Youngsters Impress In Sydney Win & Jack’s Italian Job for £9m?

So the tour got off to a good start. The 2 – 0 win came with many positives, not least the players comfort with three at the back. The young players, in particular Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, had good games. Given time on the ball, they willingly exploited space in attack and were quick to support the forwards.

The headline maker should be the referee for a terrible decision in awarding a penalty because the ball struck a player’s back. Astonishingly, he gave the kick because he was certain it struck the defender’s hand. Had it done so, it was certainly in an unnatural position.

Danny Welbeck’s penalty wasn’t. An easy save, comfortable height; only Mesut Özil could have hit it with the same precision. The appetite for ‘justice’ sated, the moment didn’t spoil the occasion. Per Mertesacker scored possibly the most acrobatic goal – and for a bloke of 9′ 10, it counts as acrobatic – of his career; not that it counts in the records.

The same applies for Alexandre Lacazette, although as a striker his finish probably works on a psychological level; easing the burden of waiting for the first goal and all that. It was well-taken, calmly side-footed into the net which bodes well from the perspective of settling into a new routine.

That Arsène made wholesale changes with twenty minutes to go, giving everyone a runout (or nearly everyone) and with a busy tour – and more important games – ahead, the same philosophy will no doubt apply on Saturday. I’d guess that the line-up will largely swap at the weekend with the late substitutes starting.

Wenger spoke afterwards and was happy with the youngsters,

They all did well today, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock as well had a very strong performance. They are young, just 17 or 18 years old, so that is very promising.

Hey, Joe

Which is true. I’m sure some people will look at their performances and tell you how well the lads have progressed from the time when they were in nappies. To be honest, I’m not interested in that kind of over-analysis – or maybe ovary-analysis suits better – just that the players did well in the circumstances.

Wenger noted he takes that the players are “very close” to being ready for the first team. Is he bitten by history in Willock’s case? Matthew left for United while in 2014 he was impressed with Chris; now Joe is falling into the same category. Some claim he is the best of the trio but I seem to recall people raving about Chris in much the same way.

As I say, no complaints about yesterday’s game and the players are more comfortable with three centre backs. Nelson offers the prospect of cover for Bellerin, hastening the exits of Debuchy and Jenkinson. The latter is (apparently) interesting Newcastle, along with Kieran Gibbs.

The convoluted nature of transfers means that trio, among others, are probably already in talks with other clubs, safe in the knowledge they aren’t going to even make the bench this season. That’s before you remember Mustafi and Chambers can both play at full back.

Hit The Road Jack

Bellerin, with six years remaining on his contract, has “been told” he isn’t leaving and a strongly worded letter was sent to Barcelona. Arsenal, it said, were very angry indeed – super angry, if you like – and we’d be jolly cross if they didn’t stop tapping our player up. So cross that we’d write another strongly worded letter to UEFA, FIFA or whoever, telling them how jolly cross we are about the Spaniards tapping our player up.

Xavi, a  player they all look up to, basically told Hector to “do one” and he’s not welcome back in the Camp Nou because he left at 16, which is supposedly them ending their interest in Hector until next summer.

As Bellerin stays, Jack is on his way. Sampdoria looked at the club, fondly remembered Liam Brady and then decided Wilshere is the man for them. Apparently, they can have him for £9m and a return of his wheelchair; we left a deposit on it.

That’s it for today. It’s the weekend which means a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox and another pre-season friendly.

’til Tomorrow.

36 thoughts on “Youngsters Impress In Sydney Win & Jack’s Italian Job for £9m?

  1. Beep.
    Ornstein is usually reliable – I am starting to believe the deal for the lemur is actually going to go through.
    “Arsenal close sealing Thomas Lemar signing. Deal worth up to £42m agreed. Medical & completion Sat, China Tour Mon”

  2. Jonny:
    Ornstein is usually reliable – I am starting to believe the deal for the lemur is actually going to go through.
    “Arsenal close sealing Thomas Lemar signing. Deal worth up to £42m agreed. Medical & completion Sat, China Tour Mon”

    Jonny – where is this comment from Ornstein originating?

  3. YW,

    I quite enjoyed the mock English middle class tone of the letter to Barça, in the Post, telling them to naff off — but as Arsenal are crewed by a whole lot of foreners I am perplexed as to who would have written it. The tea-lady, mayhap? 🙂

  4. Afternoon,

    yep, the Barca players will lay off Bellerin until the World Cup next summer when they manage to pull a Barcelona top over his head which he will obviously resist so strenuously. He will suddenly see the light and want to sign for them on the spot.

    From what I have seen of Lacazette on the interweb, he doesn’t have a full-on ‘through the laces’ shot. He seems to prefer the simple placed side foot effort which suggests he is generally very relaxed in his play and measured in his shooting.

  5. Jonny,

    Okay thanks. He is normally quite reliable as you say. Can’t see anything myself but I am not a Twitter user so could be messing up.

  6. YW…..even as slow as I can sometimes be I did the Kagagoogoo shit joke 3 or 4 days back…..get with the programme soldier….jeez 😂😂

  7. Thanks for the post yogi. Great stuff as always.

    The preseason games mean almost nothing. Gervinho scored twice in his first appearance in the preseason and we all remember how that turned out. That said, I am happy to see Lacezette score and may be even happier to see us keep a clean sheet. Every season we get excited about a different 17 or 18 year old player during the preseason. I wish them all well but I hope Arsene is not really considering any of them in the short or long term plans until they get several years older.

    The news about Lemar would be exciting. If we got Lacazette, Lemar, Saed and keep Sanchez then this would be an excellent summer. If we do buy Lemar I hope it means that both Iwobe and Jeff will go on loan. Even without Lemar, I doubt either of them will play high leverage minutes unless we have an injury crisis. If we buy Lemar he will probably take whatever minutes those 2 might have played so they should both go on loan. Neither player is a goal scorer so long term the only place they could thrive is central midfield. Iwobe should be playing in central midfield every day preferably on a lower table PL to learn the position. Jeff should be playing the same position everyday with a championship team.

  8. I hope Jonny is right about Ornstein being right. I’d say both usually are!

    On the Lemar deal, that would be very good news indeed as long as it doesn’t mean AW plans to let Alexis go this summer. We also definitely need a proper CM and not rely on Lemar to play there necessarily though I do think he can play there too and not just on the left.

  9. I do think that Iwobi would be affected by the Lemar deal and would benefit from a loan in that case, perhaps.

  10. Selling Jack is probably necessary. Unfortunately we aren’t going to get much unless we can convince a gullible cash rich PL side to fork over an inflated fee for an English player. A couple of years ago we could probably have sold him to City for 40m.

  11. Unfortunately there seems to be suggestions that Monaco having agreed a deal to sell Bakayoko to Chelsea for about 40m£ is are now uninterested in selling Lemar for anything other than an absurd fee, if at all. Bakayoko has a medical today with questions about the knee injury and minor surgery he is recovering from. Why not put in a bid for him, threaten a gazump, confuse the negotiations, raise issues about the medical and use thus as an opportunity to conclude the Lemar deal and possibly get a healthy Bakayoko (if it checks out, since we need a strong CDM) or at least scuttle the deal for Chelsea. Get Lemar over the line and maybe Monaco slam the shop door shut. Need to be savvy operators here. Just think how we might destabilize Chelsea! Conte’s head might explode and he fights with the club over bad business–throws his toys out and doesn’t sign his contract! Give it a whirl AFC.

  12. Thanks again Yogi!

    The youngsters played exactly as I thought they would, well! Willock is easily the most versatile of the 3 with his ability to play both centrally and on the flanks. Nelson and Maylen are direct players and both of them showed that but most importantly, both have really good close control and are composed when running at players. The thing I found most encouraging about Nelson is how well he played with and understood Ozil.

    Jack, sell him and get what we can though I am not sure he fancies Italy, but I think that is exactly where he should be, it would allow him to not only continue his development in a less physically demanding league while honing his ability’s centrally BUT if we do sell then a buy-back clause NEEDS to be inserted.

  13. Limestonegunner,

    I actually think the Lemar deal would be good for Iwobi, not only pushing him but if Lemar does play on the flanks, than maybe Iwobi could move centrally and continue his development in midfield. I wouldn’t mind seeing him next to Xhaka or even Elneny. I personally think with Lemar he could play next to Xhaka and it would be more trouble for Ramsey a sLemar has shown the defensive know how while still providing so much in transition and attack with late runs and a hell of a shot from distance.

  14. Interesting notes from Chelsea, both Costa and Matic have been dismissed / approved to leave the preseason tour. Bakayoko seems all but wrapped up and would be one hell of a signing and will pair really well with Kante in midfield.

  15. Why not put in a bid for him, threaten a gazump, confuse the negotiations,raise issues about the medical and use thus as an opportunity to conclude the Lemar deal and possibly get a healthy Bakayoko (if it checks out, since we need a strong CDM) or at least scuttle the deal for Chelsea.Get Lemar over the line and maybe Monaco slam the shop door shut.Need to be savvy operators here.Just think how we might destabilize Chelsea!Conte’s head might explode and he fights with the club over bad business–throws his toys out and doesn’t sign his contract!

    Great plan. Brilliant.
    Unfortunately AFC can barely handle transfer fee negotiations for one solitary player at a time.
    I doubt we could make concurrent advances for another player…especially so lat on a Friday. The boys would be at the Gentleman’s Club by now. Monaco would see right through that. 😉

  16. @C,
    Agree entirely with your last para about Wilshere. It’s about time he received a modicum of good fortune (and a less demanding League!). 😉

  17. philmar,

    Haha! Yes, the flaw in the plan is that we are talking Arsenal here! Not exactly known for our street smarts and ruthless competence in these areas. But you have to start somewhere to learn–catalyst for change!

  18. Hi Nicky, and you C, 🙂

    Hope both are keeping well? 😀

    I feel for Jack as I had the privilege of watching him before he became a ‘name’ in the wider Arsenal community.

    A special talent – but without the body to match. Great pity.

  19. Hi LSG,

    I agree that the mood music may have changed re Leemoor and I suspect we may not now get him after all.

    Hopefully we have a target #2 instead – we will have to wait and see – which is hard to do and remain patient.

  20. C

    How can having a more experienced high priced player who has a somewhat similar skill set coming into the team help Iwobe? That does not make a lot of sense. I agree that the best long term position for Iwobe and Jeff is central midfield. Neither have much of a record for scoring goals so forward certainly is not a realistic long term option. However neither Iwobe or Jeff will get minutes in central midfield next to Xhaka when they are behind Ramsey, Ox, Elneny and potentially Cazorla in the depth chart. They both need to go on loan to a team where they can play central midfield everyday.

  21. Hi Henry B,
    Yes, all well here. Wife’s Mini Cooper, No 3132, 11 years old today and has achieved no less than 18,000 miles of carefree motoring. 😉

  22. Bill,

    Lemar isn’t that much more experienced than Iwobi. Competition will help Iwobi which is exactly what bringing in Lemar will do. Iwobi and Lemar are different players my friend. Iwobi is a CM no doubt about it, Lemar is much more versatile especially since he does have an eye for goal but also much better defensively than Iwobi. Ox isn’t going to play centrally.

    Lets send every young player out on loan but if we sign Lemar he is only 21 years old so should we send him back out on loan?

  23. HenryB,

    You posed the question about Nelson and Willock compared to say Mbappe and Lemar, thr difference is clubs like Monaco allow them to play and make mistakes but also but also have them in the team and surround them with talent and experienced players.

    Funny enough but for all the talk of Mbappe, he really didn’t start to shine and have a major influence until February, Falcao carried them for a large portion of the season.

  24. How the hell did Bonucci end up in Milan!?!?!?! That is a major signing for them as they continue to rebuild their team but Juve with an extra 40m is interesting. I wonder if the Sczcesny deal gets done now (if it happens I will be disappointed).

  25. C

    I agree Iwobe’s best chance to ever become an impact player is at CM but Arsene tried to turn him into a forward last season.

    If you assume Xhaka and Le coq are going to hold down DM then we have a logjam at the box to box position which is the only other CM position. Unless there is an injury crisis the only real chance for Iwobe to play will be at one of the wide forward spots and if Lemar comes there is no room at that position either. Therefore he should go on loan so he can learn to play CM. No?

  26. C @ 10:50

    I don’t know why we can’t produce any players like Mbappe but it’s certainly has nothing to do with lack of opportunities. Arsene has been more aggressive with giving high leverage minutes to players like Walcott, Ox Wilshere, Ramsey, Iwobe, Wojo, Denilson, Song, Gibbs, Le Coq, Diaby etc etc etc etc then almost any big team manager in the world.

  27. Jonny,

    I don’t know if you meant to be sarcastic, but you’ve replaced Ornstein’s Kyle Walker tweet with Lemar almost word-for-word.

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