On the Europa League Draw and Leaving the Youths Aloan

The Europa League draw is made which as I’m sure you know leaves us in a group with Sporting Clube, FC Qarabag (to be renamed FC Paper Bag in UEFA’s attempts to be eco-friendly, just don’t mention the trees), and Vorskla (Ukrainian club, dontcha know).

No reunion with Winterslag, Celtic and Rangers drawn elsewhere and not one problem qualifying. That’s my not so humble opinion of the draw.

And, of course, we are now going to win this trophy; the omens tell us that the only time we did in one of its’ previous incarnations, we beat Sporting Clube along the way. It’s written in the stars…

With Brentford coming out of the hat in the Carabao Cup – if we don’t win that one, will it be another Arsenal Stadium Mystery? – Unai Emery will be making the fullest use of his squad in coming weeks. Arsène took the opportunity to use the early stages of both as a testing ground for youth. I expect Unai to do the same.

The defence in those circumstances picks itself although left-back will be an interesting choice until November. Kolasinac, according to the last medical update, is back in training in October, while Maitland-Niles and Koscielny return in November. Cohen Bramall is an obvious choice but we shall see.

The first games are in three weeks time and plenty can change between now and then, especially with an international break imminent. Not that it makes much difference; most of our squad aren’t internationals anyway. Retired or overlooked, Emery has a good squad at his disposal for a fortnight. Hopefully, the time spent will be used to iron out the multitude of glitches which arose in the early games.

So, You are Colin??

Before all that, we visit Cardiff and Unai’s press conference takes place as I type. An hour-long embargo to allow dot com to get their stories typed before the rest of the world means Arsenal get to stay ahead of the curve for about five minutes. Then it just spirals out of control as per usual.

It’s his first meeting with Colin W*nker and oh to be a fly on the wall for that one. A 20-minute of ranting on the touchline where his rough, tough, manly Cardiff men are bullied by Arsenal is surely met with Emery’s best “Que?”

More of those larks over the weekend. There’s an interesting claim in the Heil today that “Unai Emery personally vetoed plans to send Emile Smith Rowe out on loan because he wants the teenager to stay with his first-team squad.”

If true, it backs up the claim made at the time of his appointment. His task is developing youngsters as well as sorting the senior pros out. ESR made a promising start in the first team on tour this summer and is another for whom hopes are high. Could he be the one to break into the first team after the false dawns of Jeff, Chuba, and a host of others?

Reiss Nelson is signing for Hoffenheim today with everyone assuming it’s a loan deal. No word from the club about whether he put pen to paper which is surprising. It’s a routine annoucement and makes me wonder if he’s about to walk on a free.

Loan deals are mostly to put players in the shop window, a ‘try before you buy’. Except we don’t do so well in shifting players on and are saddled with their wages for a few years.

One in a Million

There are those where we hope the youngster comes back a better man. There’s no guarantee it works that smoothly. Jack Wilshere did well at Bolton, Bellerin bombed at Watford, but both made the first team. Cohen Bramall and Carl Jenkinson barely made a dent at Birmingham with less than 20 first-team appearances between them.

We can go back through the years – before Wenger – to find examples of successes and failures. The squad system now encourages stockpiling of players – Chelsea have 31 on loan at the moment – with the chances of success at big clubs greatly reduced. The demands for success are such that young players are a footballing widget; to sell as many as you and hope you find one good ‘un.

It’s a strong contributing factor to the decline of ‘attachment’ to youngsters who do come through. Back in the day – cue old fart mode – few young players made the first team and fell away. Or at least that’s how it feels now, maybe they did, but when they broke into the XI, it was with a sense of anticipation with genuine disappointment when they disappeared – Andy Cole is a prime example.

There’s a myth in football that you can build a team through the academy system. It won’t happen. At best, you might get two or three first team players breakthrough at varying times into the same XI but that’s a good year. So for now, it’s more £300m contracts, Ivan. A transfer warchest doesn’t build itself, you know.

’til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “On the Europa League Draw and Leaving the Youths Aloan

  1. Afternoon all’

    Cohen Bramall, I forgot all about him, I don’t think he got to many minutes at Birmingham last year….

  2. Gnabry did quite well but Arsene fancied, well who the hell knows and Szczesny did brilliantly and both found themselves at much more successful clubs with thr former probably playing some part in winning the Bundesliga while the latter is undisputed first choice and will win many titles.

    The weekend, think its time we see Torriera, Leno, Aubameyang, Guendouzi and Lacazette all in the same first team together from the start.

  3. As I’m reading about the Europa League, I find out that Mhkitaryan can’t play in one if our matches because Azerbaijani and Armenia are at war and Azerbaijani’s government has banned all Armenians from entering the country.

  4. Ozil fit and available and Emery on Nelson:

    It’s a very big chance for him and the level there is important,” said Arsenal’s head caoch. “We think because he is very young, he needs to take a new level to play, a new level also to take minutes, to take experience.

    “We decided together: club, coaches and the player. It’s a good chance for him to take minutes in and play, and then come back with us because I think he is signing a new contract with us.”

  5. C

    That’s a ‘flexible’ rule; they dropped it for some athletics championships, I think, a couple of years back. If it’s an issue, I’d guess Arsenal will insist the game is played at a neutral venue.

  6. YW,

    That makes sense, just thought it interesting. If it was that much trouble, personally to avoid it I wouldn’t mind if Mhkitaryan saying he didn’t want to to avoid any radicals doing something stupid as we have seen that too often for my liking in countries like this.

  7. Morning all, thanks for the post YW. Ready to get some action in this weekend, early one here in the states on sunday lets go goonsquad.

    Now the cordials are out of the way, can we start griping about the in-effectiveness of Ozil some more? My day isnt complete until we get C & Bill all riled up :p

    Some parts of post hit home too true. The academy isnt what it used to be, how many of our starlets have made it into the first team and prospered? Apart from Cesc, maybe Ramsey, none of the academy players have had a long lasting impact on first team. The fact that Chelski has 31 players on loan is madness, but they are playing within the rules ( i think?) so we cant blame em.

    Heres to a good match this weekend, hopefully a little more defensive solidity and organization are on display. Also lets give PEA a boost, lad needs his first goal to break the bank and then let teh floodgates open.

  8. Thank you YW. Sorry to hear of your malaise, but now you are up, I expect your mrs will find you a chore or 2, so sorry about that as well.
    Just how do you match your cryptic pictures with the post? Must surely take longer than writing it.

  9. While there are many reasons to moan about Wenger’s later years at Arsenal, if memory serves he rated and wanted to keep Gnabry. Gnabry was promising in the first team squad before a serious injury and then a set back. On returning to fitness he was loaned to West Brom but the Orc King didn’t fancy him and the loan was cut short. The remaining half season he was at Arsenal regaining fitness. That Summer (2016) he was joint top scorer at the Olympics. Entering the last year of his contract he decided to sign with Werder Bremen (Bayern Munich 😉) rather than sign the new contract on offer with The Arsenal. Wenger could have offered the extension early but then we would have moaned about another contract for a crock…

  10. Great post Yogi and lots of important talking points. The question is how to best develop players for the first team. Like it or not its even much more difficult for the younger players to break into the worlds big teams because there is so much money in football and big teams can just buy the players they need. The other problem is that you clearly can’t judge a players potential based on their performances in the academy system so you need to have some sort of test drive before you incorporate a player into a high leverage squad spot. The odds are heavily stacked against young players no what system you use to try and develop them. The most successful system is to buy young players who have been playing well and had a successful test drive at other teams. With regard to in-house players, If used properly, I still think the loan system is easiest and best way for both the team and the younger player. I really like the idea of loaning out Reiss Nelson and hopefully he can come back

  11. That’s Nelson signed a lorn term deal and heading out on loan. Hopefully one that actually makes his way into the first team and doesn’t dwindle. Big mistake with some of our youth, sanogo given a chance but Gnabry wasn’t.

  12. lari03,

    Yeah, Gnabry and always thought Vela, if given a proper chance could have filled our then vacant Eduardo role. Fast, calm finisher and was OK at tracking back as well

  13. The goal should be to do what is best for the young player and the club and that obviously has to be some sort of compromise. To me leaving a player go on loan for 2-3 years which they mature is a win/win. If the player is good enough they will eventually break into the first team somewhere and get a chance to play high leverage minutes and develop their skills so its a win for them. The club gets to see which players are actually good enough and have a chance to make it with our first team and it takes some of the guess work out of player evaluation so its a win for the club. The other major benefit is the player gets to make mistakes and work thru the inconsistency of youth stage while playing for someone else.

  14. Michael,

    No, she was out with her mother today so I cried “woe, woe, and thrice woe” at the ceiling from the sofa. She felt some sympathety because we’ve just had a rather nice Chinese meal delivered. So gawd bless her little cotton DVT socks…

  15. Mattack:
    While there are many reasons to moan about Wenger’s later years at Arsenal, if memory serves he rated and wanted to keep Gnabry. Gnabry was promising in the first team squad before a serious injury and then a set back. On returning to fitness he was loaned to West Brom but the Orc King didn’t fancy him and the loan was cut short. The remaining half season he was at Arsenal regaining fitness. That Summer (2016) he was joint top scorer at the Olympics. Entering the last year of his contract he decided to sign with Werder Bremen (Bayern Munich ) rather than sign the new contract on offer with The Arsenal. Wenger could have offered the extension early but then we would have moaned about another contract for a crock…

    Very fair point….

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