By 1970’s Gooner
West Ham apparently are lying second in the Reserves League but on this showing they are a team of plonkers.
Arsenal who outplayed them and outclassed them were a team full of quality throughout all positions (with about half of the players being foreign) whereas West Ham were full of hard working but mostly average (English) footballers.
But it was one English player playing for Arsenal who caught the eye. Stuart Storey commenting on the game likened him to Alexander Hleb and one can see why. He is left footed, full of trickery, the ball stuck to his feet like glue and he had that knack of gliding past his marker in an effortless way.
Yet he reminded me more of an Arsenal legend from the 1970’s, Irishman Liam Brady, the present Youth Development director. Liam was a favourite player of mine and of a lot of other Gooners of that generation.
He too was able to make the ball stick to his left boot and glided past players with ease. He was a quality player among a lot of average plonkers that were in abundance in the First Division at that time. No wonder he felt he had to ply his trade abroad (he moved to Italy’s Juventus and won two Scudettos with them).
Jack Wilshere is only 16 and most probably the youngest player on the pitch against West Ham but he certainly outshone the rest of the players. He started on the right hand side of midfield and it was from there he created the first goal.
He cut inside, passed his man and slid a ball on the floor right through the West ham defence for Rui Fonte to run onto and toe poke into the net via the near post.
But it was Wilshere’s goal that impressed everyone. He again picked the ball form the right hand side came infield and as the defenders backed off shot a delightful curler of a shot.
It almost bend near 180 degrees to evade the goalkeeper’s desperately outstretched hand to glide in off the post and into the net! No wonder Arsene Wenger had a very satisfying smile when he scored.
What was equally pleasing was that later on as Diaby was taken off with what may have been a hip problem Wilshere was moved into that central midfield role. He was just as good there too.
Despite his young age and small built he was able to actually dictate play shielding the ball well and spraying accurate passes around him and to the forwards.
He is really another exciting prospect in Liam Brady’s Academy conveyor belt.
Two other Arsenal youngsters keep impressing me every time I watch the reserves. Nacer Barazite, who is 17, plays with a lot of confidence and ease on the ball. He is very effective in that compatriot’s of his (Bergkamp) role just behind the front striker.
He is able to create space and time for himself spraying the passes that put other players in advantageous positions. He was very effective in that role.
The other youngster is another 17 year old Norwegian Havard Nordtveit. He is the one that Wenger went all the way to Norway to convince his club owner and his father to allow him to be transferred to Arsenal.
I can see why. He is a very confident and strong defender who plays with his brain.
His positioning is sound which is vital for a defender and his distribution is excellent with his long diagonal passes to either wing more often than not resulting with the Arsenal player being free of his marker and through into the opponents area.
There’s a lot of quality in the reserves coming through.