By Tony Attwood
Arsenal have now played their opening friendlies of the 2012/13 season. So what do the line ups tell us of what is to come?
Anderlecht 0 Arsenal 1
In one sense we can readily say that the line ups don’t really teach us much at all, since the players who were involved in the Uefa competition, or who have been picked to play for the Olympics, won’t be playing. Benik Afobe has also been playing in the under 19 competition for England (where he scored in the last game).
But even so there is an insight or two to be had. Here’s the team from the first game…
Carl Jenkinson; Daniel Boateng; Ignasi Miquel; Kieran Gibbs (c)
Nico Yennaris; Craig Eastmond; Henri Lansbury
Thomas Eisfeld; Sanchez Watt; Marouane Chamakh
The substitutes were…
- Vito Mannone
- Andre Santos
- Martin Angha
- Johan Djourou
- Sead Hajrovic
- Kristoffer Olsson
Martinez is our young Argentine keeper, who has already sat on the bench for a full international for his country. Some suspect he might be our second keeper next season.
But we know that some players might be here prior to loan, some on parade because the club is looking to sell them, some perhaps because Mr Wenger simply wants to see where they have got to.
In the second game (a draw against Southampton with them winning on penalties) we played
Jernade Meade; Kyle Bartley; Johan Djourou (c); Andre Santos
Craig Eastmond; Kyle Ebecilio; Francis Coquelin
Henri Lansbury; Chuks Aneke; Gervinho
The subs were
- Damian Martinez,
- Martin Angha,
- Sead Hajrovic,
- Kristoffer Olsson,
- Thomas Eisfeld
Miquel has been talked up for a loan spell, Ebecilio is highly rated, Eastmond got involved in both games, Coquelin is still clearly in the frame, and we see again the return of Lansbury (although he only lasted 16 minutes in the second game).
Eastmond has done his loan spells at Millwall and Wycombe, and has already played in the first team. Is this his moment? Sanchez Watt has been at Leeds twice, Crawley and Sheffield Wednesday. Like Eastmond he has come through the academy. Again – is it time for him to step up? Chuks Aneke has played for Preston North End and Stevenage.
With all the players like this, one gets the feeling that unless there is a loan to a top Championship or a lower Premier League club then their time with us will be up.
I must admit I am at a profound disadvantage here in that I have not seen the games, so I am really asking you, if this gives you an insight into who is going to be involved, who is going etc etc, please do let me know.
One thing I would say, for those who were not involved in Europe or who are not in the Olympics, this is not a good sign, if you are not even in the openers.