By 1970’s Gooner
I expected that the Arsenal of the first half, containing a lot of first team players, would create a large enough goal scoring margin to allow the reserve side that was to come on in the second half to play with more ease.
It was in the end a very pleasant surprise that the opposite happened.
The first half eleven were as a unit too relaxed and not up to the fight to face a Barnet side that were obviously determined to make life as difficult as they could for their Premiership opponents.
The first half players that disappointed included the following:
Bendtner, looked not interested
Walcott, not effective enough in the middle of the attack but not helped by Bendtner
Traore, did not put in a decent cross all game
Lansbury, tried but was not effective enough- will he ever be?
Hoyte, left gaps in the middle of the defence- he is not a centre back
Denilson above all else, who after boldly staking a claim to take over from Flamini in the centre of Arsenal’s midfield failed disastrously to back it up with this insipid and ineffectual performance.
The only bright sparks of the first half were Nortveight and Ramsey.
Nordtveit always impresses me with his decisive tackling, accurate long balls and positional sense.
These will only improve with time and more exposure but I think we have here a centre back who will be a first team regular very early on.
Ramsey was the best player on the pitch, playing along side Denilson and doing all the playmaking and ball winning that Denilson should have been attending to.
In fact it was for this reason that Ramsey was hampered in going forward to help the attack.
He has the technique and the body strength to be a very effective central midfielder and it is obvious that he too has a bright future ahead of him.
The second half eleven consisting of reserve and youth team players were certainly up to the fight and more “street wise”.
They upped the tempo and tightened up in the centre of midfield with new boy Francis Coquelin carrying out his destructive duties efficiently thus allowing Randall to dictate the flow of the game from midfield quite well.
The ones that really stood out included Jay Simpson a no nonsense goal scorer who is not afraid to shoot.
His loan stint at Milwall has done him a lot of good. He scored the first after a delightful through ball by the exciting Jack Wilshere and set up the second for Barazite.
I cannot but be really eulogistic about 16 year old Wilshere. He is in the Alexander Hleb mould, full of trickery and technique but he will be a much more effective and goal scoring midfield schemer.
He was sensational once again receiving the ball on the right hand side of midfield avoiding opponents in his stride and putting in a wonderful reverse ball down the right hand side of Barnet’s defence for Simpson to latch on for the equaliser.
Wilshere also a hand in the second goal. Again cutting in from the right passing the ball to Simpson down the right channel who then cut it back for the on coming Barazite to slide home in off the right hand post.
You can watch the goals and highlights of the game on the video bar on the right hand side of the page.
The other player that also impresses me whenever I watch him is Nacer Barazite.
He is a Bergkamp style of player who possesses skill and the confidence to hold the ball up, create time to look up and find players.
He scores goals too and I think he also has a bright future. He may need however a loan season somewhere to get first team football behind his belt.
Arsenal’s future taking into account the talent that exists in the reserve and youth teams looks quite exceptional. What Arsenal needs now however is more experience and mature first team players to get that balance right.