Youngsters Shine In Ukraine

Online Ed: Arsenal convincing winners away to Vorskla in Kiev

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Granted, Vorskla were not exactly Atletico Madrid in terms of the quality of resistance they provided, but as the old saying goes, you can only beat what is in front of you. With a very mix and match selection, Unai Emery’s combination of shadow team players and youth prospects did exactly that and very convincingly. The very limited number of attempts on Arsenal’s goal tells its own story – the Gunners controlled this game.

Sure, Vorskla effectively lost home advantage with the match being switched to the Ukrainian capital, and it’s possible this might have been a different affair in front of a raucous full house in their home ground at Poltova. However, given the nature of Arsenal’s line-up, it was a testament to the work of the new head coach that they played the same system as the first team and both maintained possession and created opportunities doing so.

It was also an eye opener to see Carl Jenkinson play at centre back, where he looked comfortable enough. Certainly, he has the height for the position, although the quality of Vorskla’s attackers undoubtedly provide caveats when we consider whether or not he could do a job here in an emergency against better strikers.

But going forward, there was more to get excited about, with the inclusion of Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe from the kick off. The latter two played with purpose and forward drive, with neither looking out of place amongst more experienced team-mates. Nketiah certainly did not have a bad game, but impressed a little less than his other teenage colleagues. Three other teens entered the fray from the bench in the second half – Medley, Gilmour and Saka. The latter wore the number 87 shirt, and Gooner contributor Ian Henry wondered if this was the highest ever shirt number to make an appearance in the first team. He also noted that Charlie Gilmour was Scottish, and wondered who the last Scottish player to appear in the first team was. My guess was Scott Marshall. Remember him? There might have been some obscure one substitute appearance in the League Cup wonder since then for all I know.

Anyway, it was good to have six teenagers on the field in the closing stages as Arsenal looked comfortable with their 3-0 lead and could have added to it. It means they top the group, so I suspect we may see even more youngsters when the team host Qarabag in the academic final group game in a fortnight’s time, especially with the League Cup quarter final against Spurs the following Wednesday.

Arsenal’s unbeaten run continues, and they have now returned to the winning habit. The derby on Sunday is going to be a huge game, because of its potential implications at the season’s end. It will be interesting to see whether or not Rob Holding starts, although the suspicion is that he would not have been on this trip if the manager was certain of his selection. Henrik Mkhitaryan made the trip but did not get on the field, and why risk him when there was no need? It looks like Ozil will start on Sunday with the Armenian on the bench.

I was delighted for the supporters that travelled to the game, with the disruptions and need to change plans – to say nothing about the temperature - that they were rewarded with a winning performance. Apparently the club are going to help them with any extra costs incurred as a result of the switch – which would be travel and accommodation. That’s a pleasing gesture, and given the numbers, one the club can afford.

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  1. mbg

    Dec 1, 2018, 17:04 #112597

    John F, Video coaching that would be about right, not only was he a useless coach (you just have to look all the way back to Lehman) he had a couple of hip ops if i recall maybe even a replacement, i might be wrong but how could he throw himself about teaching and coaching goalkeeping. Another wenger nodding dog who got contracts for years for being a yes man and never speaking out of turn or rocking the boat. That wenger regime must have been stinking for years and we'll probably never know much about it.

  2. Bard

    Dec 1, 2018, 12:27 #112596

    Big big game tomorrow. Not only bragging rights but a barometer of where we are. In truth I doubt if many of the current Arsenal side would get into the Spuds current side. They must be massive favourites. Having said that if we can turn them over as we are more than capable of, will set us up going into the Xmas / New year.

  3. John F

    Dec 1, 2018, 10:46 #112595

    Cornish I don't know if you have seen the video of sir Chesney and Flappy talking about Geery Peytons video coaching session.It is on the on the terrace forum above if you haven't.Just confirms what most of us suspected about the standard of coaching that went on.


    Nov 30, 2018, 19:16 #112594

    Just great to see a very proactive Manager on the touchline leading a very smart, innovative team which provides proper coaching. There are some truly awful stories emerging elsewhere regarding the complacent mess that Dick inherited. But there is no point in continuing to criticise the old French Pensioner, that's over. The big question is how on earth the decline was allowed to happen in the first place. Stanley, we will be watching you - you have nowhere to hide this time. Do you want to be the owner of a declining soccer business or a truly aspirational football club?

  5. mbg

    Nov 30, 2018, 18:21 #112593

    Things are certainly different and looking up now when we're actually looking forward to seeing our young guns again, long may it last.

  6. mbg

    Nov 30, 2018, 18:12 #112592

    Although we've bigger fish to fry coming up it was a good result and great win for the young guns, they played well and deserved their win on a very difficult pitch too by the looks of things, the young guns are certainly coming out of themselves now and showing their worth (i wonder why) showing the £350 k a week man how to put in a shift, surely only a matter of time till they make the first team. Although that will by no means solve our problems more experience still needs to be brought in.

  7. The Man From UNCLE

    Nov 30, 2018, 15:32 #112591

    Come on boys let's splat them on Sunday. 1-0 down 2-1 up with a 93rd minute deflected fluke will do nicely.

  8. GoonerRon

    Nov 30, 2018, 15:18 #112590

    I never expected this game to be so straightforward, kudos to the manager and players for making it look so. ES-R is a massive prospect and continues to impress and Joe Willock looks more filled out and a more rounded player since last season too. Reasons to be cheerful as a Guuner, ever moreso if we absolutely twat the Lilywhite lodgers on Sunday. COYG.

  9. John F

    Nov 30, 2018, 14:50 #112589

    Looking at the young players coming through and knowing that they will be properly coached makes me optimistic for the future.I am not expecting too much this or even next season but hopefully we will see a revitalized Arsenal full of young homegrown talent taking shape in the near future.

  10. Don Howe

    Nov 30, 2018, 12:20 #112588

    My recollection is that Poltava were not a pushover when they came to Arsenal. The performance of our youngsters in such a contest last year would have been brittle. There is now a plan. Another advantage of Mr Emery is that he is not blinded by affection or reputation. Players are selected on the basis of the job that they can do, and how well they perform. It's a return to the sort of sanity that we haven't really seen since George Graham still had his mojo in 1991. Sunday will be interesting.