Wenger finally gives up on Arsenal’s youth experiment

Arsene Wenger is reknowned for bringing talented youngsters through the Arsenal Academy and making them into a team capable of challenging for the Premier League title, but although there have been a few near misses over the years they have not quite managed to reach the pinnacle.

In recent years though Wenger has brought in more mature players that are the finished product, like Sanchez, Ozil and Cech, and he now believes that he has assembled a team of mature “men” that can really take the club all the way to the top.

Wenger said in this morning’s pre-game press conference that Mustafi and Lucas could be the last pieces of his jigsaw puzzle: “They have settled very quickly and very well, so the real test is the games,” he said.

“We will see and know very soon, but what they do in training is promising. A least they have the quality and focus in training that we expected and on that front I’m very happy.

“We did [the deals] quite early compared to some other clubs because we finished our job on Saturday and the transfer deadline was on Wednesday. It was earlier than expected, because it was a quick turnaround on Saturday morning which we didn’t expect to go so quickly.

“They bring us qualities. Mustafi is a young centre back and already has international experience. Lucas is an interesting striker who is versatile, can play on the flank and especially though the middle. He can score goals and can also provide a good number of assists. With the way I like to play, that’s an interesting quality.

“I would say it’s the most mature squad I’ve had for a long time, because they are men,” added Wenger. “They are not 19 or 20 years old, they are 24, 27, 28 and the whole squad is quite mature.

“It’s the first time for a long time that I’ve had a team of what you can call men ready to compete. After, we have to show that we are good enough to beat everybody else.

“I always believe we have a chance, even when we had young players. Certainly I haven’t had a squad of players [like this] for a long time, who have enough experience to compete.”

So does this mean that he has finally realized that “you can’t win the title with boys” and will continue making sure that the bulk of his team is made up of experienced and quality players?



  1. mobaygunner says:

    We still got some youngster around..i just think he meant the mixture now is way better than a few yrs ago…we got winners now players who know how to win and he wenger as set his self up for no excuse this season…for me..challengimg for the epl till the last day and simi finale of champions league is minimum requirements…anything less he gotta go..

  2. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    Do we not have any 25 and 26 year olds?

  3. G-Rude says:

    Bellerin, Iwobi and possibly Holding are the only ones that could be considered youngsters that could get regular games for the first team, but only Bellerin for certain.

    1. Arsenal_Girl says:

      Coquelin joined us when he was 17 and was a revelation 2 years ago
      He is our best Defensive Midfielder

      1. G-Rude says:

        I agree that he WAS a youngster once as were Ramsey, Wilshere, etc, but he didn’t become a proper first team player til 2 years ago. He is 25 now and the finished product.

  4. RSH says:

    so he admits his teams were nothing more than youth experiments for a large part of our trophy drought… And he got paid for that.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      It wasn’t an experiment, it was necessity. Either top young players who could become great, because they are cheap/ or older players who are never going to be top ones, because the top ones are way too pricey. He went with the right choice, allot of teams were spending similar and more back then, we had a giant safety net in Arsene Wenger.

  5. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I Chambers doesn’t break through, he will be an expensive “experiment” at £16 million
    But I still have hope for him

    I don’t get why we kept Sanogo but got rid of Afobe though

    1. G-Rude says:

      Afobe looked good in the lower leagues but only got 4 goals in 15 games in his first year in Prem. I bet he’s on the bench toomorrow.
      Wenger should have got rid of Sanogo, Afobe and Akpom at the same time.

  6. Mo Owais says:

    Glad to see Wenger trying something different after 10 years!
    We need to start smashing teams 4/5 nil every week! This will start to bring back the fear factor in our oppositions every week.
    There was a time when we won games without even kicking a ball- I wana see them days again!

  7. Twig says:

    Arsenal fans are funny. On another post, I simply asked how does Iwobi compare to Walcott in terms of goals per assists per minute played, and all I got were thumb downs! Which I guess meant the guys had no courage to answer, because they didn’t like the stats when they looked them up 🙂

    I know Walcott bashing is the cool thing these days, but if I need that goal or assist out of Walcott, Iwobi, OX and Campbell, I know who I’ll play!

    1. PiresTheLegend says:

      Twig I agree with you. Theo bashing is cool right now, and I don’t agree with it.

      He has his obvious flaws, but people have been treating him like he’s andre santos lately and that’s the reason I wanted to look into his stats relative to Iwobi. Their compared stats flatter Theo, and while I think Iwobi has a lot to offer and a very bright future, Theo still gives a lot to this squad.

      Arsenal just have to play to his strengths. Play him against teams with a high line, stick him on their slowest CB and let him run off the back shoulder. And play 2 holding CM so that when he doesnt track back we are prepared.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        I thumbed you up Twig, even though I said plenty on Theo. I think the thumbs down might be because Theo is a senior player and paid very handsomely, he should be doing better than Iwobi, allot better. Whereas Iwobi has bags of potential, but he wont improve on his potential unless he’s playing. So if Walcott fails to deliver, they’d rather have seen Iwobi gain some valuable experience.

    2. RSH says:

      What a joke. Somebody DID answer you and they posted the stats, stop fishing for likes just because you got thumbed down for a comment.

  8. Twig says:

    Anyone saw the nearly-assist from Griezmann to Giroud against Belarus? Damn!

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Thats a very polite way of stating Giroud’s missed sitter! ?

      1. Twig says:

        Ha ha. I’ve seen worse misses to be frank. I would say the defender did a very good job to put Giroud off balance. But that “assist” really did deserve a goal 🙁

        1. bran99 says:

          With Giroud as the striker, even the most beautiful assists can be meaningless

  9. galen says:

    This is unbelievable. Gabby paulista is back in full training with the rest of the team. That was quick. Just seen his pictures on Arsenal.com. This is great news.

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Hahaha, Wow! .. What a miracle ? he was only out for a month with a sprained ankle lol ?.. Praise the Lord!!

    2. NY_Gunner says:

      Good to hear this. I really rate Gabe…I think his confidence took a hit after that sending off against Chelsea. Hope he comes back stronger, confidence wise.

    3. Mo Owais says:

      Lets hope Mertesacker is not taking the same stuff as Paulista!

    4. Twig says:

      _____Sanchez Ozil Coquelin Ramsey
      Monreal Mustafi Koscielny Gabriel Bellerin

      Very good lineup in the last few minutes of a must win game 😉

      1. muda says:

        In that case Xhaka needs to be there instead of Ozil, for 2 reasons: 1. His defensive protection and 2. His long passes.

    5. RSH says:

      medical team lied to Wenger cause even they wanted a better defender to come in.

  10. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Well that’s great news, So does this mean that we won’t be hearing anymore excuses from Wenger? ?

  11. Man Mulo says:

    Arsene Wenger is reknowned for bringing talented youngsters through the Arsenal Academy and making them into a team capable of challenging for the Premier League title,
    Is the first sentence of this article but im struggling to remember when Arsene did this if ever???

    1. Fatboy Gooney says:

      Bellerin and Errrrr there’s Bellerin and Errrrr.. did I already mention Bellerin? ?

      1. RSH says:

        exactly. Recently he’s been making youth players worse. Sanogo, Chambers, Gnabry, all their careers are in jeopardy. Bellerin is really the only success lately, but AW still holds a reputation for bring in copious amounts of youth talents. It’s boring and the only reason Gooners can scramble together a reason to keep this average manager.

  12. Man Mulo says:

    when have Arsenal ever challenged for the title with his so called talented youngsters, at least now the team has a lot of maturity and experience and i have my fingers crossed for this season, i think we can do it.

    1. Incarnate says:

      2008 until Eduardo got broken?

  13. Ronny331 says:

    Very glad to see more experience and maturity within our sqaud. Xhaka and mustafi should bring real leadership qualities. Saying this i still think if your good enough your old enough, (that old chestnut). # Rashford. Maybe some of our youngsters just aren’t good enough? Bellerin and iwobi are.

  14. Big G says:

    The youth experiment is what it always was, a cheaper way to build a team and make money to pay for the new stadium while still putting on an exhibition of good football in order to sell tickets and merchandise and the fans along with the business’s that bought boxes in the stadium paid for a large chunk of it if not all.

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