Oh yes… I got Arsenal TV… and I’ve decided to give Young-guns a run for their money and review a youth cup match!
I’m not overly familiar with the players, so Geoff and I will do a joint post today – the Ying and the Yang! Good cop, bad cop, the shield of the blogs.
I would like to start by saying that I believe that Jay Thomas is the next Patrick Vieira, and I really mean that, I had hoped that would be Diaby, but this kid has it all, and that special ability to keep the ball with his strength, hold on to it with his skill and finish the move with his footballing intelligence, none of which Diaby seems to have, oh and yes he can defend, a real leader and a future Arsenal and England captain.
First thing to note about Arsenal and their woeful support is that we managed to attract 35,000 for a Youth cup final. I know a lot of people complain about how poor the support is these days, but nights like tonight prove otherwise. Fans are madder and more passionate about football than they’ve ever been… the intensity sometimes manifests itself in a bad way, but that is a by product of 24-7 football.
Onto the match…!
Eastmond Ayling Bartley Tom Cruise
Frimpong (Watt) Coquelin
Lansbury Wilshere Thomas
The team picked was undoubtedly the right one… Steve knows, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m an SKB. The question I asked at the top was a serious one though… if Bould can recreate the same football as the first team in the youth team… would it not make sense to promote from within when the coach hangs up his rain mac? Liverpool used to do it with great success. If we are aiming to grow our players… why not our managers?
The game kicked off with a carnival atmosphere… I love the boos and the cheers depending on who has the ball. You could tell it was a young crowd, the noise was so high pitched! I did notice a few of the blighters standing though… (Mental note: Write stern letter of complaint to Stadium manager).
The first major move of the match came when Jack Wilshere played in Tom Cruise who crossed poorly, Liverpool failed to clear, but Thomas couldn’t get a shot off. The Jack through ball had Bergy written all over it!
It didn’t take long for our mini Brady picked the ball up on the half way line, threaded it through to Lansbury, who laid it on for Sunu… who buried it in clinical fashion! Lovely goal! High pitched screams all round!
Arsenal dominated possession… we dominated so badly that at one point, we were up to 83%.
Watt came on for Frimpong early doors through injury, shame for the boy, but sometimes these things have a habit of working out. The next talking point came when Emmanuel Thomas hit the post from a beautifully placed free kick, the ball rebounded out, Watt got to the ball first… the Liverpool defender hacked him down… Penalty!
Jack Wilshere stepped up… and buried it low and hard! 2-0!
Wilshere then turned villain… he failed to clear the ball, da, de, da, then a scouse kid hit a shot with one foot, the ball hit an Arsenal player, rebounded back out, scouse kid fired a volley with the other foot and scored a belter! 2-1… a real disappointment… they didn’t deserve it.
Stadium announcer: ‘Could Rebecca please meet her grandma at gate 14′
Second half started like the first left off, It didn’t take Watt long to get amongst it… Jack Wilshere started the move again by sliding him through, Sanchez sprinted on… looked up… dinked it over the keeper! 3-1… we were dominating Liverpool in a humiliating fashion!
Arsenal continued to keep possession well, knocking the ball around with a pace and menace… the first team could learn a few tricks!
Our next goal came from a set piece. Lansbury launched a corner at the near post, Emmanuel Thomas got there first and looped a glancing header over the Liverpool keeper.
The Arsenal boys wanted this final… they were beating Liverpool 4-1 but it could have been 8-1, in truth Murphy, the second sub scored a top, top goal, but the lino wrongly judged it offside… the hunger I witnessed is very encouraging. I also liked the Steve Bould set piece accent on the team, just like the George Graham days!
Shea – Very short for a goalkeeper and not particularly great from crosses. The commentators say he more than makes up for his shortcomings in the air, with shot stopping ability. We didn’t get to see that side of his game tonight… Liverpool were little threat really. I thought he was a little flappy tonight and he came out almost to the half way line very Fabianskiesh, oops!… 6.5
Eastmond – Fairly quiet game from him… again, difficult to judge when Liverpool were so poor! 6.5
Ayling – Looks pretty solid in the air and on the floor. Very tall and I would imagine he’ll develop into quite a powerful player. 7
Bartley – Another imposing figure. Tall, clever on the ball and a good reader of the game. Bolton lost a star in the making when they let him go! What I will say is I don’t believe either of the centre backs are strong enough for a first team place yet… you have to have a different level of strength to deal with the likes of Kevin Davies and Drogba. 7
Tom Cruise – A quiet game from our right back. He looks like a handy player though… he is eager to get forward and quite powerful in the tackle. 7
Frimpong – Not a lot to say as he went off so early, his loss though was Watts gain. 5
Coquelin – I wasn’t as impressed by him as I was when I saw his debut at Barnet, but I was still impressed. He quietly gets on with his job, mopping up like his idol Claude Mak used to. I like his fiery temper and his Flamini like tenacity. 6.5
Lansbury – I really like this guy. If he fulfils the hype… he’s got David Beckham like appeal… the marketing department at Arsenal are probably well aware of that! I thought he played quite well. He does the basics really well, he isn’t too flash and he doesn’t waste much. He also got an assist. I rate him… he looks like he’s bulked out a bit since his loan move. 7.5
Wilshere – Sublime going forward… Bergkampesque with his vision… he is creative, aggressive and a real goal threat. I think he needs to work on the defensive side of his game… he is a bit sloppy… kind of like Paul Scholes. He’ll be a real star for us… I can’t wait to see him in a few more games next year! 9
Thomas – This guy seems the most ready out of the Youth team. Big, strong and very skilful. He doesn’t seem to have that much in the way of pace… I think he’ll be a real useful player and he could develop into that versatile midfielder we need at the moment! I’d take him over Diaby right now! 8
Sunu – Probably the man with the most pace in the team. His finishing was pretty clinical tonight and his ability to run wide and get in behind defenders is good. I never get too excited about youth team strikers… they rarely make the grade (Rankin, Aliadiere, Lupoli, Fonte, Barrett, Stokes)… but I’ve got high hopes for this one! 8
Sanchez – Electric pace and bundles of heart. He won a penalty and scored a great goal after coming on… his pace and hard work caused Liverpool lots of problems in the second half. 8
Murphy – I like the look of this chap. I thought his celebration at Spurs deserved some sort of award for how great it was… his performance was promising tonight. He looks great on the ball and he is always looking for and angle on goal. He is fast, very aware and creative in how he fashions his chances. He had a goal disallowed late on which should have counted… it was a super finish as well. 7
A top performance from Bould’s boys. The desire to win was a joy to watch and there are definitely some stars in the making. I loved listening to Jack in the interview after, ‘We’ve all got talent, we can all get into the first team… we know that’. I also liked hearing Emmanuel-Thomas telling Sky that the set piece goal he scored was a result of working on tactics in training.
My tips for the future?
- Emanuel Thomas
- Jack Wilshere
- Rhys Murphy
Now over to the big boys… some of them might be waking up in cold sweats tonight!
P.S. Did anyone see our plastic manager leave 15 minutes before the end… I hope the ‘real’ fans give him a ribbing about that (I jest…)! Oh, and it was nice to see Jack having his picture taken with the fans… nice touch son! Did you hear the cheeky scouse kid say, ‘We can create chances becuase their back four isn’t that good!’. How dare he!
So following on from our plea to Arsenal to show us a bit of clarity and at least agree that we have money or we don’t, that way we said the expectation of the fans is not constantly battered, well yesterday the boss told the board to stop telling the media they have £70 million to spend on players and that Wenger can buy a £30 million player if he wants to, because he can’t, he told them to SHUT UP! Good for you Arsene, that’s all we asked for here on Le Grove, honestly and clarity.
And good to see you are still reading Le Grove! Have a great day today Grovers, tomorrow we celebrate and hopefully sign off in style, a bit like the youth team.
Finally, one of our Grovers Gooner-pak has asked us to post an link to an appeal. Whatever your politics the government of Pakistan are trying to rid their country of terrorists and the ordinary people are suffering. I applaud that, terrorists of any kind and from any country will never be welcomed here. So if you have a spare £ these people would welcome it.