Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday March 2 2012
It`s not only the first team programme that is interrupted by pointless international friendlies. Both the Ladies and Reserves have endured something of a hiatus this week in respect of international fixtures. The Reserves fixture list is always on pause during international weeks. Though there was still some significance for Arsenal`s Reserves this week. For the England U-21s, Henri Lansbury, on loan at West Ham United, scored two goals in a 4-0 win over Belgium U-21s at the Riverside Stadium. (Alex Oxlade Chamberlain also scored in that game).
Lansbury`s wind assisted first effort from right out on the left touchline has become something of a YouTube sensation. Many Arsenal fans seem to maintain hopes that Lansbury could yet become part of the first team picture at Arsenal. I have my doubts. He`s started only three of West Ham`s ten matches (all of which were defeats) and was left out of one entirely. Last season, he spent most of his loan spell in the Championship at Norwich on the substitutes` bench too. At the age of 21, you`d have to be a stellar Championship performer to harbour hopes of becoming a member of Arsenal`s first team squad. Lansbury has not suggested that pedigree and he will likely find himself moved on in the summer I would imagine.
Another academy product that will probably be packed off this summer will be Gavin Hoyte. Brother of fellow Academy graduate Justin, now at Middlesbrough, Hoyte Junior has just returned from a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon. Gavin, a quick centre half who has now doubt inherited some of his athleticism from his professional sprinter parents, was largely used as a substitute during his time in South West London. You have to believe, with his 22nd birthday approaching this summer that he has no future at Arsenal. He hasn`t featured in the first team since he started a league fixture away at Manchester City in November 2008 and was promptly tormented by an in form Robinho.
Hoyte had captained the Reserves last season, but seems to have fallen behind current captain Ignasi Miquel in the pecking order. Elsewhere creative midfielder Oghuzan Ozyakup was an unused substitute for Turkey`s U-21 side in midweek. The Reserves are back on schedule next week, when they face Chelsea Reserves at Cobham training ground on Monday, a 14.05 kickoff behind closed doors. The last home fixture against Everton has now been rearranged from Monday, 2nd April to Tuesday, 1st May at 7pm owing to Barnet`s commitments. That will be Arsenal`s last ever reserve fixture at Barnet`s Underhill Stadium. Indeed, it could be the last fixture ever played at the stadium with Barnet due to leave Underhill after their home game against AFC Wimbledon on April, 28th.
It`s been an international week for the Ladies too, who will have seen their pre season training disrupted by various players representing their nations. Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracey, Ciara Grant and Niamh Fahey line up for Eire against teammates Jayne Ludlow and Anghared James representing Wales tonight. Fahey is fresh from winning Eire`s player of the Year for 2011. Arsenal striker Ellen White won the equivalent award for England. Her and Stephanie Houghton played in a 1-0 victory for England over Switzerland, Jennifer Beattie and Kim Little were involved for Scotland in a 2-1 win over Holland. Jordan Nobbs got on the scoresheet for England U-23s as they drew 2-2 with their Swedish counterparts.
The draw for the 5th Round of the Ladies Cup- for which, naturally, Arsenal are the holders, took place this week. The Gunners have been handed a tricky away tie at Lincoln City Ladies. It doesn`t exactly sound like the tie that Lady Imps manager Glen Harris wanted saying, "Obviously we would liked to have avoided the favourites, but if you want to progress in any competition you have to beat the best." But Laura Harvey probably would have liked an easier tie too, given that the Ladies have a crunch Champions League tie with Gothenburg three days later. The match takes place at Lincoln United`s Ashby Avenue ground on Sunday, 11th March at 2pm. If you`re in the locality, tickets are priced at £6 adults and £3 concessions. More next week. LD.
Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA
Date:Friday March 2 2012
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