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Arsenal’s Academy Produces Great Strikers But What About The Defenders?

Written by Arsenal Kid.

Has anyone noticed that most of the teenagers coming through from the youth teams are all attack minded players? In recent years, we have had players like Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Jack Wilshere and more recently Henri Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel Thomas being blooded into the first team. In the youth ranks we have the next generation of potential players who can make the grade to the first team like Benik Afobe, Luke Freeman, Gilles Sunu et al who have been making headlines with the youth international teams.

So what’s happening to the defenders? Besides Johan Djourou, I have not seen or heard anyone close to making the grade into the first team. Last season we saw, Craig Eastmond and Thomas Cruize having a run in the first team in the Carling Cup and Champions League but since then nothing much have been heard of the defensive players. Is it possible that our academy is not capable of producing talented defenders given their focus on attacking play. If Djourou is anything to go by, it is no surprise that no of the youth team members can make the grade into the first team.

It seems strange that when these players were first scouted they seem to be the best of the bunch but after  being in the academy for some time their abilities have either stagnant or gone worst. Case in point, Philipe Senderos, who came in as the most wanted young defender of his generation but left after a whole series of calamitous performances. Another defender Havard Nordveit, was supposed to be the new ‘Tony Adams’ when he signed on but he is nowhere near that today.

It just seems strange to me that the academy can produce world class attackers but cannot replicate the same with defenders. It is something which Arsene Wenger would need to address as he seeks to balance his squad with old hands and new wonders every year. There are not many world class defenders available and they don’t come cheap so having the academy produce these wonders would be the best solution in the long run.



  1. Kutz

    November 3, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Perhaps you’re not aware of the 3 top left-backs that the Arsenal academy has produced in Cole, Clichy and Gibbs?

    I’d agree that we’ve not done so well in the centre-half category, but while not being Arsenal quality Upson’s no mug.

    Nordveit could perhaps be one to make the grade in the next few seasons.

  2. mjc

    November 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I guess Kieran Gibbs is a figment of my imagination….?!

    On a more general note, it is to be expected that attacking players, where speed and audaciouness are key, will show their worth at an earlier age than defensive players, where focus, concentration and experience are paramount.

  3. steveyj

    November 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Not actually true, we’ve got the likes of kyle bartley, Ignais Miquel, Tom Cruise, Kieran Gibbs, Pedro Botelho, Havard Nordtveit, Craig “the flasher” Eastmond

  4. david

    November 3, 2010 at 9:54 am

    mjc – has it spot on, and from what i have seen of Havard Nordveit he looks like a good composed ball playing centerback and will easly be = to what Gary Cahill is when Havard is his age..

  5. eclairz

    November 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Maybe the defenders have lost all their confidence because of such great attacking players, this is the downside of having such a strong attack minded player. Also Arsene prefers players who love to be on the ball, and sometimes thats not a good idea for a defender. Same goes with goalkeepers, nothing inspires confidence like a clean sheet, which is probably why we cultivated a great defence when were “one-nil to the arsenal”.

    This maybe a good reason for buying experienced defenders but training and pushing attacking players into the team.

  6. Wale

    November 3, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Vote Nasri that manure Chicktarito is leading get behind Samir

  7. fabulousgunner

    November 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

    i think we are producing defenders in some certain areas of the defence take K. Gibbs and A. Cole for an example. we produce full backs but lack in the central defenders but i can see a bright prospect coming out soon to change that view.

  8. fabulousgunner

    November 3, 2010 at 10:06 am

    i think we are producing defenders in some certain areas of the defence take K. Gibbs and A. Cole for an example. we produce full backs but lack in the central defenders but i can see a bright prospect coming out soon to change that view.
    watch out for MIQUEL

  9. Greg

    November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Kyle Bartley looks a good bet in the centre of defence

  10. gunna4life

    November 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    kyle bartley, frimpong & gibbs!!!

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