Speaking to the Arsenal website ahead of the game with Southampton, Arsene Wenger revealed that several youth team members could feature in the game tomorrow. Additionally, he provided updates on the injury status of some of the first team. Arsenal face Southampton in the third round of the League Cup, and since that is not really a top priority for the team, this is a great game in which to give the youth some valuable playing time.
And this is a tried and tested method for the squad; players like Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas have been discovered this way.
Here is what Wenger had to say regarding the youth players:
On Tuesday night you might see Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Isaac Hayden. In the squad we have Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi as well. These are the players that are the closest.
When asked about Chuba Akpom:
I’m happy that he has developed as a goalscorer, because when he was a younger kid, his problem was finishing. That has gone now. He’s a very good finisher and he has now to learn the tactical side of his game. Then he will be ready, because he is a huge talent.
About Under-21 Captain Isaac Hayden:
He’s a ball winner, he’s a good central defender and a good central midfielder. Technically he was working on his game a bit, but now he is ready for that level.
This is one youngster that you should keep a close eye on; with our lack of defensive depth he could become a regular in the first team this season.
On whether Monreal could feature tomorrow:
He is not far, but he is not ready yet.
On whether Yaya Sanogo will be fit:
He is similar, he will be back after the international break.
Sanogo’s injury has cost him playing time; with the injury to Giroud, he could have featured before today had he been fully fit.
On whether Theo Walcott or Serge Gnabry will be available in the near future:
Theo is doing very well, and Gnabry is doing very well too. They should be available after the international break for full training.
A good platform for the up and coming youngsters tomorrow, and if the team does well against Southampton then we may see some of the better performers feature more regularly in the first team.