A new series of articles has been appearing on the official website these days called Loan Review. I have noticed two posts so far, one featuring Ryo Miyaichi and the other on Kyle Bartley. Both youngsters have received glowing reviews from journalists who follow their loan teams. The articles are worth the time in case you haven’t read them already.
Miyaichi is an exciting prospect and could turn out to be a genuine, world-class winger. But I don’t want to focus on him right now. Nothing against the Japanese wonder-kid but Bartley is a guy who seems more pertinent based on my current thoughts around the defence.
When I wrote this piece about Wilshere last summer, I didn’t realize it will turn out to be a pretty decent trailer of his season. Now I’m being a bit greedy and hoping the same happens with the former Bolton trainee.
I haven’t followed Rangers at all and haven’t seen a single live game. That makes it hard to write about the prospect but based on some videos on youtube, found at the end of this post, certain aspects stand out.
The most important one is that the young man has a lot to offer in terms of aerial presence and physicality. That’s a quality the Gunners have missed dearly in some games and certain situations.
Another interesting observation is his ability to get away with fouls in the box. I know the videos are not enough data to form a conclusive opinion, but by virtue of being English and his size, I think Bartley can get away with a few more fouls than a player like Koscielny does. There isn’t any statistical evidence for this, but I’m a firm believer that one of the aspects that makes the likes of Vidic, Ferdinand, and Terry top class defenders is that they can get away with fouls in the box.
That in itself doesn’t make Bartley a great prospect but it would certainly be a very valuable trait in some of the more physical games.
Having a player like him would also mean that Arsene can then play someone like Vermaelen or Koscielny in the midfield in games that are supposed to be physical battles. Of course, the main point here would be the manager’s willingness to make such a change, and I will cover the importance of this in the coming weeks. But if we assume that Arsene will make these changes, it’s not hard to see how someone like Bartley can be immense.
He also has a bit of a Bolton feel to him and doesn’t seem to mind rough tackles or some tussles with the opponents. It can be a real bonus in some instances.
Another advantage of having him in the squad is that he won’t take up a spot in the 25 player quota because he is still U-21. With the likes of Walcott and Gibbs moving past the 21 year mark for the next season, this will be an important consideration while balancing the squad.
With tongue firmly in cheek, one could also say that the kid has the experience of winning the League at Rangers as well as the youth double!
Arguably, Bartley hasn’t been as impressive as Wilshere was, has suffered some serious injuries, and the SPL is not really comparable to the Premiership. But the youngster has also shown decent technique and passing abilities that should help him settle in with the first team relatively easily. It would be premature to consider the youngster a regular first team player but I can’t see him doing any worse than Squillaci or Silvestre.
I know the popular opinion right now is that Wenger needs to buy a central defender. Personally speaking, I can’t see anyone coming in and doing better than Koscielny, Djourou or Vermaelen as long as the current systemic problems continue to exist. And if those issues are addressed these defenders will look world class. The popular opinion will then change as it does all through the course of each season.
Here are some videos that I found on youtube. Let me know what you think. Can Bartley have a breakthrough season just like Wilshere did?
And here is a bit of Bolton in him. I enjoyed his body language after the tackle 🙂
A big Thank You to the guys who have created these compilations. Your effort is much appreciated.