Do not be so confident Unai Emery will promote youth this season

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.


  1. “But based on last year and to be fair, quite a few years now, we do not really blood our youth players that often.” Name me one single other team in the top 6 who give their academy players more minutes than Arsenal do (at least until Emery got here).

  2. I predict only Nelson would get promoted

    But if Aubameyang or Lacazette leaves, Nketiah might get his chance

    Waiting to see Omari Hutchinson and Joel Lopez

    1. Been waiting to see omari Hutchinson in action since forever. The boy is really special just hope we are able to keep hold of him.

      1. I hope Bielik can be a revelation like Coquelin

        Coquelin worked hard to earn his place in the first team, unfortunately his efforts diminished in the next season and he was plagued by injuries

  3. AMN played in over 30 games for us last season. I know Guendouzi was bought in, but hes played in over 30 games too.
    Reiss Nelson will look to have involvement in 25 games i reckon, up to him to take it and get more minutes if he can. I hope we see more of AMN in midfield rather than right full/wing back.
    Joe Willock would be the other standout in my eyes along with Eddie Nketiah. Plenty of involvement in the squad and beach appearances in the offing for those 2 I reckon

  4. Eddie plays a very similar style to that of laca and I believe we will see more of him this coming season with Nelson and willock playing a bit part

  5. I believe promoting 2/3 is ok this is EPL
    Kids can’t win you many matches you need proven quality and experience.. youths can slowly be integrated into the side not throwing them into xi or else we see a case of super talent

  6. Would be a big mistake not to give Nelson, Bielik and Willock and ESR serious minutes in the first team in both cups but also PL.

    We can not compete financially so we have to promote our young players AND we have to be seen by young talents as a club that gives youngsters a chance so we can compete to sign talented young players.

    If you are the next big talent you might choose AFC if you see you have a good chance of playing in the first team instead of signing for City or Chelsea where you are more likely to sit on the bench.

    We have to find an edge and we know it won’t be a financial edge so it has to be in developing and attracting young talent.
    You can not do that if you loan them out and never give them a chance.

    Let’s face it you don’t have to be a Robben to break into our first team. Nelson has to be able to contribute. Do we truly have wingers who are miles ahead of him on the right side of the pitch?

    We risk all these players leaving us if we can’t bring them through. Gnarby?

  7. I see just 2 options :
    – Give Emery 100m budget, does not matter if it has to come from Ozil/Mkhi sells. If Auba goes, make it 150m
    – Or fix the defense, a CB and Tierney would be a good start,and promote from within. Does not matter how much they are tested, our youngsters deserve a chance in EPL. At least they have better value to gain minutes and become a top player with us, or be sold later with minutes under their belt – better than getting a 29 year old Brahimi with high wages long contract to be struck with

    1. I agree with you. Give youth a chance; Nelson doesn’t neet to score 15 goals this season. He just needs to get by defenders and create space for Auba and Laca, and keep opponents from locking up our central midfielders.

      £45 million won’t get us back into CL or top 4. Get Tierney and CB and FINALLY fix the defense.

    2. Amitosh – I understand your thinking and agree with option 2. However, I think you are dreaming if you think we sell Ozil and Mkhi for £100 million. I don’t think we will find takers for Ozil and we would be lucky to find someone to pay £25 million for Mkhi if at all.

      I fully expect us to fail in our endeavours to sell these players anything else is a pleasant surprise.

  8. How we let Jordi go out on loan with Hector missing the beginning of the season is a travesty. Should have at least given him pre-season to see if he could fill the void. Would have been plenty of time to still work out a loan after. Had it not been for debuchy getting hurt we wouldn’t have discovered Hector. Emery has some making up to do this year. If he isn’t the long term coach for arsenal he could screw up our long term plans by not giving chances to players like Nketia, Sakho, John-Jules, Ameachi, Bielik, Willock, Nelson, and ESM. If Emery fails this year and leaves but these young talents run out their contracts because they weren’t given a shot Arsenal’s long term future could be even bleaker than they are now. Our only chance to compete with Man City and Liverpool is to have youth players sell for big money if they won’t stay because right now we literally can’t even pay other teams to take the players we deem not good enough. Hopefully Freddie isn’t just a show piece and will let his presence be known and stick up for these incredibly promising academy players. COYG

  9. Emery is on a hiding to nothing as coach (not manager) of Arsenal next season.
    If he is not supported by the Board in the transfer market and fails to make a Champions League place he is out.
    If he doesn’t promote youth into the first team he is out.
    Oh well good luck to the next coach/manager coming through the revolving door. It is much easier to blame the manager and keep changing them on short term contracts, than to look to addressing the structural and player issues, which require investment in money and time.

    1. Don’t expect investments from this owner. He has been quite clear he wants this club to run on its own means.

  10. Unless we can unload a number of our experienced /aging players there is little prospect of our youngsters being given the opportunities they need .They are our future and it is surely in the best longer term interests of our Club to give them a chance particularly at a time when we are strapped for cash.Most fans of Arsenal will back Emery if he decides to give youth a chance.

    1. We should play Nelson ahead of Mkhi on the right in my book or at least sharing game time 50/50. We should give Willock serious minutes in cups and PL games, hard to see how we can not give Bielik a serious look (or we lose him) and ESR should also be included in the squad IMO.

  11. As others have said the one I would like to see giving a chance is Bielek, he’s not a raw youngster now and deserves a chance to prove himself. If you don’t play these players you never know.

  12. Leno

    Bellerin Chambers/new Holding Tierney

    Maitland-Niles Torreira

    Nelson 1 of 10 wingers were linked with


    This combined with an old bench could take us top 6 but at least it’s
    a line-up the fans can relate to.

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