Tuesday 27 October 2015

Wenger: 'They are not ready to play at this level'

After an incredibly disappointing display and defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup, post-match Arsene Wenger said the youngsters making their debuts 'are not ready to play at this level'.

It may be a damning verdict on Iwobi, Kamara, Bennacer and Bielik, but is it true?
In the Sky Sports studio, Paul Merson blamed the more experience players for the performance, saying: 'The seasoned pros let the young kids down tonight.'

Personally, I couldn't see Arsenal scoring, after first Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Theo Walcott limped off. Olivier Giroud was isolated. Who could give him the ball? Not Joel Campbell, who kept losing the ball.

The Arsenal defence looked good on paper, but marshalled by the victim of a recent illness, Per Mertesacker, the Gunners looked leaden-legged. Non-existent marking meant even Petr Cech couldn't keep the ball out of the net.

Once Arsenal went three down, it was never going to be another 7-5 win away in this competition. That Reading game came to mind but, on that occasion, Arsenal fielded the likes of Martinez, Djourou, Arshavin, Miquel, Jenkinson, Frimpong, Gnabry, Chamakh and Coquelin. There was a lot more proven quality about those 'fringe' players.

However, it's too early to write off the youngsters. You learn more from defeat than victory so, by that token, much will be learned from such a heavy and embarrassing defeat. At least, Iwobi improved as the game went on and Bennacer looked decent in deadball situations. Bielik looked composed at times and Kamara has a good engine. To show that away from home on your debut is not bad going at all, so all four should keep their heads up.

Arsenal fans will struggle to do that now that Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are both facing spells on the sidelines.

Sent from my iPhone

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