that he excelled in the youth levels and was on still coming back to his best when B.Dortmand let him go. Depending on how wide Podolski plays, from the little I have seen, I could see him fitting in a 4-4-2 format very well. While Coquelin will get his opportinities coming on inially as a more defensive sub, I think the Miachi/Elsfeld coming on as an attacking option? Something to to look forward as the early rounds of the CC will give them a place to show their talents off?

  • Richard B

    The chance to break through largely depends on what position you fill and who is in that position now. If a player is not that effective and old (e.g. Arshavin) then the player who can fill that spot (e.g. Ryo, Ox) stand a better chance than if the current first teamer is young and great (Song).
    Coquelin has played both at right and left back where the competition is already great (unless you rate him higher than Jenkinson) and also in midfield. There he was a replacement for Song where, it is rumoured, we will have M’Vila.
    Our weakest position (depthwise) is centre forward where Podolski will come in.
    Having said all that I agree that Coquelin is an outstanding prospect and will either be in the first team squad next year or out for a seasons loan to Bolton.
    One other player is worth thinking about. Conor Henderson was getting exposure last season and then got injured. He has the great advantage of being left footed. Watch out for him!

  • Gord


    UntoldArsenal, in particular the Swansea 0 – Newcastle 2 referee review is the subject of a Newcastle fan blog. This article is apparently an Editor’s pick by a guest writer.

    Are Arsenal Fans The Most Boring In Premier League?

    There are no comments on that article at the moment.

  • khalifha

    Top blog. Coquelin looks like a hybrid of flamini and arterta, he can tackle, pass, defend, start attacks and he hardly looses the ball, superb player in the making.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for the link Gord. Some free advertisement space 😉

  • Mahdain

    it didnt come as a suprise when Coquelin won this and tbh he was my choice too…everytime i have watched him play this season he just never failed to impress me he is such an amazing talent and one that i hope will be a part of our team for years and years to come…

  • Damien Luu

    This is really hard to say. I think everyone of them has what it takes to shine when their chances come. It will totally depend on what happen with our first-team members in the next season (injuries, someone suddenly loses form, etc.). And I agree that we should remove Diaby from the list because if he stays fit, he is already a regular.

    Personally I like Ryo and Carl most.

  • Damien Luu

    And I still believe in Park. I know he is good.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    IMO, the most likely to make the biggest contribution is Coquelin. in 2nd, with his lighning pace and fleet-footed technical ability in playing the forward left and right position Ryo will surely make an impact from the subs bench when teams are tired. Those 2 will make th biggest impact and look like potentially quality players who could make a real impact on the first team by next season. (I was down in London the weekend that chelsea played bolton, and went to the game where I witnessed Miyachai destroy two chelsea players (inc ivanovic) with his pace and dribbling skills-he’s just so quick with gr8 technique.)

    IMO, The rest below will have less 1st team chance with the exception of Diaby as Wenger beleives he is a quality (if not injury prone player)- I still hold the belief that along with a signing a striker a quality ATM needs to be signed to take the load off a developing Ramsey and to provide back up to possible injury to Rosicky who could then dovetail with Rosicky regularly.

    The remaining below can be used to create an excellent CC team tho some may also go on loan.

    •Carl Jenkinson
    •Joel Campbell
    •Ignasi Miquel

    There’s my 2 cents…

  • zdzis

    Yeah, I also think taking Diaby in is slightly unfair. We shouldn’t count those who already had their breakthrough.
    Coquelin was mentioned so often precisely because he got the most of it this season – so many appearances, in so many roles, and he continued to impress, but the recurring injuries are a worry.
    I wouldn’t stake too much on Campbell. He’s not a star at Lorient (though he does look impressive on his day), and mid-table Ligue 1 teams don’t compare too favourably to top 4 EPL sides. If he gets here, he’ll most likely enjoy the same status as Afobe, a reserves’ reserve – unless there’s more in him than shows, or there’s a loan deal already prepared, watiting to be signed.
    The trouble with Ryo is that we’ll only know for sure whether we have a gem when he comes back to London and shines for Arsenal. As long as it’s only Bolton, it’s still too early to say anything definite. But he does show glimpses of sheer, unvarnished talent.
    Bartley was on the fringes for so long I feel he must be 30 or so. But I’d certainly like to see what he’s really worth.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Tony pointed out tha Coquelin has played 15 games this season, without his injury might I suggest that Coquelin would be had over 25 games this season (full game or sub appearances). In fact, would coquelin not have played instead of ramsey while arteta has been injured, allowing song to play with more freedom, an interesting development that we could see in the future…

  • Jacobite Gunner

    zdais, I agree with you regarding bartley and to a certain extent Miguel however it is difficult for a young central defender to break in the level of arsenal’s first team. In fact, it has not been done (cashley and gibbs are full backs, not centre backs).

    If bartley or iggy miguel could secure a loan deal to an EPL team, that would probably be the best method of development for them. A good case example would be Stephen Caulker’s spuds loan deal to Swansea that has seen him develop to the point that he will be challenging for a first team place when he returns to spuds. Another example would be Johnny Evans loan deal to sunderland a few seasons ago.

    Regarding Bartleys loan to rangers, as it was my country’s premier league and my team hearts compete in it I watch SPL football quite alot, or so I used to. I am depressed to say this but the SPL’s technical quality is poor. Bar a few teams (and rangers are not included) who play football on the ground, most teams play a direct style with little skill or invention. I can’t watch SPL football anymore, it’s that bad, in fact i often have the chance of a free ticket for Hearts but turn it down because the standard of the SPL is so poor.

    Anyway, my point is, although bartley may have developed mentally for playing at a club the size of Rangers, I seriously doubt he will have developed as quick as he would’ve in a technical sense than if playing on loan in the EPL or even the championship where teams are better.

    (if there are any scottish commenters here, i’m sure they would agree with me)

  • Adam

    Im going to stick me neck out and say “ALMUNIA” sorry couldn’t resist.

  • Edda

    The question will also be “Who will leave Arsenal in the summer?” Then i mean who will have to go because they are not needed ? If we sell players like Chamakh, Bendtner, Vela and maybe even Carlos Vela, that might open the doors for a player like Joel Campbell, he will then be 3rd choice striker behind RVP and Podolski, might even find himself on the bench regularly if AW manages to find space for both RVP and Podolski in our startin XI.

  • Gord


    5052 people made the trip to the Emirates to see Arsenal Ladies play Chelsea Ladies. Final score appears to be 3-1 to Arsenal. Goals by Little (47, 90) and Chapman (68) for Arsenal, and Longhurst (76) for Chelsea. Good to see them back to winning ways after being eliminated by Frankfurt in Womens Champions League.

    The web page was a little flaky, caching problems? The first score I seen was early in the second half at 1-0 to Arsenal. Later on in the half, the score was reported as being 1-1. From the times the goals were scored, the score never was 1-1.

    In Europa League action, final scores are Athletic Bilbao 3 – Sporting 1 (4-3 aggregate) and Valencia – Athletico Madrid 1 (2-5 aggregate).

  • Gaddiel Gunner

    Niko Yenaris impressed so much. Maybe he will!

  • Gord


    Congratulations to the Arsenal supporters who went to watch the Arsenal Ladies play Chelsea Ladies! That was apparently a record crowd for a WSL game.

    Mark Lawrenson does predictions for the BBC. This year (and last year?), he has been plying his skills against guest predictors. This week’s guest is a rugby person (Clive Woodward, wasn’t he knighted?).

    Personally, I like Clive Woodward’s predictions more than Lawrenson’s. But, I am hoping for “magic” as far as Tottenham versus Blackburn goes (both predict Tottenham to win).

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Le Coq has impressed me even though he had been played out of position. He has displayed maturity and a hardness and does not seem to be overawed by the quality of the opposition he has face thus far.
    I ‘m sure he will be getting a lot of game time next season and do hope that he makes his mark.

  • Gerry Lennon

    With just 3 games left I am hopeful that Coquelin and Diaby(between them) will make a big impression this season. Even AW must see that he is doing Ramsey no favours?

  • Can we have some awards for journalism – this is my nomination for the comedy category:

    With such gems as:

    “Even the possible loss of Harry Redknapp to England is not THAT big a worry when you consider some top-line bosses would then be falling over themselves to work with one of the best, well-balanced squads in the country.”

    And the amazing:

    “Three points for Spurs would put them 13 points clear of their bitter rivals and surely end the arrogant talk heard earlier in the season that, no matter how far ahead Redknapp’s men went, the Wenger boys would reel them in.”

  • Mahdain

    @Dogface that and Henry winter’s North london XI are neck with neck

  • Gord


    Vital Arsenal has a nice writeup on the Ladies game last night. I guess that record attendance last night was bout double the previous WSL record. And the article below mentions the typical crowd at only 300.

  • Laundryender

    I love Oliver Holts tweet;

    Oliver Holt ‏ @OllieHoltMirror
    My top four for this season has not changed after yesterday. Still think PL will finish: 1. MUFC 2. MCFC 3. Chelsea 4. LFC.

    What a Dick this guy is, conceited arrogant twat that cant wait to see Wenger out so he can say, “told you so, I was right”

  • RedGooner

    Not sure who will make the break through next season as none of our up and comming players have particular stood out head and shoulders above the other.

    But if you look at the fact that the following players might move on (Squillaci, Almunia, Park, Chamakh, Fabianski, Mannone, Benayoun, Bendtner, Vela, Denilson )….. Then there should be an oppertunity for atleast 2 of them to take advantage and make a name for themselves.

  • Clerkenwell Gooner

    Guardian write-up for Stoke game says Arsenal have used more squad players than anyone else, 32 in all this season.

    If our young prospects stay fit and well, they get a shot.

  • Paddy Gooner

    I believe Coquelin did a great job whenever he was given chance. My Top3 would be Coquelin, Frimpong and Ryo.

    But guyz, Why were we not trying or getting any exceptional or for that matter a good, young(not the diver) striker from our reserve or youth teams. Afobe is there but seriously someone should give the other substitutes in our first team a run for their money. But in Premier league, we seldom tried someone(from academy) in the last two years (Pardon me if I forgot someone). we gave some youngsters a try in midfield as well as defense. Not so in striking dept. Why?. Even though RVP is in red hot form, we had several games this season where we could have been helped by another striker, coming as a late substitute, pairing with RVP to turn a losing game.

  • Davi

    What happened to Mannone? Last I heard he was breaking clean sheets records at Hull? Of course it’s unlikely he would break in ahead of Szczesny, but I still think he’s worth a mention.