By Tony Attwood
The reports doing the rounds suggest that Emile Smith-Rowe will play for Arsenal under 23s tonight against Blackburn and that Rob Holding has travelled with the squad.
Others in the squad whose names have sneaked out are Coyle, Olayinka, Hillson and Clarke.
The news of Holding’s inclusion is particularly good, as it means that reports of his recovery from injury are right and he is well on the way to making a comeback. He played for an hour in the game against Watford under 23s so is clearly progressing.
Indeed given the very decent performance by Calum Chambers at the weekend, this could well mean that the centre back crisis that has so occupied the media all summer might be reaching an official ending.
Last season’s table ended like this…
|3||Brighton and Hove Albion PL2||22||9||8||5||37||27||10||35|
|5||Blackburn Rovers PL2||22||9||4||9||38||37||1||31|
|7||Derby County PL2||22||9||3||10||29||34||-5||30|
|8||Manchester City PL2||22||9||3||10||38||48||-10||30|
|9||Tottenham Hotspur PL2||22||7||7||8||26||38||-12||28|
|10||Leicester City PL2||22||8||3||11||24||33||-9||27|
|11||West Ham United PL2||22||8||2||12||41||43||-2||26|
|12||Swansea City PL2||22||3||7||12||28||42||-14||16|
As we can see, last season we were easily top scorers in the league.
Meanwhile on 10 July, Joe Miles wrote in the Sun “With Arsenal strapped for cash this summer, Unai Emery has turned to the young guns to bolster his squad. Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock are the latest players to be promoted to the first-team.”
Well, actually we were not strapped for cash, and Eddie went off on loan this season, so not many out of ten for accuracy. Nelson and Willock did play for the first team this past weekend, and Emile Smith Rowe gets his chance tonight – probably.
Looking back to the end of last season here’s the squad we put out against Leicester
Osel Tutu, Sheaf, Ballard, Bramall
Amaechl, John-Jules, Saka
I would imagine that John-Jules, and Robbie Burton will play probably with Balogun at centre forward.
Per Mertesacker is the academy manager, with Luke Hobbs his assistant. Steve Bould is now under 23 head coach with the long serving Ryan Garry as his assistant.
Meanwhile The Premier League International Cup fixtures have been confirmed for the season and this is of interest as Blackburn have now entered the competition for the first time.
Arsenal are in Group A and will play Villareal at home on 27 November, Dinamo Zagreb at home on 17 December, and Leicester City at home on 9 January. Quite why we are blessed with home games throughout I am not sure, but I am sure someone can tell me.
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