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Being one of the 860 who made the journey to Leyton this evening makes me feel either privileged or dirty (the area is in need of a good scrub). An Arsenal XI is always an interesting game. You usually get a mixture of talented youth team players, recent young signings and the odd first teamer getting a run out.
Unfortunately, this game was no more than a glorified under 21 friendly. A line up who's greatest first team experience, and captain, was Nico Yennaris meant that it was always going to be a tough game. It was a game of men against boys.
Arsenal started off well. Some neat passing and the ball zipping around, however poor passing and choices in the final third meant that it was still 0-0 when Leyton Orient won the first corner of the game.
2 corners in the space of seconds saw us two nil down. now some might point to poor defending and it being an Arsenal achilles heel, but the real truth is that it was in these corners you saw the difference between professional footballs, and kids. Orient's runners barged through our youngster as if they were not their.
One of Leyton Orient's goal scorers, Kevin Lisbie, is a 34 year old journeyman who once scored a hat trick against Liverpool. Marking him waS 18 year old youth-cup captain Isaac Hayden. The youngster had no chance.
Despite being 2-0 down, Arsenal continued to dominate the midfield, with Eisfeld, Olsson and Yennaris controlling the game.
Wellington Silva looked a threat out wide, and his two goals, the first a sweet piece of play and finishing, showed his natural ability. Although he does leave you wondering if he has anymore then a bit of pace and way too many stepovers. He was one of the few highlights of the first half.
Orient went in at half time 3-2 up. Orient start their season this weekend. This was Arsenal's under 21 side. It showed.
Bar Wellington's flash, the only other person to do himself real justice was Chuba Akpom. The young centre forward bullying and harassing Leyton Orient's centre backs. You would not think he had only just landed from our pre-season tour of the fair east.
The second half continued much in the way as the 1st. Yennaris, Olsson and Eisfeld playing the ball how they wished, without really threatening. A well taken finish by Akpom, who peeled off his marker with terrific movement before slotting it past the keeper, was soon overshadowed by Orient making it 4-3.
It was only in the last 20 minutes that Chuks Aneke finally came into his own. At 20. A lot has been expected for some time for the big central midfielder. Unfortunately he did not shine. Playing a little too far forward. Trying too hard. He did not shine. You have to wonder if he will shortly leave Arsenal. Maybe not this summer, but almost certainly next. He did not shine in a game where he should of done.
Arsenal got an equaliser with the last kick of the game, with a last gasp equaliser from centre back Danny Boateng, after a mistake from the Leyton Orient defence.
Overall, there is a huge question mark over this group of youngsters. Usually you can use the XI and Emirates Cup to speculate on what our Carling Cup squad will be. Akpom shone, and he certainly has a future - although a season on loan will not do him any harm - and the previously mentioned midfield trio were tidy, if not exceptional. Bar that, it was fairly disappointing.
Ilive made some good one on one saves, but his lack of dominance at corners was concerning. Moore at right back (or was it Paul Rodgers or Serena Williams?) was out of his depth. Likewise the man next to him, Boateng. Missing clearances, losing headers. He was outshone by Hayden, who showed some potential, and is 3 years Boateng’s junior. Leander Siemann, playing out of position at left back, did nothing exceptional, and you have to wonder about a RB/CB's future when he is playing at LB.
The rest I have mentioned and unexceptional, bar Akpom. The disappointment of not seeing Dan Crowley was felt throughout the crowd. And other than Akpom, I doubt if any of the other players will step up to the Carling Cup team, let alone make it at Arsenal.
Saying that, it was a good performance. A team clearly ready for the start of the season, against a team of kids. Add Ignasi Miquel to the defence, alongside Hector Berlin at right back, with Gedion Zelalem in the middle, the team would have improved dramatically. With a more solid defensive line, and more creative in the middle.
Arsenal have a lot of talented youngsters. They did not have many of them on show tonight.
Written by Follow@keenosafc
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03 Nov 2014 23:01
03 Nov 2014 23:01
31 Jul 2013 8:24