Arsenal’s injury problems and wafer-thin squad has presented the side with some problems in the Champions League and, as a result, Arsene Wenger has asked two promising youngsters to travel with the team to Marseille, with the real possibility that they could be called into action. With that in mind, talkSPORT looks at Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom, two Arsenal youngsters expected to be named on the bench for the trip to France…
Name: Isaac Hayden
Position: Centre-back/holding midfield
International: England U18
Versatility is a key feature of Isaac Hayden’s game, so it is easy to see why Arsene Wenger has looked to him as an emergency option with the squad looking light. Equally happy playing at centre-back or holding midfield, the Englishman has also been used at full-back, or even as a more creative midfielder. That’s all made possible by his combination of quality on the ball and power off it. Should Arsenal pick up an injury in defensive positions, Hayden could be called upon from the bench.
Name: Chuba Akpom
International: England U19
Capable of playing across the front three, Arsenal’s lack of options up front presents an obvious place for Chuba Akpom in the squad. Pacey and skilful, Akpom loves to put the breaks on when a defender least expects it, then cuts inside his man and tucks the ball away. Followers of Arsenal’s youth team will remember his exploits in the NextGen Series, while those unfamiliar with him could be in for a treat if he gets on the pitch.