This time last year we published an article all about the youth players being tested out in upcoming pre-season games and we were very excited at the prospect of some of them being used throughout the season.
Well, none of them had what you would call a breakthrough season and truth be told they were hardly used.
We wrote these few lines about them.
We have already seen the likes of Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Matt Macey included in League Cup games and some EPL matches last season, but they are being joined by our midfielder Emile Smith Rowe and the impressive young defender Jordi Osei-Tutu.
Reiss Nelson was the U23 Player-Of-The-Season only just edging out his team-mate Eddie Nketiah and both are expected to play more regularly in the coming campaign, and Joe Willock has also been given his chances on the big stage. Smith Rowe comes with a very big reputation with the U23s and Osei-Tutu is expected to be the next challenger to Hector Bellerin when he fills. Despite only being 19 he has also impressed in the U23s.
Let’s be honest, what a great disappointment it must have been for those youngsters.
Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe were shipped out on loan to the Bundesliga with varying success.
Joe Willock ended up featuring in the Europa League final but overall had just six appearances in all competitions.
Eddie Nketiah managed nine appearances in all competitions.
Matt Macey was loaned to Plymouth Argyle and played in 38 games so that worked out well for him.
Jordi Osei-Tutu has yet to make his Premier League debut for Arsenal and will spend the whole of next season at Bochum in Germany.
Now, I am not suggesting that any of them deserved to be used regularly or that we must play the youngsters for the sake of it but I am saying do not be too disappointed if we do not go with youth this season.
Personally, I think at least two of the named players above should be used regularly this season and judging by comments on this site a lot of you feel the same way, especially in light of our low transfer budget.
But based on last year and to be fair, quite a few years now, we do not really blood our youth players that often.
That has to change but the signs are not so good that it will occur under Unai Emery.
But let’s wait and see, he may surprise us yet.