Remember that time when Tom Cruise gave Hollywood a break just to play for Arsenal?
Well, of course it wasn’t the Mission Impossible hitman but one of the reserve players whom we had to call upon during those uncountable times of defensive crisis with which we have become so synonymous with.
In preparation for today’s crunch game in the Champions League against Galatasaray at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger has had to dig into the reserves for supplements to the four senior defenders who are currently available to us. While two have already featured in first team games already this season, both ending in disappointing defeats for the team, the two others will be relatively unknown to most gooners, and so that we do not rely on Jersey numbers to identify them supposing they turn out tonight, we run a brief on the four youngsters.
- Hector Bellerin
Already seen as a member of the first team to an extent, Bellerin was given a baptism of fire in the Champions League game a fortnight ago against Dortmund. He was hardly to be faulted for any of the goals conceded even though he was evidently overawed by the occasion. His follow up game in the League Cup against Southampton was more of a true reflection of what he is capable of doing, with a solid impressive performance all through the game. He is very likely to get a nod tonight in the face of the challenges, not only in defence but also in midfield where Calum Chambers is poised to play. Bellerin will surely settle more into the games now, unlike the other three below.
- Isaac Hayden
His first game at the Emirates was a dream come true for him but the end of that opportunity with which Wenger uses to give the youngsters a crack at fulfilling their dreams. As Chambers’ defensive partner, their inexperience was sometimes exposed but credit was duely given to them as none of them were guilty of any of the Saints’ goals. Hayden has the character to be a future regular in the Arsenal defence even as his reading of the game is expected to improve with more experience.
- Stefan O’Connor
The 17 year old youngster is the youngest kid on this list and also the latest of these three to have joined us, having arrived in the summer of 2013. Principally a center-back, he has established himself as a key member of the U-21s, appearing as a regular in both the UEFA Youth League and Youth FA Cups tournaments. He probably would not be in the team for tonight but the fact he’s been considered worthy of training with the first team at such a time of distress means his full graduation may not be so far off.
- Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill
Brandon is a regular with the England U19s, as well as a constant feature of Steve Gattling’s academy team. His strongest points are in his ability to bomb forward as a left-back at lightning pace. The 19 year-old has previously had training stints with the first team and any knock to Kieran Gibbs today may likely see him make an unexpected debut – hoping it doesn’t go like Bellerin’s.
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