I am going to talk about something that I don’t know much about, some may say: what’s new?
The under 21s are a bit of a mystery, snippets of who is good and who isn’t make their way onto the blog from time to time, the odd YouTube clip appears which, as we know, makes every player look like the next Maradonna but for the majority I think last night’s game on Sky was the first chance to focus and formulate an opinion on many of the up and coming stars.
As much as I tried to judge the game as an entity I struggled as I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how each player would fit into the first team or how far of they are away from it.
Bellerin, O’Conner Hayden, Ormonde-Ottwill
———-Coquelin, Diaby, Zalalem
——–Miatland-Niles, Akpom, Crowley
Martinez: good to go, no problem should he be needed in the first team.
Bellerin: fine if needed in the first team for a game or two but as a long term replacement, should Debuchy get seriously injured, I would worry.
O’Conner: sorry I didn’t notice enough to give a view.
Hayden: well this is why the club sold Miquel, Hayden is as good if not better and certainly is an able forth choice CB.
Diaby: we should see him play his first game for the first team against Southampton in the Capital One Cup.
Zalalem: further away from the first team than I expected. BR mentioned that he was strong through out, and having thought about it I agree.
Maitland-Niles: a couple of good efforts, still a long way to go.
Akpom: I am bouncing off peoples comments here: Steve was critical of him for not being a team player; he is a number 9, surely selfishness is an asset, think Ian Wright. That said I think he is miles away from the first team, maybe a cameo in the COC.
Crowley: this was the one that disappointed me the most; I think the reason is that I expected too much. He is years away from the first team but as he is only 17 that shouldn’t be such a surprise. He is either a number 10 or attacking midfield who last night was shunted out to the left wing, (sounds familiar). There was a lot to get excited about as he inevitably drifted into the middle.
There has been much debate recently about our midfield during which the term box to box player frequently came up. As obvious as the term first appears I started wondering if everyone shared the same definition, so in an attempt to clarify I ask………….
What is a Box to Box player?
I don’t see Ramsey as one, well not yet anyway and I certainly don’t see Wilshere as one, so maybe before I carry on I should explain my own view of the role and having given it some thought I think it can be best explained by the way of an example.
Patrick Vieira was the last Box to Box player we had. Why, because he operated from one penalty box to the other. In Paddy’s case his skill set was skewed towards defending rather than attacking; he didn’t score enough goals to be considered simply as an attacking midfielder.
Which brings me to the reason for bringing this up: Diaby is our only box to box player, and he must be the reason why the club didn’t buy a holding midfielder in the window. Wenger is clearly going to give him one last chance. This makes sense on many levels; he was pretty damn good last night and in my opinion really does have everything needed to play a pivotal role in our midfield.
I hope the Frenchman grabs the opportunity that is about to come his way because what with Flamini coming to the end of his contract and Arteta coming to the end of his physical ability, Wenger will have no choice but to make one big name signing to replace the lot.
Unless, that is, Woy’s plan to make Wilshere a holding midfielder comes off, but perhaps that debate is for another day.
Written by LB