English core’s AFC future in the balance?

a.espncdn.jpg

If we cast our minds back to 2012, the sight of five Britain’s finest young stars signing a new contract was very exciting for Arsenal fans. A few weeks later we saw Theo Walcott also put pen to paper. At the time many of us thought that this could be our very own class of 92 and become the longterm back bone of the side. So fast forward 4 years, which of these players has actually progressed and which of the players will be shipped out?

 

Carl Jenkinson:

There was a time three seasons ago where many believed he could be the long term Arsenal right back. He even got a cap for England cap, mainly to stop him playing for Finland. The loan move to West Ham initially worked out pretty well for Jenkinson, putting in many good performances under Big Sam’s stewardship. Last season was a right off for Jenkinson, back at loan to West Ham, he’s performances were not to the standard of the previous season and then a long term injury ruling him out of the last 5 months of the season. It seems injuries are a reoccurring theme in this article.

Future: He looks like he is a good premier league player, but not good enough for Arsenal. Bellerin, Debuchy and Chambers are both ahead of him, he will find it hard to get anywhere near the starting line up. Another loan move or a permanent move away seems likely, with Sunderland being mentioned.

 

Aaron Ramsay:

Another player who has not hit the heights of the previous few seasons. His performances have been good but not anywhere near what we know he can do. Again injuries seem to have played a part, with little injuries keeping Ramsay out every now and then. Out of all Arsenal’s British core he probably did the best.

Future: Ramsay will stay at Arsenal and we hope he stays injury free, so he can get back to what he does best and score goals from midfield.

 

Jack Wilshere:

I hate to say it but Jack Wilshere is very close to be labeled the new Abu Diaby. I really hope i’m wrong and he has an injury free Euro 2016 and next season. If fit he is a star for Arsenal and England. Making 6 appearances for club and country so far this season is pretty poor.

Future: The next two season are make or break for Jack Wilshere at Arsenal. If he stays relativly injury free the next two seasons he probably will go on to be an all time great for Arsenal. If he doesn’t stay injury free I fear for his place in the Arsenal squad, what a shame that would be.

 

Kieron Gibbs:

Back in 2012 Gibbs was the most injury prone of the lot, surprisingly he probably has been the fittest of all the British players at Arsenal last season. He has not been bad when called upon but needs to do a lot more to challenge Nacho Monreal who overtook him. Arsenal have been heavily linked with Swiss LB Rodriguiz, which suggests Gibbs days could be numbered.

Future: I would like Gibbs to stay and fight for his place in the side. He clearly is a good left back, but sometimes switches off. I think he may be inline for a loan move away. Liverpool have previously been linked.

 

Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain:

He is one of the most exciting English youngsters in the country, but for some reason seems to not have progressed over the last few seasons. I was one who really thought this would be his year to kick on. He faces a task to get back ahead of Iwobi in the pecking order.

Future: Many top premier league clubs have been linked with The Ox and it seems that if Arsenal get the right price they might consider his sale. I would like to see him given at least one more season and really would be disappointed if we were to sell him to any rival club.

 

Theo Walcott:

Theo started the season on fire, looking sharp. This all went to pot after January. His confidence was shot, not being able to control the ball or run with the ball. Im sure the fan pressure and re-introduction of Danny Welbeck in the side from injury probably didn’t help for game time. His injury in January did seem to take away his form.

Future: It seems that the majority of fans want Walcott out now, i’m not one of them. But I feel that he will be sold for good money. West Ham have been mentioned as well as Leicester which both would be good moves for Theo.

Other British Players In since 2012:

Danny Welbeck – Like many of the other British players at Arsenal injuries played a major part of his season. Back in Dec/Jan of next season.

Callum Chambers – Didn’t feature hardly, had a few good games in centre midfield but is still far away from claiming a regular spot in Arsenal’s starting XI.

Jaime Vardy – Lets not jump the gun yet. He may not sign just yet.

Advertisements

The Chuba Akpom Debate

What must it feel to have come through the Arsenal academy from a young age and actually don the shirt?  At Arsenal we have had plenty of great players through the history of the club, as well as plenty of hyped up players not to make it. Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi being the latest to be a success. Another of these young men hoping to make his name in the red and white kit is Chuba Akpom, but does he really have a future at the club?

Some people may think the debate starts and ends with his poor goal scoring record at senior level. This being 7 goals in 66 appearances, meaning he currently is a one goal in 9 goal striker. Break this down further and it shows that all 7 goals have come this season for Hull City on loan. So if you read his stats for this season he is now a 1 goal in 5 games striker. Looking at his game time it seems that he was not starting the majority of games for Hull but coming on quite often, this again should be noted.

Minutes on the pitch is definitely an argument to say that stats do not always reflect the truth. There should be a note next to these stats that shows his actual minutes on the pitch. His game time for Arsenal has been very limited, he was at the club in a period where Yaya Sanogo was constantly playing and constantly failing. It has to be asked why was Akpom not afforded the same opportunity?

Our rivals Manchester City and Man Utd have both been forced put faith in their young strikers this season (Rashford and Inhanacho) with great success, showing that no matter of your age and experience a goal scorer can cope at the top level. Akom’s record through the younger age groups of English football show he is a natural in front of goal. The saying is that a goal scorer knows where the net is at any level.

Wenger forgot that Akpom could have been an option in February when Theo was slowly going off form, Giroud was playing every game, getting battered on his own and Welbeck was still injured. With creative players like Ozil and Sanchez behind him I could have seen Akpom chipping in with a few important moments coming off the bench in games such as Norwich away or West Brom where we had lost.

I am not suggesting for one second that he will be the next superstar in world football but think the talents there from a player who has been at the club since the age of 6 should be given a bit of time. It wasn’t long ago that Wenger called him the next big striker for Arsenal. With Welbeck now injured this is an opportunity that Wenger must give and Akpom must take. We will surely be in for that big name striker in the summer and that should not change irrelevant of Chuba Akpom.

I feel that he could be a good 3rd strike option behind the new striker and Giroud. If he doesn’t cut it by January next season (When Welbeck should be back) then we always have the option then to cut lose. On another note we probably will be getting rid of a few home grown players in the Summer, with Walcott, The Ox, Gibbs and Jenkinson all linked to moves away (So much for that English Core). Having another Englishman who’s Arsenal through and through can only help the cause.

So come on Wenger, GET THAT CHEQUE BOOK OUT, and also show faith in Akpom!!!!!!

Cazorla, Ramsey & Gibbs – Players of 2014

arsenal-fa-cup-winners.ashx

When looking back over 2014 there has to be mixed feelings for Arsenal fans. We started the year top of the league and were the best side in the tail end of 2013. We also ended the year badly in the Premier League, currently sitting way off the title contending pace (Even if injuries are effecting our position). The good thing about 2014 was that we broke the trophy drought and won two trophies (You got me, I count the Community Shield) as well as securing our usual Champions League place.

Another positive is the fight shown by the players over the year. After being humiliated by all our rivals we still ended the season with more to show than Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Tottenham combined.

When thinking of our best player of 2014, my vote would have to go to Santi Cazorla. This may not be most peoples choice of players but I will explain why I feel he slightly edges out Aaron Ramsey and Kieron Gibbs (Yes you heard right).

1. Santi Cazorla: He was the catalyst for the FA cup win. Scoring the first goal against Spurs in one of his best displays of the year and the all important first goal in the final. He also played his part in the Liverpool game. If he had not scored the free kick in the final I believe Wenger would now be sitting in Paris. He has also finished the year on a high with lots of goals of late and assists. This is when Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshire are all out injured. We have also seen him drop back a bit deeper where he put in lots of shifts. Still bugs me that he doesn’t take all our set pieces. #Worldclass

2. Aaron Ramsey: This year Ramsey became a man. For a while in the 2013/2014 season he was looking like the best player in the league. A lot of his good work came pre January although he did carry his form over. Injuries robbed him of being the man of 2014. The FA cup final winner and scoring again at Wembley in the community shield marked his transformation. With Ozil and Sanchez he is now a go to man.

3. Kieran Gibbs: It is hard to judge Gibbs when he plays with a make shift back four. When Koscielny plays he is a much better defender. He saw a better year in terms of injuries and was part of the 3rd best defence in the premier league last season. At times he has made errors but he has also made big saves. One that springs to mind is the clearance in the FA Cup final. That would have killed us. I also remember his late goal in the Champions League this season. He has also been recognised by England. #BestEnglishLB  

Others who were close:

Ozil – Had a bigger impact than people think this year

Sanchez – Love him but he has only been with us since Septemebr

Koscielny – One of the standout CB’s in the league, injuries have cost him

Have your vote as to who is Arsenal’s man of 2014 and don’t forget to comment: