There are hundreds of youngsters that go through Arsenal’s Academy and they all have high praise for the quality of the training, although very few of them actually go on to be first teamers for the Gunners some of them do go on and make careers for themselves at lesser clubs.
One of those is Isaac Hayden, a midfielder who spent his whole of his youth with Arsenal but only ever made two League Cup appearances. Last summer he was sold on to Newcastle United and played 32 times as the Magpies won the Championship last season. Now he can’t wait to be reunited with his old club on the pitch. He will still have to wait another six months though as Newcastle are due to travel to Arsenal on December 16. The return fixture at St James’ Park is on April 14.
Hayden told the Northern Echo: “That is the first fixture I was going to look for, home and away. It’s a hard one because I still have a place in my heart for Arsenal because I was there for eight years and it was a massive part of my development and a massive part of me as a person.
“I can never forget that and I have got a lot to thank them for in terms of the staff and the players and everybody that was there.
“But come next season, hopefully we can do the double over them. There would be nothing better than that.”
There are not many newly-promoted teams that manage to beat Arsenal once, never mind twice! But Isaac is welcome to live in hope, and I am sure Wenger will also be looking forward to pitching his wits against another old enemy in Rafael Benitez.
May the best team win!