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Arsenal youth to play semi finals next week!

By Walter Broeckx

Monday evening I was delighted that Arsenal Player was showing the game against CSKA Moscow live so I could watch the game as it unfolded.

I don’t know how many Gooners made it to the Emirates (estimation of some 7.000) but I sure wish I could have been there. But living abroad does have its downside especially when it comes to watching Arsenal. But then again our sports channel in Belgium does shows more Arsenal games live than they show in England. Oh well, as always there are two sides to each coin.

So with the international interlude putting us into the boredom zone I was happy with at least a fixture involving Arsenal and having a bit of a meaning. CSKA Moscow had played English opposition before in the NextGen group stage. They then won 1-2 at Chelsea (who had already qualified for the semi finals in the NextGen). So it promised to be a firm test for the youngsters who had water-battled their way past the winners of last season’s competition, Inter Milan. That was thanks to a great goal from captain Yennaris and some firm and determined defending.

The best chance in the opening stages was for Arsenal. A nice attack gave the attacking right back the ball. He crossed the ball delightful in the middle and the onrushing Gnabry could head the ball towards goal unmarked and from 5 meters out. He headed it straight at the keeper who was happy that the ball bounced in his hands as he would have been helpless if the ball would have been half a meter to the left or to the right. What a missed chance, Serge.

Moscow defended most of the time but after some 10 minutes suddenly could break away. But the shot was stopped by Hajrovic. He and Hayden did an excellent job in the centre of defence. And Hayden is not just a good writer (he wrote a little blog before the game on arsenal.com) but seems like a strong defender also.

The game then turned into a bit of a midfield battle. Moscow defending and Captain Yennaris holding in midfield while Olson and Ebecilio played more forward.

And up front we had Apkom who is a very strong and powerful centre forward with lots of tricks and power. Eisfeld played as a kind of left winger in attack and Gnabry played… well everywhere.

In goal we had the big young man Illiev. He impressed me in Milan and well in this game he didn’t have much to do but he was very calm, good on the high crosses and when he came out he was always first on the ball. Despite not having to make any difficult saves he surely looked a composed and good keeper.

And finally we had the full backs. Angha was on the left. Certainly in the second half he looked impressive with a few amazing runs forward. He should have scored a goal when Gnabry put him through on goal but the keeper gambled for the angle and Angha wasted the chance. But he was impressive. As impressive as our future right back.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years time we will have the Cesc saga all over again with talk about DNA and such stuff.  For me this Bellerin has it all you need to become a world class right back. He is quick, he is strong. He has a great cross that will cause dangerous situations and with a big centre forward … he will love it.  And he is very skilful and can attack as a midfielder or even striker. Sometimes still a bit casual on a few occasions but the boy is still young and I think he will make it.

After the first big chance and much midfield play Arsenal threatened again with Gnabry who was my man of the match and not just for the goal he would score in the second half. Good link up and build up play. Just a bit of better finishing and we have… no not gonna say it. Just work hard Serge and you will be big.

Eisfeld also had a shot that just went wide in the first half and Bellerin made a good clearance with the last kick of the first half. A decent first half but we didn’t manage to score and that was the only disappointment for me.

In the second half it was again Arsenal that was running the game. Moscow hardly could reach the Arsenal penalty area. It was a half of waiting for the goal to come. And the most influential player on the pitch made the goal and scored it. He got the ball in the middle and gave the ball to the always forward thinking and running Bellerin who played it in the channel for Gnabry. A lovely spot of control and he put the keeper on the wrong foot to put the ball in the net. A great attack and a great finish. And a well deserved lead.

Further chances came for Arsenal but were missed or saved by the keeper. Sometimes with a little bit of luck. Sometimes with a penalty-area foul that the ref missed.  And Moscow could again hardly come close to Iliev.

In the extra time Arsenal could almost put the icing on the cake. A superb free kick from Eisfeld didn’t end up in the net but the crossbar save Moscow from a 2-0 defeat. I think it would have been a more deserving score line as Arsenal was on top for almost the whole game.

Nice football at times, wasteful with the chances that they made. I think we have a real Arsenal team over here.

So now up to next weekend. The finals are played in one weekend. First at 15.00 local time we play the semi final against Chelsea in Italy. And then hopefully we can play the final on the next Monday – Eastermonday. That final will be shown live on Eurosport.   I am hoping the semi final will also be shown.

COYG make us proud! Or maybe I should say: COYYG. Come On You Young Guns!

31 comments to Arsenal youth to play semi finals next week!

  • TC

    ‘So now up to next weekend’ – as in ‘this weekend’ and in fact this Friday (Good Friday) and then possibly Monday (Easter Monday)

  • ClockEndRider

    The semis are showing live in UK on Eurosport on Good Friday. Should be very interesting……

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh well, it’s a long weekend this one 😉
    And for me every weekend starts on Friday at 12.00 when I stop working. Lucky me… I know

  • Gord

    I wish the NextGen team the best of luck against Chelsea.

    In looking at Google News this morning (it is 6:30 am as I write this), it was nice to see 2 or 3 newspaper articles about the Arsenal Women’s team, and their upcoming game against Torres in Italy. Being ahead 3-1 on aggregate, they have a good chance at making it to a semifinal as well.

    Other than that, most of the news was endless transfer babble.

  • Gord

    First half still in Italy. White scored for Arsenal on 4 minutes. About half way through first half, Arsenal lead 1-0 (4-1 on aggregate).

  • Gord

    Halftime in Italy. Someone on Arsenal picked up a yellow card at about the 30 minute mark, I’ve no idea who. Score still 1-0 to the gunners (4-1 on aggregate).

  • Just a Easter thought could the Proffesor play that team in the Carling/whatever cup? Does the F A (F…… As…..s)allow it?Keep it up NexGen Champs to be.

  • Gord

    Midway through the second half for the ladies in Italy. Some player on Torres received a caution a few minutes into the second half. Near the stroke of half way through the second half, whoever it was on Arsenal who received the yellow card in the first half, received a second yellow and has been sent to the showers early. Arsenal to play shorthanded for 22 minutes or so.

    The BBC is reporting that Sunderland has lost two players for the rest of the season. Cattermole needs surgery, and will be gone. And apparently the injury bug caughts Fletcher on duty for Scotland.

  • Gord

    And a minute or so later, one of the ladies for Torres receives a straight red. Both teams now playing a person short.

  • Gord

    Something is heating up in Italy! Another yellow to Torres, followed a couple of minutes later by a straight red to another gunner. About 13 minutes left. Gunners now short 2 people on the field.

  • Gord

    It’s over in Italy. With about 10 minutes left in the game, the gunners picked up another straight red (that is now 3 players sent off) and had another player cautioned. With about 5 minutes left, a player for Torres was shown a straight red (for 2 ejections in total). Final score is 1-0 to the gunners (4-1 on aggregate).

    The BBC has noticed that the game is over, hasn’t said a thing about all the cards. 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    No mention on the Arsenal ladies twitter account of any red cards? Maybe the website you followed it on was wrong? A few yellows it seems. Surely the arsenal ladies twitter would have mentioned red cards?

    anyway: well done to the Arsenal Ladies!

  • Gord

    I was following the Yahoo Eurosport (England and UK) page. They had a page up which kept track of time, the score, and cards. No commentary. Maybe the cards are phantom? I seen that Arsenal.com didn’t have any kind of real-time information available. Strange.

    http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/uefa-women-s-champions-league/2012-2013/torres-fs-arsenal-fc-550133.html

    Okay, I’m out to lunch. The Red indicates a substitution. Sorry about that. But 5 yellows is still a lot. (Maybe I should clean my glasses? 🙂 )

  • Gord

    The youth team traveling to Lake Como, Italy for the NextGen games are (from Arsenal.com):
    GK: Deyan Iliev, Joshua Vickers
    Def: Martin Angha, Sead Hajrovic, Hector Bellerin, Isaac Hayden, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill
    Mid: Thomas Eisfeld, Nico Yennaris, Serge Gnabry, Jack Jebb, Kyle Ebecilio, Alfred Mugabo, Kristoffer Olsson
    Str: Zak Ansah, Alex Iwobi, Chuba Akpom

    We have one player listed, who isn’t on the arsenal.com Academy page, Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He is described as a winger, so I assume he is a midfielder.

    It sounds like this weekend is nominally a tournament. Arsenal is traveling with 2 goalkeepers, 5 defenders, 8 midfield and 3 strikers. From following the first team, we have quite often seen youth players described as midfield end up playing fullback. I don’t know that I’ve seen/read youth midfield playing striker for the first team, but I can easily imagine some midfielders being pushed up to play striker if injuries accumulate. The only place that seems a little lacking, is possibly goaltender. Is there some youth player who normally plays out, who can function as a goaltender? Henri Lansbury comes to mind as an example.

    I wish them well.

  • Gord

    Lake Como: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2300972/LIVE-Chelsea-v-Arsenal–NextGen-semi-final-happens.html

    At half time, it is Arsenal 1 – Chelsea 0.

    Arsenal Iliev, Bellerin, Hayden, Hajrovic, Angha, Olsson, Ebecilio, Yennaris, Eisfeld, Gnabry, Akpom

    Subs Ormonde-Ottewill, Vickers, Iwobi, Mugabo, Jebb, Maitland-Niles, Ansah

    Goal Akpom

    Chelsea Beeney; Christensen, Davey, Pappoe, Wright; Loftus-Cheek, Boga, Baker; Kiwomya, Feruz, Nditi (Hunte 40)

    Subs Killip, Dabo, Conroy, T Musonda, Swift, Colkett,

    Apparently the pitch is in bad shape. One Chelsea player was subbed off just before half time, for injuring his ankle with nobody near him.

  • Gord

    Chelsea (Feruz) equalize on a penalty.

  • Gord

    Chelsea (Baker) scores from long range. 2-1 to Chelsea.

  • Gord

    Chelsea (Boga) scores from short range. 3-1 to Chelsea.

  • Gord

    Arsenal (Akpom) scores from short range. 3-2 to Chelsea.

  • Gord

    Arsenal (Gnabry) scores from short range. 3-3.

  • Tasos

    Great comeback 3-3 (Gnabry)

    Goes into extra time

  • Tasos

    Game is Live on Eurosport 2

  • WalterBroeckx

    Too many defensive errors from Arsenal in this game. On a piss poor pitch with grass but the ball bounces in the most awkward ways.

    But great character shown by the boys to come back. Come on now lets finish it

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sun is shining in Como now, but seemingly dark clouds in the sky also

  • WalterBroeckx

    Still 3-3 after the first half of extra time. Some really tired legs out there on both sides and even the ref is struggling and trying to win some time 😉

  • Gord

    Chelsea (Baker) scores near the end of extra time. Chelsea wins 4-3.

  • Tasos

    Terrific effort. Some good performances from both teams.

    But why were Arsenal made to play their quarter-final on Monday night, only 4 days before the finals weekend?

    I think a tournament should try to be fair to all teams competing.

  • Mike T

    Some really intreseting performances on what was a very very bad pitch.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Just when Arsenal looked on top in the second half of extra time Chelsea made the vital goal.

    A highly entertaining game, Arsenal the better team until Chelsea scored 3 goals in 11 minutes. With some individual errors from Arsenals point of view. After shacking that off they battled to score 2 quick goals.

    First half of extra time Chelsea was better but could not score, second half of ET Arsenal was better and Chelsea could score.

  • ARSENAL 13

    well, m sad that our youngsters failed to march on. The promise is there, its about how they react to this.

  • Gord

    Sorry, asleep at the wheel. Arsenal played another game this weekend at the NextGen Finals, the 3-4 game against the loser of the Aston Villa – Sporting Lisbon semi-final. The result was a 3-1 loss to Sporting Lisbon, leaving Arsenal in 4th place in NextGen.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2301930/Arsenal-1-Sporting-Lisbon-3-NextGen-Series.html

    The above link states that more information is to follow.