By Tony Attwood
Guessing the Lord Wenger’s team for a league match can be tough (as witness the fact that I never get within a million miles of it). So guessing the team for the Diddly Cup match is well neigh impossible. A first teamer that you thought would be rested suddenly starts, and some 8 year old who doesn’t even appear in the youth squad comes on as a sub, becomes the star of the show, and then vanishes again for 6 years before turning up once more playing on loan for Scunthorpe.
But surely some of the “25” squad members will get a game just for the hell of having a game, and Arsenal Reserves must give us a few players. Mustn’t they?
The reserves are currently top of their league after three games. Two wins and a draw (the draw was against Manchester “Elite” as they love to be known) having scored 10 and let in four. They are looking good, (and incidentally the completely reformed youth team are slowly getting themselves back on track after a shaky start – but more of that anon.)
Here’s the team from the last reserve game…
Cedric EvinaJohan DjourouIgnasi MiquelCraig EastmondMark RandallChuks Aneke (c)
Jay Emmanuel-ThomasRoarie Deacon
There’s issues of course with who is just breaking through (Afobe and Aneke look particularly promising, but might still be too young,) and who seems to be biding time (Hoyte and Randall look like players whose time has gone, but on the other hand they are still hanging in there).
And there is the case of the missing Gilles Sunu.
Sunu spent part of last season on loan at Derby (and went straight into their first team), played in the Carling Cup game against WBA last season, and was a sub against Olympiacos. He played for France in their victory over Spain in the U-19 European Championship Final, scoring a terrific goal en route.
Quite where he has got to since then, I am not sure. Arsenal have not even updated his on-line profile from last year. But if he is still with us, and fit, surely he ought to get a game. He certainly is in the list of 56 under 21s that Arsenal handed in with their “25” over 21s on 1 September.
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So mixing it all up, here’s a team to contend with.
Eastmond Djourou Miquel Gibbs
JET Sunu Vela
Eastmond was a sudden star two years ago, and ought to be breaking through now, and it is interesting that Djourou and Miquel played in the reserve match, just at a moment when I thought maybe Djourou would be on the bench for the first team.
I put Denilson in the middle, simply to give him a game and add some solid defence, given that Tottenham are liable to pick their first team for this match.
Tottenham have indeed played their first team in the little cup in the past – or at least a team fairly close to it, but maybe what with being in the Champs League Thing they might feel they now have to do it like the big boys and spread it around a bit.
But they have a problem in that they don’t have a team in the reserve league which means they have players who are back up to their first team but simply don’t get games. According to the official Tiny Totts web site “the 3rd year Academy players all train with the Reserve/ Development Squad and compete for places in the Reserve Team.” But on that site there is no reserve team – and indeed on the official site when I typed in Reserve Team into their “search” box it took me to the fixtures for three years ago. So who knows?
Back to us. Lansbury has had offers from everywhere to go on loan again, and if he hasn’t then he looks the most senior of the reserves not yet to be making the breakthrough.
Up front it is more puzzling. Luke Freeman is in Somerset, and our first team forward line is stretched as far as it will go with Theo, VP and Bendtner injured, which means Vela surely should play. It is just who else plays there.
I have put Jay Emannuel Thomas in the front line, but realistically if this is to be the team, he will play more in midfield.
Finally, I am assuming (because I don’t know where to look for the regulations) that Song serves his sending off suspension during this match. If not, for some technical reason, then he could play in the middle instead of Denilson, keeping Denilson free for next weekend.
So there you are. If you have read this far you will realise I don’t have a clue. So no change there.
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