Archive for October 26th, 2010

Wenger: “JET is unbelievable in front of goal” + the video evidence

108 comments October 26th, 2010

Tomorrow we face Newcastle at St. James’ Park for a place in the Carling Cup Quarter-Final.  This year, there has been a shift in policy, and the competition is being treated with more seriousness than ever before.  As Arsene puts it:

“We want to go there and win the game and qualify.  We want to win every trophy.  If course we’ll rotate some players, but it will be the core of the first team.  It will be similar to what we did at Tottenham.  80% of the team will have first team experience.”

One would imagine that would mean starts for the likes of Rosicky, Bendtner, Walcott, Eboue and Koscielny, all of whom were on the bench on Saturday.  The bench too will be packed with potential match-winners: Arsene won’t have forgotten in a hurry the impact Andrey Arshavin made at White Hart Lane.

There will, however, be room for some youngsters in there.  We haven’t forgotten our principles entirely.  One man who is pushing hard for inclusion is Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.  The Reserves captain made his league debut at Stamford Bridge, and after eight goals in five games for the second string is likely to be at least on the bench tomorrow night.

Those who’ve seen JET play, myself included, have wondered why he hasn’t been given more opportunities at the highest level.  The answer, it seems, is his stamina.  Le Boss confides:

“He’s knocking on the door with two hands.  He has an outstanding quality.  He works very hard to get his fitness right – when he gets his fitness right, he will not only be a good player but a great player.”

Another issue has been his versatility.  No-one has been quite sure what his best position is, but it seems he’s settling in to a role as a forward.  It’s rare for a player to start as a defender and then advance forward, but Emmanuel-Thomas’ power and technique has seen him deployed higher and higher up the pitch.  For the Reserves, he has been devastatingly effective on the right hand side of a front three.  Arsene explains:

“He is an unusual case – he started centre-back then left-back, then offensive midfielder, then centre-forward.  One thing is for sure – he can score goals.  It’s a massive talent that you cannot give people.  Right foot, left foot – he is unbelievable in front of goal, and he’s an unbelievable finisher, in the box and outside of the box.”

If you need any evidence of that, just check out these highlights from the last Reserve game against West Ham, in which JET netted a spectacular hatrick:

I don’t expect him to start tomorrow, but I hope he gets the opportunities between now and the end of the season that his enormous talent deserves.  I’d hate him to be one that got away.

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