The latest musings of Spanish Fry
Ajax forward Ryan Babel will face off against young Arsenal defender Justin Hoyte in tonight’s UEFA Under-21 Championship semi-final between the Netherlands and England. The match will provide the perfect stage for Babel to impress Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after he recently admitted it would be a dream to one day play for Wenger’s side.
As for Hoyte, he has performed well for England so far in the tournament playing in his favoured position at right-back. Despite receiving racial abuse from opposition supporters during England’s last game against Serbia & Montenegro, Hoyte was able to hold his nerve and help his side to an impressive 2-0 win to ensure England’s progress to the semi-final stage.
Whilst Babel will surely start up front against England his tendency to drift wide to create space for himself will mean that the two players should come face-to-face regularly during the match. The outcome of these duels between the Hoyte and Babel should provide great interest for the Arsenal manager and the club’s supporters.
What the game means for Arsenal
If Babel has a blinder then it will provide much incentive for Wenger to step up negotiations with Ajax and put in a firm bid for the player. Conversely, if Hoyte impresses, it will cast doubts over Babel’s potential to make an impact at the club should he sign. It will also provide solid evidence of Hoyte’s continued improvement as a player since joining Arsenal in 2003 and apply some much-needed pressure on the club’s current right-back, Emmanuel Eboue.
It is no secret that Wenger is a proud defender of the his own players, but if Babel happens to outplay one of his young guns it will force the Arsenal manager to take notice. However, if Wenger’s man outplays Babel then it will justify both his recent decision to reward Hoyte with a new long-term deal with the club and his refusal to pursue the Ajax forward any further.
Unlike Arseblogger and Goodplaya, I am not the biggest fan of Hoyte and I believe he does not yet possess the ability to stake a claim as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back. However, at just 22, time is on his side and if the Englishman can impress in tonight’s game then my opinion of him would certainly be up for revision.
Conversely, I think Wenger would be mad to ignore Babel’s “Come and get me!” plea if the Dutchman stars against England. As a result, it should an interesting night of football for those connected to the Arsenal Football Club.
Voice your opinions on Justin Hoyte or Ryan Babel by leaving a comment.
Have you read the ‘Arsenal Team of the Decade’?
Daily readers will know I have recently completed quite a detailed article on the Arsenal Team of the Decade. The article takes a look at the best players to play for the club during Arsene Wenger’s ten years as manager. For those of you who missed it, you can view the article here. I strongly encourage you to leave your thoughts on my selections and let me know if you think I’ve made any glaring omissions.
View previous articles from Spanish Fry here.