Supposing we cull 10 players to meet the “25” limit, what sort of squad do we have?

By Tony Attwood

One of the amusing things about the bloggettas is that they are still running little articles about Arsenal having a desperate shortage of defenders (according to one piece today) or midfielders or centre forwards or whatever takes their fancy.

Indeed the notion that everything can be reduced to simplicities has caught on with Fox News now chiming in.  Try this for size…

So I thought I would amuse myself by seeing just who we do have.  Making a variety of  assumptions about players who are leaving or not making the final 25 and only including the two most obvious under 21s as being in serious contention for places I came up with this list of players who are likely to survive the cull needed to bring our numbers down to 25.

This approach does give us players being listed in more than one position on occasion – so the total is now more than 25 plus the couple of youngsters included.

Some of the assumptions do cancel out however.  For example Szczesny might not return, but if not we would certainly keep Ospina or replace him, or Martinez would step up and be replaced.  We will have three keepers plus an under 21 keeper as the final backup.  The same applies throughout the squad.

So here we go.

Goal (3)

  • Martinez
  • Szczesny
  • Cech

Defence including wing backs (11)

  • The Ox
  • Gibbs
  • Bellerin
  • Holding
  • Koscielny
  • Gabriel
  • Monreal
  • Mertesacker
  • Mustafi
  • Kolasinac
  • Maitland-Niles

Midfield defence (7)

  • Coquelin
  • The Ox
  • Ramsey
  • Wilshere
  • Xhaka
  • Elneny
  • Santi Cazorla

Midfield attack (4)

  • Ramsey
  • Wilshere
  • Özil
  • Santi Cazorla

Wide Attack (5)

  • Welbeck
  • Walcott
  • Alexis
  • Pérez
  • Iwobi

Centre forward (3)

  • Welbeck
  • Giroud
  • Alexis
  • Pérez

From this the idea is to be able to pick where we actually are weak if we get a couple of injuries or where we are overloaded with players and so can get rid of a few to keep the “25” in balance.

Here’s the list of all our youth players, excluding the schoolboys in case you want to nominate any more to step up this season.

Name Country Squad no Pos Loan last season Date of birth
Aaron Eyoma England 44 RB/RW 9/22/1997
Ainsley Maitland-Niles England 55 CM/Wing 8/20/1997
Alex Crean Scotland GK 1/1/2000
Alex Iwobi Nigeria 17 Forward/MF 5/3/1996
Ben Sheaf England 65 CM 2/5/1998
Charlie Gilmour England 46 CM 2/11/1999
Chiori Johnson England 51 RB 10/5/1997
Chris Willock England 68 CM/Wing 1/31/1998
Dan Crowley England 38 AM Oxford United 8/3/1997
Donyell Malen Holland 56 Forward 1/19/1999
Edward Nketiah England 73 Forward 5/30/1999
Gedion Zelalem USA 40 Mid 1/26/1997
Hugo Keto Finland 53 GK 2/9/1998
Ismael Bennacer France 36 CM 12/1/1997
Jeff Reine-Adelaide France 31 Forward 1/17/1998
Joao Virginia Portugal 82 GK 10/10/1999
Jordi Osei-Tutu England 62 RB 10/2/1998
Joshua DaSilva England 41 Forward 10/23/1998
Julio Pleguezuelo Spain 53 CB Mallorca 1/26/1997
Kaylen Hinds England 48 Forward 1/28/1998
Kelechi Nwakali Nigeria Midfield Maastricht 6/5/1998
Krystian Bielik Poland 37 Mid 1/4/1998
Marc Bola England 38 CB/LB 12/9/1997
Marcus McGuane England 58 CM 2/2/1999
Reiss Nelson England 76 Forward 12/10/1999
Ryan Huddart England 43 GK Eastleigh 5/6/1997
Savvas Mourgos Greece 60 CM 3/16/1998
Stephy Mavididi England 57 Forward 5/31/1998
Tafari Moore England 51 RB Utrecht 7/5/1997
Tolaji Bola England 39 CB/LB 1/4/1999
Vlad Dragomir Romania 43 CM 4/24/1999
Yassin Fortune France 45 Forward 1/30/1999

Of course the big problem for me is that I only see the under 23s a couple of times a season, and so really don’t know who is making it.  Reiss Nelson has been mentioned as one who could join the forward line and of course we saw Krystian Bielik come on as a sub once in the league cup, Jeff Reine-Adelaide made three starts in the league cup.  Chris Willock and Gideon Zelalem both made two subs appearances in the league cup last season.

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9 Replies to “Supposing we cull 10 players to meet the “25” limit, what sort of squad do we have?”

  1. Maitland-Niles has played a couple of games at full back for the u21’s but much more often in central midfield (where he plays for England).And it looks like four centre-forwards not three as listed.

  2. Dan Crowley started at Oxford, but moved to Holland on loan.

    Jon Toral ended the season at Rangers (started in Spain).

  3. I think that Bielik will go out on a season long loan, I would look for him to make the Arsenal first team for 2018/19 as a CB or possibly DM.

    I still have great hopes for Eddie Nketiah, he has scored goals at every level since he joined the club. Not a powerhouse centre forward but an extremely effective goal scorer. I hope he gets a chance in pre-season and as part of the Europa League squad.

    Maitland-Niles will certainly be part of the first team squad next year. At present he is something of a utility player, effective anywhere in midfield but also competent at right back or right wing.

    An outside chance of Bennacer being involved. He tends to fly a little under the radar but is a very effective midfielder. He does nothing flashy but is usually in the right place when he is needed.

    I wouldn’t yet write off Cohen Bramall. Unfortunately I can’t see him getting into our 25 man squad unless he does something really spectacular in pre-season. I presume that we could keep him at the club and play him at U23 level, without him being part of the senior squad, but I’m not sure of the rules on that one.

    Dan Crowley has the ability but hasn’t yet demonstrated the necessary application to succeed. He may get a final chance with the U23s as successive loan spells haven’t worked with him.

  4. Gord,

    Toral is now over 21 and I suspect Tony couldn’t find a place for him in the 25 man squad. I’m not sure that he has done enough to put himself above the other players Tony has included.

  5. In the midfield (7), Cazorla and Wilshere won’t be active but obsolete in the first half of next season. And the squad player Elneny is more or less a non-started player for Arsenal last season as he didn’t influenced anything for Arsenal on the field of play but to be mostly warming the bench whenever he’s available. So, Ramsey, if he can stay fit, Coquelin, the Ox and Xhaka are the 4 mid fielders Arsenal could rely on next season imo. I think we need a top quality midfielder signing this summer in this department to forestall another shortage and enhance performance in this area in next season’s campaign.

    In the wide attack (5), save Alexis and Walcott, Welbeck, Perez and Iwobi have proved in their playing for Arsenal to be mere passengers on the field of play. Okay, Welbeck can claim he didn’t play a full season for Arsenal last season. But let’s see his end products when he does next season. And Perez can advance a different argument that he was injured most of the time last season and when he regained fitness, he wasn’t given the chance to play by Le Prof. Let see what he’ll do when his giving the chance to play next season.

    In the attack (3), 4 names are mentioned. But to me only Alexis and Giroud are the reliable centre forwards who can effectively lead the line for Arsenal as their goalscoring tally for Arsenal over the seasons has vindicated them.

    In the defence and wingbacks (11), haven signed the left back Kolasinac, but for security reason, if one of Debuchy and Jenko will not be kept next season, I think Arsenal will do with a top quality right back specialist signing this summer.

    And finally in the goalkeepers (3), I don’t see any reason why Le Prof should not keep Cech for the PL games, Ospina for the Europa League games and Szcesney for for both the EFL & the FA Cup games and move Martinez to the Arsenal League II team. Szcesney can become the stand in keeper for both Cech and Ospina as the case may be.

  6. Here is a bit of statistics that should help us see things in the context.

    Arsenal finished fifth in the league. We also had fifth attack in the league despite having one of the best goal-scoring returns in years. We scored 77 goals (over 2 goals per game!) but there were four teams above us that scored more:

    Spuds 86, Chelsea 85, Man City 80 and Liverpool 78.

    Compare this with 2015-16. The best attack was the one of Man City. They scored…wait for it…71 goals. That’s six goals behind Arsenal 2016-17 and 6 goals ahead of Arsenal 2015-16.

    Basically, the goal-posts were moved.

    For the first time in the league history, five teams scored over 75 goals across 38 games.

    At the end of 2016-17, the gap between 7th Everton and 8th Southampton was 15 points. In 2015-16, the gap between 7th West Ham and 8th Liverpool was 2 points.

    Premier League 2016-17 was basically divided on two tiers – the one, with teams from first-placed Chelsea to seventh-placed Everton, and the second one, from eight-placed Southampton to last-placed Sunderland.

    The real problem was defending, especially after Mustafi’s injury before the Everton game at Goodison Park.

    We conceded eight goals more in 2016-17 comparing to 2015-16 (44-36). Petr Čech won The Golden Glove in 2015-16 with 16 clean sheets to his name and David Ospina added two. That means we practically had a clean sheet every other game! In 2015-16, we prevented our opponents from scoring in just 13 occasions which translates as roughly a clean sheet every three games.

    Here is a positive note on our defensive stats though: we had kept the net intact just nine times in the first 30 league games (30%) while playing with back four but four times in the remaining eight games (50%) after the switch to back three. As I said before, the main defensive deterioration comparing to 2015-16 was in the section of defensive actions per game. We averaged five defensive actions less than we had averaged in 2015-16, especially when it comes to interceptions (three interceptions less per game means three attacks per game more for the opponents) which can be related with Francis Coquelin’s major drop in form.

    Speaking of Coquelin, it’s impossible not to notice that his best partner Santi Cazorla played just eight games this season. In the first game of the season, he was used as a substitute after Aaron Ramsey was injured. The score-line was 1:4 when Cazorla entered the fray. The game ended 3:4. In the second game of the season, Cazorla played in a No. 10 role because Mesut hadn’t been fit for 90 minutes yet. The game ended 0:0. In the remaining six games Cazorla played as a central midfielder and…we won all six of them.

  7. Goal stats are incomplete if they don’t include penalties (opportunity given by official).

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