Arsenal gave more minutes to academy graduates than any other Premier League side last season, and also used the most individual academy products, according to a recent study.
Research by Press Association Sport revealed that Arsenal were top of the charts in terms of academy graduate playing time, for the second season running, with 7,933 minutes played in total.
Of course, these figures can often be swayed by one or two individuals. For example, Hector Bellerin really boosts Arsenal’s minutes as he plays thousands every season. That’s why it’s good to see that Arsenal also gave minutes to the greatest number of players in the league (eight).
Manchester United came in second for both categories, with 6,858 minutes shared between five players. Unsurprisingly, Manchester City were third from bottom, giving three players a total of 152 minutes between them.
What makes the figures even more impressive is the fact that Arsenal’s u23s still performed so impressively, despite all the first-team distractions. The young side won the Premier League 2 title last season, and finished as runners-up in the Premier League International Cup.
They probably could have won the PL International Cup final at full strength, but Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Jordi Osei-Tutu were all pulled out of the match to join the first-team squad for a Premier League game the next day.
That says it all about Arsenal’s focus on youth players. Let’s hope for more of the same under Unai Emery, Per Mertesacker and Freddie Ljungberg.