Arsenal set off for their pre-season tour today, giving several youngsters a chance to impress Arsene Wenger.
You always have to take pre-season with a pinch of salt because the matches are all about fitness as opposed to finding form and consistency in performance.
The pre-season schedule also allows younger players to grab the attention of the manager in all aspects, putting themselves firmly in his plans as the new season draws closer and closer.
That’s certainly the case with Arsenal, as the Gunners have included several youngsters on their pre-season tour of Asia.
Miquel is a 20-year-old defender who has already tasted first team football under Arsene Wenger.
This is a big opportunity for him to put himself firmly behind the likes of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen in terms of defensive support ahead of the new season.
He’s a very competent player on the ball and the tour has an extra edge for him because he’s only got one-year left to run on his current contract.
The German scored some superb goals for Arsenal’s youth side last season and this pre-season tour represents the chance for him to show he can replicate that form in a more senior setting.
He looks destined to break into the Arsenal first team at some point in the future so if he can show the boss he looks fit and is near the top of his game, he could be on the verge of breaking out of the youth system next season.
Akpom has a growing reputation as one of the most exciting youngsters in England and he has a superb record of six goals in seven games for England’s Under-19 side.
It’s unlikely that he’s going to get anywhere near the Arsenal first team because of the current forwards at the club and the additions which will be made via the transfer market.
However, if he plays well during this tour then Arsene Wenger may see the justification in loaning him out to a high profile side where he can dramatically improve his first team experience.
Zelalem has only just become a first-year scholar but he appears to be a youngster that has a big future at Arsenal because he wouldn’t have been included after just four appearances for the Under-21 side if he didn’t have something special.
He’s a very promising central midfielder who is unlikely to start any games but he will have a chance to shine if he’s thrown on late in games, when the traditional pre-season fatigue kicks on for more senior players.
Another of the German sensations in the Arsenal youth ranks. He’s a very similar player to Santi Cazorla in the respect that he likes to play central midfield, attacking positions which allow him to give in to all of his natural attacking urges.
Eisfeld is very similar to Gnabry in the respect that he was starting to attract a lot of attention for the way he played in the Arsenal youth ranks last season and he’s definitely one to monitor.
Who do you think is under the most pressure? Are there other young players we need to keep an eye on?