The Youth of Today

West Brom 0-2 Arsenal

There was me, pinging text messages to anyone who’d listen, saying that last night’s side was too inexperienced and didn’t have enough backup on the bench, when up popped Jérémie Aliadière (note: the first and last time I shall bother with all the accents) to score a penalty. Then just as the second half began up he popped again, slotting in Walcott’s cross to make it two and to cap off a fantastic night for a very, very young Arsenal side.

With the exception of Almunia, the goalscorer was the eldest outfield player at 23, a quite staggering fact. Often, in the Milk Cup, Wenger will sprinkle in an old head or two to balance up the side, but he didn’t last night, and to be fair, he was vindicated with the result. It’s not even as if they were that experienced either – I can’t be exact about it, but Senderos was probably the most capped Arsenal player out there, and he can’t have played more than 50 games for us.

So all in all, if not the most fluent of games to start with, it got going and we appeared to grow into it as the match progressed. It was a superb result. Great night too for Aliadiere, who it’s fair to say is low down the pecking order at present following three incredibly unproductive loan spells and a few nasty injuries. It’s just what he needed.

I’d forgotten too what a mucky surname he’s got. Witness Radio 5 Live’s Bryan Hamilton (I think that’s who it was) last night, who was all over the shop, veering from Addy-Addy-Air to Ally-Ally-Air, and it’s a shame we didn’t have Graham Taylor there too for his unique take on foreign names. Having said that, I know how he feels. It’s got ten vowels from beginning to end, with three accents sitting prettily on top. It’s a proper pitfall of a name. He needs a trip down to the deed poll shop to put everyone out of their misery.

And finally, some info for seasoned stadium watchers. The Arsenal Independent Supporters Association (AISA) has been lobbying hard to ensure the Haemhorroids Stadium is given a more Arsenal feel inside, and it seems the voices of the Arsenal fans have been heard. Apparently, the stadium manager has confirmed those three grey bands of concrete may have gone as soon as Saturday. The top band will be filled with something trophy related, the second band with some Arsenal “notation” and the bottom one will be consumed by advertising.

I look forward to seeing that.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.