The Young Guns Open A Window To The Future

I didn’t see the game yesterday but it comes across as Saka being the key player in this game. It’s exciting when the youngsters give you a vision of what they could become.

I also read a report that spoke highly of ESR. Maybe he didn’t shine as much as Saka, and he lacked some consistency in his input across the 90, but this report was praising him for many of his lay off balls, and his ability to receive the ball and drive forwards at pace.

This is something that has been sorely missing in our play over the last number of months, the ball carriers in midfield, and even the mid to lower table sides seem to have midfielders that are comfortable receiving the ball and driving through the midfield, while we adopted a pedestrian passing game with little direct running from midfield.

Until recently we have had those players that can twist turn and spin away from opposition players and drive forwards when able; Rosicky, Santi, Jack, Cesc. As we now try and redevelop this team it is important that we do so around midfielders who are comfortable in receiving in tight spaces and then being able to carry the ball, as well as being able to pick a pass.

This is where Xhaka falls down in that he always needs an available pass, rather than being able to receive and move with it if a decent pass is not immediately available. Hence the number of sideways and backwards passing.

However in Douzi, Willock, Saka and ESR we have those players that have the natural talent to do it and we must build around all those players. Each may find a slightly different position. For instance will Douzi or ESR become more the intermediate BTB type midfielder, or will they become the most attacking CM / number 10. Will Saka be a wing forward type or could he be the most attacking CM / number 10.

All of them will have games where their precocious talent shines and some games that will be a bit mehh. Douzi is probably slightly ahead because he has played more games with the first team while ESR for instance has been hampered by injury which has hampered his loan spells.

My gut instinct actually tells me that ESR has, at the base level, the greater natural ability in CM, and I have always said I see a young De-Bruyne in him. However I think all 4 should succeed with the right coaching, patience (when it doesn’t always come off), and emphasis on that quicker attacking style of play, and each may take up a slightly different role in the side anyway.

What has also hampered them all, and the team in general, is in not having the right DM (holding type DM) tucked in behind them. It is going over old news I know, but it is not just the team that has suffered from this oversight, but it could start to stifle the development of these young quality players.

This is why I would like Xhaka removed from the equation. I actually recognise many of his qualities, but they look more suited to a different league, and what he lacks for the EPL is, not only unbalancing the team, but is not allowing those young players to develop in their best positions with freedom.

Again my immediate solution would be to move Luiz forwards into the holding midfield role. In his absence we could play Chambers there. We should go and get a top CD in January as our main priority (say for instance Upemacano), and move on either Socratis or Mustaffi in Jan, with the other going in the summer once Saliba arrives.

Then we could go and try and source an up and coming Ndidi (rather than spend a fortune on the actual one), safe in the knowledge that we have cover in that role for a couple of seasons through Luiz and possibly Chambers.

Going into next season we could have our main CB’s as Holding, Saliba, Chambers, Upemmacano. We could have a holding midfield boasting Luiz and the promising new Ndidi, and across both the CB and holding midfield positions we know we can shift Luiz and Chambers into either role depending on where we are suffering the most with injuries.

Then just let the youngsters mentioned, including Martinelli and possibly John Jules and Nketieh, thrive and develop in the CM, ACM, wing forward and forward roles, with Ozil there as experience for 1 more season and one of Laca or Auba staying on (I think we will lose at least one of them).



38 Responses to The Young Guns Open A Window To The Future

  1. RC78 says:

    I agree that we have some good young guns in our squad. The three stand outs are of course Douzi, Martinelli and Saka BUT with the right coaching and playing time, there is no reason for Willock, ESR, Nelson and Nketiah to develop into fine players for us….

    We all agree that we need a DM. There is no chance to get Ndidi unless we finish top 4. If Ndidi moves, he ll go to a Top 4 team that gives him playing time and guaranteed CL footie and why not a shout at the EPL so I can see him move to Liverpool, Man City or to Real, Bayern, Juve rather than to us. We should have pushed for him this summer together with Pereira but for some reason, our recruitment department is quite oblivious to EPL players…

    – I think that Douzi, Martinelli and Saka are the real deal and should be strongly considered for the first XI already.
    – I think that Willock and Nketiah can become good players too and can grow with us already.
    – I think that ESR, Nelson need more time and I am keen to see them loaned out to get playing time.

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Kola – Douzi, Chambers – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli – Auba

    Europa League:
    Martinez – AMN, Mustafi, Sok, Tierney – Willock, Xhaka, Torreira – Ozil – Nketiah, Saka

    We d need to recall Nketiah. Let s give Leeds ESR or Nelson on loan so they re not short handed.

  2. RC78 says:

    I think we should be very patient with Saliba – the guy will be injured for another couple of months so for him to continue his growth, I would not be surprised if we let him stay at ASSE (yes, a very unfortunate acronym for St-Etienne Football Club).

    If you want to get an experienced DM type of players, get Allan or Brozovic and if you want to focus on a player with great potential then Zakaria, Roca, Zubeldia, Weigl, Toussart and Camavinga are the ones to bet on.

    To be competitive, we need a top CB and DM.

    To be very competitive, we need to also add a RB and CM and a FW.
    -> At RB, let us get Hakimi
    -> At CM, try to get Milinko-Savic or Saul Niguez
    -> At FW, try to get Bailey, Bergwin, Jota, Rafa Silva, or even Gnabry…

    We re basically 5 players short of being able to compete for the EPL and 2 players short for Top 4. If Kroenke is serious, he knows what to do – break the bank at X-Mas and get a top CB and DM-type of player. This summer, get the 3 missing players.

    In any case, move the deadwood (AMN sadly if we get a new RB, Sok, Mustafi, Xhaka, Torreira sadly if we get a new DM or CM, Ozil, and I dare say Auba because I think that if we keep Pepe and Laca and get another winger, we can definitely include eith Martinelli or Saka in the first team)…

    Core squad next year should include the following players for sure:

    Leno, Martinez – Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Tierney, Kola – Douzi, Luiz, Willock – Pepe, Laca, Martinelli, Saka, Nketiah

    A lot of young players…

  3. Sue says:

    Klopp has agreed a 2 year extension.. .staying until 2024. Urgh….think I should buy a decent pair of shades 😄

  4. GoonerB says:

    RC, some thoughts and a couple of questions for you. Whenever I think of who we could bring in to the club I think the following:

    1. Is it the type of player we really need or is that player too similar to what we already have?

    2. If it is a same type of player to what we already have then someone, or maybe more than one, needs to leave. If so who?

    3. Are the players we would like attainable?

    On the last point, for instance, do we really feel we can get Gnabry? Impossible, what can we possibly now offer him that trumps what he has right now? Maybe it is less as cut and dry, but Ndidi is likely falling into that bracket as well….unless we finish the season so strongly that we are also in the ECL and he will assess us as having the better chances moving forwards.

    Basically I feel we need to add up the numbers in each positional role to ensure we are not top heavy, but also not short, then it is all about the quality. I am all for upgrades but then we need to decide who leaves. If we bring in Allan then even without Xhaka and Torreira as a consideration then I feel he would be pushing Douzi, Willock and ESR further down the pecking order.

    I know you have suggested loans, for say ESR, but these can actually often be detrimental to a young persons development, and I can’t think of too many recent loan players that have worked out. Often they are not played and then lose a whole year in their critical development, and sometimes we may be better served just introducing them more into our 1st team rather than loan them out.

    Think Gnabry again himself. Maybe we should have kept him with us and just introduced him back in to our team. Lets not see someone like ESR go a similar route.

    RC, I would like to ask who out of the DM’s you list are that holding midfield type? For instance we could consider both Douzi and Willock as DM’s but more the all action BTB type. It is that invisible wall type player we desperately need in our team. Do Allan, Brozovic or any of the others mentioned fit that criteria?

    If they do then go for them for certain, because we need that type of player. If not then are they occupying a position we are already top heavy in, and how would you work out the numbers with this position?

    I would personally now just prefer to keep our key youngsters with us and integrate them rather than go for a minor upgrade that stops their progression. Remember we will remain a development project for the next couple of seasons and I don’t want us to destroy some of the foundations of that project for a short-term gain.

  5. RC78 says:

    There a few other teams that also have some amazing young talent coming up and I ll just mention the ones that are obvious:

    Man Utd: James, Greenwood, Chong
    Chelsea: Tomori, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham
    City: Foden
    Liverpool: Trent Arnold, Robertson, Brewster

    Quite some talent there and all British, right?

  6. RC78 says:

    @Sue – imagine, he won the CL, he s on course to win the EPL and will not be too far off the CL this year either and maybe he can go for a Cup too during his time in England….Rumour has it that we could have had him in 2015 but the club kept AW…it makes you think…

  7. GoonerB says:

    Gutted we lost Gnabry by the way but Martinelli (who may become a central striker eventually) looks the real deal in that role and if someone could coerce the full talent out of Nelson we already have 2 players in the Gnabry position.


    At list Freddie should start tasting Luis and chambers for DM before January transfer so as to correct things in time.

  9. RA says:


    I think the questions you ask at 12 : 57 are fine, but I am not sure whether you are suggesting questions that fans might ask, because the coaching staff would discuss all that on a day to day basis.

    To be frank; I would possibly change the order of the questions, too, before answering them logically.

    3. Are the players we would like attainable?
    [If no – the following questions are moot.
    If yes – continue.]

    1. Is it [he?] the type of player we really need or is that (the target) player too similar to what we already have?
    [The need for a new player, means the current one is not up to scratch – agreed?]

    2. If it is the same (or similar) type of player to what we already have, then someone, or maybe more than one, needs to leave. If so who?
    [doesn’t that depend on the player already identified by the coaching staff – in question 3. and 1. above? If he is being replaced, then he is surplus to requirements. True]

    Was that a trick question? 🥺

    As regards whether there would be an impact on any young players found not to be good enough – the question is hypothetical.

    If you mean, where another quality player who is thought to be a suitable addition to the squad becomes available, at an affordable price, then there may not be a need to sell, or loan out, an existing member of the squad.
    Look at ‘Pool, Citeh, and Manure and you will see that they are well into rotating players, and whenever injury inevitably strikes you have squad players able to come into the team without disrupting the style and understanding of the team.

    On reflection, I am uncertain what you are driving at, but equally I am sure you will get some responses from those better able, than me, to answer your questions. 😉

  10. Sue says:

    So, Pep has said Stones and Aguero will miss Sunday, with David Silva a doubt (we all know a ‘doubt’ means he’ll play!!) If only KDB & Ederson were missing!!
    Should be an interesting game, both teams with a shoddy defence (although we’ve let in 5 more) I say if we go with Leno and Martinez, we might just be ok 😄

  11. RC78 says:

    Too many questions. I think that like for any organization, we need to ask ourselves:
    – What is our strategy and what are goals?
    – Do we have the ressources to achieve them?

    -> In terms of HR for our squad, which functional area (GK, Full Backs, CB, DMs, CMs, FW/Wingers, ST) needs recruitment and where can we build on existing talent?
    —> Once you know where you need to recruit? You have the profile of the player and you can start targeting. You should not recruit where you are already staffed adequately and you should not recruit where you can bring in your in-house talent.

    For us, we have 2 big gaps that we need to address urgently:
    – CB
    – DM/HM

    This is obvious. Now which players shall we target specifically?

    Players that will improve us and that are affordable/attainable indeed. They need to be in both categories. Not easy…we don’t know the budget parameters but we know for example that there is no point for us to tackle CBs DMs in better squads than us like Van Dijk-Fabinho or Ramos-Casemiro. So we gotta for players that either don’t start in better teams or very good players that play in lesser teams than ours.

    Allan is a player that can play like Gueye or Wijnaldum. We can decide where we play him and how we ask him to play. If you play him next to Douzi for example, you ask him to hold. If you play him next to Luiz or Chambers, you ask him to play more like a CM.

    As for Gnabry – certainly a dream but then again, we managed to fork out 70 Mln for Pepe and maybe just maybe with Gnabry, we can strike an emotional chord and the chord related to “show that oyu can succeed in the EPL”. Now, he may be more tempted by City or Liverpool but why not give it a try? This is a special case…

  12. Sue says:

    RC.. Just imagine if they win the PL & CL this season….😩
    That is typical Arsenal, I’m afraid!

  13. Aaron says:

    Last two days posts are spot on.

    RC78- the Arsenal can’t afford the EPL players as stan ain’t paying.

    Have loans worked out for top clubs in the last 5 years? Nope…
    But, then again the Arsenal don’t have the luxury of those spending models.

    Both the goals conceded last night were flukes and that stuff happens now and again, rarely twice in a game.

    Lets see if Freddie can set up a team that does not get obliterated this weekend.

    Read those links on Ancelotti, and maybe he is not a good fit. but who is the guy writing that article? What does Napoli look like in it’s current state? Superstar ego’s? They are in the round of 16 in CL.

    Can appreciate the argument that Freddie is just as proven as Arteta, and maybe even is gaining more experience with his head securely in the vice of public opinion now as he is actually leading AFC, and not playing tic tac toe with pup.

  14. fred1266 says:

    I reached to late to Kew gardens Rc78, so just walking around Richmond

  15. RC78 says:

    @Fred – enjoy Richmond. Lovely quaint town. I d consider living there 🙂 Enjoy the walk in the city center cobbled streets and its many shops and cafes. Hope you will like it.

    @Aaron – I read the various links to Ancelotti but I am still convinced he d help us out. As for loans, it is a tough one but it is true that there hasn’t been recently a standout success story. Does that mean we should not give it a try?

    Now my mind is focusing on a few things:
    1. As a Europhile, I am hoping for a soft Brexit, which could save the union from Scotland’s indepenence
    2. I am worried that Scotland will leave the UK but can you blame them? They have a few good arguments: a) they are the only country of the UK who voted remain overwhelmingly ; b) they can come back with the argument “Britain broke a long-standing union” with Brexit…
    3. Can’t wait for X-Mas 🙂

  16. RC78 says:

    @Sue – chances of Liverpool winning the EPL and CL are high this year. They seem even more compact and solid than last year.

  17. Sue says:

    I was just looking at some Boris and Jeremy news.. then lo and behold an article popped up on about hundreds of ‘penis’ fish being found on a beach in California. Couldn’t help but laugh – were they trying to tell me something?!! 😂😂

  18. RC78 says:

    Hi Sue – I saw this article too, the pics and gifs are hilarious actually. I know it is sill but was funny.

  19. RC78 says:

    @Fred – what is happening in Richmond?

  20. fred1266 says:

    Richmond was great RC78 , thanks as usually any more suggestions for tomorrow

  21. GoonerB says:

    RA and RC, sorry chaps about the too many questions. My line of questioning stems from my feeling that we have spent a number of years as an unbalanced side, top heavy in certain areas and deficient in others.

    Despite the individual quality of each player being decent it became confusing as to who played where and did what, and we have often looked a disjointed side.

    I can’t actually remember a time when I could say that we have a the right specific player for every position, and more than any other club we far too frequently had players playing out of position to plug the gaps where we didn’t have that specific type of player, and quite frankly just to get some of these CM’s some playing time anywhere, because 8 into 3 doesn’t work.

    In my mind in our CM we currently have Xhaka, Torreira, Douzi, Willock, and ESR for that CDM or BTB type. Where we lack is the deeper holding midfield area, like an Ndidi, so I guess I was just wondering that if we were looking at players like Allan and Brozovic or one of the emerging ones mentioned, are we not just treading the same pathway of overloading the same midfield area?

    Even if we lost Xhaka and Torreira we still have 3 options for that 1 CM role before adding another. So do we need this? Is it not just more overloading again, and should we not just use our valuable funds getting the 2 types we really need in the CD and specialist holding midfield player.

  22. Mike M says:

    Qualified top of the group. Need to get a run of wins in the Prem. Hopefully things will look brighter. Many games before the window so lets keep praying things start to go our way. After 65 mins of our game we were 0-2 down and Frankfurt were winning. By the end, our luck had changed. Not ignoring the thread but if we’re honest, our current form is so bad we’d change almost everyone. it would be nice to see our good players start playing well. They are better than their performances and results.

  23. RC78 says:

    @Fred – check Shoreditch out in the afternoon or maybe try to visit Wimbledon or get a show at a Musical or the O2, maybe?

  24. fred1266 says:

    Thanks again rc78

  25. RC78 says:

    @Mike M – agree that our squad is under performing given its talent. I think there is more than the confidence issue. I am hoping that Freddie – BFG are bringing smiles and fun back and giving a clearer game plan to the squad…against City, I am expecting our experienced players to be trusted by Freddie so you could see Leno, Chambers, Luiz, Xhaka, Pepe, Auba, Laca, Ozil (maybe) and if fit Kola start

  26. RC78 says:

    If you like Tennis, Wimbledon is quite a treat

  27. fred1266 says:

    Not much of a tennis fan, can’t figure out how they count the point after all these years

  28. Sue says:

    Well, Pepe is available for tomorrow 👍👍
    Bloody Watford, how many chances do they need to score a goal?!! If it’d been against us it would’ve gone in!
    Shocked that Liverpool had a goal disallowed 😱😱 Still think they’ll better our unbeaten record 😭

  29. Sue says:

    And now Leicester have let me down 😳 Gutted! Although, Bournemouth winning was a beauty!! 😝

  30. RC78 says:

    @Fred – then I hope you roamed around Berlinesque Shoreditch 🙂

    I think it s more or less official, Liverpool will win the EPL and may finish the season unbeaten and maybe with a record of points…

  31. VP of Oz says:

    Remember: 40yrs ago today – 15 Dec, 1979, WACA ground, first test Aust vs. Eng – Dennis Lillee debuts the aluminium bat.

    I think I used to own one the following year.

  32. fred1266 says:

    Ended going winter wonderland in Hyde Park today RC first time ever going to something like that

    Hopefully tomorrow

  33. RC78 says:

    Winter wonderland – wonderful (sometimes tough because of the heavy crowds). Shoreditch is really to chill. Did you go around Picadilly Circus? Saint-Paul? Soho?…If not, you may want to see that ahead of Shoreditch

  34. fred1266 says:

    Think I paced Piccadilly and Soho while I was roaming Oxford area but didn’t actually go in ,

  35. fred1266 says:

    Lol seems I mixed up Piccadilly circus with Piccadilly street lol

  36. Morning all

    It’s match day and we have a New Post ………

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