Young hopefuls play their part in epic semi-final showdown
Arsenal’s Justin Hoyte and Ajax’s Ryan Babel played their part in an amazing game overnight that saw the Dutch win 13-12 on penalties to progress to the final of the UEFA U21 Championships. I made some comments yesterday about the opportunity the game gave both players to impress Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger but somewhat predictably, neither player really took their chance.
Babel showed us what we already know; that he is a skilfull and direct player with a tendency to be wasteful in front of goal – despite confidently slotting his penalty in the shootout. The jury is still out on the Dutchman but Babel has one more opportunity in the final against Serbia & Montenegro to show Arsenal supporters what they will be missing out on if Wenger does not bring the Ajax forward to the club.
Hoyte kept mostly to his script as well, staying solid at the back but rarely getting forward to support the attack. The Arsenal man did show some metal to slot his second spot-kick after missing earlier in the shootout, but there’s not much else to read into his performance so I’ll leave it there.
Reyes’ value set to increase while Ljungberg pledges future
In other real news of note is that three Spanish clubs are wanting to sign Jose Antonio Reyes. With Reyes previously stating that he does not want to return to England the best that Arsenal’s supporters can hope for is that the improved interest in the Spaniard will raise his transfer fee. I’ve already spoken about the probability of selling Reyes for a bigger price after his performance against Mallorca and if they can offload Reyes for anything more than the £10.5 million they paid for him it would be an excellent result.
From one player leaving the club to another player staying, Fredrik Ljungberg says he is prepared to stay with the club next season and fight for his place in the starting team. The news hasn’t exactly thrilled Arseblogger but Ljungberg’s comments are music to my ears. Without a doubt my favourite player in his prime, I still think Ljungberg has a lot to offer Arsenal on and off the field. Thankfully, there are some others that also agree.
Back to the future
Finally, I thought I’d mention that earlier today I came across a good article from Goal.com. It focuses on last season’s big talking points and looks at the task ahead of Arsenal as they try to improve in 2007/08. It’s a nice, balanced read and puts some much needed perspective on the challenges facing the club in the near future. If you’re in the mood you can also check out the Arsenal FC Blog Season Review as well. As always, I encourage you to voice your opinions by leaving a comment.
Let us know what you think about Hoyte, Babel, Reyes or anything else by leaving a comment.