Stars of Tomorrow – Kyle Ebecilio

Every week ArseDNA takes an in depth look at a young player coming through the ranks at Arsenal, last week was Spanish Right Back Hector Bellerin, this week is the turn of Dutchman Kyle Ebecilio.

Name – Kyle Ebecilio

Age – 18

Nationality – Dutch

Position – Midfield

Kyle Ebecilio joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2010 at the age of 16, turning down the likes of Chelsea to join Arsenal and has already impressed greatly in the short period of time he has been at the club. Ebecilio is widely regarded as a box to box midfielder, but can play as a holding midfielder as well as an attacking midfielder centrally or out wide. Ebecilio possesses an eye for goal, as well as a mean tackle and glorious technical ability.

Ebecilio has already made a reputation for himself across Europe, winning the Golden Player Award in the 2011 U17 European Championships, helping Holland to win the competition. 2011 was a big year for Ebecilio, because as well as winning the European Championships and the Golden Player Award, Ebecilio also broke into the Arsenal Reserves and started featuring regularly. Last season Ebecilio featured 16 times for the Arsenal Reserves, starting on 9 occasions. He also notched up 4 goals in 7 starts for the U18’s.

This season Ebecilio has built on last season’s improvement by featuring for the U21’s in all but one of their games so far scoring 2 goals along the way. Ebecilio played the whole game of Jack Wilshere’s comeback match against West Brom, one of two starts so far for Ebecilio for the U21’s. His first goal this season was a thunderous drive in the last minute of a 3-0 against Everton, Ebecilio came on as a substitute in that game. His second goal of the season was a glancing header in a 4-1 defeat to West Ham a few weeks ago.

As well as making his mark on the U21’s Ebecilio has also started 2 of Arsenal’s 3 NextGen Series Games. Ebecilio featured in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Marseille, as well as the defeat in Olympiakos. However Ebecilio was unable to make a 3rd successive start in the return leg against Olympiakos, only managing a place on the bench in a 0-0 draw.

Ebecilio is a regular in Holland’s U19’s squad and has featured 10 times for them, the last game coming last month against Greece in an U19 friendly. His only goal for the Holland U19’s was in a 3-0 victory over Belgium last year. After becoming such a regular at U19 level, Ebecilio must be setting his sights on an U21 call up, although there is plenty of time for that to happen.

Ebecilio is practically capable of playing anywhere across the Midfielder. Whether it be a more advanced role, wide or centrally, or even in a Defensive Midfielder role. If there was a player I could liken Ebecilio to it would probably be Abou Diaby. Only because of both of their abilities to play anywhere across the midfield and their technical ability. Ebecilio lacks the height and power of Diaby, but of course that could come with years to come. Ebecilio is similar build to Alex Song and possesses some of the same attributes to the Cameroon International.

You get the feeling Ebecilio excels when asked to play a more attacking role (another similarity to Song). He wants to be involved in every move going forward and has the ability to pass and make runs into the box. Despite being only 5’11, Ebecilio is quite a strong boy and is very commanding in the Centre of the pitch, hence the comparison to Diaby. Everything about him suits the Arsenal style of play and is no wonder why Wenger decided to sign him as a 16 year old.

Ebecilio will be hoping for a call up to Arsene Wenger’s Capital One Cup Squad, after missing out against Coventry. However at the tender age of 18, Ebecilio has time on his side and if it isn’t this season, it will most certainly be next season. For this season Ebecilio will be hoping for a continued run in the U21’s as well as helping Arsenal to the further stages of the NextGen Series.

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Thanks for reading.

Olympiakos Review

A cold, raining evening at the Emirates and it was a rather drab performance from the lads last night. Olympiakos have an extremely poor record in travelling around Europe, so nobody really expected anything other than an Arsenal victory. For Arsenal it was a chance to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Chelsea over the weekend. Bounce back we did, but not with the greatest leap as we sneaked a 3-1 victory over the Greeks.

No real surprise inclusions in the team other than the omission of Mertesacker who was said to have fallen ill with the flu before the game. Apparently 6 players who played last night were suffering from the flu according to @DarrenArsenal1. Arteta was passed fit and Wenger opted for a 3 pronged attack of Podolski, Gervinho and Ox, as Arsene sat out his 2nd match of a 3 match ban.

The first half didn’t liven up at all until we scored, Gervinho’s fantastic start to the season continued with his 5th goal from 7 games. A well taken finish from the frustrating Ivorian, who when good is excellent, but equally when poor is bloody awful. Saying that 5 goals in 7 games, what am I bloody complaining for, he’s getting goals!

Almost straight away, just as we were singing “you’re not singing any..” boom Olympiakos had equalised. A cross from the right was headed home by Mitroglu on the stroke of half time, after some poor marking from Thomas Vermaelen. That is now 6 games in a row we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet and with defending like that it’s not hard to see why.

After the break we came out with a bit more intent and Podolski put as 2-1 up after some delightful play from Gervinho on the left. The German powered home his 4th goal of the season. After the second goal from Podolski, we should’ve looked to really put the game to bed, instead however it was the Greeks keeping us on our toes. A few nervy moments, as well as some lazy football on our behalf, the last 20 minutes or so were rather nerve racking. We finally got our third goal to seal the game in the last minute after a deft flick from second half substitute Giroud, set up fellow second half substitute Ramsey, to put the Welshman through to dink the ball over the keeper, excellent finish from Rambo.

So 3-1, job done, 3 points and top of the group. Can’t ask for much more really can we? I think we’re starting to value wins of any kind, slowly forgetting the old Arsenal way of winning in style. We’re learning to take any win that we get, especially after poor performances, which is important and is something that will hold us in good stead for the rest of the season.

Stand out performances from the night came from Gibbs, Arteta and Gervinho who were easily our best players. I can’t remember a poor performance by Gibbs this season and last night he excelled once more, this time in front of Roy Hodgson who has named Gibbs in his England squad this morning. Excellent news, providing he comes back with all his limbs intact. Arteta was once more influential. Arteta uses the ball so well, rarely gives it away and always seems to make the right decision. You can imagine Arteta being a bit of a recycling enthusiast, just doesn’t want to waste anything. Gervinho had a good game, scoring one and assisting another. I’ve learnt to accept that Gervinho is going to be caught offside once or 27 times a game, but he is capable of that moment of brilliance.

A performance that particularly disappointed me was that of Thomas Vermaelen. Nobody can deny, TV’s commitment and enthusiasm to the club, but I wouldn’t quite say he is leading by example. Leaving the goal we conceded out of the equation, which was TV’s fault, other parts of his game frustrate the hell out of me. Rash tackles on the edge of the box and rushing forward when 2-1 up with 3 minutes to go are just two of TV’s menacing style of play. When going forward, it’s like he just can’t resist the urge, a bit like a looter who saw the local JD Sports being broken into. Vermaelen has always reminded me of the Monk (Jason Statham) from Mean Machine, who just gets rushes of blood to his head and starts fly kicking everyone and killing people. Obviously not to that scale but you get the point I’m trying to make, although I’m pretty sure Vermaelen has probably killed a person or two in his lifetime.

The fact TV was given the captain’s armband basically cements his position in the team, when arguably his place in team should be under more scrutiny than both Per and Laurent. Personally I think there is an argument to be made that Vermaelen is the worst out of the 3 CB’s we have. Now I love Vermaelen, but if he is going to be Captain of this team, he must start leading by example and calming himself down. Rash decisions and tactics will lead us into a lot of trouble, have a word Arsene.

West Ham next in the league and the ‘bounce back’ must continue on Saturday with 3 points. It will be a real test of the team, I don’t care how we win, I just want 3 points.

Till Tomorrow, with our Stars of the future feature.

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Arsenal Player Ratings

Vito Mannone – 6 – A nervy night for the Italian, no chance for the goal, made a few decent stops but still not commanding enough.

Carl Jenkinson – 7 – Another good performance from Jenkinson in front of England manager Roy Hodgson. Coming on leaps and bounds, game by game.

Laurent Koscielny – 6 – Better than over the weekend, still slowly getting back to his best but distribution poor

Thomas Vermaelen – 5 – Not the Belgian’s greatest performance by any stretch of the imagination. At fault for goal. Rash. Poor decision Making.

Keiran Gibbs – 8 – Excellent once again both offensively and defensively. Deserves his England call up.

Santi Cazorla – 6 – Santi looked a bit jaded last night, not the same craft and precision as the first few games of the season, but even when poor oozes quality and class.

Mikel Arteta – 7 – Everything we’ve come to expect of Arteta. Cool and composed and hardly seems to put a foot wrong.

Francis Coquelin – 7 – Coquelin had a decent game, gives us a lot more stability defensively but lacks Diaby’s presence going forward. Steady performance.

Alex Ox-Chamberlain – 6 – Quiet game from the Ox who was substituted by Walcott.

Lukas Podolski – 6 – A quiet game, but popped up with a goal. Contribution to the team is underrated, especially defensively.

Gervinho – 7 – We seem to see the best and the worst of Gervinho all in the space of a few minutes, Great goal and great assist.

Theo Walcott – 6 – Came on and was very direct and offered us an outlet in the remaining minutes.

Olivier Giroud – 7 – Came on and was once again dominant in the air, set up Ramsey for his goal.

Aaron Ramsey – 7 – Took his goal extremely well and worked hard.

Thoughts on Jack Wilshere

 

Yesterday afternoon Jack Wilshere made his return playing for the Under 21’s at West Brom. Jack managed to get through 62 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to the Baggies. After 14 months out it was fantastic to see Jack back wearing the red and white again. It’s amazing to think that he is only 20 years old but has already made over 50 starts for us, despite being out for 14 months.

Wenger says that because Wilshere is young it won’t be a problem for him to bounce back and would probably have been a different story if he was 5/6 years older. However the fear I have for Jack is that he has had a year out of the game, and when you compare him to other 20 year olds in the Premier League he was probably about a year ahead of everybody in terms of development and progress. Now that Jack has lost a year of his own development and progress it has allowed everybody to catch up with him. Not that it matters entirely but for a young footballer, the ages between 16-25 are where you learn the most as a footballer, it’s the age where each year you see radical signs of development, for Jack to lose a whole year is rather scary.

We saw the same thing with Aaron Ramsey, when he got injured he was light years ahead in terms of development and progression as most players his age. It has taken a while for Ramsey to fully get back into the swing of things and I think most fans forget he is only 21 and has lost a year of his development too. I can’t stand the criticism of Ramsey, it makes my blood boil. He made a recovery from a career threatening injury, to try and come back a better player. All at the age of about 19. For me that shows a lot about Ramsey’s character and whilst he may make frustrating decisions at times, we must remember he has only just started developing again as a player.

Personally whilst I hope Jack Wilshere makes his first team return soon, because that will be an absolutely fantastic moment, I can’t see us seeing the best out of Jack this season. Game time will be an issue especially when easing him back into the team, with our Midfield options available it will be difficult for Wilshere to be slung into any Premier League game. No doubts we will see a lot of Wilshere between now and the end of the season, providing Jack has no further setbacks, I really just see this season as a grooming stage for next season. A bit like Ramsey, he had the whole of last season to use as his grooming period for this season.

The important thing is for Jack to get back to full fitness and back to his best again, and then we can work on him playing well. 14 months away from any career must be hugely difficult especially one as a footballer. It will be little things like instinct and decision making that will take its time to come for Jack. The technical side I don’t feel like he will have any worries at all and after 14 months of gym time I’m sure we’ll see a stronger and fitter Jack Wilshere.

So after coming out of yesterday’s game unscathed, could Jack Wilshere be set for a place on the bench against West Ham? It would be nice but I can’t see it, next Monday the U21’s have another game against Reading, it could be possible that Jack will play in that game and then be back for the Norwich away game on the 20th October. Until then we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed for no setbacks.

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Till Tomorrow

Weekend Thoughts

Thud. That’s the sound of coming back to earth. Kind of. After looking at our previous results in a really positive light, one defeat has painted a completely different story and 9 points from 6 games puts things into perspective a little bit. Certainly not ideal. But it’s totally amazing how certain fans/supporters/people who decided Arsenal were the club of their affections because we done some successful things but realised we won’t win everything always or something like that, have forgot about the early season progression. Especially these cunts called Black Scarf AFC or something like that. Absolute pricks. I’m not sure what they are who they are what they do but they are cunts and I’m convinced they are Tottenham fans in disguise. Wenger out? Seriously? Come on.

Looking at the game vs Chelsea and I think that it was just a poor performance from Arsenal FC as a whole. Wenger got the selection wrong, there were bad individual performances and the fans weren’t particularly good either. From the off something seemed wrong, even before Diaby went off injured. The team looked disjointed and the passing was poor. It’s almost like the game never started from our point of view and Chelsea controlled things early. I can’t remember seeing a team having more possession than us at the Emirates at the beginning of a game. Per Mertesacker should have kept his place, but had Kos and Verm played to their potential and we won we would have thought it a master stroke from Wenger. Theo Walcott in my opinion should have started and these are the instances when contract fall outs really start to affect the club. Had he been signed up, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t have started. Confident from the Coventry game and normally impressive against Chelsea.

One thing that stood out to me was the willingness of our players to slide in and commit to tackles. Against stoke and Sunderland the beginning of the season I remember seeing us stand off more, hold our line and shape and this was the defensive and tactical discipline I enjoyed seeing. I can’t imagine the players suddenly made a decision to throw themselves into tackles of their own accord, it was uncharacteristic from Mikel Arteta to be sliding in and I think this could have been the instructions from the gaffer. Hazard, Oscar and Mata don’t seem to be the most physical so getting stuck into them seems rather logical. However cheap free kicks were costly – we’re still yet to conceded from open play (Soton’s goal was as good as a free kick, lol)

One annoying thing is the fact we cross so often when Giroud is on the bench, but as soon as he gets on it seems to disappear. Ramsey holds onto the ball for too long and it seems he is trying too hard to be special. If he played simple I think he could be amazing. I’ve heard people say Gervinho isn’t good enough as a striker or whatever, but he’s scoring. As frustrating as he is, he can be effective. Problem is for him is he’s 25, not 20 – hopefully he’s a late bloomer because the ability is there. Just needs to sort out some decision making skills and think that split second quicker and see the pass quicker. Podolski was anonymous and gets substituted too often in my opinion, for a player we expected so much of. Quite why Giroud is blamed for the loss is beyond me, one half chance a game that he doesn’t finish and it’s all his fault. Plenty of other players had more chances than him, and he wasn’t the one messing up at the back (on that note, the sooner Szcz is back the better – a commanding keeper could have made the difference even if the defenders do slip up). Ronaldo, RVP, Rooney – none of them are one chance a game clinical, they all require 4-5 chances per goal but they get that from playing 90minutes and I hope Giroud starts midweek and vs West ham.

Anyway losing during the season in inevitable, it happens. All the talk of new found resilience is meaningless if you can’t bounce back from a defeat. For example I expect a shit Man.Utd team spank whoever they are playing next week. And we need to do the same. West Ham away for an evening kick off is not ideal, but where better to bounce back from. Unfortunately we have a habit of losing to a newly promoted side but that will be another sign this team have made a turn for the good. This is the real test. This will be the challenge. Long season guys, long season!

Keep calm and keep the faith!

ARSENAL IN CRISIS!!!

Oh no, wouldn’t you know it, we’re shit again! Club in turmoil. Wenger Out. Defence not good enough. Now I’m no expert on the fickleness of fans, so I’m not sure whether it’s just Arsenal fans or football fans in general that tend to have multiple personalities syndrome. It’s one thing to criticise the team, but the general consensus I got from today’s game was that the fans were beginning to get on the back of the Arsenal players again, when just last week everybody was singing our praises. Yes it was a poor performance, and yes we seemed to lack the acquired work ethic and determination to win the game but all is not doom and gloom as some may suggest.

We looked shakey from the start and it took us a while to get into the game and we went 1-0 down to some sloppy defending. Koscielny was too busy organising the defence for a free kick rather than occupying his own man, who was the eventual scorer Fernando Torres. Now Koscielny obviously is at fault for the goal, but I just wonder whether Chamberlain could have given a little more help to Koscielny. Chamberlain seemed very slow to mark Luiz (mismatch or what?), which distracted Koscielny and when the cross came in from Mata, Koscielny just wasn’t prepared to deal with the delivery. Bad defending on his behalf, but if players around him were a bit more switched on, maybe Koscielny would’ve been able to focus a little bit more on his own man rather than everybody else’s.

Right so 1-0 down, not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination, we’re used to this Arsenal team making coming backs from being 1-0 down, take last Sunday for an example. With Chamberlain coming on for the injured Diaby, who had a rather nasty collision with a football, Arsenal started to get a foothold in the game. Chamberlain’s cross into the box was controlled by Gervinho, who swivelled and blasted it into to the roof of the net. Excellent move by us and we’re back in the game, some may question the fact as to why Chamberlain didn’t start the game.

The teams went into the break 1-1, which was probably a fair reflection of the game. Both teams had really failed to impose themselves and Arsenal had the momentum after scoring just before the break. However 7 minutes into the second half, disaster struck. Juan Mata’s free kick evaded everyone, including Mannone and managed to find its way into the back of the net. Another set piece conceded, more fingers pointed at Koscielny. Personally, I find it hard to see what more Koscielny could’ve done, it was an excellent delivery by Juan Mata, which unfortunately for us evaded everybody. These things happen in football I’m afraid. 2-1 down, with 35 minutes left to play, we can do this!

Well so I thought. The next 35 minutes seemed to be a bit lethargic from us and Chelsea defended reasonably well. We managed to carve out a few decent opportunities, Cazorla blazing over from the edge of the box and Podolski’s header also went close, forcing Cech into a great save. Our best chance however came in stoppage time where Giroud rounded the keeper but once again didn’t manage to get his foot around the ball and smashed the ball into the side netting. The final whistle went soon after and you could feel the disappointment around the Emirates stadium. The fans were frustrated and the players knew they could’ve played better.

A draw should probably have been a fair result, Chelsea in my opinion didn’t show enough to deserve the win, however neither did we. On the day Chelsea knew how to defend against us and didn’t allow Cazorla or Podolski any space to manoeuvre in. The disappointing thing on Arsenal’s behalf was the fact that we didn’t play to any of our strengths today. Even when Giroud came on, we hardly put a ball in the box but before he was on the pitch we was knocking it in to nobody. Hardly makes sense to me but what do I know.

I said from the start of this season that at home is where we will struggle this season and so far I’ve been proved right. 3 home games, 1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat. Teams will come to the Emirates and just park the bus, so far I haven’t seen enough of us as an attacking force as to being able to break teams down, which is why I think we’re more likely to go to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea. Away from home we’ve been able to hit on the counter attack with great effect, as we’ve seen against both City and Liverpool. At home we’re going to have to find the key of getting Cazorla involved more in the big games, or risk facing the prospect of Cazorla being marked out of the game, as he was today.

It’s a hiccup in the grand scheme of things, the players would’ve learned a lot about each other as well as themselves after this defeat. It should be a kick back down to earth for the squad, there is still a lot more work to do with this group of players, both defensively and offensively. However the positive’s from today’s game must be that we managed to match Chelsea in every department, we’re not too far away. Chelsea at no stage of the game looked miles better than us and as I said earlier I feel we’d fair better at Stamford Bridge.

Question marks will be raised over Koscielny and Vermaelen’s partnership, some claiming that it doesn’t work. Well I’m inclined to disagree with that notion, because there is no reason what so ever as to why they can’t play together. Today’s goals we conceded were hardly down to breakdown in communications between the pair, and we’d arguably still have conceded today’s goals if Mertesacker played today instead of Vermaelen. Vermaelen and Koscielny partnered each other 13 times in the League last season, we managed to win 7 of those games with just the 2 defeats, conceding 12 goals. 5 of those games were against top 6 opposition, in which 3 of them we won, today being our only defeat against a top 6 opposition with Vermaelen and Koscielny partnering each other. So I really don’t see an argument into why they’re unable to partner each other.

It’s one defeat at the end of the day, a disappointing defeat, but there are still 32 games to go till the end of the season. We got a bit too carried away after our start but hopefully it’s a snap back to reality for the Arsenal squad. We have Olympiakos up next in the Champions League on Wednesday which will be the perfect opportunity to bounce back. We have a good squad, a good blend of players, we just all need to take a step back, forget about winning the title for now and focus on winning games.

Vito Mannone – 6 – Personally never feel comfortable with Mannone in goal, cocked up a save from a Torres shot, luckily it was called offside

Carl Jenkinson – 6 – Up against Hazard today and dealt with things quite well, wasn’t tested all that much to be honest. Provided some great crosses in the box

Laurent Koscielny – 6 – At fault for the first goal, but a tough display from the Frenchman, still signs of rustiness.

Thomas Vermaelen – 7 – Played well, nothing seemed to faze him but still a bit too rash in tackles giving away needless free kicks sometimes.

Keiran Gibbs – 7 – Keiran Gibbs has been consistently fantastic this season and today was no different. A fine display, hardly put a foot wrong.

Aaron Ramsey – 6 – Failed to have the same impact as he did against City. Second half looked low on confidence. Subbed

Santi Cazorla – 6 – The quietest I’ve seen Cazorla, testament to Chelsea’s set up in Midfield. Missed a good opportunity.

Abou Diaby – 6 – Looked bright at the start before familiar sight of coming off injured occurred in the first half. Out between 3 weeks – 3 years apparently.

Mikel Arteta – 6 – Arteta did most things well, Midfield battle was quite even, just unable to free up Cazorla in the right places

Lukas Podolski – 6 – Very quiet today, had a decent header at goal saved by Cech. But very quiet day at the office for the German.

Gervinho – 6 – Took his goal very well, but frustrating at times. Couldn’t spot obvious passes and strolled offside too often.

Alex Ox-Chamberlain – 7 – Set up Gervinho’s goal, gave Cashley a tough time down that right hand side after coming on for Diaby. Probably should’ve started.

Theo Walcott – 6 – Hardly noticed Theo on the pitch when he came on.

Olivier Giroud – 6 – Movement good as usual, missed a glorious opportunity in the last minutes. Worrying.

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Till Tomorrow.

Tight Arse vs Money Bags – Match Preview

The Gunners face another stern test as we host Chelsea at The Emirates this afternoon which will surely be a hotly contested affair. Both teams come into this game having scored 6 goals each in their 3rd round Capital One Cup ties which will have given both sides confidence going into the game. Chelsea sit top of the pile at the moment and despite looking a bit lacklusture in their more recent domestic games, they’ve only dropped two points this season, drawing at QPR.

No surprise that Chelsea look overall a more entertaining side than last season’s Champions League winners (not by much though), who literally defended and rode their luck all the way to Champions League success. They’ve invested in Marin, Oscar and Hazard  this season and when you add Mata to that list, they essentially have four players who fit naturally in to the no. 10 role. Abramovic wanted Barcelona football, so he went out and bought a load of technical players, it’s as simple as that.

There’s definitely a few selection dilemmas that face Wenger ahead of today’s game. Vermaelen’s back in contention after missing the City game through illness, so you’d expect either Koscielny or Mertesacker to miss out considering he’s the skipper. I have a feeling Wenger is going to drop the big German for Koscielny on this occasion. The Frenchman has had Torres in his back pocket near enough every time he’s been put up against him, which I’m sure Wenger will be aware of, perhaps prompting this decision. You wouldn’t want to drop Per or Koscielny from the squad considering their heroics against City but it’s definitely an example of the depth in our squad at the moment.

Also, Theo Walcott, Andrey Arshavin and Olivier Giroud have sent out a message to Wenger, all playing integral roles in Arsenal’s win on Wednesday. Theo chipped in with two sublime finishes while Giroud literally chipped in a great finish of his own. I think people seem to overlook Giroud’s creative work too. He put in a lovely ball for Arshavin to claim his goal, and let’s not forget his assist for Podolski against Montpellier. There’s a reason he bagged 9 league assists last year. With Theo and Giroud warming the bench more often than not, they’ll have staked a claim for a first team place tomorrow, while Arshavin has definitely staked a claim for at least the bench, showing he can be a useful asset.

I personally think however that Wenger will stick with near enough the same team that he played against City, with Gervinho up front again. As good as The Ox is, I’d like to see Theo start this game. He’s got a good record against Chelsea and gave Ashley Cole a torrid time at the bridge last year. He clearly seems geared up for it, so I think we should use the momentum he’s going with to our advantage. With The Ox and Giroud on the bench, we’d have great attacking options to choose from in the latter stages of the game. If Gervinho can run at the Chelsea defence and cause them problems John Terry won’t be too pleased to see Giroud come on to cause him more problems, and provide a different dimension for us.

Perhaps the best thing about this game is the fact that we no longer have to deal with a certain Didier Drogba anymore. He scored 13 goals in 14 games against us but a promising stat is that Chelsea haven’t beat us without Drogba in their side. It actually would have been interesting to see Drogba line up for Chelsea to see how our newly formed defence would cope. However, it’s good to know that he won’t be causing us problems anytime soon, unless we face Shanghai Shenhua of course. However, the phrase ‘form is temporary, class it permanent’ comes to mind regarding Torres. Despite looking a shadow of himself in recent years and having big boots to fill, he’s still Fernando Torres, and our defence will have to make sure they deal with the threat of the big Spaniard.

Despite being European Champions and current league leaders, before the 6-0 thrashing of Wolves, Chelsea had only won one game in their previous four, which was a narrow, unconvincing win against Stoke. We’ve looked very bright, and with 6 goals scored in each of our last two home games in all competitions, the fans have every reason to be positive. As long as we defend as a team and work as a tight unit, the chances will come at the other end, as we have little Santi. I can see the partnership between him and Podolski along with Arteta’s solidity and experience being the difference tomorrow.

This game has also been branded the battle of Hazard vs Cazorla, so it’ll be interesting to see who has more of an impact for their team today.

My prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea

Up the Gunners.

Till tomorrow

@ArseDNA

Stars of Tomorrow – Hector Bellerin

Every week ArseDNA takes an in depth look at a young player coming through the ranks at Arsenal, last week was German starlet Serge Gnabry, this week is the turn of Hector Bellerin.

Name – Hector Bellerin

Age – 17

Nationality – Spanish

Position – Right Back

Hector Bellerin joined Arsenal last summer from Barcelona along with friend and fellow compatriot Jon Toral. Much has been made about Bellerin’s switch to Arsenal from Barcelona and Barcelona have expressed their concern over the rules that allow youngsters from La Liga to move on for next to nothing. Arsenal no doubt have taken advantage of this over the years, Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida are just two of the players who have made the switch at a very young age. Bellerin claims that Arsenal’s willingness to give opportunities to young players was a huge reason for joining the club.

Bellerin joined Arsenal as a right winger from Barcelona. Blessed with pace, technique and an eye for goal, Bellerin is classed among team mates as one of the most talented players at the Arsenal Academy. However Bellerin has since been converted to a right back, where he has impressed both last season and this season.

From the offset it looks a bit strange that a Spanish born Right Winger bought from Barcelona, who has received mass plaudits for his attacking plaudits and his technical ability, has been converted to a right back. We have seen it before from Wenger, who’s eye for potential never seems to die out. Bellerin says that because he has been playing as a Winger since he was 12 years old, it enables him to figure out what is going through an attackers mind, which thus helps him defend better. Arsenal coaches have praised Bellerin’s defensive improvements over the last year or so.

Last season Bellerin played 16 times for the Arsenal U18’s mainly at Right Back. Bellerin also played 4 times for the reserves last season scoring against Chelsea Reserves in a 2-0 victory in March. Bellerin declared this as his proudest moment so far in an interview on the Arsenal website.

So far this season Bellerin has started both of Arsenal’s Next Gen Series games against Marseille and Olympiakos. Bellerin impressed in the 3-0 home victory against Marseille, but like many others failed to really impose themselves in the away defeat to Olympiakos. Bellerin has stepped up from playing U18 football last season, however has failed to make any appearances for the Arsenal U21’s this season.

Bellerin was called up to the Arsenal’s Capital One Cup Squad on Wednesday against Coventry, however was an unused substitute. Despite the lack of appearances this season it must show how much faith Wenger has in Bellerin as a footballer. Martin Angha was preferred over Bellerin in the Right Back position, but surely the whole first team experience would’ve been a great learning curve for Hector. With Reading away next in the Capital One Cup, Bellerin will be hoping for a second call up and maybe even the chance of some playing time.

In the short term however, Bellerin is set to be included in the Next Gen Series squad for Arsenal’s home tie against Olympiakos next week. Bellerin and co will be eager to put one over Olympiakos and gain some revenge for their 2-0 defeat in Greece earlier on in this month.

So all in all it will be interesting to see how Bellerin’s Arsenal future takes shape. At only 17 years old, Bellerin will have some much to learn but has already shown that within the next few seasons, we could have yet another young Right Back coming through, ready to challenge for first team places.

Here is a video compilation of Bellerin at Barcelona

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Thanks for reading, till tomorrow