Arsenal: one club, five squads, and no Bebé (which is probably our good fortune)

by Tony Attwood

Arsenal, as we know, has five squads – all of which are flexible.   And within the system matters are planned and arranged – just as you would expect.  We watch the players come up through the youth team, the reserves and so on.  Isn’t that how it always go?

You’d think so, but there’s a story coming out that makes me wonder.

It is the odd case of Bebé the man Mr F Word signed for £7.5m with the statement that although he had not seen him play, because “sometimes you just have to go with instinct”.

Now according to our old friends at the Guardian, “his performances in training deemed so poor he was not even considered for a reserve fixture last night.”

The game in question was v Man Arab, who have renamed their reserves The Elite Squad, which is rather sweet.  Bebé did not play so Sir F didn’t see him.  Oh dear.

I start to wonder if there isn’t something fishy here.  Estrala da Amadora, Bebé’s team, are in the third division in Portugal, which is about the same as the league below Conference South, which I think is named after a fridge.  They didn’t fancy him much, so he left on a free, and went to Guimarães.  Days later Man U signed him from there.

Can you imagine if this had been Arsenal.  The Anti-Arsenal Arsenal sites would have been going mad.  “Wenger finally loses it,” “he’s destroying the club,” “get this madman out” – and that would just be in the first five seconds.

Of course, it might all be a wind up, and maybe he is brilliant, but still, it is a funny story, or rather it made me laugh.

So, Arsenal meanwhile have no Bebé but we do have five squads – and as our reserve and youth season kicks off, here’s a little summary (in case you haven’t been paying attention.

The First Team

First off, and logically enough, there is the first team squad of around about 25.  These are the guys who get the numbers and who appear on the back of the programme.  There are 27 of them on the list at present, but we are well within the 25 rule since so many are under 21 and grown in Wenger’s own back garden.

(Incidentally and nothing to do with this article, the missing numbers at the moment are 9, 12, 13, 18, 25, 26, and then everything from 31 upwards save 52 and 53.  You really needed to know that didn’t you?)

The Cup Squad

Players who ain’t getting much of a go in the group of 27 will turn up in the Cup Squad, possibly along with one or two others who have not go into the third group (the on-loan).  I have really lost the thread of who is where at the moment, but Craig Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, and Gilles Sunu might be there.

On loan

Francis Coquelin is with French Ligue 1 club Lorient, Sanchez Watt is at Leeds and Kyle Bartley will also spend the season in the Championship at Sheffield Untidy, Luke Freeman is at Yeovil Town until January and Pedro Botelho will spend the year having fun with Cartagena.  Undoubtedly more will go over time.

Reserves – or should we now call them “The Elite Squad”

The reserve season is just starting (Bolton away since you ask).

There are three leagues – Southern, North A and North B. The Southern group has six teams, including Arsenal, and the two North groups consist of five teams each.

We play the other southern teams twice and each team in the northern groups once giving us 20 matches.

The winners of the two Northern Groups will play off to determine the Northern League Winners and then they play us (as inevitable Southern group winners) for the Barclays Premier Reserve League Play Off Winners Do-Dah.

The big change is that clubs’ training grounds can be used to stage fixtures and Arsenal will play games as afternoon kick offs at London Colney with Barnet just used in September March and April.

In the final pre-season friendly the reserve side was

  • Emi Martinez
  • Cedric Evina
  • Gavin Hoyte
  • Daniel Boateng
  • Nico Yennaris
  • Craig Eastmond
  • Mark Randall
  • Henri Lansbury
  • Roarie Deacon
  • Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
  • Wellington Da Silva

As I understand it, Wellington Da Silva is not allowed to play for the first team until January – but we could just see him in a 3rd round cup tie then.

Youth team

The youth team have won three trophies in the past two years, but we started disastrously this year losing 5-2 away to Man City of all people.   (Come on guys, we win this league – it’s our destiny).  Our team was

  • Sean McDermott
  • Josh Rees
  • Samir Bihmoutine
  • James Edge
  • Elton Monteiro
  • Martin Angha
  • Jeffrey Monakana
  • Callum Webb
  • Jernade Meade
  • Philip Roberts
  • Nigel Neita

What’s it like following Arsenal from abroad?  Arsenal Worldwide is launched

New feature : the weekly Untold Ref Index.  How did the ref do in our game?

Do Arsenal really get more injuries than anyone else?

38 Replies to “Arsenal: one club, five squads, and no Bebé (which is probably our good fortune)”

  1. I wonder what the Bebe story is about.
    Quieroz, the formes SAF assistant and now coach of Portugal had first Nani send home. The reason was very misty but in some media the word “doping” and “forbidden substances” was mentionned.
    Then Quieroz gets the visit of some people from the anti doping authorities and he kicks them out. He has to come to court for explaining why he has kicked them out and on this trial SAF comes along to testify what a very decent chap our Mr. Queiroz is in fact. And no one placed better than SAF to now this off course.
    And then just within a few days MUTD buys this Bébé person (a possible world beater according to the Wenger out boys on some website which name starts with Le and ends wit grove or something) and SAF told (well so the story was told in our newspapers) that he bought him following a tip from his good and nice friend Mr. Queiroz.

    Now it couldn’t be possible that MUTD buying this Bebe person had anything to do with the naming of an MUTD player and doping and forbidden substances, the portuguese coach throwing a doping hunter out and then maybe someone was to be made happy with a few pounds to keep some people mouth shut?

    Far-fetched? Could be but I still think is very strange behaviour from SAF in this whole story…

  2. No! Bebe is good! He played for Portugal in the (giggle) homeless world cup ! !

    BTW something must be fishy, it smells a bit of some Quieroz sauce, maybe some under the table bung, or whatnot.

    Nevertheless, with Manure luck, he will do a Kiko Macheda and score a much needed 93rd minute match winner somewhere around April… after all, you can’t be surprised with a team whose 2nd best goalscorer is mr O. Goal…

  3. Agreed, the Bebe story is strange. Supposedly Quieroz “recommended” Bebe to SAF. Maybe he was just playing a joke on his old boss?

    JET and Lansbury are now out on loan so the squad compositions will have to be changed around. I would imagine Sunu going as well, reserve football isnt going to do him much good this season.

    We will have a very young U18 team this season, even younger than last year. City have an excellent U18 team this year (pity all of them will have their way to the first team blocked by……. THE ELITE SQUAD!!!!!! (exclamation marks should be required when talking about them) so we shouldnt read too much into that result, but if they win the U18 League again this season then Steve Bould should really begin to be considered the natural heir to AW.

  4. @Walter, glad you’ve brought up the issue of doping. I have been wondering why abuse of performance enhancing substances in the world of FICK FUFA is not taken seriously. Is football so clean that after a bogus world cup all the players are clean?????? The olympics, Tour de France wr riddled with drug abuse scandals. FICK FUFA!!

  5. Hey Tony what do you think about this Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) person ? Do you think he will succeed at United ?

  6. Sir Walter Scott once stated in around 1808,

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

    and much more recently in a popular music lyric

    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When we practice to deceive
    We play our games and tell our lies
    And synchronize our alibis

    just a thought is all, may have no relevence at all, just a huge coincidence and after all with all that experience practice is hardly necessary….

  7. Walter!! My thoughts EXACTLY! This whole thing stinks to high heaven!

    I always wondered how Man U got that ‘legendary fitness’ of theirs…

  8. Well such pity Smokie, don’t exist anymore…. I guess now-days they wold have song “Living next door to Bebe”

  9. Bebe was in the eyes of Real Madrid also, so there must be something about the kid. Just because he wasn’t selected for one game due to match fitness doesn’t mean he isn’t good. I think he could play a vital role for united in the comin years.

  10. Man City had to name them the ELITE SQUAD to appease the likes of Craig Bellamy and Stephen Ireland, who were on tens of thousands of pounds a week to play in it!

    The player I’m concerned with is Havard Nordtveit — he seemed to be training well with the first team in Austria, spent last season starting in the Bundesliga, and has played some cover at both CB and RB. Yet the Arsenal website lists him with the Reserves?

  11. rusty,

    Wenger has said during the preseason that Nordveit isn’t ready yet for the first squad and that he would be played as a right-back to gain more experience. Expect him to play in the CC games and as a 3rd Right-back.

  12. @Dark Prince

    Seems to me to be a desperate buy from a club deep in the mire… a bit like gambling addict sticking his last few quid on Sad Ken in the 4:40 @ Kempton.

    Still – it gives the muggy mancs something to chatter about though – how they financially out muscled Real Madrid to the next big thing… etc, blah.

  13. Rusty – You forgot the exclamation marks after THE ELITE SQUAD!!!!! The exclamation marks are important, it lets everyone know just how great Manchester City’s ELITE SQUAD!!!! really is.

    And regarding Utd beating out Madrid for Bebe, the only indication that Real Madrid were interested is the fact that SAF said that he thought they were sniffing around. Mourinho has been trying to trim the Madrid squad, dont know why he would be interested in an untested 20 year old. That doesnt really fit his MO of getting proven talent.

  14. I wonder if Adebayor is going to enjoy being part of ………….. THE ELITE SQUAD!!!!! (cue music from the A-Team).

  15. So details concerning Wenger’s contract extension have emerged and it appears that he is no longer on £5million a year, they have given him a 20% salary increase up to £6million a year. Can you believe this? So Wenger’s 6 years of failure warrants a 20% salary increase making him the highest paid employee at the club. How in Gods name does anyone manage to secure that sort of salary increase when they have failed, it can’t be performance related can it? If I had failed in my job in the way Wenger has during the period of his last contract I would have been shown the door not given a £1million salary increase. No wonder he doesn’t want to spend any money on real players, he’s making sure they have enough money for his next contract extension. No wonder he signed the blinking thing so quickly. It’s money for old rope, he must be laughing his socks off, he doesn’t have to win anything, there is no pressure and he gets £6MILLION per year. Incredible!! ps Jose is entertaining but what part of his coment was wrong, we have used the “youth” excuse the last five years.

  16. Off topic but was hoping someone might do an article on what it would mean if england win their 2018 world cup bid.
    In particular I noticed that the FA have produced a list of stadium’s that include New White Hart Lane amongst others.
    Are the FA going to help fund new stadium for clubs?

    You write quite well which makes me believe you have some sort of intelligence.
    Your statement makes me think otherwise.
    Why dont you support some other bankrupt team.

  18. @jeeryy

    We have built a new stadium, we have developed a fantastic youth system and we have had Champions League football throughout these years of ‘failure’, we are also now in a very strong financial position.

    Thanks to Wenger; Arsenal are now poised to DOMINATE the game. We are 5+ years ahead of any/all of our competition with regards to the 25 rule and the UEFA financial fair play regulations. All on no budget and all through a financial recession.

    And for what? 5 years of prudence and sanity. Thanks to Wengers’ mid-to-long term planning you and your children will support a proper football team that actually earns (not buys) the trophies it wins… rather than a club like say – Portsmouth.

    I can’t understand how you can’t see this? Are you stupid? All I hear from you is: “whaah whaaah I want a trophy whaaahh whaaaah, not fair, whaaaah, Wenger’s fault, whaaa”

    And besides – how in any way is your rant relevant to this post? Any why are you still banging your anti-Wenger, anti-Arsenal drum here?

    Are you Tottenham in disguise?

    Enquiring minds need to know.

  19. I am so happy for your admiration to Jose, jeery but it would be nice if you would, please, pres button on right side of your keyboard “PAGE UP” and read text in red square in white letters, just beside picture of, nice gentleman whose space we are wasting here. After you read it, than please check bit under and see topic on which you are going to give you opinion.
    After it we strongly recommend you to exit your browser and save us and yourself from further “off topics”

  20. Nice answer Armin, was thinking about soemthing like this but short in time you get the first spot. JEERYY!!!!!, if one day you’ll manage your way thru to be the next Arsenal manager, I ll bet £100 on your head to be first manager sacked of the season

  21. Jeery, Jeery, Jeery…

    There are plenty of websites where you can go and write about how much you despise Mr. Wenger. THIS is not one of them.

  22. Jeerry – wow, you are really getting a bid mad now. You need to calm down and come back to reality. You really do make a bit of a fool of yourself.

    Firstly, details of AW’s contract have been common knowledge for a few days now and you are only posting about it now? Does it take five days for your brain to process a thought? It certainly seems like that.

    Secondly, you have absolutely no idea what constitutes success and failure, so I pity the company you work for. Sometimes success is merely avoiding failure, as anyone who has ever had a proper job knows all too well. But we should all listen to you should we? Even when you show absolutely no respect to anyone on this blog, and constantly make yourself look like an idiot, we should listen to you should we? I would rather to my dog thank you very much.

    Thirdly, you ask what part of Jose’s comments was wrong. Well, for a start he said Liverpool regressed “every season” under Benitez, which anyone can see is false simply by looking at liverpool’s record. He is just bitter Liverpool beat his Chelsea team in the CL in 2005. And then he says all our players are now 25-27, so we cannot use the youth excuse anymore. Well, that just shows how wrong he is, but also how successful our kids have been. Only RvP is in that age bracket, the rest are still younger than that. They only play as if they are much, much older.

    Honestly, Jeerry, there are loads of websites where your uninformed, silly rants would be listened to and maybe even agreed with. You should probably go to one of those websites because you have made yourself look a complete and utter idiot over and over again on this site. Even if you actually managed to present a decent and considered opinion on this website most people would just laugh at you and ignore what you were saying.

  23. Jeeryy – can you let me know where the details of Wenger’s contract extension emerged? I have seen it on, tribal football, foreignfmpeaceonline, and other similar sites, all of which are known to copy stories from each other. Have you seen it somewhere else – a more credible source for example? And can you tell us how you know the source to be trustworthy.

    I am sure you have noticed that I do try in my little articles to give the source of the information – I think it would show good respect to myself, and the audience you have, if you could do the same.

  24. @A casual observer- never underestimate your opponent. Alex Ferguson may hav taken a risk but he doesn’t just gamble completly. And regarding bebe being d next big thing, we can never know, arsenal was once linked to both Cristiano Ronaldo and Drogba, and those days these guys were just comin up. So we cant say how big bebe can be. So i guess that before we can judge bebe, we just give him a few years of experience to show what he really has got. Then maybe we can say how good the decision was of Alex Ferguson to sign him.

  25. Dark Prince – absolutely. No matter how ridiculous it may seem to us, SAF has earned the benefit of the doubt. He may just be unfit for reserve selection right now. We just dont have enough information to make a proper judgement.

    Like you say, in a couple of seasons though………..

  26. @jeery there is no way Wenger deserves a pay rise from his already massive base of £5m. The hypocrisy is rank. If we are living in tight financial times how can the club justify a £1m pay rise to someone who has not moved things on in 5 years or more?. GunnerN5 posted that high performers get high financial rewards. This is not always true. Did Capello deserve a new contract at £6m a year after the WCup or even Benitez getting a new deal less than a year before being fired? OWenger has just proved he is good at negotiating contracts for himself. A bit like a dodgy investment banker. He has under-performed over the last 5 years giving himself an easy benchmark as there has been no effective competition to the top 4 for CL qualification. The team is not a young team as he tries to con people around. Most of the regular players are in their mid to late 20s or more in the case of some of the players we had last year like Silvestre, Gallas and Campbell. Its scary the lack of rational objectivity the Wengerites show – how do they deal with normal everyday activities?

  27. on another note i think Moanio is the biggest hypocrite going. He walks into already very good teams, spend tens or even hundreds of millions and then criticises other clubs about ‘kamikazee spending’ and other managers who, according to him, don’t know how to build a team. When he stays at a club long enough to actually build a title-winning side from scratch and does it without the money to buy whoever he wants, then he’ll be in a position to criticise others. Of course he will never, ever go to a club where he’d be in that situation.

  28. SAF is retiring at the end of this season and managing the UK football team for the olympics (who will get knocked out in the semi finals on penalties)… so I guess we’ll never know as, I imagine, Bébé will be dropped like a warm turd by whoever takes over (Martin O’Neil probably).

    Yous heard it here first.


  29. @Frankbuch

    You bang on about ‘hypocrisy’ a lot… then go on to say:

    “Its scary the lack of rational objectivity the Wengerites show – how do they deal with normal everyday activities?”

    Are you aware of the concept of irony?

  30. To return to the theme of the original article…

    Bolton Reserves 0 Arsenal Elite!!!!!! 5
    Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (2) Chuks Aneke (2) Barazite (1)

    The team

    Nordtveit – Hoyte – Miquel – Cruise
    Randall – Eastmond – Aneke
    Barazite – Afobe – Emmanuel-Thomas

    Subs: Shea, Yennaris, Evina Deacon.

    Read More:

    My eternal thanks as always to Young Guns for their excellent service – cannot recommend that site highly enough.

  31. frankbutt and jeery are the same person i guess. just trying to wind us up. i think he/she might be a nerd in high school. Everybody else is having sex and going to parties, he/she not even invited. so he/she chose to come to here to express his/her anger and frustration by winding us up. maybe he/she even get minor orgasm when reading other people talk dirty to them. sick bastard these people are.

  32. If Barazite scored against Rangers, does that mean he is going to stay at Arsenal? Because he was once tipped to join Rangers!

  33. Tony and Others,

    When Arsene signed a contract extension back in 2007, the amount being put around was 4m a year( ). And the new articles which mentions the new deal at 6m, mentions that the old one was 5m. Doesn’t that make the new articles fake? Because Arsene hasn’t signed any contract extensions between 2007 and 2010 as far as I remember.

    And Congrats to the Reserves squad for a cracking start to the new season. And going through the squad, these are the same players who won back-to-back Academy league in 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Hopefully they can win the reserves league this season to boost their confidence.

  34. @Tony, If we have a fantastic youth system how is it that not one player in 15 years has come through that system. We are 5 years ahead of our rivals? Complete rubbish. What’s the point of being financially responsible when we don’t invest in on field assets, all we seem to be doing is giving it to Wenger. The whole point of a football team is to win trophies, you may not have realised this but we don’t actually win any. There is only one Spud on here that I know of. Only Spuds want Wenger to STAY, the only way Arsenal can come out of this slump is with him gone. Even then it will take his successor years to put this right. PS regarding wengers new contract A number of National Newspapers have reported it. No wonder he signed it so quickly. wenger wont take 100 million to build a team and hates to pay high wages on players but only too happy to pocket 6 mil. if wenger was so truthful he would insist on a lower salary, The man’s a total hypocrite and egomaniac

  35. Jeeryy – what you have done once again is make a statement, made no attempt to justify it, given no citation to back it up, and then proceeded as if the whole thing were true. Such an approach is beginning to be rather insulting since you are treating myself and the readers here as being people of such low intellect that we are unable to see what you are doing.

    You have said,

    If we have a fantastic youth system how is it that not one player in 15 years has come through that system.

    On what basis do you say this. You don’t define “youth system” so we don’t know who you are talking about – the system that brought in the 11 year olds 7 years ago, or the system that brought in Theo, the system that brought in Wilshere and Jay Emmanuel Thomas or the system that gave us Gibbs? The system that gave us Ashley Cole?

    If you continue to be so utterly disrespectful to the readership I will, with regret, ban you from this site. I like open debate, but your persistent writing in this manner is really going too far.

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