The fallout from the Emirates Cup: positive signs

WTTGT Writer: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne

Hot weather, the return of a legend, failure to hold on to leads, costly defensive mistakes, shock winners of the competition and disgruntled fans: last weekend’s Emirates Cup was certainly packed with incidents and many talking points. There was also a glimpse of three future Arsenal stars to provide some positivity.

Kyle Bartley and Benik Afobe back the season-long loans made their first appearances at the Emirates Stadium with the Arsenal first-team, whilst Emmanuel Frimpong returning from a season-long injury showed why he’s highly rated by Arsène Wenger.

Kyle Bartley

I don’t know about anybody else, but the size of this young man had me in shock for about five minutes after he replaced Koscielny. Even though I followed his progress whilst he was on loan at Rangers last season, I never realised just how massive he is. He must be about 6’3! Do Arsenal really need Chris Samba when this guy is waiting in the ranks? After witnessing individual mistakes from TWO senior defenders in Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci from the previous day, Kyle’s appearance was highly anticipated amongst the fans. It was just unfortunate that it was his own goal that led to New York Red Bulls winning the tournament. But in my mind he won’t be remembered for that, as his crunching tackle towards the end of the game showed he could be what Arsenal are lacking in defence, definitely one for the future.

2011/12 Season prospects

Many fans would rather see him instead of Squillaci and rightly so, but he will probably start the season as the 5th or even 6th choice centre-back depending on transfer activity, so a loan move – preferably to a Premier League club – would be the logical solution for a player who has just signed a new contract with the club. He will surely be a part of Arsenal’s defence for years to come.

Emmanuel Frimpong

The Ghanaian born midfielder is built like a tank. I was very impressed with his performance against Boca Juniors last Saturday. Injury prevented him from playing first-team football last season, but he’s back and looks better, stronger and hungrier. Technically he is not the best, but what impresses me about him is the way he uses his body strength to shield the ball away from the opposition. He’s not afraid to get stuck in, he keeps his passes short and simple, he rarely ventures into the attacking areas and most of all he provides good protection for the defence. Give him a few seasons and he will REPLACE Alex Song in the defensive midfield role.

2011/12 Season prospects

Will be a part of the first team squad this season and will push Song hard for a starting place. I expect him to feature in all the cup games and with Alex off to the African Cup of Nations in the New Year; it could be a big season for Frimpong.

Benik Afobe

He is the next big thing! Mark my words. Not putting any pressure on the youngster but his 67 minute showing against the Red Bulls showed me why he is so highly regarded. Playing out wide which isn’t his favourite position, but he excelled, showing pace, power and awareness. He offered more in one game than Marouane Chamakh has in all the pre-season games. Sky’s the limit for him!

2011/12 Season prospects

This is a tricky one, he could be a very useful player next season, but another loan move wouldn’t harm is progress.

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