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October 2016
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Arsenal under 18s: the end of season report

Arsenal U18s – Season End Report

By Andrew Crawshaw

Before I start, there are four levels of players in terms of age that I will refer to in this article.

Starting with the youngest we have schoolboys up to the age of 15 or so.

We then get to the First and second Year Scholars who have not signed professional terms but are in full time education and football training with the club. All will look to become Young Professionals when (or soon after) they reach 17. In the tables below the status of the players is current, not relating to the start of the season.

I would also like to acknowledge that I have relied very heavily on both the and Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth web site.

The U18 team had a difficult season finishing in bottom place in their playoff league which was formed of the bottom eight teams based on league points from the first half of the season


Pos Team P W D L Pts
1 Stoke 7 4 2 1 14
2 Blackburn 7 4 2 1 14
3 Newcastle 7 3 1 3 10
4 Southampton 7 2 1 3 10
5 Fulham 7 2 3 2 9
6 Bolton 7 2 3 2 9
7 Norwich 7 2 1 4 7
8 Arsenal 7 1 1 5 4


For Arsenal to have a team in bottom place is clearly not acceptable and changes will have to be made to ensure improvements for next year.  Some of our performances were dire and our defence in particular was shambolic at times.

Whether the changes will come via new players, changes in coaching staff or training methods is, as yet unknown, but if things stay the same then the effect will be to turn off the ‘talent tap’ which Arsenal need to keep on producing quality players either for the first team or for sale to raise funds.

The league table at this level of football is only one method of judging performance.  Another criteria is how young players have progressed and here are two tables that compare the teams at the end and start of the season

End of Season Arsenal 1 Fulham 5


Player DOB Age Standing Country Hons
GK Keto 09:02:1998 17 1st Year Finland U19
LB Chatzith* 05:12:1997 17 1st Year Greece
CB Wright 30:10:1996 18 2nd Year England U17
RB Johnson 05:10:1997 17 Young Pro England
CB Bola 09:12:1997 17 1st Year England
CM Donovan 30:01:1998 17 1st Year England
Wing Nelson 12:12:1999 15 Schoolboy England U16
CM Mourgos 16:3:98 17 1st Year Greece
Str Da Silva 23:10:98 16 Schoolboy England
Wing Tella 5:7:99 15 Schoolboy England
Str Nketiah 30:5:99 16 Schoolboy England

[* Full name Chatzitheodoritis – sorry I was having problem with the layout.  Tony]


  • 12 – Huddart – GK – 6:5:1997 – 18 – Young Pro – England – U16
  • 13 – Smith-Rowe – Forward – 2000 – Schoolboy – England
  • 14 – Burton – CM – 2000 – Schoolboy – Wales
  • 15 – Da Graca – CB – 16:1:1998 – 17 – Sweden – U16
  • 16 – Gilmour – CM – 11:2:99 – Schoolboy – England – U16

Start of Season

Brighton 0 v Arsenal 4

Player DOB Age Standing Country Hons
GK Huddart 06:05:97 17 Young Pro England U16
RB Johnson 05:10:1997 17 Young Pro England
CB O’Connor * 23:01:97 17 Young Pro English
CB/LB Bola 09:12:1997 17 1st Year England
CB Wright * 30:10:1996 18 2nd Year England U17
Mid Smith * 3:10:1996 18 2nd Year Austrian U18
DM Dobson * 15:11:97 17 Young Pro England
Wing Robinson * 16:9:97 17 Young Pro England
AM Willock * 31:1:98 16 Young Pro England U16
Str Hinds * 28:1:98 16 Young Pro England U16
Str Mavididi * 31:5:98 16 1st Year England


  • Phillips (GK) – 2:12:99 – 15 – Schoolboy – English
  • Donovan – 31:1:98 – 16 – First Year – English
  • Silva – 23:10:98 – 16 – Schoolboy – England
  • Sheaf – 5:2:98 -16 – English – U16

What has happened to the players marked * since the start of the season?

Stefan O’Connor, Elliot Wright, Renny Smith, George Dobson, Tyrell Robinson, Chris Willock, Kaylen Hinds, and Stephy Mavididi and Ben Sheaf were all promoted and ended the season as full members of the U21 team.

So on the progression front the season can’t be described as a disaster.

Whether the players were actually ready for U21 football is another question, the schoolboys that were asked to take their places certainly struggled at times.

The U18 squad also formed the basis of the team that did well in the U19 Champions League, being augmented by some of the younger members of the U21 squad and generally acquitted themselves well.

In conclusion – the year was generally disappointing at this level but a number of players showed that they are capable of playing good football.  As the more senior squad members were called up to the U21 level the gaps left behind had to be filled by schoolboys.

Follow us on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


8 comments to Arsenal under 18s: the end of season report

  • Gord

    Somewhere in a previous thread, I have posted the heights of all the goalkeepers (U18 U20, …). I don’t think I ran across any U17 or U15 data, but it wouldn’t be reliable anyway. I think out of all the “adult” goalkeepers, Ospina is the shortest at 6′ even (I believe).

  • Gord

    Thanks for trying to keep us up to date with the Ladies and Youth programs Andrew.

    It would be nice to see more success with the youth teams.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    As has been mentioned before when discussing our youth programmes, the ultimate measure of their success lies in their ability to prepare the players for first team success. Developing a winning attitude along with technique is more important than winning per se but I would not be the first or only one to raise his eyebrows at the results we have been gaining recently. I can only presume that the metrics used by the club to measure the success of the programme have taken this into account.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks for the update. All gone a bit strange at youth level, especially for a club that has a proud record of youth development.Brady no longer there, rumours of some youth coaches falling out in recent years. Have heard…and stand to be corrected, that there have been changes put in place in the way the youngsters are instructed to play.
    But it seems there must be some issues, I would expect some changes in coaching and scouting, unless this is just a time of transition?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Worrying that the defence seems to be an issue….where .have Iheard that one before at Arsenal? Sorry, sounding like AAA, but I trust the club to do whatever it takes to sort this, the youth system is too important to this club not to act.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks Andrew for these timely updates . Its much appreciated .
    Some youth players take time to develop , so not too worried with their present progress .
    Our system has always thrown up stars ,ever since I started following Arsenal and Charlie George was the toast of Highbury . I remember reading then that his progress from youth to first team cost the club 75,000 Pounds.
    Another useful ‘fact’ dusted out of from the dark cobwebs of my mind !

  • rich

    From a distance, two main tenets of our approach seem to be : fast track and, should the conclusion have been reached a player won’t make it at Arsenal, let them move on as soon as possible.

    The first rule is about keeping the ultimate goal- players for the first team- as the clear priority; the second is about basic decency, and keeping that main goal in mind.

    Consistently apply the two, and results at youth level will be far worse than they could otherwise be.

    Thanks to pushing players up ,and out of comfort zones, not only should management now have a better idea about how far each player can go, most of the players should be ahead of where they would be.

    The only question for me is how far you should go with this policy : if you go too far, with almost every game is a struggle, and there are some very heavy defeats (as was the case with u18s) couldn’t that tip over into something which damages confidence and stunts development? It felt, from a distance, that that was the case at times.

    However, you have to fall back on trust. The club must have a pretty good idea about the wider principles of ‘deep end’ selections, as well as an understanding of the individuals involved which outsiders couldn’t possibly have.

    On the highlights, you’ll often see us concede goals after being dispossessed in our own half or playing a bad pass from defence. The following week you’ll see them playing the same way. Good.

    If you’re going to play for Arsenal, you have to be able to pass the ball from the back. Learning when it’s right to play safe/ hit it long is, by comparison, far easier. In fact, it’s something you learn through your mistakes in the course of playing possession football. The reverse doesn’t apply : if you are playing it safe/ hitting it long, you don’t learn much at all about possession football, and you certainly won’t be equipped for first team football with Arsenal

  • para

    This is one of the reasons why i mentioned Arsenal changing it’s policy. I am worried that Arsenal will now start to “compete” with the oilers and such, but then i realised that is silly, we do not have the resources to do that.

    So what does this “neglect” of the Academy mean for Arsenal? I do not know, but i hope that it is rectified fast, else we will have no option but to buy from those others around us who produce youth. But hey, we do that already don’t we?

    Still it is a little worrying.