Sitting on top of the league, into the last 16 of the Champion’s League, a resounding defeat of the arch enemies in the FA Cup, a paid for state of the art stadium and a shed load of cash to spend, it is fair to say that Arsenal’s lot is a happy one.
When it is contrasted to the travails of the chosen one at Old Trafford, the lack of return for the eye watering investment in the outdated ruin called White Hart Lane and the frantic efforts of the Sheiks and the Oligarchs to try and concoct a means of squirming their way out Financial Fair Play rules then the situation improves further.
But the fun doesn’t end there. One of Wenger’s overwhelming ethos was to create a productive youth academy. Whether this meant having a scouting network that would pick out the fresh talent from origin like Wilshere, or to create a conducive environment where young talent recognize that their opportunities are better served in our superior facility, like Belerrin.
Wenger’s vision is utterly intact and successful. Right now Arsenal have a mouth watering array of talent at their disposal coming through the ranks. Fittingly it is in the creative department that we are abundant, and as if to reflect our first team it is particularly in midfield that we are truly blessed.
First up on the pedestal is the worst kept secret of the Arsenal academy, Gedion Zelalem. Zelalem came to prominence earlier this year in the pre-season tour in Asia. Playing along side the big boys not only did he not look out of place he outshone quite a few of the more established names.
His awareness of space and ability to create it is a huge asset. His decision making is consistently accurate and creative. And his touch and vision is God given. There are many talents that a footballer can be taught but vision is not one of them, and Zelalem has it. Witness his no look slide rule pass to Chamberlain and Walcott and marvel, in the same manner that Ramsey and Podolski are caught doing on camera as they shake their head in disbelief.
The reputation of our Academy took a hammering in April when Villa came to town and tore us apart 4-0. The architect of this destruction was duly signed and for good reason. If you want to see Dan Crowley doing damage to our own boys youtube the highlights of this game and sit back and enjoy. Enjoy only because he now belongs to us.
Thankfully this wasn’t a once off as he has repeated the feat last week in the FA Youth Cup against Peterborough with another virtuoso display. Akpom scored a hat trick and you would feel that in most circumstances that would be sufficient to be heralded as man of the match, but Crowley stole the show by setting up all the goals apart from the ones he scored.
Again this is worth youtubing to see the understanding between Zelalem, Crowley and Akpom. And then revel in the fact that the future is rosy and Arsenal.