Arsenal Reserves get their League season underway this evening at Bolton. The Premier Reserve League has undergone a serious revamp this season after most of the big clubs decided not to enter it earlier in the Summer. As a result of the negotiated changes the clubs are now all represented, in the form of three regional groups - two in the North and one in the South. Each team plays home and away against those in the same group, and also play home OR away at each club in the other groups. Whichever clubs finish top of the northern groups will play-off for the right to play the southern winners in the League decider. Complicated? You bet. Despite the changes to the format you can expect Arsenal's Reserve team to be nothing of the sort. As I've said before I consider anyone not in the starting XI to be a reserve for the purposes of any midweek fixture when there is no first-team game. Therefore the likes of Vela, Traore, Gibbs, Fabianski etc should be lining up this evening - they aren't going to though. The team tonight will be the usual mix of "young professionals" (Emmanuel-Thomas, Eastmond, Hoyte, Randall etc) and U18 players. Quite how this is of benefit to Arsenal I don't know. As much as we criticised Lukasz Fabianski over his performances at the end of last season it must be remembered that the guy never plays unless Almunia is unavailable. To expect him to suddenly be on top of his game is, perhaps, a little unfair. To illustrate Arsenal's contempt for the Reserves they will only play something like three or four games at Barnet this season, with the other home matches at the Training Ground, behind closed doors. The official website is running a live text commentary from the game tonight. It's a shame Setanta folded, taking Arsenal TV with it, as the Reserves Live was the best thing about the channel (it would certainly have been more interesting than watching Spurs destroy Young Boys tonight).
Steven Taylor has been placed on the transfer list at Newcastle United. Arsenal have been linked with Taylor quite strongly in the past, though not this season when our centre-back shortage has been chronic. I do not rate Taylor. He is big and rugged, but also slow and ponderous - very prone to being too late on the scene in my experience. Having said that I would not be surprised at all to see him at Arsenal. Along with Squillaci it would be another centre-half on the books and would free Koscielny to partner Song in defensive midfield, where I think his particular brand of good football might flourish. We would have proper depth (numbers wise at least) in two crucial areas of the pitch in my opinion. Watch this space, it might just happen. If it does, just remember who predicted it!
Check out the pictures on arsenal.com from the North Bank/Clock End celebrations on Saturday. Until tomorrow.
Still no announcement.