Arsenal’s team to play the Tiny Totts in the little cup.

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…

Wojciech Szczesny
Gavin Hoyte,
Cedric EvinaJohan DjourouIgnasi MiquelCraig EastmondMark RandallChuks Aneke (c)
Jay Emmanuel-ThomasRoarie Deacon
Benik Afobe

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.

So mixing it all up, here’s a team to contend with.


    Eastmond Djourou Miquel Gibbs


    Eboue Lansbury

    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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    28 Replies to “Arsenal’s team to play the Tiny Totts in the little cup.”

    1. If Vermaelen is fit for next weekend’s match then I think either of Squillaci or Koscielny should partner Djourou in central defence.

    2. I still believe Mannone or Szczesny should be played. They should be regularly used. Also i believe we should had loaned Fabianski so that he too can get experience from regular games.

    3. Alex song is suspended for this match…he will be available for this weekend against west brom.

      And Clichy should play instead of gibbs,because Gibbs will be our first choice left back from here on ..

    4. Yes, Fabianski will be in goal instead of Szczesny even though he’s no right to be.

      Eastmond at right back? When we have a perfectly good Nordtveit or Gavin Hoyte to play there. Doubtful.

      Djourou’s been terrible in the reserves so far. Though he’ll probably play I’d expect Squillaci to play alongside him. The caveat being that if TV5 isn’t ready for Saturday Wenger may play himself.

      Our standout players in the reserves this season have been JET, Aneke, and Afobe. Sunu hasn’t even featured since the UEFA U-19 France win. I’m not even sure he plays for us anymore. But it doesn’t matter the front three should be JET/Afobe/Vela on merit … though Chamakh’s been dropping hints.

      The problem with experience on the bench – let alone in the side – is Saturday. Everyone’s injured so would AW risk any of his ‘alternative’ players tomorrow? Would he risk a Chamakh injury – a Denilson one – a Wilshere or Rosicky injury? I don’t think so.

      This is a match that should be left mainly to the kids. The first team is so decimated we’ve no alternative.

    5. I wouldn’t be surprised if I knew as much as Tony.
      But where is Nordtveit hanging out for the moment? He looked promising in preseason as far as I know anything about it off course. He will not be intimidates by big crowds as he has been used to that in Germany last year.
      So I would surely play him.

    6. I agree with HansRott. Just let the kids play please. We are again losing an average of one player per game for the moment so we can’t afford to lose that many more. The only exception would be Song or Denilson. Denilson to give him a full game but only when Song is suspended for this one. If Song is suspended for Saturday than Song can play tomorrow.
      The league and Champions league is far more important than the CC to risk any player.

    7. Eboue should be deployed to the right and Koscienly at the heart of our defence. denilson and Vela also require more field appearances. The rest fo the slots can be field by the kids.

    8. Re: sunu, i am sure he is on loan to a french team but as you say he say seems to have dropped off the radar even on loan watch, i reckon he is injured and nobody wants to tell the fans because it would make loan spells suddenly seem such a bad idea

    9. Agree that we should play the kids, and I especially hope that Chamakh is not risked!

      There might be an “anchor of experience” usual in our CC games tho – Eboue, Denilson / Song and Djourou / Vermalaen, if fit (purely to give some match practice). Wilshere might be rested – he looked somewhat tired to me against Sunderland towards the end.

      I think the Totts will play their first team – CC cup means more to them than to us? ahem.. the biased snob in me doesn’t think they’re quite ready to act like one of the big boys yet…

      Totts first team may be a bit too strong for our CC (3rd string) team. Can’t decide if going out at this stage will be good or bad overall for us, given the priceless exposure given to our kids vs our need this early in the season to avoid unnecessary injuries to our first teamers.

    10. I’m not sure that Spurs will play their strongest side. Surely the Champions league will be more important now, with a game next week, and they will want to keep their top players fresh. I think you will get players like Bentley, Bassong, Dos Santos who are first team players but rarely start.

    11. @Icedre20:

      u could be right. perhaps one big reason why no one, including Tony, seems to have a good clue is b’cos we facing the Totts in the CC cup when we both have Champions League aspirations coming up is a completely novel situation. lol

    12. I understand Nordtveit is injured and Sunu is on loan in France. The team will be a mixture of youth and experience so expect a line up like the one below
      eboue/hoyte djourou squillaci gibbs
      eastmond denilson
      rosicky J-e-T Vela
      subs…randall cruise mannone aneke wiltshere

    13. I suspect that AW may go for a tad more experience than usual if only because he has a bigger squad.

      Given our injury list, it will not seem as big a change as normal because some of our non-automatic starters are actually pretty good.

      Djourou(dont be surprised in Koscielny plays instead to give the pairing more practice)

      This is a team without Almunia, RVP, THEO, Cesc, Song, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bentner or Vermaelen.

      It is true that some are absent through injury but really from a selection point of view, that is not where you start your consideration.
      In the event of everybody being fit(chance would be a fine thing,)AW would probably consider Theo and Bentner but otherwise the rest wouldn’t play.

      There are others from our youth set up that some might think should be considered but really, then you would have players who do not automatically start for the first team but would be considered too good for the CC, which would leave them in a sort of Limbo, which would be silly. AW doesn’t do silly.

      I rarely do predictions for team selection but the way that I see it, this team picks itself for the following reasons:

      Nasri needs to get match fitness.

      Vela is due a start.

      Szczesny is most likely our number 2(in planning if not in name), with a need for a more prominent role to aid his development.

      Gibbs is also due a start.

      JET is a must start or else what do we have him for?

      Wilshere needs as much experience as we can give him and whilst he has started alot of games, is still in that transitional place between regular starter and reserve which puts him on the pitch in the CC.

      Any of the 2 new centre halves and the old always-injured one could do with more time to get to know each other. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if Djourou is on the bench. Given how well our two new lads played at the weekend and midweek, poor old Johann is definitely 4th choice now.

      Nordveit looked pretty good and indeed pretty comfortable when he has shown in pre-season. This is his obvious competitive 1st team debut.

      Denilson needs to get his match fitness up.

      Chamakh may not play but he obviously wants to and this would be great experience for him. His absence would mean TR7 plays, swapping JET to the centre and I just can’t see AW risking him when Cesc may be injured.

      Then again what do I know eh?
      Nortveit could be carrying an injury.
      AW may want to rest Chamakh.
      Vito Mannone may be impressing in training.
      Eastmond may replace Denilson as DM which while understandable is not preferable.

      Either way we will find out soon enough.

      Old Twitchy face will no doubt put his full side out under the guise of “We need to get used to playing 2 competitive games a week now that we are a CL team”

      Enjoy it while it lasts Harry.

      look at the tackle on messi!!
      after the game guardiola said to the press:
      “We are pleased with our game, but no such action. The images speak for
      themselves. It appeals to the media, those who write the articles, you must
      say the following. Messi is one of the players who cheat the lowest in the league. His only
      concern is to play well and score goals. We must not only protect
      Cristiano Ronaldo. Referees must protect all players.”
      and today the press here in spain speak about it like a tragedy… messi out 2 weeks minimum… when in england player like paul robinson doesnt even get a yellow card for his tackle on diaby.. worse wenger is critisized for speaking about it!!

      and to finish the last from big sam…,19528,11670_6386615,00.html

    15. There is nothing I can find on the internet anywhere to say what is happening to Sunu, and certainly nothing relating to a loan spell in France.

      The loan list on Arsenal’s site contains nothing about him

      He is a guy we bought in for around £1m so he’s not just a kid that came in from the street, and the performance he put in for France was terrific in the summer.

      And as I said in the article, he was listed as being one of ours on 1 September – just 20 days ago.

      Coquelin is on loan in France, but Sunu?

    16. Nordveit was not in the last reserve match, and there was a report that after we managed to sign two new centre backs he would be allowed to go out on loan again. Eastmond was brought in as a full back, who is described as also being able to play elsewhere.

    17. who cares about diddly cup??league is the priority and then champs league and then fa cup…with so much injuries at the starting boss shouldn’t risk anymore injuries…..
      good to see nasri complete full 90 minutes in two successive games….

    18. My prediction is that our back four will be Eboue, Djourou, Nordtveit, Gibbs; Wilshere and Denilson in midfield and Vela up front.

      That leaves room for Eastmond in midfield with JET and Lansbury in attack.

      I think he will play Wilshere tomorrow, rest him on Saturday, play him in the Champions League and then decide what to do against Chelsea.

      By the way, Desi Gunner has an outstanding analysis of the Sunderland game on

    19. Hi everybody,
      @HansRott, Dark Prince, Terence McGovern and others, from the look of things this season, if TV5 is fit, then he should partner Djourou in the tots match. The two French men SS18 and LK6 have been very impressive to the extent that TV5 is not really missed. In fact, I would dare say that of the three, i.e. TV5, SS18 and LK6, he (TV5) is less of a defender or he is not better than any of the two French men. Given that the two French men played on Saturday, TV5 should play on Tuesday to gain some match sharpness after the injury.
      Also, as Song is suspended for the tots match, Denilson should play to improve his fitness, as he has not really played this season. I heard Nordveit was injured, so Eboue should play right back to give the defense some stability) otherwise it should be Hoyte there and Eboue in Midfield). Eastmond really should be in midfield playing a double pivot with Denilson, with Lansbury in the Cesc role but deeper than Cesc plays to help with midfield. Upfront, JET, Vela and Aneke/Randle (Aneke is still too raw, otherwise it should be him playing the Cesc role as he has done for the under 18 and does for the reserves). To beef up the attack, I would agree with Terrence McGovern that TR7 should play instead of either Aneke or Randle i.e. TR7 to play the Cesc role, which would stabilize midfield and sharpen the attack.
      I wish though that Arsene would change formation a little bit so that he plays JET and Vela as strikers (with JET in the withdrawn role dropping into midfield to pick the ball) with Denilson (DMF) behind TR7, Eastmond and Lansbury. The back four should be RB-Eboue, Djourou, TV5, LB-Gibbs, GK-Fabiansk (i.e. 4411 or 4141).

    20. Personally I think the team will be something like…

      Fabianski, Gibbs, Djoure, Kocheiney, Eboue, Wilshere, Denilson, Rosisky, Vela, JET, Lansbury..

      Also Nordviet, Eastmond, Afobe, Randall, Aneke might be involved.

    21. Cape gooner. Whilst in previous seasons your line up would make sense, I believe that given the strength of our squad(even with injuries), the only way AW would send out that team is to dispense with the competition.
      If we send out that team we will get hammered plain and simple.
      On the other hand a few additions would make for a good game.

      Then again you may be spot on. AW was never a fan of the CC but then again he has wanted it as a means to blood the yougsters and give them experience.
      I doubt the experience he would want to give them would be getting slayed by a full Spurs side in front of their home crowd.

    22. In reality the squad is decimated by injuries and the situation gets worse each week.Do we even want to be in this competition? The only point in being in the Carling cup is that it provides experience for reserves and money. However the real money is made in the CL and if we lose any more players we are putting the chances of the latter stages at risk.
      I say field the reserves-give Spurs a hollow victory-and get out of this competition now.This will help them and their fans to be wildly over-confident when we meet for real.

    23. he won’t put out a much of a reserve team as that, last time we did that they beat us 5-1, even if it is only the micky mouse cup

    24. It will be a mixture of Reserve and ‘2nd team’ players (Fabianski, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Vela, etc.)

      ‘Arry has said he will make a “lots of changes” to his team so I think we can look forward to a decent match, one which we can hopefully dominate through our superior passing and movement. I can see Vela adding to his CC goal tally!

    25. I don’t think we should risk Rosicky for the Totts match. Maybe on the bench, but not as a starter. Please keep in mind: Cesc is injured, and Rosicky is back in form. He is our most creative midfielder right now and our best playmaker and it would be a shame to waste him against the Sp*ds. he should be rested for the league. For the team: Denilson please! His sub appearances so far have been really good and it’s time he gets the full 90 minutes under his belt. And a 25 yarder against that other London club would be appreciated, too!

    26. As for the match: the way I see it it’s going to be a win-win situation. If we lose it will most likely be a very close affair like the CL game against Olympiakos last season. No matter what, I am sure that the kids will perform and any Sp*d win will be a lucky one. However, if WE win … just imagine the humilation for the Sp*ds. Losing against a reserve side mixed with some of our youth players while they are most likely going to field a team that is going to be close to full strength.

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