What better way to prepare for the upcoming Premier League season than talking about players who won’t be playing in it?
As the preseason comes to an end, we’re taking a quick look at Arsenal’s standout youth players. We’ll consider their individual performances, rating them on a 1-10 scale based on what we think their chances are of breaking into the first team this year.
Cohen Bramall, Number 40, Age 22
I think we were all a little confused when Arsenal signed Cohen Bramall, a left back from the non-league club Hednesford Town earlier this year. In hindsight, he looks like a steal.
Bramall’s performance this preseason was a tale of two stories. Against Bayern and Sydney FC, he looked sharp. He shows great amounts of speed, energy, and eagerness to be involved in the attack. We saw him surging forward, running at defenders in the style of a traditional winger. He almost scored a cracker against Sydney and his finest moment came when he soared effortlessly past Mats Hummels. Although he wasn’t quite as good as Reiss Nelson going forward, he looked more competent on defense.
If not for the Chelsea game, I’d give him a 7, but against the Blues, he was an absolute nightmare. His touch was poor, he looked careless with the ball, he wasted opportunities in the final third, and he practically gave Chelsea a goal. On top of that, his defensive performance was forgettable. He didn’t win a single challenge and he looked out of his element.
We can’t fault him too much, though. Chelsea fielded a much stronger squad than Arsenal and Bramall is going to need more time and patience. I think he’ll make the grade at the club. His recovery speed and ability to cover lots of ground quickly makes him an ideal fit at wing-back.
This rating isn’t to say that Bramall doesn’t have what it takes to make it to the top, but in terms of his preseason, he struggled to perform at the level those rated above him did. Bramall loves to attack, which really defines his game. He moves well up the field and tends to know when he needs to be in a more advanced position. He has a good dribbling ability against the academy teams, and his style matches well with Wenger’s use of the wing backs. His story is one that should be told and I root for Bramall every time he is on the pitch.
Bramall has a lot of potential, but in respect to his preseason performance I do not believe he made a case for a first team appearance. Victor Moses gave him a day to forget against Chelsea, as he continuously stopped Bramall’s offensive runs and continued to expose the gaps that were left open. Bramall almost seemed apathetic while Chelsea hammered away at Arsenal 3-0. The Chelsea game was rough, but in other appearances Bramall seemed to be finding comfort. Cohen slowly got into his groove in the games in Sydney and held his own against Bayern, but there are still some more things the youngster has to learn to dethrone those ahead of him. He can be optimistic about being one of four youth players who were featured in the Emirates Cup. Wenger obviously sees something in the lad to include him in the team, even as a substitute. Hoping that a loan is in his future and that we see him competing for a place in the Arsenal XI upon returning.