Angha Catches Wenger's Eye

Jamie Sanderson September 29, 2011 News 31 Comments

As Arsène Wenger injected five experienced acquisitions into his squad in the closing stages of the transfer window, he was keen to stress the days of Arsenal’s youth oriented philosophy were not over.

This week, the Frenchman looked to ramp up the task of blending in those last minute buys, as training intensified ahead of crunch clashes with Olympiakos and Tottenham. Yet despite the importance of these fixtures, a selection of promising Reserve team players were invited to the top table for a work out.

Many of those involved have trained with the first-team before, but the most significant of all was Martin Angha, who has enjoyed not only occasional call ups, but has now spent the last two weeks working with Wenger. It could well prove to be the break through moment for a prospect yet to be handed a big chance shine.

Angha joined Arsenal in the summer of 2009, following a protracted transfer saga. He was spotted playing for home town club FC Zürich in a tournament in Switzerland, and ultimately caught the eye of Gunners scouts by curling home a delightful free-kick as Zürich Under-16’s beat Arsenal Under-16’s 1-0.

He would trial with the club three weeks after that strike, but the deal eventually broke down, before being rekindled a year later. Angha grew up a Gooner, with his only wish every Christmas being not the latest computer game or gadget, but the latest Arsenal kit. His room was packed with mugs, scarfs and photos, all featuring the Cannon badge.

The family waited patiently for the deal with Arsenal to be concluded, even pulling the phone out of the wall to stop other offers coming in. Eventually, he got his dream transfer, and has been quietly working through the ranks ever since.

Angha is a tall, technically brilliant and composed central defender, who has been forced to play right back. He ticks all the boxes of a Wenger-esque player, and his determined and passionate style have seen many of the coaching staff warm to him. All Martin needed was a chance, and in training last week, he settled in well with the first-team.

Wenger hasn’t had a great deal of luck with previous Swiss buys, but Angha has caught his eye and stayed with the setup this week at the expense of the more experienced Danny Boateng and Sead Hajrovic.

Angha is far from the finished product, but having one foot in the door already bodes well for his future prospects.


  • would love to see him on bench for next cc match and hopefully get few minute of the game..

  • Good luck Martin! Gooners will be with him ever step. Training with TV5 and Mert. will hopefully allow him to really push on in his development, hopefully one day we see Martin starting at the Ems!

  • How in the world can you give a thumbs down to that last comment??? Unbelievable stuff…how could someone be that negative to give that comment a thumbs down??? This is part of the problem with Arsenal supporters…all the negativity. Angha sounds like he can become a great player!!! What the hell is wrong with that???

    • There are a lot of people that come here to hate on Arsenal no matter what. I have come to accept that. I have not seen much of this kid, but we always hope for top talent to come through.

    • The reason is simple my friend. All these so called supporters play Soccer manager where they can buy whoever they want. The do not want to support Arsenal and watch them through the highes and lows. They simply want to win all the time. And to win every game 10-0. So that they can brag. I have been Arsenal supporter for 40 years. I can guarantee you that those who write such crap are all less than 25 years old.

  • I have to stick up for some of the Swiss players.

    Both Senderous and Djourou were highly rated at youth levels. Both started in Arsenal first team well.

    They both had a number of bad games early on which sort of ruined them. I still think Senderous is a solid defender, who will only get better given his age. But I think the opportunity came too early in his career. Drogba ruined him, for us. But he has qualities of a good CB and will be back at top level one day.

    As for Djourou he needs a proper break from the club, he is also a decent player, but Wayne Rooney and co shattered him. He needs to go to a club like Swansea and enjoy playing every week. Only then will he be able to reach his potential. (but on current form no prem team would take the risk). Problem is we cant get injured Bartley back in jan, Miquel needs a loan out to gain experience, so this wont happen.

    Still think Senderous is better than Djourou, but that’s just how it works. Both have had pretty bad injuries in the last few years which is a shame.

    Angha will step up where these two could not hopefully. Give him a few seasons, ans don’t judge on first season, as centre backs grow into the position.

    • The fans and media have shattered Djurou. The man was class for about 35 games in a row and his record shows it but all people did was moan about him. Senderous is an example of playing a centerback to early. Young centerbacks will make mistakes, and will have some bad games. The hope is that it does not happen in front of 60 thousand people and with millions watching on tv. Remember the games in the champions league verse Liverpool. Senderous is a poor mans John Terry to me.

  • did Rooney shatter Djurou so much that he let the ball bouche in front of his own goal before trying to clear it? I wish him all the luck but i dont think it should be with arsenal. Hes not any good really.

  • Djourou played well all season while other defenders around him namely,Squilacci and Koscielny kept on getting sent off,scoring own goals and doing all kinds of stuff as in the Carling cup final. Djourou’s positioning isn’t great but despite being a big center back,he is very athletic. Hope he gets even better.

  • Btw…Jamie…how about doing an article on Nacer Barazite. He is a player well in form and has attracted interest from Swansea. Might be one player we should have given a chance.

  • its easy saying he should get a chance but none of us have properly seen him play. He’l play if and when he’s ready

  • unlike the rest of the world i wish johan djourou makes it at arsenal. i am grateful for his performance last season. what happened toward the end up to now i think its arsene that has to explain. turning a DM to permenant central defender will definately need a proper defensive coach and he(arsene) refused to employ one. i feel even sol campbell could be given the job to mentor our young defenders.
    its childish and ridiculous to compare djourou and senderos, even more ridiculous someone just claimed senderos is better. i think didier drogba is the best person to tell us who’s better.
    good luck to young angha, maybe arsene wants to give him a start as a right back and see what happens.

  • Shane- youre delusional. maybe the media stopped Djorou heading and clearing the ball on numerous times from his own penalty area. Or maybe they caused him to fall over versus Olsen at Blackburn or watch the ball bounce above his head in the 8-2 mauling and versus Shresb..y. Yes its the meejas fault. white coats please.
    Djorou is a very poor mans Campbell, the poor man being Wenger.

  • What are you lot on about? Djourou’s still first-choice alongside TV if fit. Baresi and Maldini at their peaks would have struggled against United – CB wasn’t where the problems were, any more than Szczesny was to blame.

  • If fully fit we have 4 really good CB. Nothing to complain about there. The problem lies in midfield. But with 3 great CM in Song, coq and frimpong we should be fine there too. Ramsey and Arteta looks great but we still have a lot to work on to defend like a team.

  • i’m not into slating arsenal players but i have serious doubts abut djourou. that tackle he put in on the byline at blackburn was hopeless. the attacker should have finished up in the third row. instead he waltzed onward and they scored. same in the carling cup. you just can’t let an attacker have a free header like that. i’m hard pressed to think of games where djourou hasn’t made at least one major error.

    • djourou was playing right back, he rushed to cover at left back coz there was no one you still blame him. where were the left back and his left winger? arsenal defence can be fixed but what cannot to be fixed is the weak attack we have. we haven’t had a goalscorer since thierry henri. there need to be a complete change. we lose because our strikers are weak. arshavin and chamakh,who? i will take christopher wreh anyday. yes he knew how to score.

  • or wiltord!
    these guys weren’t top scorers but they made their presence felt on the pitch.
    greeks had more attempts on goal, if arsenal has problem in defence then attack is bigger problem

  • AW said it himself, our midfield lost possession too easily (against a very energetic side) and that put the defense at risk. We suck at set plays but in open play we are fine at the back and getting better; Olypiacos are no mugs, and the CL is often a derby for players from lesser leagues.

  • sam it doesn’t matter if he was playing right back, left back or back of beyond. he should have made that tackle count. he is meant to be a centre back after all, and should be used to covering the full back positions. anyway it doesn’t matter. ball, man, uncle tom cobley and all, should have been booted off the field of play.

  • All have bn said but we need to be realistic, johan has costed us most of our games. I think all of you remember our game against Benfica and most of our pre-season and just to emphasize the blackban match. We mostly conceded goals whenever this guy is brought in. We are not denying the fact dat he was at his top hit las t season but the guy lost momentum since then. I prefer Ignas , he really did a good perfomance against liverpool just to concede offside goals

  • very impressed by this kid, when I watched him ealier in the year, he was the youngest of the group, yet, he showed lots of leadership qualites but he also took on responsibilities, the most impressive aspect was one could notice that his team mates deferred to him..on attitude alone, I would say most likely to make it at Arsenal

  • timao>

    Not sure what your point is – in the video you post, at least nine out of ten of the ‘great tackles’ don’t involve booting a player into the air.

  • Except from at set pieces, our biggest defensive problem is our midfielders and forwards. We cannot keep pressure on opposition teams. There were several times in the olympiacos match when they were allowed to just pass out after an attack. None of the attackers mark until the oposition get into our half. WHen you watch man u and barca, as soon as they lose the ball, hte first thing the players think about is marking

    • My 1 gripe about the attacking play has to be with holding onto leads. When we are winning with a few mins left we still are clueless.


  • Has there been any evidence that the knee injury he suffered so young has affected him? That’s always a worry when someone suffers a cruciate at 16/17

  • good news for campbell, he scored for lorient.

  • with sagna out we need anyone who can play at right back now! Jenkinson can’t play every game for three months… Why did we get rid of Eboue??

  • @tcrocker; Francis Coquelin can also play RB.
    FC39 was my MOTM. He was very impressive along with Szczesny except for their 2nd goal.

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