Midfielders: Diaby, Wilshere, Fabregas, Rosicky, Nasri, Denilson, Ramsey, Song
By Tony Attwood
This article continues in the format established earlier in a review of the forward line. Also at the end is an update on which of the reserve players are not at the summer camp, and whether that means much…
So, onto the midfield…
By way of explanation I should add that Arshavin and Eboue are included in the Arsenal midfield list (I’m putting them in as a forward and defender respectively) while Vela and Walcott have been listed by Arsenal as forwards by AFC and I included them there.
And what do we find…
I started off the similar piece on forwards saying I had not seen a set-up like it before, and I feel the same about the midfield – it is an extraordinary selection. I read a piece the other day saying that when a team is made up of 27-28 year olds it can only improve a few percent through increasing awareness of each other. When a team is made up of younger players it can improve by 30% in a year. I am looking forward to it.
Of the list Diaby, Denilson, Song, and Frimpong are players who could play in the defensive role in front of the back four. At a push so can Ramsey and Fabregas, although naturally you would want them further up the field – and indeed giving Diaby licence to roam makes more use of his skill.
Last Season: 35 starts, 5 as sub, 7 goals
Injury potential: He’s had his year out following a Shawcross type assault against Sunderland, and seems to get just the odd muscle pull. 35 starts last season shows his resilience.
Brilliance potential: Still don’t think we have seen the best of him – but the great thing is he can play all over the midfield – and move into attack too. Remember that game he played in attack with Theo in Turkey (I think) and we were about 4-0 up in 13 seconds. OK my mind plays tricks but he played as centre forward that day.
Breakthrough potential: If everyone were fit then we might just see a midfield of Cesc, Denilson and Song, but leaving that aside I would expect him to be a regular first choice.
Personality: Never seem to hear anything bad. After that awful own goal against Man U last year he showed extraordinary nerves to be able to get on and keep playing. Seemed to conduct himself with dignity for France in the world cup.
Crowd potential: Not quite there with the crowd but a good season will turn everyone around.
International Disruption Potential: French regular, so not too far to go for home games.
Last Season: 7 starts, 8 as sub, 1 goals
Injury potential: Seems to be unaffected by the injury disease that has swept the club.
Brilliance potential: Outstanding and the Barnet game showed he is several centuries beyond where he was last year. It is all coming good and is about to get gooder (if you see what I mean). Doubeplusgood in fact.
Breakthrough potential: Presumably not yet first choice, but with the inevitable injuries he will get a place and do his thing. He now seems to realise he can play football and not beat the entire team every time he gets the ball.
Personality: Looked to have a lot of aggression in him which sometimes came out the wrong way – but then he is hardly out of nappies so allowances are made.
Crowd potential: Adored as the first of the Youth Project kids. Can do no wrong for those with any sense of history who remember seeing Rocastle and Merson for the first time.
International Disruption Potential: Please don’t let the evil maniacs who run English football destroy him. Mr Cappuccino – he is no good honest. Absolute rubbish. Don’t touch him.
Last Season: 35 starts, 1 as sub, 19 goals
Injury potential: Well, you know. But if he can just get a bit of a break sometime it might help.
Brilliance potential: Stratospheric. First choice obviously. And 19 goals!
Breakthrough potential: He broke through aged 3.
Personality: I tend to view it as a young man torn by demands of his family who want to be with him in Barca, and his devotion to Wenger who made him what he is. When an entity the size of Barca use you as the football, rather than using a football, you have to be strong, and he is getting stronger.
Crowd potential: If anyone near me boos him I’ll smash his fucking face in. Well, no I wouldn’t what with me being of the elderly persuasion, but I will remonstrate with the fellow most severely.
International Disruption Potential: Plays for Barca when they pretend to be Spain, and has idiots pulling the wool over his face. Fortunately is mostly used as a reserve since he doesn’t play for Barca the club.
Last Season: 20 starts, 13 as sub, 3 goals
Injury potential: Hard to say. Last year was his comeback year and I’d say it went better than it might have done. If the little injuries are all over, maybe he’ll fire up again.
Brilliance potential: When he came he was sensational, and then the injury started and his career was intercepted. He is better in the middle than on the wing, but when he gets going on the wing he is on fire.
Breakthrough potential: This season he has to make it all the way through without serious injury, helping relieve the pressure on other players as the games come up in mid-week. I’d love to see him remind us of his pure football by cutting inside from the wing.
Scoring potential: Could get many more, but needs to be there regularly and able to cut inside to shoot from just outside the area.
Personality: Seems a nice, balanced young gent
International Disruption Potential: Czech Rep, and didn’t qualify for the bent world cup. Captain of the side last time I looked. Hopefully won’t qualify for Euros either.
Last Season: 29 starts, 5 as sub, 5 goals
Injury potential: Apart from the odd broken leg in the training camp seems to be immune.
Brilliance potential: Won the goal of the year through sheer determination to go through and score. More of the same please.
Breakthrough potential: He is there, there is nowhere to break into. When fit he should play – except that if Song, Cesc and Denilson are fit, I wonder if he does. Too many players that’s the problem.
Personality: We saw him get angry a few times. Not a bad thing (they don’t like it up em) if he can then turn around and smile in a charming manner to the ref. Keep the aggro but calm down faster, that’s the way to do it.
Scoring potential: Could get more – just look at that video of the winning goal again.
International Disruption Potential: Not picked by France although clearly he should have been, but long may that situation continue.
Last Season: 25 starts, 3 as sub, 5 goals
Injury potential: It seems high – that back injury kept returning, but hopefully all is now sorted. Although he missed Barnet with an injury so it seems.
Brilliance potential: I rate him like Gilberto – the master of the interception, knowing exactly where the ball will be and picking the spot to walk off with it. I know half the universe disagrees with me and the other half doesn’t support Arsenal, but when I did a report on a game for a paper the season before last and just watched him, it was extraordinary the way he just seems to know. But some total prat one day called him “lightweight” and every paper picked up on it. Just go back and watch the opening game of last season, and ponder why he is so rated in Brazil.
Breakthrough potential: High – he has broken through but he now needs to do it again to convince the doubters. But if he is moved into the Brazil first team now, he will be like Vela – endlessly jet lagged.
Personality: Another Mr Nice Guy.
Scoring potential: Could be more – mostly from 30 yards out.
International Disruption Potential: If with the change of ownership in Brazil he is moved into the first team now, he will be like Vela – endlessly jet lagged and with more injuries.
Last Season: 12starts, 17 as sub, 4 goals.
Injury potential: Everyone knows. When will he come back? Say December and hope for earlier. Maybe this year he has finally got over the horrors.
Brilliance potential: Staggering. I was raving over him every time he came on the pitch last season until the evil maniac Shawcross did him, and the evil maniac who manages England then picked Shawcross that evening to play for the country. I suspect Cesc will go in a year or two, and then like Vieira, Henry, Anelka and others, he will regret it absolutely, but Ramsey will just step up into his shoes and we won’t notice the change.
Breakthrough potential: Total.
Personality: Yet another seemingly nice young man.
Scoring potential: Anything Cesc can do….
International Disruption Potential: Played for Wales since the age of two and will probably be their captain before he even gets fit again. But they don’t qualify for things so that’s a relief. Should do a Giggs and never turn up for friendlies.
Last Season: 37 start, 1 as sub, 1 goals.
Injury potential: Moderate.
Brilliance potential: Potentially staggering.
Breakthrough potential: I have started reading comments on blogs saying that he really needs to get his game together. OK I admit it, I am from another planet. This guy is re-defining defensive midfield all on his own. Maybe the doubters are aware of what they said about him after he had that bad game at Fulham.
Personality: Gets booked a lot. (That’s not really personality, I know)
Scoring potential: Who cares, he protects the back four.
International Disruption Potential: Is African and therefore will miss the mid season, not this year but next. And I think the one after (I read somewhere that they are doing a thing where they will play two African cups one year after the other).
Backup – Pick anyone from…
Frimpong, Lansbury, Emmanuel Thomas, Barazite, Henderson. In fact pick all of them since they are all brilliant beyond belief. Frimpong – see the Barnet game, Lansbury – see the last game of last season, JET – see the youth cup games…
So we need three players on the pitch and I have 8 listed in the squad (excluding Vela and Theo) and I have five listed for breakthrough. This seems to me like the ultimate protection against injuries.
Lastest reserve news
The reserve team last night was
Hoyte – Boateng – Miquel – Evina
Özyakup – Randall – Barazite
Murphy – Simpson – Watt
This suggests, well, I am not sure. They won’t go on the school trip to Austria, but so what? If we take the general view that Simpson is back up to the back ups then we might also say Barazite is the same, and that this confirms Randall is just playing out time until he can find a club.
Murphy, Watt, Ozakup and Miquel are rising stars, so either they have a loan deal already fixed (or about to be fixed following the friendlies in England) or they are staying in the reserves ready to lend a hand in the Diddley Cup.
Which also asks the question (for another article) what sort of team do we play in the the Diddley this year.
Overall then the team selection for the reserves last night tells me nothing. No surprise there.
Full index of posts: The players: first team, reserves, youth
If it is untold then you will find it here (make sense?)
If it is untold but very old then you will find it somewhere else
If it is entertaining, fun, brilliant, exquisite and whatnot, then, well, you know.
- Arsenal continue to make more progress than the rest of the big seven
- Arsenal v Tottenham; the team and some rather jolly recent history
- We are running out of referees, and the reason is the PGMO.
- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t
- Arsenal v Tottenham: different clubs, different managers, different successes