Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arsenal's academy produces great strikers but what's happening to the defenders?

Has anyone noticed that most of the teenagers coming through from the youth teams are all attacking mind players. In recent years, we have had players like Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Jack Wilshere and more recently Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel Thomas being blooded into the first team. In the youth ranks we have the next generation of potential players who can make the grade to the first team like Benik Afobe, Luke Freeman, Gilles Sunu et al who have been making headlines with the youth international teams.

So what’s happening to the defenders? Besides Johan Djourou, I have not seen or heard anyone close to making the grade into the first team. Last season we saw, Craig Eastmond and Thomas Cruize having a run in the first team in the Carling Cup and Champions League but since then nothing much have been heard of the defensive players. Is it possible that our academy is not capable of producing talented defenders given their focus on attacking play. If Djourou is anything to go by, it is no suprise that no of the youth team members can make the grade into the first team.

It seems strange that when these players were first scouted they seem to be the best of the bunch but after  being in the academy for some time their abilities have either stagnant or gone worst. Case in point, Philipe Senderos, who came in as the most wanted young defender of his generation but left after a whole series of calamitous performances. Another defender Havard Nordveit, was supposed to be the new ‘Tony Adams’ when he signed on but he is nowhere near that today.

It just seems strange to me that the academy can produce world class attackers but cannot replicate the same with defenders. It is something which Arsene Wenger would need to address as he seeks to balance his squad with old hands and new wonders every year. There are not many world class defenders available and they don’t come cheap so having the academy produce these wonders would be the best solution in the long run.


  1. You forgot gibbs and clichy.
    Nordtveit is coming through too if he counts, and then there's bartley.
    Defenders tend to take longer because their game has to be purely about consistency. An attacker can have a bad game for a top club and get away with it, but it's usually much more costly for a defender.

  2. I agree with Chip. Nordtveit had a good season on loan in germany last season and played preseason at rightback and Wenger said he would get a chance to learn the game from there before coming in as a centre back, but then got injured, before the first carling cup game. He has just come back and we'll see what happens.

    Kyle Bartley spent second half of last season on loan at Sheffield united and played a lot of games. He is there again this season, and is just returning from a broken cheekbone.

    Cruise has been injured. Frimpong got injured just before start of the season. Gibbs is in the first team and Eastmond played against newcastle. Ignasi miquel is supposed to be devoloping well and is a large lad.

    Problem is when a defender makes a mistake it can result in conceding a goal. So you cant just throw them in at 18,19 like you can a striker or midfielder.