The new Patrick Vieira, the next Jay Emmanuel-Thomas or just our own Chuks Aneke?

Well guys today on February 3rd 2012 I wrote my first for myself on my brand new site called 1 Nil Down Two One Up. A name inspired by my first Wembley trip with Arsenal on April 5th 1987. It has been quite a 12 months in which I have tried to write regularly, tried to keep it fresh and enjoyed giving opportunities to others who share my passion and wished for a platform.  Thanks for continuing to read in growing numbers, thanks for the comments and feedback and for making this site what it has become.

Will Aneke be the Real deal or another Jay Emmannuel-Thomas?
Will Aneke be the real deal or another Jay Emmannuel-Thomas?

True to myself I hope the choice of subject for the anniversary blog is very me and judging by the feedback on my Afobe piece last week it seems appropriate. I was a writer for Gunnersphere before I began writing for myself I wrote 2 articles on our star youths at the end of 2011. One was on Afobe and yes you guessed it, the other was on his partner in crime Chuks Aneke. It was called Chuks Aneke – The new Patrick Vieira. So given his brief return from his Crewe Alexandra loan, I thought it would be good to discover why Steve Davis the Crewe boss was so keen to have him straight back.  But as with the investigative nature of the Afobe blog I wanted to get behind the impressive numbers and dig a bit deeper.

No harm in starting with the number though as they make good reading:

22 Appearances, including 17 starts – 6 Goals and 4 assists for Crewe Alexandra pushing for the play offs this term in League 1 and the cup competitions

I have been in touch with some local Crewe bloggers and reporters but first I thought you might be interested in a poll taken by a Crewe fan site in December just before Chuks returned to Arsenal. This is for the November player of the Month as voted for by his blog subscribers and twitter followers. I sadly have not got a response from this chap but when you see the results it doesn’t really matter how many voted.



Vote Percentage
Chuks Aneke 100%
Lauri Dalla Valle 0%
Matthias Pogba 0%
Alan Martin 0%
Matt Tootle 0%
Mark Ellis 0%
Harry Davis 0%
Gregor Robertson 0%
Abdul Osman 0%
Luke Murphy 0%
Bryon Moore 0%

Quite honestly I am not sure I have ever seen a player get 100% of the vote in any poll I have seen have you?

This sort of strike from that very month of course might help to explain it – Wonder goal v Wycombe

[ 100% 250]

So what do I know? Well he is built like Vieira, has the touch of Kanu and a shot like Podolski, but is he any good in reality and will he make the grade. If he does it will not be easy as the role he has played through the youth ranks and into the reserves has been the central attacking midfield role. We all know the current competition among the 1st team squad for that coveted position. Anyway enough of me it is time to ask those who truly know and that is those who have been watching him week in week on this season for Crewe.

I am delighted to welcome three guest contributors:

Adrian Dobson from the Crewe Alex Supporters Initiative (@CreweAsi)

Ian Athers from unofficial Crewe blog (@CreweMad)

Peter Morse, the Chief Sports Writer and Crewe Alex Correspondent for the Cheshire News (@PeterMorse)

So lets’ get straight on with the questions I posed……


GD66: Chuks Aneke has been very highly thought of at Arsenal but so have many youngsters over past decade. It is great to have him spend time at a club renown for playing football the right way. How has he fitted in at Crewe this season?

Adrian: I think Chuks had to quickly alter his style of play on arriving at Crewe.  Not a great start getting sent off away at Stevenage in one of his first appearances for a two footed tackle but did become an integral part of our rise up League One.  However I still feel that nobody is too sure of his best position. 

Peter: Very well, he instantly won the respect of the players and coaches with some excellent displays in training which he was soon able to replicate in matches. He seems a quiet lad who has suffered from homesickness at times but everyone at the club is glad he has returned until the end of the season.

 Ian: He has fitted in nicely and players have taken to him and the manager Steve Davis praises him highly and was really desperate to secure another loan spell at the club. He has done what he has been asked to but his position in midfield he has done well.

GD66: He has been described as Vieira like due to his build but has played CM or just behind the striker in the youth team and reserves, What formation have Crewe been playing and where has Aneke played in the system?

Adrian: Perhaps not the right thing to say to an Arsenal fan, but I always likened him to Teddy Sheringham.  At times looking like he was coasting through a game, and then creates that little bit of magic which could be the difference between winning and losing.  We did play him in several positions, but i felt his best one was playing behind the strike force where he could create most damage to the opposition.  He played out wide in midfield on occasions and he appeared to struggle in that role.

Peter:  Crewe are known for being willing and able to change their formation and this probably has not been to Chuks’ advantage. He isn’t an easy player to ‘pigeon-hole’ in a position anyway, so he has played CM, in behind the front one, behind a front two, wide in a midfield-four and wide in an attack three. The more advanced and central positions suit him best, but when Crewe switched to 3-5-2 for a short while he dropped out of the team. They are back with 4-4-2 at the minute so that will be easier for him.

 Ian: Aneke has been playing on the wing in some of the early games and looked a bit lost but he seems to flourish in midfield when we played a diamond formation. (Oh my word do teams still play 442 diamonds, shock, horror! Yes it bloody works.)

GD66: For my readers who have not seen much of him yet what would you describe as his biggest strengths and attributes? Or indeed his weaknesses?

Adrian: Certainly has an eye for goal, and you could always expect at least one defence splitting pass during a game.  I do feel his one weakness is his pace (or lack of it).  At times in the hurly burly of League One perhaps he wanted too much time on the ball and was caught in possession.

Peter:  He scores and makes goals. He has the ability to make something out of nothing and see things others don’t. he has scored from range, from inside the box and with his head, and he is versatile. Negatives – he doesn’t defend well and is work rate is lower than you would expect.

Ian: His biggest strength is an eye for goals and he has scored at least two good goals also he can play a killer pass which has proved effective with us netting some goals. His weakness is that he can be lazy and some time disinterested in games where he disappears but I feel this is because of his age.


GD66:  I see he has appeared 22 times  for you and mostly from the start and scored 4 goals. Any particular performances or goals truly stand out for you?

Adrian: You got the same from Chuks most weeks.  Frustrating, with him needlessly losing the ball, closely followed by elation as he split the defence to set up a goal.  His last appearance in a Crewe shirt was coming on as sub for the last 20 minutes in Johnstones Paint Trophy semi final.  With the game delicately poised at 2-1 for Crewe, in his short time on the pitch Chuks set one up and then blasted home another to take us through to the final and one tie from Wembley.

Peter:  He was actually playing very well at Stevenage, creating two good goals, before he was sent off for a miss-timed lunge! He has learned from that. And his first goal for Crewe, in a 2-1 win over Hartlepool, was a magnificent strike from an angle which left the keeper no chance.

 Ian: His displays in the games I have seen him have been varied but the Stevenage game he had a very good game and scored a good goal even though we lost 2-1 and the 3-2 win over Colchester United he played really well.


GD66: Do you think he will have return to Arsenal a better player/individual for his regular game time in a tough League 1 and do you see him being able to step up the Premier League in the near future?

Adrian: Chuks is not always easy on the eye, but nobody could doubt his talent and he has shown  he can score and create goals. Hopefully his time at Crewe has improved him as a player, only time will tell.  Unfortunately, with a lot of clubs, youth is not given a chance but Chuks is certainly one worth considering for the future.

Peter: There is no doubt he will have benefited from the experience. He will have learned some of the harsh ‘realities’ of football, ie how you have to play well to keep your place, how you have to be responsible in defending even if you are an attacking player, and just understood the pressure of playing competitive games. He will also return confident from proving he can cut it in the professional game. I personally think Chuks is some way off playing for Arsenal, he needs to define a role he can play in, up his work rate take fewer touches on the ball and become responsible defensively. However, there is no doubt he has the quality and ability to make it at the top level in the loner term.

Ian: Yeah he would return a better player he has learned from his debut when he got sent off at Stevenage he came back wanting to show the Crewe faithful what he has to offer. Also being at Crewe he would be getting good training and the way Crewe play is something similar to Arsenal as we like to pass it round.

GD66: If no do you think he will after perhaps a loan at a Championship side?

Adrian: Forget the Championship, I’d gladly take him back in our push for the play offs. He seemed to enjoy his time here so hopefully the Alexandra Stadium has not seen the last of him in a Crewe shirt.  (obviously Adrian got his wish and Chuks has returned since this interview.)

Peter:  I think that would be beneficial for him, just another step up on his learning curve.

Ian: Yeah I think he could quite easily play for a Championship side in the future.

Thanks guys. Superb again to get support from the football family to produce a meaningful blog on Aneke, based on the here and now and with the inside track from true Crewe observers. I think Adrian has a particular soft spot for Chuks and  here might be why:

Chuks pictured here with Adrian's young lad
Chuks pictured here with Adrian’s young lad

So unlike with Afobe, it would appear the locals where Chuks has been on loan have been impressed. So let me summarise what I have learned and conclude. We have a hugely talented individual who wants to ply his trade centrally. He is not happy out wide and presently appears reluctant to work hard defensively. This of course can be worked on. He is undoubtedly a game influence at the fore of a midfield diamond, as Vieira was to be honest but would also be comfortable in the CAM role is our existing set up or perhaps as a No.10 just off a main striker in a  442. All my guests highlight is ability to spot a defence splitting pass, (something we lack on occasion) and that he has the eye for a spectactular goal. His launguid style, can make him appear lazy but his long legs do carry him faster than perhaps it appears.  He reminds me a little bit of Kanu in some ways, which is no bad thing, and despite being a North London boy, at Arsenal since he was 9, he has opted to play for Nigeria.

Is Chuks our next Nigerian Hero?
Is Chuks our next Nigerian Hero?

All in all it sounds as if Chucks may well be a feature in the first team squad in 2013/14, although a loan in the Championship may beckon. This week watch out for the result of Coventry v Crewe in the Northern Regional Final for the Johnstones Paint Trophy Final. Sadly this is not live on TV,but the final at Wembley on the 7th April will be on Sky Sports. (Check the odds at Fingers crossed Chuks Aneke can be there before his team mates in North London follow him there in May.

Well that brings me the end of my 1st anniversary blog and I will lave you with a glimpse of the touch and tekkers for Chuks Aneke coutesy of the ever talented @CulannDavies taken from our pre-season match v Malaysia.

[ 100% 250]

Until next time thanks for reading and there will be more anniversary week specials this week.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter –


You may also like...


  1. Why are tall dark players all considered the next Vieira and converted to DM’s?

    Like what is happening with Diaby right now. Diaby’s position is just behind the main striker, with his fantastic shooting, ball control and link up play. Chuks seems to be the same. Hope Wenger does not ruin both of the with his over thinking.

    1. Not what I am saying but due to Vieira’s impact and the lack of anyone truly bossing our midfield since these comparisons are drawn. Colour is irrelevant. If we signed Biglia or Strootman it would be same

    2. Diaby, and Vieira are/were box-to-box midfielders, meaning they’re good in attack and defence. Diaby is compared to Vieira because of his stature and they way he plays the game and the ball. His position is definitely central for me. I don’t think he’s up to the job playing off a striker as you believe. His fantastic shooting in fairness is limited to a screamer against Derby a few years back but I’ll gladly stand corrected if you want to refresh my memory.

      Chuks has the raw attributes to become our next midfield powerhouse and I hope he does. It seems he just needs to up his stamina and work rate. I for one hope he does. Nice article by the way.

      1. At no point in article have I mentioned Diaby being compared to Viera so you confuse me, no his shooting

      2. My reply was for HelionVIking really. i was just remarking at the end for your article.

      3. I am talking more about the goal against Villa, the goal against Newcastle, against Fernebache. Always he drives into the box in the space afforded, and always he finishes with precision. Imagine him just hovering outside the box. With his skills and close control no one can touch him. A little one two and we have a high chance of a goal. AND he used to be a striker when he was younger anyway, and all his instincts are attacking.

        On the flip side, he is lethargic, generally slow, and not that good a tackler. Why the hell would you want him playing defensively? It boggles the mind.

    3. Because tall dark players if talented like viera have the potential to boss a game. You forget vieira could also attack better than most players. He would win the ball then knock the ball over the player marking him and run towards goal. Diarby has had to learn to be aggressive in the tackle. So Chuks has the speed strength and intelligence to boss the midfield. Someone has to do that role and I would rather him then Ramsey or Arteta because they do not have what Makele had or Essien had. Get Chuks and Einsfeld in the first 16. You also forget that Essien would rather play further forward and scored and assisted many times like Tiote and new boy sissoko at Newcastle. Personally I just want him on the pitch or on the bench. When Spain won the world cup they had a black Brazilian Senna because that anchor can not be done with just anyone. So have more respect for that role. This is Chuks way in the team and possibly Wengar did not buy another. I liked jay Emmanuel but he would rather not defend. I belive like you in Chuks and from what ive seen he can surpass Diaby and jay emmanuel due to his pace. In a team like Barca and Arsenal the dm role is a very special one. Yaya lost to kieta. Diaby lost to song. Currenly we only have talented but injury prone diaby and injury prone or half a match cockalan.

  2. surely anekes position is an attacking midfielder and he is much more better than most midfielders in arsenals current first team if given an opportunity to showcase his abilities in the first team. if arsenal will not then i hope nigeria will since he has opted to play for nigeria.

    1. mwang’ombe . Exactly which of the current midfield is he already better than. Wilshere , Arteta ,Rosicky, Cazorla ? Or perhaps just Diaby whose play seems to slow down our attacks . He looks to pass square and short too often and doesn’t take the initiative to drive us forward. A diaby supplement is required maybe Aneke can grow into that , but I doubt he’s there yet and is probably vying with Frimpong for that role.

  3. I think he should go on loan to one of the Championship sides and then we can evaluate his perfomance, but he looks good and confident on the ball. I hope Wenger doesnt play him out of position like he has with most of our players.

    Good luck to the guy, i hope he makes it.

  4. Aneke is similar to Cesc in his playing style and is at his best when he plays behind the striker BUT he has little or no work rate and he was booed by Crewe fans for it
    If he doesn’t improve his work rate he won’t even make the Arsenal squad it’s as simple as that

    BAGS OF TALENT just like JET ( Jay Emmnauel Thomas) but a fatal weakness

    1. Correction he was booed by the Crewe fans early on v Yeovil but defended by Steve Davis and not so since

  5. Chuks wont make it at Arsenal, likely not at a top level club. Good player though, no doubt.

    Very few players in our youth ranks that will make it right now.

  6. Great post! Its always nice to find out how the young players have fitted in away from the club, and that we can’t base everything on the short time we have seen them play in pre-season. He looks like with the right type of training, and a bit of reigning in, that he could be a very valuable asset to the club. It seems he, like most other young players, has the talent in abundance, but needs to work really hard to become a suitable player who can help a club like Arsenal. I for one would love to see him do this, I think he could have a lot to offer, and its always nice to see youth players make the step up to the first team successfully.

  7. First of all Dave, congrats on the anniversary, the blogs have been great.
    Second of all, Aneke has always been the one who stood out for me in the youth. I think he’s super talented but is held back in his work ethic. I think with Diaby’s contract up in 2014, we’ll see Aneke replace him providing he has a good season next year too.

  8. Forgot to say this blog and this post is awesome dude. Keep it up. Very few actual analytical blogs like this around. Arseblog keeps straddling the fence and has not said anything original for the past 5 years. ANR is a demented fool. Running out of good blogs to read.
    Liked one post from too. Any more like this?

      1. Thanks for the links and keep writing.

        Hope Aneke makes it. Was very sad to see Lansbury fade, who I thought had a decent chance to make it.

  9. Thanks Dave, happy anniversary !!!!
    I really hope Chuks fulfills his potential, always great to hear a young player of ours is impressing other fans. Will look forward to watching his progrssion.
    Great post btw.

  10. Nice read. Hope Aneke gets a chance at Arsenal. Think he’ll be loaned out to a championship side next season

  11. Thanks for all your comments today. Some of you and you know who you are have been with me from the beginning last February. Others are new visitors and thanks for your feedback. Dave

  12. When Chuks first came to Crewe I was very unsure about hbim but we have grown to love him. Some of his passing is awesome and has a brilliant eye for a good goal too. glad to have him back on loan till the end of the season. Thanks guys great post.

  13. Firstly, happy anniversary Dave. I can’t believe it’s just a year. It seems like ages already. For me, your blog is the numero uno, the Tsar of all Arsenal blogs and everything between; coz it always makes edible sense and it’s refreshinly different from every other one out there. Word!
    I was a little bit afraid that the comparisons between Veira and Diaby (from the comments above) have stolen the show from the subject matter of this post. Thank goodness we fell back in line. Chuks, like many other young, talented up-coming Arsenal players, has always given you that inate feeling that he will soon ply his trade along side the big boys just the way Jack did it. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure about Jack untill he went to Bolton and Bam! There is the new Jack. In the same vein, I think Wenger should give Chuks a go at the first team, you never can tell, he could deliver a match-winning performance that could send somebody else to the bench. From what we read from those who see him play, the lad needs to improve his work etiques and learn to release the ball quickly and the sky’s the limit.
    I truly hope him and Afobe break into the first team in no-too-distant future. They have so much incomon that I’d love to see them continue their development at a higher level and win us trophies.
    Congrats man! I hope you have enough inspiration to continue to bleed the ink into the distant future. Cheers.

  14. there are few guys here who dont like the look of Diaby and i dont blame them either, given how little time he spends on the pitch. however, if u go back a month or so ago, when Wenger told the press that Diaby “has to perform now” otherwise he wont get the new contract. since then, hes not the same player who played for us at the start of the season with his purposeful runs forward and pushing people off the ball. it was great to watch.
    i think it is because he is now genuinely scared to get injured again and its the reason why hes spending most of his time with Per and Vermealen at the back. i personally think, if he can stay fit long enough, lets say till the end of this season. we will really see the best of Diaby in the next season.
    its a different story if he decides to leave us at the end of his only good season like a certain dutch man.

  15. we have so many CM at the club at all level i dont see how he will break in the team .Specially with all the pressure getting on us to get in top four, it become more and more difficult for a youngster to get a chance to impress .
    we dont even play them in the carling cup anymore witch its sad because this cup was exciting just for that , watching our young playesr having a go to season pro 🙁

  16. Arsenal need to set their priority right, do they want to be a youth development club or a top club that challenge for honours? Young players will only impress, they won’t bring the trophies. Experience win trophies. Good luck to the youngsters.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *