The wonderful Adelaide, superb Gabriel, Cech confirms, advice for Akpom

By Walter Broeckx

Following up on our article about the good things we have seen in the Emirates cup we continue with some looking back at the second match.

The match against Wolfsburg was another story. A more difficult one. Wolfsburg played like a typical German team. Players who can run for 90 minutes and more if needed and press all over the field. Great skills on the ball and hard work. Why German teams are difficult to beat was very well shown by Wolfsburg.

Theo scored the only goal of the match and he should have scored at least another goal when he was released in the first half by a nice lobbed pass from Wilshere. He took too much time to control the ball and a defender could steal it from his feet at the time. But his runs are there and he is so difficult to stop once he is away. The goal itself was very well taken. A simple pass with the outside of the boot was a good and calm finish. But the way he was setup for this goal was maybe even more impressive.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who I will from now on just call Adelaide as that was on the back of his shirt was the assist maker this time. What a first start this 17 year old had. Of course he made a few wrong decisions in the match. Sometimes he could have taken another option but missed the obvious pass. But what I liked apart from his lovely footwork, his quick feet was the fact that he also didn’t forget to do his defensive duties.

When he lost the ball he always tried to win it back. Maybe in the first half he was a bit too reluctant at times and wasn’t aggressive in trying to win it back. But I am sure that this was said to him at half time as in the second half he did this much better. His footballing skills are amazing and he sure made a big impression on me. He sure looks a big talent for the future if he can keep a cool head on his shoulders.

Now we must turn our head to the back four, make that back five. At first I thought that Wenger was taking a big gamble with this back four. Certainly in the middle. Chambers and Gabriel. I do admit I didn’t feel very relaxed before the match.

Not that I think that they are bad players but we must realise that certainly Chambers is not very experienced at playing there. The Stoke match being a good example of him showing his inexperience at the time. But it seems that Chambers just as Bellerin did after making some mistakes has learned a few things.

Of course he has to learn a few more things and sometimes he could have done better. But for a rather inexperienced central defender he certainly did a great job against a difficult team. Maybe he did get some good assistance from his partner next to him, Gabriel.

Gabriel once again confirmed that he certainly is a 100% defender. He isn’t the biggest defender but in the air he was amazing. I think he won all his duels in front of goal. And when he saw an Arsenal player being roughed up a bit in the first half he went in himself in a bit a wild way and sent a message to some Wolfsburg players that he was ready to give back anything they gave to our players.

Gabriel-Chambers were under a lot more pressure than Per and Kos on the first day but they did a good job. In fact most dangerous moments from Wolfsburg came from shots from outside the penalty area and that is more down to our defensive midfielder(s) not always being at the right place at the right time. Maybe, just maybe Arteta’s legs are getting a bit too old for this position.

So is this a call from my part to bring in another defensive midfielder? Not really. As we maybe have the solution already in place. I thought Hayden was very impressive when he came on later in the match. Some good aggressive tackles, pressure on the Wolfsburg players and he was certainly one of the reasons (for me anyway) why Wolfsburg didn’t really make a lot of chances in the closing minutes. Yes lots of possession but no real chances any more. So do we have the solution already at Arsenal? Maybe yes.

As Wenger is seeing the future of Wilshere in the attacking positions as he told the other day I don’t count on Wilshere being trained for a more defensive role for now. Jack who had his burst again and who was stopped on more than one occasion by being hacked down by the Wolfsburg players. Sometimes a bit unlucky but also with some great passed and certainly Theo should have put Jack on the assist list with scoring one goal.

But at the end of our team was a player making his début for Arsenal. Petr Cech. We all knew that he is a great keeper. And he did all that was needed to confirm this. His shot stopping was great, his distribution was great certainly with no big centre forward to aim at. His commanding of the area was great. So, yeah I think we did a good deal with bringing him to the Emirates. And one can only wonder what would have happened if Wenger had got him when he wanted to buy him all those years ago.

A final word about Akpom to finish off this article. I felt that Akpom was a bit too nervous at times. As if he wanted to impress too much. His run to allow Theo to score the first goal was a great run dragging two defenders to his side and opening the gap in the middle. That was great work from the young man. But he also should have been more calm and sure of himself when we were countering at the end with 3 against 1.

A good simple layoff would have been enough to score a second goal for Arsenal but he completely messed up. You could see him being caught in two minds. And not just on that occasion this was happening to him. And a player who doubts, usually loses the ball. Will I take on the last defender myself or give the pass to a team mate? Chuba, just make a decision and stick to it. But just make sure you execute it in the right way. Now it was, I will take him on and do it myself and then oh no, I will give the pass but then it was too late and he messed it up.

Learning money it is called in my country and it is no shame to pay it. In fact all players have to do it at some time in their career. And better to do it in the Emirates cup than in a more important match.

Today’s anniversaries

28 July 2002: Arsenal signed Gilberto Silva for just £4.5m.  The low fee came because Atlético Mineiro had not paid their players, were banned from transfer deals, and there were problems getting the work permit despite the fact he went on to captain Brazil.

28 July 2009: Kolo Toure sold to Man City for £14m thus making Arsenal a profit of £13,850,000.  He played 82 games for City before being transferred on to Liverpool on a free.



30 Replies to “The wonderful Adelaide, superb Gabriel, Cech confirms, advice for Akpom”

  1. Well written Walter…I had suspected that the Wolfsburg match would be a ‘park the buss’ type approach from the Germans. It wasn’t quite like the Chel$kie style, but they did squeeze our space and restricted our channels. I stand by the idea that it was the perfect warm up match before the blues [who will no doubt] be very much more physical (to use a light word) against us this weekend!!!

    On other news; The Guardian ran an interview with the Special (never disrespectful) One; who had a dig at us for spending in the last 2 years, and went further about respect!!! Mourinho said “It is not a battle with the other managers. My team against the other teams, yes. My team in the competition, yes…”The last thing I’d do is show a lack of respect.”

    Now what kind of an idiot would believe THAT load?? I remember him calling our manager something which in the least would be disrespectful.

  2. In all my puff, I cannot remember a previous pre-season when there was so much said about our burgeoning youngsters. The anticipation and excitement is quite phenomenal.
    Absent are the snide remarks about Wenger only buying the young in order to train up and then sell.
    The guys we have seen introduced this Summer are our home-grown products, ballplayers, full of confidence and not afraid “to put it about”.
    The future looks bright indeed. 😉

  3. Walter – good write up & nice to see young talent being praised.

    Apo Armani – If Jose says ”The last thing I’d do is show a lack of respect.”, he should have died several times. He always is disrespectful & vindictive. His jealousy shines through whenever Wenger is praised. The match at Wembley will be a display of foul tackling & blocking of player runs, which is standard play for Mourinhos teams. Officiating in EPL seems to ignore the ‘off the ball blocks’ as they do not expect ‘American football on a soccer pitch’. Obstruction is an indirect free kick & can be a card if it is deemed unsporting (usually a given for Chelsea but not for PGMO).

    Seeing as Putin (Romans puppeteer) thinks that Nobel prizes should be awarded for evading honesty, there are several in line here in English football (the divers, the selectively blind, the tappers, the liars etc.). They all know who they are.

  4. @Menace
    July 28, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Exactly my sentiments even the one you mention (I did read on BBC) about Putin and the Corrupt man he speaks about!!

  5. The odious one is also spouting nonsense about how Hazard has been lucky to escape injury, because he is roughed up by all the other teams and is the most fouled player in the league.

    Whereas the truth: Hazard wins the most free-kicks by repeated diving and simulation. As for deliberately attacking opponents by fouls……..!!! it’s a well established Mourinho practice. He even joins in himself by assaulting other teams’ coaches.

  6. No one cares or takes notice when Mour speaks except his s**kers and l**kers of course. Not only Chelsea keeping tabs on how well Arsenal playing at the moment, everyone else is. Exciting times ahead at Ems. The thing is that the team can still improve with all these outstanding youth energy. I have to say the players fitness and focus have improved a lot since the new physical coach came in. No one is playing with handbrakes like previous seasons. Did anyone realize?

  7. I’m glad this is now apparent, that they are all keeping tabs on Arsenal. There is an air of respect from the other “big” teams now and i hope this turns back into FEAR again soon.

    I wondered at AW mixing the defence up for the two games but realised this was the best opportunity to get them playing with different partners. I know we all want a 3 to 0 over Chel$ this season starting with the CS, but i would rather lose this one and win the other two any day. NO, NO, NO scrap that, win them all we will.

    Just imagine we have to play them 5 times this season though, that would be something would it not?

    Sometimes i think the things Managers/Coaches say are a requirement of the money givers(TV) to cause excitement and controversy for them. They all say some pretty silly things off and on. 🙂

  8. Now we get Ian Wright stating he has an Arsenal Bias 🙂 and he doesn’t care if he gets picked on that, and will ‘stick his neck out’ with Arsenal will win the PL this season 🙂 🙂 how times change !!!!

  9. Thanks Walter, appreciated your articles. A wonderful squad we have now.

    The real thing starts this weekend with the Cmmunity Shield. Thank God they drop the “Charity” name, for the game is anything but…

    AW has a tough decision on his hands now. Play his best team or adapt them to the opponents. With better medical care now for the players, we may see less injuries, but that may mean the fringe players may see less playing time. A tough one, to soothe the egos and motivate these players all at once.

  10. Guys…switch on to and watch live the open day training at the Emirates 🙂

  11. Walter, a very accurate write up and assessment. I agree with your comments re Akpom – what I think he needs is a bit more confidence and hopefully that will come with game time. With that confidence he will find the mental time to make better decisions.

    I also agree about Arteta, although having come back from a long lay off he cannot be anywhere near match fit. I am not sure if Hayden is ready to be a sub for Coquelin – it would be fantastic if he was.

    But in general, what a fantastic crop of young players AW has put together to back up a very fine first team squad!

  12. Been rooting for Akpom for a few years now and am pretty desperate for him to make it.

    If you think about it, should he make it then that can only mean he has positively answered the few question marks or ‘unknowns’ (to those who don’t know him, which is everyone outside the club). That would mean we have a ridiculous talent for the team.

    Physically, you couldn’t ask for more from a striker- lightening speed, good strength, great leap- skill level is good and at times looks excellent, have seen him finish well with either foot.

    It’s a hell of a big ‘all’ in ‘all he has to do’ but really all he has to do now is work extra hard on his decision making of when to pass, and of course prove he has the ability to execute those passes and execute his finishes also.

    Don’t think it can be stressed enough how much we should hope he can do it. Buying a striker who has everything is nigh on impossible, given that there are so few of them around and the competition is so intense for those few. So growing your own might be the only chance to get one in the team.

    A big big ask, and much- nearly all- seems to depend on what his character is and how much football intelligence he has.

  13. Thanks for mentioning Isaac Hayden. I think injuries did him in but he will be a great player in the defensive midfield role.Yes, we need more competition for Giroud, but if we don’t bring in any, I wont mind one bit. we can live with a man short.

  14. A few points;
    1) if the game was limited to the standard 3 subs the Wolfsburg wouldn’t have pressed quite so hard for quite so long and we could have added to the scoreline.
    2) Akpom still has that goal scorers greed and it won’t be subdued for a year or two until he’s scored a few for us. Then I think he’ll settle and become a bit more of a team player. It’s good for us to have that type of player for the future as it’s what all goal poachers have.
    3) It’s looking like Arteta will be restricted to the games against opposition that play down the wings rather than through the middle. Then his experience means he can cover the spaces to stop the crosses to late arriving MFs (like Gilberto was especially good at).
    4) Hayden really looks like the Coquelin cover when the opposition play through the middle, but he really needs to play and to gain the experience that Coquelin has to read the game better.
    5) Jeff does look good but I hope the fans don’t put too much pressure on him. He’s a young guy which means he will have poor games and we really don’t need the aaa getting on his back (or Iwobi, Akpom, Hadens either) to crush his confidence.

  15. The young players are fantastic & will learn the timing skills from their peers. Who better than Ozil, Cazorla & Zalalem with timed/placed passes of sheer quality. Akpom does not need to change anything. It will all click into place with exposure to quality in training.

    The resilience of Alexis is something very special but that does not mean every cnut with Phil Neville’s brain should be allowed a two footer on Arsenal skill! I am expecting some specials from our competition laced with PGMO selective blindness. Please God restrain me from Twitter!!

    I am looking forward to the Banner & the Art of Wenger on the pitch at Wembley & Stadium Wenger.

  16. Very good write up as always Walter. I must however disagree with your last comments on Akpom in the three in one situation. I thought the two runners did not think at all except to keep their distance ahead of all others and so made the pass getting past the last defender very difficult. This may well be excellent defending by inviting Akpom to shift on to his weaker left foot and Akpom had already avoided lay offs to try to score himself with poor results. If Arsenal’s furthest runner had slowed a fraction to allow Akpom to thread the ball across in front of the defender which would be both least expected side and probably deemed less dangerous then we might have scored another.

    On your general tack of how encouraged we should be by the excellent quality of our youngsters it has led me to looking forward to our Capital Cup side. This could be crammed full of top quality young players from Martinez to Akpom and it is interesting even who would be the older core to steady the team. Perhaps Mertesacker to steady the back four, Arteta alongside Hayden in defensive midfield and Rosicky in Aaron Ramsay role. With a strongish mature bench it could make for a very interesting and promising cup run.

  17. Off topic
    I recall Tony saying, a few weeks back, some sites would launch a pop up that says click skip to continue to site, or something like that, which would take user to third party site if clicked. I was getting such pop ups over the last couple of weeks and thought that was very strange. Was anyone else seeing/getting these?

    I also notice most seem to have lost their avatars, is UA under attack or what…?

  18. Back on topic, Akpom’s runs remind me of a certain striker who famously wore the number 14 for us.

  19. Off topic again 🙂
    Just to clarify, in my 4:26pm post I was seeing these pop ups here on UA. I thought that was very strange as I’d never seen them prior to Tony ‘complaining’ that this sort of thing went on at other sites…

  20. There was a 404 pop up blocking the site . Just have to wait to close it.

  21. Walter

    “Will I take on the last defender myself or give the pass to a team mate? Chuba, just make a decision and stick to it. But just make sure you execute it in the right way.”


    “what I think he needs is a bit more confidence and hopefully that will come with game time. With that confidence he will find the mental time to make better decisions.”


    “…….all he has to do now is work extra hard on his decision making of when to pass”

    Personally I think the last thing he lacks is confidence. I think on Saturday he tried to do too much. He just got his head down and attacked the defence. Admirable in itself for one so young, but I think it’s possible he was told about it by Wenger or his team mates, and advised that perhaps he should look up a bit more to see if there’s another option.

    I think the problem mentioned above possibly arose because his natural instinct at the moment seems to be just to ‘go for it’ but perhaps had the words of Wenger or his team mates still ringing in his ears.

    That moment of doubt is often enough to see the chance disappear.

    Perhaps for now he should be left to just do what comes naturally.

    Anyway, it may not be a bad thing to have a player around that’s a bit more ‘selfish’.

    Just a thought. What ever he does, I’m sure he’s going to be a star.

  22. @Otariq

    Serge Gnabry was on the pitch today at the Emirates with the rest of the squad. It was members’ day and a lot of fun it was too. There is at least one picture of him on

  23. Pat

    Was there too today.

    Good fun. Sat right at the front where they did the initial warm up.

    Great to get so close and personal and see the lads looking so happy.

    I was like an excited kid, all starry eyed and all that. 🙂

  24. I just seen the “4 amigos” picture in the Daily Mail, I think that was great! Any idea who came up with that idea?

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