What did we learn from the reserve team at Boreham Stiff

Below is the team that played in a reserve game earlier this week – against Boreham Stiff, (sorry Wood).

Nordtveit – Bartley – Miquel – Cruise
Aneke – Randall – Ozyakup
Murphy – Afobe – Miyaichi

Wellington Silva was on the bench, coming on at half time.

So what do we learn from that?

First in all that follows, let me admit I am not an expert on this, and as much as anything I am hoping to get some further news from those who know more than me.

But there is news from Young Guns who know a lot more than I do and whose site I always recommend.

They state that Arsène Wenger has given Chuks Aneke the opportunity to win a place in his plans for the new season after inviting him to train with the first-team this week and be part in the members day training this afternoon.

He’s a central midfielder, signed professional terms last month, was the star of Arsenal’s Premier Academy League team last season, and even from his position scored eight goals.  And he was born in Newham and plays for the England under 17s.

Chuks was called up to be with the first-team earlier in the week after Conor Henderson failed to recover from injury.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, some players seem to be vanishing into no man’s land – players who seem neither to be reserves or in the first team squad.

Jay Simpson is perhaps the highest profile player in this category.  Played against Barnet because Eduardo’s transfer was on the move, but nothing since.   Kerrea Gilbert (who was one of our stalwarts in the Year of the Seven Left Backs) and who seems to have been collecting loan moves like little boys used to collect football cards, looks further from a comeback than ever.

Gavin Hoyte, who I thought had done his stuff at Brighton and might be moving up, seems to be lost as well.

And there’s one or two who are proving that there is life after death: Randall for example appeared in the first team centuries ago (or so it seems), slipped down the order, but was back for the Ems thrashabout last weekend.

Of course we know where some are.  If you are named Luke you are automatically transferred or loaned to Yeovil (ok that joke is just about dead now, so I shall retire it at this point), our two French superstars (Sunu and Coquelin) both have notes from their parents excusing them games after winning the Europe under 19 cup, (actually Coquelin is in France doing things), and Bothelo is doing a third year on loan in search of his EU passport.

Some of these players I suspect we will see this year – at the very least in the cups.

  • Szczesny – possibly not because he has three in front of him
  • Nordtveit –certainly
  • Cruise – certainly
  • Randall – I just have no idea where his career is going
  • Murphy – certainly
  • Afobe – certainly
  • Wellington Silva, after January (he is not allowed to play for us until them – I think it is a Brazil thing)

So the production line runs, and life looks good.  But for these guys life is going to be tough – ahead of them are the chosen “25” plus another load of until 21s.

The oddity perhaps is that no Arsenal players are in the England under 21 squad.  Obviously that is good news since none can be crippled by the lunatic action of the international scene.  Maybe the kids are between two positions – Jack and Theo might be in the England squad, the rest are still doing the under 19 thing – except that apart from Tom Cruise they are not.

Odd, or what?

Arsenal, Untold, thing

Woolwich Arsenal, where we were, what we became

Making the Arsenal, what life was like when we were young

19 Replies to “What did we learn from the reserve team at Boreham Stiff”

  1. Aren’t randall, simpson, gavin, gilbert and barazite up for sale; too old to be talents, and not good enough for the first team

  2. Those stupid hacks should be eating their words. Those stupid duffers at the FA should be kissing Arsene’s feet. To have the foresight to build and establish an academy of worth was genius. Let’s hope he sticks around to benefit from this production line of gifted players.

    Man sheikh are you paying attention?

  3. The problem here still seems to be that if anyone dares to voice an opinion that all is not quite rosy at the Emirates, we have kids writing in that you are an armchair supporter or that you are a glory seeker. Hopefully, by next month when the schools go back, they will not be so here so often- we can but hope. I’m looking forward to how our captain explains away the nonsense he’s created by privately admitting that he wants to go. Now that his beloved Barcelona have failed to stump up enough cash he’s had to put up with staying here for another year. I wonder how he feels seeing Almunia and Fabianski still here, let alone the lack of defensive midfield and central defence cover. The Standard said a few days ago “When Fabregas looks around, he sees youthful potential and high technical ability, but not a squad capable of winning the Premier or Champions League.” I can’t disagree with that, much as it pains me to say it.If we start the season without a new goalkeeper, Wenger stands charged with negligence that borders on being a sackable offence. He’s had enough years to sort this out and failed dismally. When I saw that buffoon, Almunia, say on Sunday “I don’t need to convince anybody, I’m an Arsenal keeper and I’ve got two years left on my contract”, it made my blood boil. How dare he come out with such an arrogant, complacent remark, no doubt comforted by the fact that Wenger seems incapable of addressing this issue. Maybe he thinks he’s worth his place, when in truth he’s the worst keeper in the Premiership.I also wonder why Fabregas and VP seem to be “short” for the Liverpool game.The former hardly played in South Africa whilst the latter had five months off before the World Cup. Why have they not been back in England before? A bad result at Anfield is not what we need.

  4. OK Jeeryy, maybe you could explain how you know this statement is true…

    I’m looking forward to how our captain explains away the nonsense he’s created by privately admitting that he wants to go.

    Incidentally, I am not a school child.

  5. Thanks, article writer (is it you, Tony?), nicely done.

    I suspect that it’s nearly impossible to keep together a team from their youth, through reserve football and into first team footfall – especially Premier League football.

    I think the Club will want to integrate two, three or even four of them into the team with those already more experienced, release or sell those that are nearly good enough and repeat the process again and again and again through the seasons that follow.

    I agree with your choice of those certain (although I would say likely) to make the team in some competition this season and myself think that Szczesny will be used also.

    So, I’m looking forward to the cup matches just to see and enjoy these up-and-comers – as we did with Eastmond last season (get well soon, boy) and Frimpong in the Emirates Cup.

    AFC1974 – I couldn’t agree more.

  6. Sorry – that should have said football, not footfall. Although, given the state of injuries……

  7. Jeery, are you always with Cesc so you know what he is saying? Because if not it seems that you only believe what the anti Arsenal media is saying. And by believing the media who is with Barceloanus on this you play in the hands of Barceloanus.
    I don’t care how long Cesc is with us, as long as he is with us I will support him because he is worth supporting.
    And “the Standard said” …. who cares what they said. They’re not the bible. I bet last year around this time they predicted, like 98% of the pundits and connaisseurs, us to end outside top 4 also. So why should we take notice of what they think.

  8. About the reserve games it seems that Wellington Silva was impressive, if I can believe people who have seen it. So looks nice we should have some extra fresh young legs in Januari to look forward to. Should be a new signin. 😉

  9. I wonder if the Academy is too sucessful….. what with the 25 rule and our current young stars aging, could end up with a bit of a log jam.

    Why don’t the FA let us buy a struggling lower league club to blood our youngsters?

  10. isint our keeper better than baca’s but see what they’ve won wit a bad keeper to me a strong defence is better than a good keeper strong defence should be our piority.

  11. Tony & Walter, Are you guys so blinded by your obsession for wenger that you cannot see it? I mean you honestly think the media is 100% responsible for this saga? Cesc is not to blame one bit? If that is the case then I ask a simple question and that is why did Cesc not come out yesterday and say even a few words to the supporters that came to see the team? Not one word. IMO his head is already in Spain & Wenger as usual will let him go at a discounted price next season. I am in no doubt Fabregas will read, and I emphasise read, a pre-prepared, and I emphasise pre-prepared, statement written by the Arsenal marketing dept. stating he is committed to the club, or at least staying until…. well… next summer. This time next year we will go through this same pantomime again. In the meantime Wenger is able to use the Cesc debacle to avoid signing the players we desperately need. At least one top quality keeper, a dominant central defender, and a top quality holding midfield player. Is Wenger going to spend to bring these 3 players in? No chance, we might get one unheard of nobody from the French League but we already have a number of these. It’s no coincidence that since we last won a trophy our net spend over the last 5 years has in fact left us in profit with transfers. If you don’t buy quality, and if you do not reinvest the vast profit the club makes out of paying fans then forget about winning anything. It could only be Wenger.

  12. Doesn’t this article really point out just how hard it is to figure out which youths will make the break through and in actual fact how many of them come up short. Randall, the Hoyte Brothers,Kerrea Gilbert and so many others all looked like world beaters coming through the ranks but failed to make the step up.

    This is not a slight against the academy but really just a statement of fact and perhaps a note of realism when we look at the production line and imagine eternal glory based on home grown kids. In Wilshere, Gibbs and Frimpong we seem to have 3 real gems coming through and I hope that with a few well chosen players to go with them in the areas we haven’t got great kids or great seniors then we can get the outcome both the AKBs and AAAs all want deep down. As much as you wouldn’t guess it on a day to day basis, perhaps you aren’t as different as you would like to think you all are.

  13. Chris – You are right, not every academy player is going to “make it”, however it is about evaluation in the end. If ten go in and two or three gems come out then we have a rough formula. And if those two or three are already groomed in the “Arsenal way” then what price would you put on that?

    Unfortunately, football nowadays is about economics and prudence as well as sport, but looking at Chelski and Man Sheikh you wouldn’t think so would you?

  14. Jeeryy

    I mean you honestly think the media is 100% responsible for this saga?


    I believe that Barca were well aware that they were in very deep financial trouble (I won’t repeat it all, but there are several articles on this site showing just how dreadful their position is, and we started analysing this way before the story came out in the press).

    They therefore needed to counteract these stories – especially with a new President coming to power.

    Further, in Spain they are under constant pressure from the REal Madrid side, who laugh at them daily for not being able to hold onto their own talented youngsters.

    So they run the story.

    And if you read Walter’s various articles on this site written while he was in Barca you will see exactly what their papers were saying.

    So, although it was not exclusively a media game, it was largely, as those comments about secret agreements etc show, a media game, stoked by Barca.

    But if I may say, it is interesting how you come back with another tirade against this site, and yet fail to answer the simple straightforward question I asked you.

    Perhaps you would find your blood pressure a little less challenged if you chose one of the anti-Arsenal Arsenal sites that are around. There are quite a few to choose from, but those Tottenham fans have always been fairly active.

  15. Predicting if Wenger will buy players and in what positon has always been simple. He never buys a player if he has the option to play one of his talented kiddies there. Buying a defensive midfielder would make life difficult for the likes of Frimpong and Eastmond. In short term, we probably need a few more experienced players if we are to win any titles. But, Wenger always has the kids best interest at heart. Which, hopefully, is good in the long run. He won’t buy a goalkeeper either. The situation is too complicated. Almunia will stay the remainder of his contract, but facing stiff competition. I think he will be better this season. Its hard beeing the Arsenal keeper. It’s a team which seemingly doesn’t practice enough defense. If they where better organized when defending setpieces and when not in possesion of the ball, Almunia would look better. I think Wenger will buy a defender, but it will probably be a 4th choice CB. It will be someone he can get cheap. Wenger wants the kids to have a chance. With a fairly young big name signing, like Mertesacker, the kids would have a hard time breaking into the squad. The formula is simple, when a kid surpasses the more experienced player infront of him (or atleast gets close), the experienced player is sold. Clichy will soon be replaced by Gibbs, I think Clichy will replace Abidal at Barca. I could make a long list. The formula doesn’t win you titles, but it’s good business as long as the team stays in top 4.

  16. @Tony 1.04pm:
    Jeeryy was off the issue and you ought not condone him by responding to him.

    The point of this piece, I think, was to look more closely at our reserves and those with potential to make it.

    @Chris 12.24pm,
    I agree with you. It is also important to know that it is Arsenal that makes the decision to release the boys and, in doing so, they also “harvest” 2-4 boys of great potential to the first team. So, we should be talking of some “success ratio” of sorts. And this is the best that any Youth Team can achieve relative to graduation to a very high grade first team.

    With respect to pleasing AKW and AAA, the devil for Wenger is in finding the “balance”. That is where the promotion from within is short and the right recruit from without.
    Unfortunately, a lot of AAA discount the promotion from within completely or until a success case hits them on the head. For example, to them and thus far, Wenger has only recruited Kos and Chamakh to the first team. Whereas, AKB sees that he has done this and also promoted Wilshere, Frimpong, JET and maybe one or two others with great potential to the team.

    It is this AAA perspective that is the greatest challenge and the greatest source of misunderstanding between them and the management of the club they obviously love as dearly as AKB.

    This, and the fact that Arsenal as firmly shifted from being a “buy-buy-buy at the end of every season” club to a “promote- from-within-first-and-supplement-carefully-and-astutely-from-the-market at the end of every season” club is what makes it difficult for AAA to square with the club they love and Wenger, its very pragmatic and very astute coach.

  17. Agree Fem Dem – I really want to shout at the AAAs when they say “we’ve only bought two players” when in reality we’ve also brought (through) at least three others, meaning five new signings effectively. To me, Wenger is a genious and a visionary, and I’m so glad we have him.

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