Premier League Squad Reaction

One day after the transfer window closed, the next day of football hype was yesterday’s Premier League 5pm deadline and each team had to submit a 25-man squad, including a maximum of 17 foreign players over 21 and a maximum of 8 home grown players over 21.

It had all the suspense of a transfer window – well, actually quite a lot less than the day before – and it was very clear who we would name. A simple look at the squad and it was clear whom we had, who was over 21 and who was foreign. The teams trickled in and the world was astonished when Man United named Owen Hargreaves. A quick look at their website told me that in fact they actually included everyone they could and no-one was left out – hence, why both leaving Hargreaves out if there was a space for him? Creative journalism by half the media!

Our squad was the last to be announced – probably because us as a club, always announce things much later than anyone else… but the squad you’ve been waiting for is officially announced:

Senior squad

  1. Almunia, Manuel
  2. Arshavin, Andrey
  3. Bendtner, Nicklas
  4. Chamakh, Maroune
  5. Clichy, Gael
  6. Denilson, Pereka Neves
  7. Diaby, Vassiriki Abou
  8. Djourou-Gbadjere, Johan Danon
  9. Eboue, Emmanuel
  10. Fabianski, Lukasz
  11. Fabregas Soler, Francesc
  12. Koscielny, Laurent
  13. Mannone, Vito
  14. Nasri, Samir
  15. Rosicky, Tomas
  16. Sagna, Bacary
  17. Song Bilong, Alexandre Dimitri
  18. Van Persie, Robin
  19. Vermaelen, Thomas
  20. Squillaci, Sebastien

Under 21 players

  • Afobe, Benik
  • Aneke, Chukwuemeka Ademola Amachi
  • Angha, Martin Yves
  • Ansah, Zak Andy
  • Barazite, Nacer
  • Bartley, Kyle
  • Bihmoutine, Samir
  • Boateng, Daniel
  • Botelho, Pedro Roberto Silva
  • Brislen-Hall, George
  • Bunjaku, Alban
  • Campbell, James Andrew
  • Charles-Cook, Reice Jordan
  • Coquelin, Francis
  • Cruise, Thomas Daniel
  • Deacon, Roarie
  • Eastmond, Craig Leon
  • Ebecilio, Kyle Stephen Joel
  • Edge, James Michael
  • Emmanuel-Thomas, Jay-Aston
  • Evina, Cedric David
  • Freeman, Luke Anthony
  • Frimpong, Emmanuel Yan
  • Galindo, Samuel
  • Gibbs, Kieran James Ricardo
  • Glasgow, Benjamin Luke
  • Hajrovic, Sead
  • Henderson, Conor Alan
  • Hoyte, Gavin Andrew
  • Lansbury, Henri George
  • Martinez, Damain Emiliano
  • McDermott, Sean
  • Meade, Jernade Ronnel
  • Miquel-Pons, Ignasi
  • Monakana, Jeffrey
  • Monteiro, Elton Almada
  • Murphy, Rhys Philip Elliot
  • Nordtveit, Havard
  • Oldfield Spence-Neita, Nigel Paul
  • Ozyakup, Oguzhan
  • Ramsey, Aaron James
  • Randall, Mark
  • Rees, Joshua David
  • Roberts, Philip James
  • Shea, James
  • Smith, Steven Robert
  • Sunu, Gilles
  • Szczesny, Wojciech Tomasz
  • Traore, Armand
  • Vela Garrido, Carlos Alberto
  • Walcott, Theo James
  • Watt, Herschel Oulio Sanchez
  • Webb, Callum Taylor
  • Wilshere, Jack Andrew
  • Wynter, Jordan James Cecil
  • Yennaris, Nicholas

As you can see, we’ve named only 20 people in our senior squad. Mainly because a lot of our squad still qualifies for our under 21 squad, names such as Theo Walcott, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, and of course, future number one, Wojciech Szczesny…

The squad itself is the youngest of the top tier and we actually had 4 more foreign spaces and 1 more homegrown (over 21), but Theo will take that spot next year… and that’s something to be aware of – how many of these players will be over 21 come January 2012 (the cut off point for next season)… which is probably why we’ve kept the squad dynamic as it is.

It’s amazing to see that Theo Walcott is still classified in our under 21 roster, considering how we feel that he’s been around for a hell of a lot of time, but I think we have to all realise that the boy is just 21, and like Vela, about to start an amazing career – if he’s not reached the dizzy heights yet, than that’s okay – players like Walcott, Vela, Wilshere and Ramsey have more than 10 years of first team action ahead of them.

Walcott took some time out to talk to the official site about his improvements and had this to say:

“It has gone very well so far for club and country. I had a very good pre-season, no injuries, I had a nice break over the summer and everything is going well so far. I stay behind to improve on things like the final ball, the end product, stuff like that. I practice crossing and finishing and penalties. I’m not the best at penalties. Vito Mannone goes in goal and I work with Bacary Sagna on the right, working on that combination and putting crosses in for the strikers. We get Marouane Chamakh in there, too, so he can get used to where the crosses are going to go. Hopefully it pays off in the games. If you get your body and your brain used to it, it happens. Sometimes I still like to come inside, and, hopefully, I’ll get on the scoresheet again this season. But as a winger you also want to get wide and provide assists. You want to keep the width, especially for the fantastic players in the middle. Arsène Wenger talks to me about being aggressive, running at players. So far this season I’ve been doing that. This season I’ve been going to the gym more. I don’t want to slow myself down but if I got kicked when I was younger I probably would have stayed down. Now I get up. That’s when a full back thinks, ‘I’m going to have a torrid day.’”

How inspirational is that? Walcott had a bit of a merry fall from grace last season and he lost some fans, and also lost the faith of Fabio Capello – whether or not he inclusion in the previous summer’s under 21 tournament was all too much or whether the boy just simply needed a rest – whatever it was, we’re now finally seeing the Theo Walcott than Arsene believed in from such a young age. And it’s really positive to see him knuckle down and improve.

I’ll leave it at that for now… but will be back tomorrow for a preview… hold on… oh not another International break…….. Argh!

  • Berth

    Theo has improved undeniably but its still early days and we need performances like these against teams like Chelsea and united.

  • theusualsuspect

    We have been able to name a decent squad and with this rule coming into place I dont know how these clubs like Citeh will survive. But I still feel we have missed a trick.The story is well known. The expense of the stadium forced short-term belt tightening so that the future could be a prosperous one. We had, still have if you ask me, the best man for the job driving Arsenal forward: a man with a flair for spotting and developing young players and who prioritises a seductive brand of the game that did much to draw the sting of reduced competitiveness.But as with all painkillers, it can only go so far. We are ensconced in the E******s, paying through the nose for the years of plenty we were promised, which have not strictly arrived. We must accept that things don’t change overnight, that Man City and Chelsea have shifted the goalposts somewhat, and that relative to 88 other clubs, ours is hardly an unfortunate position. Maybe we are being just that little bit impatient as we wait for big signings and big victories but the manager has done little to discourage it of late. Despite his contract extension, the long-termism of his squad management has us wondering how much closer we are to winning the league again and still threatens to draw his time at the club to an unfortunately sour conclusion.Melodramatic? Maybe, but dissatisfaction with Wenger is at an all-time high, the gap between Arsenal and the top two is still as wide as last season and the competition from below is stronger than at any other time in Wenger’s Arsenal career.This transfer window was a chance for Arsenal, for Arsene, to fix problems that have been all too evident to onlookers. It was a chance to push us right back into title contention as United and Chelsea had another quiet summer. It was a chance to insulate ourselves against our wretched injury plague and a winter that includes European ties in midweek followed by away games to Chelsea, City, Sunderland, Villa and United.While I won’t belittle the possible contributions that can be made by Chamakh, Koscielny and Squillaci this squad is still worryingly flawed and fragile for one with realistic intentions of winning something meaningful in May next year. We have little chance of coping with extended absences for Van Persie, Cesc and Vermaelen, injuries to two of our top centre backs exposes the permanently crocked Djourou or significantly weakens our midfield through the redeployment of Song and, most importantly, we continue to rely on a goalkeeper who is more likely to cost us five points a season than save them.Arsenal has the money to do things differently. There is simply not the desire. This might not just be about Wenger’s preference for proving wrong those that doubt his young charges. The board have ignored a tangible sense of divergence between the manager and the fans by extending his contract already, so they can clearly live with healthy P&Ls and no silverware. But, when the manager clearly ties his lack of activity in the transfer market to his concern for not stunting young players’ development, he places himself and his project in the firing line.Djourou, Denilson and Diaby can be identified as players to whom Wenger has given the benefit of the doubt. In doing so, three have faced increased scrutiny and less patience from the stands with Diaby the closest to redeeming himself but still with plenty to do. Add Sczeczny to that list. With a handful of marquee keepers with plenty in the tank – Buffon, Stekelenburg, Lloris – ignored for a 38 year old for whom £5 million was eventually thought too much to spend, it seems clear that Wenger wants to leave the path for the young Pole to assume the number one role relatively clear, perhaps as early as next season. The pressure on him is growing already, and there’s no guarantee he will thrive under it. In the meantime Arsenal’s hopes rest in Almunia rediscovering and then improving on his form of two seasons ago (and remaining healthy so that we don’t have to endure Fabianski). If he doesn’t, and it is unlikely, then the fans will most likely be forced to suffer for another season, many conscious that the short-term has been sacrificed again for the untested potential of youth.Arsenal have made a decent start to the season. A creditable if blunt point at Anfield and romp in the sun against Blackpool told us little, while victory against Blackburn spoke of renewed enthusiasm and determination. But the season has hardly started. The churn of games, the arrival of high-pressure clashes with fellow title contestants is on the horizon and this squad will need to show steel it has not yet managed. The run of fixtures and competition from elsewhere in the league is more intense than ever, but Wenger’s principles have not bowed. For everyone’s sake, including his but especially ours, let us hope he is proved right

  • Bonathan

    Don’t always find myself agreeing all of your posts ‘usual’ but i think that’s pretty accurate summation of the situation we find ourselves in.

    I think the ray of light that could be the difference for us this year is the hope that many of our ‘youngsters’ are really going to come of age. Yes, it’s what we keep saying every year, but there has been a continious steady improvement in the quality of the likes of bentner, diaby, denilson and song. Walcott has really made an impression early on this season and hopefully that can continue and we can get a few other nice surprises from the likes of Vela, Ramsey, Djourou, gibbs and dare i say it, fabianski.

    I look around and i see a man utd team who’s attack is so heavily reliant on rooney (throughout a season) it’s unreal, and has a rio ferdinand who will never get back to his best. A man city team that i expect do do better but i think winning the title is still beyond them at this stage. A livepool squad that is still a bit thin. And Granted, chelsea have an impressive squad, but even they seem a bit short in the CB area if they suffer a couple of injuries. For these reason’s, we are still very much in with a shout. However, there’s no doubt we would have all felt much more confidant with a world class goal tender

  • Berth

    we have been through these analysis of other teams being short but tgen winning the league involves quality in key areas. We wont win the league am afraid