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June 2021

Good win, excellent kiddies, weird sprouts. Arsenal’s reserves and youngsters beat BATE

By Tony Attwood

It’s been a long ol’ time since I watched Beetee Sprout doing a football show, and it took Martin Keown to point out what a reserve team Arsenal put out, and then made the point about what an amazing player Reiss Nelson is.   He’s 17.   Who needs Mbappe?

But we could also surely once again look in amazement at Rob Holding.   According to the bloggettas it was the darkest moment in the history of Wenger’s dark moments when he was “reduced” to buying an unknown young player from of all clubs, Bolton.  “How far down have our expectations sunk?” it was asked.

And what did we get?  Once again we were reminded.  We got a stunning and highly promising young centre back.  For £3m.

As for today, the highlight of the TV presentation on the Sprout had to be John Hartson, a forward for Arsenal who scored 14 in 54 games and who was quickly removed by Mr Wenger once he came to the club.   Hartson has shown himself to be an extraordinarily brave man fighting the most awful illnesses that one can’t even begin to imagine, and to come back.  For that, and for his ability to be public about it, no one can praise him enough.  But that doesn’t make him a good commentator and the fact is that throughout he was critical, critical and then in case we didn’t get it, critical.  Fortunately back in the studio we had Martin Keown who could confirm that in Nelson the club has an absolutely incredible and amazing talent.

So we had the endless chitter chatter of John Harston who must have said “very soft” six times in a minute at one stage.   Indeed he is a man who is prone to push out random phrases, which is not necessarily the best approach for a commentator.  In the first half he told us that this was Wilshere’s first game back.  Then later he suddenly said, “Did Wilshere play a full game in the league cup?”  His co-commentator was so utterly embarrassed by the whole display he said nothing, and for a blessed 90 seconds we had silence, apart from the noise of the crowd.

Indeed it reminded me of the early days of Sky in which they did exactly this but through the whole game – 90 minutes of no commentary as an option (I think you have to push to puce or the maroon button to get it), but in the end they gave up advertising it as too many viewers opted for it to escape the commentators.

Indeed surely even the Sprout realises that hearing a commentator saying “I don’t know, really I don’t know,” when it is patently obvious that he doesn’t know does get a bit tedious.

As it was, Arsenal had a team out with a range of what BT Sprout insist on calling “Academy Product”.  Actually guys they are young men.  Is that too hard to say? They are not products.  Products are manufactured – it is not too difficult to remember.

And just look at the team:

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Arsenal: Ospina; Mustafi, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson, Willock, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Wilshere; Walcott, Giroud.

Subs: Macey, Dasilva, Gilmour, McGuane, Dragomir, Akpom, Nketiah.

In the starting XI three youngsters with very, very limited experience, all illuminated in bold, and Wilshere who is still working his way back.  He was very good, and did a lot of what the media likes to call “pulling the strings” (and let us not forget that we were playing a club that beat Bayern Munich a while back) and much of his undoubtedly overwhelming talent showed, but he did get tired in the second half.   And then on the beach, hardly a name you will recognise unless you are an afficianado of the under 23s….

Nketiah (another 18-year-old) on, Willock off.   And also McGuane on, Nelson off. McGuane is 18, a year older than Nelson.

Now of course I know that BATE is hardly a top line European team, but even so.  Just look at Nelson’s talent, and imagine we had just bought him for £25m which in today’s market is probably about right.  The Metro might have been a trifle premature with their commentary, “Arsenal news” when they said, “Who needs Sanchez? Reiss Nelson scores sensational solo goal,” but you could see all the style and ability that is present in that young man.

And of course he’s not the only one, but how many forthcoming stars do you want at once?

Nelson is just on a year younger than Mbappe – both were born in December, Nelson in 1999, Mbappe 1998.  Maybe I am being totally premature, but I see in Nelson one of the most promising prospects in an Arsenal shirt that I have seen in a lifetime of watching Arsenal.  Maybe Brady had it.  I’m not sure of too many others.

And of course he is not the only one.  What we have coming through is an extraordinary youth team (Hartson would probably call them whatever the collective noun for “product” is).  Gradually these youngsters will fit into this team, and in this way we will stand a chance of taking on the three clubs that will spend anything, without limit, to buy the championship they crave.   Arsenal can’t do that because we have an owner who doesn’t believe in investing in his sports clubs, so we need to find another way.   I think once more the club is finding it.

Yes they are only a second rate east European team who like Bayern are in a one team league.  But we didn’t just beat them.  We beat them while leaving the first team at home in order to have them all ready for the game on Sunday.

That’s how it should be.

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15 comments to Good win, excellent kiddies, weird sprouts. Arsenal’s reserves and youngsters beat BATE

  • Gord

    Köln lost 0:1 at home?

  • Nitram

    This Europa league lark might just be a blessing in disguise you know.

    Even so, I do hope it’s only for a year.

  • Gord

    Daily Mail is showing a wonderful picture of Mertesacker celebrating on the back of Holding!

    Of course, having presented some good in their article, they have to bash Arsenal.

    Giroud’s 100 for Arsenal
    _How he scored
    _Left foot 59
    _ Headers 31
    _ Right foot 10
    _ In the box 96
    _ Out of the box 4
    _ Penalties 6
    _Competition Scored In
    _ EPL 70
    _ FA Cup 13
    _ Champions League 12
    _ League Cup 2
    _ Community Shield 1
    _ Europa League 1
    _ CL Qualifier 1
    _Top Providers (assists)
    _ Mesut Ozil 15
    _ Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaron Ramsey 10
    _ Theo Walcott 10

    For 1 goal every 149 minutes

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have not see a minute of the game yet , nor the highlights , but what the hell-
    WOO HOO , HOO ! Well done the younglings .
    Up the Gunners !
    In other news , Carlo Ancelotti , is now free to join a new club . Or take a long break , till a suitable job opens up , probably in the EPL !

  • colario

    The BBC report that the ‘useless Giroud” – (useless according to those who know better than Arsene) scored his goals in one game fewer than the wonder striker who hoofed it into manure land betraying the club to which Giroud is loyal to. Congratulations Giroud not only on your hundred but for proving all the doubters wrong.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I hope that Giroud and Theo go past the betrayer in the next season or why not this season…. 😉

  • para

    Another step taken, well done lads.

    Let’s nurture young Reiss Nelson physicaly and mentally so that he is willing and prepared to become an Arsenal legend. (He reminds me of a Bergkamp type of player).

    This will have to be done very well to stop him(with the obvious talent he has) from being enticed and co-erced by others waving the bank notes and playing time at him.

    For me, he should be replacing Theo Walcott right now(I know, i KNOW) or at least being made aware that this will be his spot.

    I really fear losing him because of Arsenal’s(read Owner’s) position/policy in football atm.

  • nicky

    You’re at it again Tony, downing
    BT Sport and forgetting the old, the infirm and those who live in distant lands….who rely on ANY broadcaster for live coverage of their heroes.
    Many of us do not even need the mute button, so the commentary invariably passes us by.
    Remember us. We are not blessed with powerful motors, life in Northants and a season ticket at the Ems. OR the joy of journeying to and from home games, especially, by the sound of it, this coming Christmas Eve.
    Remember us. 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do sincerely hope that OG , keeps on scoring for the Arsenal and become our all time top scorer . And I like to think that he will remain loyal to the club and AW , unlike the previous two top ‘all time ‘ scorers.

    He’d probably not get a statue for his efforts , but then again some who were accorded one , have shown their true mean streak.

    If someone could photo shop it , I would love to have the 3 statues all together for a festival / Christmas greeting card. I think it would be so poetic to have Bergkamp kicking Adams in the cheat with Henry kissing Adam’s butt. Or you could have Henry switch places to the front .I don’t really care !

    But I would think it would be most sacrilegious to have Bergkamp kicking Adams from the back , deserved or otherwise. It would be unlike GOD !

    Could we start a collection or a petition ?
    Would you contribute ?

  • MickHazel

    Well said Nicky, completely agree.
    Tony, I really must pull you up on the Hartson criticism. Whilst John’s efforts were not top quality I cannot fathom how you construed his comments to be critical of Arsenal. The first half especially I thought his mainly positive comments to be a very pleasant change from the normal negative crap we have inflicted on us.
    I think you have such a bee in your bonnet regarding BT’s coverage and are therefore guilty of being blinded to any good content when it does, like last night, occur.
    You are determined to only see bad in BT.

  • Ferg

    With my rural chromecasted bt, the only thing clear to me was the white spot in the pee soup, and John Hartsons manful efforts to stay positive ,and on track. The boys didn’t help his confidence in his own words , when every time he started waxing about how controlled we looked…. we suddenly didn’t, at all. Sounded fun.
    How many of you covered your eyes when Jack went chasing that last lost ball btw?? Thought he should have been removed , to save him from himself. Gets tired , loses precise touch, and a yard … boom.

  • Flares

    Walcott in his post-match last night just had to shoehorn a reference to himself into congratulating The OG. Yes Theo, you did also reach 100 goals for Arsenal on the 20th February of this year, but you managed it in your 13th season whilst Olivier is only in his 6th. I sincerely believe that if Giroud was to stay as long as Walcott has he’d have a real chance of breaking into the top five all time Arsenal scorers, even having a crack at Judas Wright and knocking him down a peg (required).

  • Jammy J

    Don’t want to focus on a negative after a great win, but Walcott really needs to be less greedy/selfish. There’s so many occasions (not just in this match) where he chooses to go for the glory himself with a very difficult shot, rather than making a far easier pass that’ll often lead to a 1v1 situation. As long as he is comfortable being a squad player, because at this stage, I don’t think he is ever going to be a first-team regular. Certainly handy to have for games like this, though.

  • Josif


    Ancelotti goes under the radar but in truth, he has been one of the biggest cheque-book managers around. Maybe he hasn’t spend as much money as Pep and Mourinho have but his list of clubs include:

    -Parma (in the days when they were literally milking money from their owner Calisto Tanzi before that cow was slaughtered, to put it that way; didn’t win the league with them),

    -Juventus (we all know how they spent their money; failed to win anything, lost two title dog-fights to both Roman clubs, failed to recognize Henry’s potential – which is actually something we can all thank him; lost CL semifinals to Man United after having winning positions in both legs),

    -Milan (Berlusconi was one of the biggest sugar-daddies in the history of football; Ancelotti won one league title and two CL trophies with a Dream Team; Arsene reached CL Final with Eboue-Toure-Senderos-Flamini, Ancelotti had to do it with Cafu-Nesta-Stam-Maldini),

    -Chelsea (Abramovich; he actually played excellent football with them which was no surprise given that he had a head-start to all his rivals and City were just warming up),

    -PSG (he arrived with the Qatari money or a few months later, got Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva from his ex-club after losing his umpteenth title dogfight to Giroud’s Montpellier and “surprisingly” won the league when there was virtually no title challengers),

    -Real Madrid (we all know about Real; won CL thanks to that Ramos’ last-minute equalizer, lost two title dog-fights to both Atletico and Barcelona),

    -Bayern (he dismantled Pep’s technically perfect team to install his Italian football, won Bundesliga because Bundestag would have made the whole season void if it had happened otherwise and got sacked after falling out with half of the first team).

    He is a nice chap, apparently, but I don’t see him as a good successor to Arsene one day.