Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Young Gunners' thrashing a worry for the academy

Arsenal's much vaunted pipeline of talented players got a bitter shock last night with a 10-1 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa Reserves. It was a most unexpected defeat for Neil Banfield's boys as the coach field a relatively strong reserve side with the likes of Emmanual Thomas, Eastmond, Sunu, Aneke all playing while Freeman was on the bench. However, Banfield was forced to field a makeshift defence as Ignasi Miguel was training with the senior squad. Elton Monteiro played his first game for the reserves and partnered Eastmond in the heart of the defence.

Villa's reserves was peppered with players currently making their mark in Gerard Houllier's senior squad with Jonathan Hogg and Nathan Delfounesco showing their quality in midfield.
Nonetheless, you would expect the boys to give a good showing of themselves in their first reserve league match of the year.

Unfortunately the boys capitulated after the sending off for George Brislen Hall in the first half. At this time, Villa was already up 1-0 courtesy of of a stunner by Gary Gardner.  After that, we maintained our attacking play but was always going to be caught when the opposition broke. Playing a rookie at centerback really put paid any hopes of stemming the tide and by half time we were down 5-0 and game over.

A couple of changes during the break saw Freeman and Deacon coming in. Although we improved a little, the goals kept going in as the boys pushed forward in searching for a consolation. We managed that when Deacon headed in a JET freekick.

We have always thought we have a very good pipeline of players coming through the ranks and way ahead of the rest in youth development. This thrashing comes in as a stark reminder that the other teams have caught up in youth development.

No doubt we have talented players in the attacking department but it is our lack of quality in defense that is plaguing our first team and now the young guns as well. Yes Banfield was missing the bulk of his first choice defense but the lack of command and calm defending for the defenders on the field should be a worry for Liam Brady and his academy coaches.

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