Sunu scores wonder goal in UEFA Final as FA’s anti-Arsenal approach is revealed in all its disgraceful glory

France 2 Spain 1. Last night.  Final of the UEFA Under 19 Championship.

In the team were two Arsenal players – Coquelin and Sunu.  Both played brilliantly, both were significant part of France’s victory, and both were part of the magnificent double winning team of Arsenal, that won the Youth Cup and Youth League.

They were in fact the only French players in the all-conquering Arsenal team of the season before last, and France has embraced them totally.

The rest of the Arsenal team are English, and we are slowly seeing them edge their way into the Arsenal under 21 squad, used to supplement our first team squad of 20 or so.

So with this massive array of talent available we might turn to the England under 19 team in the same competition.  And how many Arsenal players were in the England team that got knocked out by Spain?  One, Tom Cruise.  That’s all.

Worse, when England got knocked out by Spain our great and glorious coach-leader Fabio Cappuccino couldn’t even be arsed to turn up to watch.   He was in fact in Spain playing golf doing what the Telegraph called “the football equivalent of an expenses-fiddling MP, his every moment on the fairway monetised against his enormous salary.”

Quite clearly England don’t get what Arsenal are up to – the incredible production line of talent being knocked out year after year.  Wenger gets it, because he built the youth sides that have won three trophies in two years and became the first ever team to hold onto the youth league trophy.  And he identified that he was weak in two positions – one in defence one in attack.  So he went out and got the two best players in Europe at that age level.

And he was right.

But why does England turn its back on one of the greatest collection of youth talent the country has ever seen?

The answer is complicated and it has to do with the fact that the idea that “you won’t win anything with kids” which the Hansen idiot said five years ago, is deeply ingrained in English football.  Arsenal started to work on this project seven years ago, when it signed a bunch of 9 and 11 year olds to create what later became the youth cup winning side.

But in working in this planned and methodical way, they are considered out of step.  It is a story that is grabbed upon by the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal blogs who run the endless “the youth project has not worked” story – forgetting that only now can we see the results of seven years of playing the Arsenal way.  Only now do we see JET, Wilshere and the rest.

So to the English mind, the under 19s championship (the final of which was incidentally utterly glorious and enjoyable from start to finish) is irrelevant, and players who are groomed for this continental style are irrelevant too, because they are getting all the passing technique and having the bulldog spirit knocked out of them.

To appreciate this you have to have watched how England played in this competition and then how France and Spain played – especially in the final last night.

And then take a look at Gilles Sunu goal, and reflect he is an Arsenal player and that he is playing at under 19 level.

And then take a look at the list of stories on the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal sites appearing on and you’ll see virtually nothing about our two players playing in front of a full stadium winning a trophy that the rest of Europe knows is of great significance, and which is a sure sign of strength in the years to come.

And consider where Cappuccino was.

And know that England has utterly lost it, but fortunately Arsenal has got it.

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36 Replies to “Sunu scores wonder goal in UEFA Final as FA’s anti-Arsenal approach is revealed in all its disgraceful glory”

  1. There’s always this Anti-Arsenal feeling among the fans of almost all the other clubs in the league n abroad….. I wonder why this sorta feeling! Maybe they are jealous of our Youth Program!

  2. Well, i for one am glad that our english starlets are being ignored by england as the coaching at that level seems to be very poor and a step down from Arsenals own.

  3. great article

    the thing is, quite frankly it doesnt matter what others think. at arsenal, we have a great system, which will now produce a lot of young english players who will have the required technical ability to make our first team

    if england ignore our young players, then its great because they can develop under the club, and not get ruined by playing for the national team

    people are only talking about wilshire,what about JET, lansbury, gibbs, eastmond, frimpong ect?

    why arsenal get so much criticism is beyond me, who do other clubs produce? manciene? welbeck? spearing? give me a break, they dont have half the technical ability of our youngsters and soon enough, people will realise that, and praise arsenal, and more importantly, the man who made all of it a reality, arsene wenger

    the arsenal way is the right way! that will never change, and trophies are not far away, our way will pay off sooner or later, and when it does, it will be a very difficult force to derail!

  4. Great article, unfortunately there are few other sites where i can get good non-doomer and gloomer information. so heres a question if you dont mind..i see you brought up and i do use that site but agree that it has a lot of negative info on it. can i ask if you know a few sites that share your view because im really sick of having to deal with all this negative slit my wrist news..i do know quite a few but maybe someone here will know of a good one that i dont

  5. Yes, I have been wondering about the whole approach England took to this tournament as well. I mean, if they were really serious they would have insisted that Wilshire took part at the very least, let alone players like JET, Bartley and Lansbury. It seems hilarious that one of the weaker players from that U18 team is our only representative at the tournament.

    The question is:

    In 5 years time, how many of the players from the following teams will have graduated to their senior teams:


    I think we all know with complete certainty that the numbers for Spain and France will be far higher than England. And still the FA sit around saying “oh, what can we do to make England better, IT IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL!!!”

  6. Thanks for another good read.

    @arsene-al: Try arseblog #3 and goonerholic #38 on the right.

    Always good, positive but realistic comment on these two sites.

  7. Arsenal will someday soon be the savior of English football. Even then, we wont get the credit we deserve. Arsenal are a cut above the rest. The tallest trees usually catch the most wind i guess. A consequence of greatness:)

  8. Ah: so when two French players play international football, it’s wonderful.

    But when a tournament contains an England team without Arsenal players, the tournament should be cancelled.

    You can’t enjoy it both ways.

    Either international football is good or it isn’t.

    I am open to some arguments if you say:
    1. Which Arsenal players were not in the U17 side which won the European championships.
    2. Which Arsenal players were not in the U19s and should be (are you saying Wilshere should play that tournament, not play in the U21s? If so, why was Walcott trashed last summer for playing the U21s?)
    3. Are you saying that Noel Blake hates Arsenal?

    I don’t know the facts.

    What I do know is that this blog slates Wilshere and Walcott where England is concerned, yet lauds two French players.

    Are you supporters of France by any chance????

  9. It’s funny that I have been saying the same thing to people year after year since I was told about the English coaching methods and how they were devised. Whenever I tell someone they look at me and say “oh yeah, now you say that I can see it”. I’ve even had people who were coached by professional coaches from an early age have it spelled out to them when they have stopped playing and then watched as their faces dropped when they realised they had the beautiful game beaten out of them from a young age.

    It all boils down to Charles Hughes. This man should be stood on a pedastal and have rotten fruit & vegetables thrown at him all day long. Any person who stands by his teachings (e.g. Howard Wilkinson & Graham Taylor) should join him.

    Hughes watched the 1962 World Cup and analysed the build up to each goal. He then came to the conclusion that the typical goal came within four passes of the scoring team gaining possession. In the mid-1960s Hughes became the FA’s Director of Coaching and since that day the FA has insisted that the game in England is taught to Hughes’ edicts. When Hughes retired we had Howard Wilkinson take over and continued to spout forth Hughes’ philosophy.

    What the English game has developed is players that are strong and have bundles of stamina.

    Some managers (such as Graham Taylor and Dave Bassett) took this one stage further and bastardised Hughes’ technique of four passes into POMO (Position Of Maximum Opportunity) which reduced four passes to a maximum of two passes. It was big in the 80s – the long ball game of hoof it up front to the big man.

    What Arsenal have done is take these 9 to 11 year olds out of the FA’s system and taught them how to play football and not how to steamroller through the other team. Hughes’ system works at a younger level where smaller boys can be intimidated by 6 foot tall 14 year olds. But on the international stage it doesn’t. I remember going to London Colney in 1995 and saw Arsenal’s youth team play Wimbledon. Every one of the Wimbledon team was at least 6 foot tall and built like a tank.

    If England are to ever make it on the international stage they need to stop teaching Hughes’ methods and put less emphasis on winning at a young age.

    And the FA needs to be run by football people. Apart from Trevor Brooking the rest are all businessmen who are there to big up their egos. Brooking is pissing in the wind.

  10. I would add to the site list “A cultured left foot” and of course “Swiss Rambler”. And if you want something on our reserves and youth, “Young Guns” which has information way ahead of anyone else in that field.

  11. Rhys: I think I have been moderately consistent, but I am well aware I can meander in my writing, so here’s what I believe…

    I would be much happier to have no internationals at all, but if we have to have them I want the country to pay the players wages while on international duty and while he is off injured as a result of an injury on international duty. I also want the club to have the right to withdraw the player in case of injury.

    Now if I can’t have all that then I would prefer to have

    a) internationals based on a much clearer definition of nationality (at present a player who has never set foot in England can play for England)

    b) an end to the nonsense spouted by the press about the failure of England – England’s failure is due to the low number of coaches, the refusal of the FA to allow reserve teams to play further down the league, and the out of date attitudes about Englishness in football – which is the element that this article was about.

    I know it is a complex issue, but I hope that makes it a little clearer.

  12. The anti-arsenal fans are led along by the anti-arsenal media. It’s pathetic to watch.
    The only reason I don’t laugh at them is that it leads to things like senderos being turned into a laughing stock, eboue being booed, and players like diaby, denilson, song (for a time), clichy, bendtner, vela, almunia, fabianski etc constantly being put down and even ridiculed by these “fans”.

    Then players who just decided to leave like hleb and flamini are butchered over and over on these sites for very little reason that I can see. (I mention this because I really want flamini to come back!)

  13. Rhys – talk about getting the wrong end of the stick. Many of those here, like myself, are “anti-international” as far as the ridiculous number of friendlies played, the poor standard of play etc. That doesnt mean that comment cannot be passed on the state of the international game, especially here in England.

    The simple fact is that two seasons ago Arsenal had one of the most dominating U18 sides in English Football history, right up there with recent Utd, West Ham and Leeds sides. Those players are still eligible for U19 duty and yet when the U19 tournament is played, only one player, an average left-back, is called into the side. I think it is hilarious. Yes, Wilshire should have played, although I am delighted that he didnt. Of course he should have played. If England are really serious about youth development at the international level then of course he should have played. So should JET, Lansbury (Captain of U17’s two seasons ago), Bartley, and a greater effort should have been made to convince Frimpong to play for England rather than Ghana. As an Arsenal fan I laugh at the fact they were not playing, if I was an England fan I would despair.

    I am not quite sure why you brought the U17’s and Walcott into this debate, since the original article had nothing to do with them, but since you have brought them into the debate here is the answer:

    1. The current U18 side, from which players would have been selected for the recent u17 tournament, is nowhere near as dominant as the previous U18 side. They are a good side, but not overwhelming. They are not head and shoulders above everything else in the country. There are also a couple fewer English players in the side. And yet they still provided two players, rather than one, to that U17 team.

    2. Nobody was angry about Walcott playing for the U21’s. People were angry about the fact that Walcott was playing for BOTH the senior team and the U21’s in a short space of time, shuttling between tournaments with little long-term consideration to his development. That was what made people angry.

    Tony’s point was that England officials want it both ways, they want to be successful at International Level and yet they dont want to do what it takes to be successful at International Level. That is the great irony.

  14. I’d like to add to Paul’s comment above that there’s a difference between an 18 year old with few first team committments playing a few games for the U19s yet being in the U21s and a first teamer and England regular playing for the U21s. Wilshere wouldn’t be overworked by a couple of extra games, whereas Walcott was due to his greater commitments

  15. Lanz – that’s good! That we should get him. Hes a great player. What, do you think the 07/08 season was a fluke? He was our best player that season, but quite a distance actually, in a pretty good team as well.

  16. That’s what Im talking about. Why wouldn’t you want flamini back? He plays a position we could clearly do with strengthening, what with all the injuries we suffer there, and he was absolutely brilliant the season before he left. Milan obviously havent given him a proper chance, because they have their old italian midfielders, I suppose. So, why wouldn’t you want flamini back at arsenal? What did he do that was so wrong? his contract ran down, we didnt address the issue quickly enough (it was clear way before christmas how good a player he was), Milan offered him a deal, and he accepted.. What is the problem? People talk about him like hes ashley cole. I just heard people booing him. Why?

  17. I actually dont think Flamini is that good a player. He had one very good season in his career. That is it. Today he was outplayed by a couple of 18 year olds in midfield. It would be massive step back in my opinion to try and bring him back. I cannot imagine AW doing that in a million years.

  18. I also thought it was a bit sad that people were booing Flamini. He always gave his all in an Arsenal shirt, and I agreed absolutely that he was easily our best player in his last season. (the only season where he also got to play regularly in his best position). Some people may think that he is not that good a player, but it often comes down to the style of a team and the tactics used, that gets the best from a player. Arsenal’s style was suited to Flamini and he had had 4 years playing to AW’s philosophy. AC Milan on the other hand, play a much slower, tactical game week in week out and maybe this contributes a lot to Flamini looking average nowadays. It’s a system that does not utilise his best strengths. I reckon that if he came back into the Arsenal team, we would see a much better player again, so I would always welcome him back.
    Totally agree with the article as well, and I commented on the same subject in a recent post. To me, it just highlights the completely inadequate system the FA have at youth levels, and until proper investment is made into getting more fully qualified coaches in this country, dedicated to teaching kids from ages 5 upwards, the technical skills needed, I doubt things will ever improve. It makes my blood boil that the FA would rather spend £800m on a football stadium we didn’t need.

  19. its amazing that finalist are full of young player of the best academy in their own country(half the french team were from Lyon academy) (nearly all spanish player were from Barca and Real) but England take only T.Cruise from the best academy right now in England.

    I was to the match I don’t understand the boo to Flamini (best Milan player on the pitch by far).Take like this he has given the chance to Song to shine .we should thank him just for that :).

  20. Aaron & lordgunner, I felt the reason people booed Flamini was because of the way he left. During his last year, he kept on saying that he would sign a new contract and stay but when the season ended he just left. This hurt everyone’s feelings including mine. Its alright if you want to go but if you insist that you are going to stay and then leave, it is going to leave a bad taste and I felt that today..

  21. The reason why people booing flamini because, He never told the club he want to leave, so that the club sold diarra, thinking he will stay. Back to topic, the reason why lots of player from arsenal didn’t get the call up because it up to the coach. If the coach style is pure route 1 and bulldog the field what he have to use for player of skill, he good at intercept but can’t sent opposition player flying even if thier life depend on it.

  22. Paul C – No he wasnt. He had a good game. Anyway, you dont make these sorts of judgments on friendlies.

    Jimmie – That’s utter rubbish. Where did you get that? We let diarra go because he absolutely wanted to go, no other reason. It was very short sighted. Why would we assume that flamini would sign a contract in the summer? Why wouldnt we make sure we had at least one of them for that time?
    You know that is not the reason fans are booing him. They dont like him now because he played well for us that season and then chose to leave. Its ridiculous that a player can be booed simply for deciding to leave at the end of his contract. The club messed up in not offering him a large contract before january. That way at least we’d know whether it would be worth hanging on to lassana.

  23. I think Wilshere, Lansbury, Gibbs, Murphy, and Bartley are considered to be U21s now. JET, Eastmond, and Ayling have never been selected. Henderson and Frimpong chose not to play for England. Not sure about Shea.

    The batch that won last year’s U18 league are still quite young. Think most of them only turned or will turn 17 this year.

    Saying that, I’m happy that they aren’t playing for England. The long ball over the top is still the preferred tactic of the England NT. A waste of talent, really. Some of the English youngster are quite good. Too bad the England age group managers aren’t.

  24. JET, Eastmond, Lansbury were not eligible, as far as I know, because they were born before 1st Jan 91.

    I would have been furious if they’d taken Wilshere.

    All-in-all, can’t say the anti-Arsenal angle is applicable in this case.

    I saw the England-Spain game and I thought most of the English youngsters had decent technique. It was more a matter of the system they were playing. There were far too many long balls. They rarely pressed high up, dropped deep quite regularly and didn’t have the off the ball movement needed for a passing game.

    I wouldn’t blame the kids who were playing but the managers under whom they are developing and the manager of that U-19 team. But all of that generally falls under the typical “English Football” approach that Andy Kelly has described above. Those kids could have done better but the system is systematically killing them!

  25. And Shotta branded moi “xenophobes”….lol

    My stand is always that Le Professeur is on the verge of building his 3rd and greatets Arsenal team..with an English Spine, emulating Rinus Michels “Ajax Model of Team Building”…which I am plugging away at Arsenal Times.

    Hopefully my Dream will come true this season; and not another 5 more years of “transition” to gell the likes of Theo, Wilshere, Gibbs, Lansbury, JET, Frimpong, Eastmond, Bartley, Rhys Murphy, Benik Afobe, Aneke, Freeman, Cruise, et foreign lads like Ramsey, Conor Henderson, Ozakhup, Angha,Galindo, Wellington….

    Did I miss out any youngsters…and oldsters like DIaby, Song, Djourou, Vela,…….

  26. People do have short memories. To say that the Flamster was a one season wonder is total bollox. Everybody seems to have forgotten the amazing performances he put in when pressed to play left back in 2006. No, he didn’t like playing there and said so. With Mr Tweedie leaving, the position could have been his…but he worked for what he believed in and showed us what he could do. That it was for one season only was, imho, one of our biggest mistakes.
    Maybe he was booed yesterday, (he came by far the closest to scoring in the first half which seems to occur whenever the boo boys start up on our ex players) but I suspect that most in the crowd wish that he was still our pit-bull. For sure I do, even though Frimpong and also JET appear to be developing the same qualities.

  27. Flamini’s performance didn’t warrant his demand to become the best paid player at that time. He held the club to ransom but Arsenal didn’t give in. He chose to pick a 90000 week salary and a signing on fee of £4m over a first choice place at Arsenal. The fans just showed him yesterday what they think of his mercenary behaviour.
    Cole, Adebayor, Flamini: good riddance.

  28. The Flamini issue is debatable, but there is a solid argument to the fact that his last season with us was indeed a bit of a fluke. He was great, but since then he has never replicated that greatness, and has spent more time out of the Milan squad than in it, and has failed to get a solid place in the national squad.

    Players do have one great season and then fade – it is not that uncommon. Indeed we did a piece on one such player on this site just recently.

  29. I have never understood the Flamini-love that many fans seem to have. Yes, he had a good run at left-back filling in for Cole and Clichy during our run to the CL Final. He played well in a tough situation. He wasnt amazing or anything like that, and as soon as either Clichy or Cole were fit they came right back into the side, quite rightly. I liked Flamini, but I saw his limitations as a player. He played superbly in the first half of the 2007/08 season, but was fading rapidly as that season ended. I think many of us were quite willing for him to go to Milan on those high wages, so long as AW replaced him. The beef many of us had with AW wasnt for letting Flamini go, but for not replacing him immediately (although in the long run AW has again been proved right with the development of Song).

    Davi – as far as Flamini yesterday we will have to agree to disagree. I saw a guy running around a lot who popped up in some good shooting positions and let fly, much as he always did for us. But in terms of tackling, passing, and running the midfield, I thought Frimpong and Wilshire were light years ahead. I personally thought we all saw exactly why he hasnt been able to win a 1st team place at Milan.

    I agree with Tony, it isnt that strange for players to be one season wonders. It happens a lot.

  30. Flamini only had half a good season ,the second half he started to believe his own press and thought he was Cesc,rather neglecting his defensive duties.I have just made the mistake of reading “le grub”,fortunatly I dont have a quid for the gas meater otherwise my head would be stuck right in

  31. “he identified that he was weak in two positions – one in defence one in attack. So he went out and got the two best players in Europe at that age level.”

    Can you explain that comment? What two players are you speaking of, and at what age level? Is this a reference to Coquelin and Sunu or did you have someone else in mind?

  32. Well, in that case, I’m not sure I agree with the statement, although I did like the rest of the article. Arsenal still list Coquelin as a midfielder, despite his dabbling at right back, and I don’t think there was any discussion at all about him as a defender when he was purchased/signed.

    Sunu, he’s got potential as well. I don’t think you can intelligently defend his selection as the best in europe at his age, seeing how so many young players (Sunu included) do the vast majority of their work out of the view of the fans. But he does have potential.

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