Tomorrow’s defenders with a chance to prove themselves today


Most of us would give our eye teeth to be part of the Arsenal squad with a chance of getting some time out there in the middle. Of course, for those lucky and talented few, it is not all Premiership glory and choosing which Bentley to buy. It can be a long hard slog of training sessions, youth matches, periods on loan and boredom.

Here, we will take a look at some of the challenges of being on the periphery of the Arsenal first team when you are a young, talented and enthusiastic professional footballer, as well as picking out a few who might get a chance to prove themselves in defence this year.

Challenges of being a squaddie Gunner

A mixture of youth, boredom and money to burn sounds like a recipe for trouble, particularly when the media are quick to leap all over any indiscretions. These factors go some way to explaining why an academic study conducted by the University of Cheshire found that you are more than three times more likely to develop a gambling addiction if you happen to be a professional footballer.

Learn the rules to blackjack and life

To suggest that pro footballers need to learn blackjack strategy in order to avoid problems down the line might sound flippant, but the point is actually a serious one. The popularity of online casino apps means many young players find themselves drawn in without really knowing what they are doing. The key is education, and learning how the game works, what you stand to lose and how you can reduce the house edge. Blackjack guides like not only provide strategy tips, but also give pragmatic lessons on the reality of online gaming.

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The guide also goes to great labours to put across is that whether it is online or in a casino, a game of blackjack, or indeed any other casino activity should be treated as an enjoyable pastime that will ultimately cost money. Those who have a healthy relationship with the hobby are the ones who understand and accept that the house always wins.

A glimpse at tomorrow’s defenders

So who among those up and coming stars might we glimpse being offered first team opportunities at centre-back in the EFL Cup or Europa League over the coming weeks?

Julio Pleguezuelo left the field through injury during last month’s U23 match up against Leicester, but if fit, he will be an obvious option, while 18 year old Josh Dasilva made his debut for the senior team when he came on as sub in the EFL Cup third round tie against Doncaster. There is certainly a good chance of him receiving more game time in the fourth round match against Norwich later this month.

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Wenger has mentioned Charlie Gilmour as an option in defence, despite being a midfielder, and he could be used in the same way as Marcus McGuane, another midfielder who has been given opportunities to show what he can do at centre-back.

With the likes of Chiori Johnson, Ben Sheaf and Shkodran Mustafi all recovering from injury, we could certainly see some less familiar names in the back row, particularly when the first choice defenders will need to be protected for the Premiership. Put that way, there is little chance of these promising young defenders having time to get bored and run in to trouble for the time being, at least.

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