Time to review Carling Cup strategy following FA Cup defeat

This is a guest post by Vertino of Gunners Today

It might sound strange to mention this now but it is high time we considered this. Last weekend we lost to Chelsea again in a big cup match. Of course most of the blame was shared between the curious case of Wenger’s team selection and Fabianski’s moments of utter madness but that is not up for debate this time round.

Image courtesy of wjarrettc

From next season I believe Arsene should scrap the policy of fielding an entirely youthful side in the Carling Cup. My excitement on discovering the Arsenal youngsters is tinged with disappointment; a realisation that most of these players for many reasons won’t make it at the Emirates. Cesc is the only player in recent years who has made the transition successfully. In that time we have seen the likes of Quincy, Lupoli, Larsson exit the red half of North London.

Does that mean youngsters shouldn’t get the opportunities? Of course not! For me the only youngsters I want to be seeing are those with outstanding talent and/or with the right mental attributes such as determination and composure. Gibbs is a perfect example of the latter specified criteria.

I am looking at it in terms of percentages, and my suggestion would be to field a lower number of youngsters. Perhaps Arsene could involve only 5-7 youngsters in the entire match squad. Or he could filter the numbers as the stakes increase, so start with 7 youngsters in the 4th round, 6 in the next round etc etc.

If you play the best of the best youth it means the rest of the team is fairly experienced. This playing environment fosters a quicker growth for youngsters. This is exactly why Cesc has gone on to become such a pivotal player for the Gunners because he was able to play and learn with the likes of Vieira and Gilberto. Just imagine how much Wilshere and Ramsey can learn if they play with experienced players all the time.

Remember the best players i.e. Gerrard, Scholes, Carrick, etc had a lot of experience surrounding them when they were young. This is a privilege Denilson, Diaby and Song no longer have. It forces them to learn by themselves, slowing their development a great deal and sometimes exposes them in big matches against more experienced players.

I seriously hope Wenger considers this for next season as his current strategy has yet to pay off in terms of competitions won. In Arsene we trust, but we can question his decisions sometimes, can’t we?

By Vertino

Wilshere: No.19 – The new Arsenal or more transition??

Yesterday, Jack Wilshere became the new Arsenal no.19. He is only 16 years old, but an amazing young talent, he played twice in the Emirates Cup and shone there and with 7 substitutes in the Premiership this season he may well get his chance to play for the first team.

Wilshere has played for Arsenal since the age of 9. Last year he was used in the Under-16s, but then became a top player for the Under-18s. He has impressed in pre-season and now forms part of a new influx of youngsters into the squad, Vela, Nasri, Ramsey, Mannone and Bischoff.

Reserve Team manager Neil Banfield on Wilshere:

“If the young players work hard at their game, listen to the advice of the coaching staff, they realise they will have every opportunity here,”

“Jack was given the opportunity by the manager to go on the Austrian Training Camp, along with five others who have all done really well. Jack has taken his chance, and he is one of quite a few we have here that we have high hopes for.

“You have to adapt to the physical aspects of the game, and I think Jack is strong enough. It is about how you physically develop and I think with Jack, even at 16, it doesn’t mean he won’t be as physically strong as someone at 18 or even someone at 20.

“That has been the benefit of our Reserve team. The experienced players that our lads are up against means they learn on the pitch. The senior players then show them what to do while the game is going on. That is carried on for the young lads who learned so much in Austria.”

This is very promising news. It is exciting to have so many young prospects in the team.

One problem is that last year our squad looked lightweight and inexperienced, and we haven’t brought in any very experienced players, only replaced them with young ones.

I don’t doubt our ability – last year we played fantastically and were unlucky to come away with nothing but does this bode well for our chances of silverware?

Wenger has his critics and they will be salivating at the thought of bringing these new young talents down to the ground very hard.

I am excited for the new season, but I really really really don’t want to turn it into another ‘transition year’.

Click here to see our current squad.

New Mexican signing – Vela!

Carlos Vela, a player who everyone has been talking about all season is on his way to Arsenal. The 19 year-old Mexican has been on loan at Osasuna this season, and we have just applied for a work permit to allow him to play in England. He should recieve a Spanish passport soon, which will mean he won’t need the work permit.

When he gets the permit/passport, he will be like a new signing for us. He has played on the left wing all season, but Wenger has said that Vela will get a chance up front next year:

“We have applied for a work permit for him now, and he will be involved with the first-team next season.

“He has played the whole season at Osasuna on the left wing and he had to work hard there. But for me it is not his position he is a central striker, an Eduardo type.”

Just as Eduardo was going to be like a new signing for us in January this season, so will Vela next year. He will have a chance to fit into the hole left after Eduardo’s injury.

You can keep up with the latest on Vela at Carlos Vela News, a wonderful blog dedicated entirely to him!

He is an excellent prospect for the future. But I think the expectations might be a little high.

Arsenal’s Youngsters For Next Season

Whatever happens now we will finish in third place this year (click here for league table), and trophyless again.

Not all is bad though, our squad has matured and we have seen a vast improvement in the quality of football and the results. 3rd place is one up from last season, and the QF of the Champions League is one stage further. Had luck been on our side we would have gone further.

Now Flamini has become the first departure of the summer we wait and see who else will come and go. I’m not sure who Wenger will sign, I am pretty sure that we have seen the last of Lehmann and possilbly Gilberto.

At this stage the future of the club is in the balance. Lose players like Hleb, and the squad will be greatly weakened and unsettled. Keep the majority of the players and sign a few more gems and we could be very successful next year.

A few players who I expect to come through more next year are:

Nicklas Bendtner

A very good player, good passing and can run at defenders as well at being great in the air. He has scored 9 this season, and although not a perfect partner for Adebayor, he will start more next season.

Theo Walcott

One of the top young players in the Premiership. His style and pace are fantastic. He has started more and more this season and proved himself, i.e. at Anfield. Expect him to start on the right wing, and more up front next year. Maybe some more goals too.

Alex Song

Badmouthed by some fans, he has proven his quality in the new year, first at the ANC, and then with some good performances in defence. A possible replacement for Flamini, or maybe a new centre back

Armand Traore

Looks like he may get a chance on the left wing after his conversion from left back. He looked good coming on against Everton, and provided the cross for the goal. Him and Clichy would be a menacing duo on the left flank, pace, power, and passing in attack and defence.

Carlos Vela

Another much talked about player. He has done well on loan at Osasuna, and Wenger will recall him next season possibly for a starting line up. Don’t know loads about him. Let me know your impressions in the comments.

Just a quick summary, if you think of any more then feel free to add them in the comments section.

Also congratulations to Arsenal Ladies, double winners, the most successful women’s team in the land.