An update on the Juniors
by Andrew Crawshaw
After a disappointing game against Stoke, the U21s were back on track in their latest game away to Brighton when they emerged with all three points in a 2 – 1 victory thanks to a fantastic solo goal from 16 year old Donyell Malen. Donyell joined us from Ajax in the summer, something of a coup for the club. Definitely an Untold tip for the future.
Interestingly the base of midfield was made up of Calum Chambers and Alex Iwobi, perhaps with an eye of the needs of the first team rather than the U21s. That has been the third game in a row when Iwobi has been played that far back (mind you it’s the first win but maybe he is starting to get used to the position rather than being on the wing). Due to fixture congestion, European commitments and international calls the U21s have played far fewer games than the other teams in their league and their position in the table looks somewhat false at the moment.
Highlights from the Brighton game are on Arsenal Player and are well worth a look. Malen’s goal is really quite good.
Here is the current League table – please note that this is the second tier at this level, the top two teams at the end of the season get promoted.
After finishing bottom of all of the teams at this level last season , this year continues to show significant progress.
November saw wins against Norwich (3 – 2) and Brighton (3 – 1) and a draw at West Ham (2 – 2).
In the Norwich game Arsenal scored first through Eddie Nketiah, before Norwich scored twice. In the second half Vlad Dragomir (you have got to love that name!) equalised after coming on as substitute and Yassin Fortune scored our winner with 15 minutes to go. As with all of the junior games highly edited highlights are available on the Arsenal Player.
At home to Brighton goals from midfielder Tyrell Robinson (2) and another from Yassin Fortune. It was a quick start for the Gunners with Robinson putting the ball in the net in the second minute but the lead didn’t last long with keeper Ryan Huddart being beaten almost immediately (one all).
Dragomir turned provider in this game after coming on as sub, Robinson getting his second, this time Huddart made a vital save as Brighton again looked to strike back immediately. Fortune got the final goal in injury time to make the points safe.
Last Sunday morning we earned a hard fought point at West Ham as Eddie Nkietah scored a brace after two early West ham goals following poor defensive work. Nkietah scored either side of half time to ensure that we earned a share of the points although in truth we were somewhat lucky at times.
Here is the current table. Please note that once all teams have completed 22 games the top six from this southern group join the top 6 from the Northern group for a new table in the second half of the season playing the other teams once only, likewise with the bottom six.
5th place at the moment, good enough for a place in the top group for the second half of the season which I’m sure was the realistic aim at the start of the season, given how dire we were last year. However there is absolutely no room for complacency as both West Ham and Villa are hard on our coat tails. Our game in hand is against Chelsea who are once again comfortably at the top of the table and we shouldn’t expect too much from that game.
U18 FA Youth Cup third Round
This Friday sees the start of our involvement in the FA Youth Cup when Arsenal take on West Brom at Borehamwood, K.O. 19:00. The competition is for players who were under 18 on 1st January 2015 so most of our current U21 squad are eligible to play. Historically this is a competition which the club takes ‘seriously’ with the best available players being used.
The Club have already announced that schoolboy George Phillips will be on the bench as reserve goalkeeper. He was 16 on 2nd December and is a product of the Hale End Academy. Clearly a name to look out for in the future. The Finnish keeper Keto is likely to start as Ryan Huddart the normal U18 keeper is too old to feature in this competition.
Our eligible players are:-
Young Pros – Goalkeeper Keto (09:02:98); Defenders Ben Sheaf (5:2:98), Christopher Da Graca (16:1:98) and Chiori Johnson (5:10:97) NB Chiori is currently injured.; Midfielders Chris Willock (31:1:98), Ismael Bennacer (1:12:97), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (17:1:98), Tyrell Robinson (16:9:97) ; Strikers Kalen Hinds (28:1:98), Stephy Mavididi (31:5:98),
Second Year Scholars (yet to sign a pro contract) – Defenders Marc Bola (09:12:97); Ilias Chatzitheodoritis (5:11:97) Midfielders Aaron Eyoma (22:9:97) and Savvas Mourgos (16:3:98)
First Year Scholars Defenders Tolaji Bola (No relation to Marc Bola) (4:1:99) Kostas Pileas (11:12:98), Midfielders Marcus Agyei-Tabi (2:2:99), Vlad Dragomir (24:4:99), Charlie Gilmour (11:2:99), Nathan Tella (5:7:99), Joe Willock (20:8:99); Strikers Joshua DaSilva (23:10:98), Yassin Fortune (30:1:99), Edward Nkietah (30:5:99), Donyell Malen (19:1:99)
All of our Schoolboys are eligible but apart from George Phillips, none are likely to feature.
Of the above only Jeff Reine-Adelaide might be involved in the first team squad so I will guess that our squad may well be a 4-2-3-1 formation :-
Eyoma, Bielik, Da Graca, M Bola
C Willock, Bennacer, Robinson (or Reine-Adelaide if available)
Subs: Phillips (GK), Chatzitheodoritis, Robinson/Eyoma, Nelson, Mavididi, Nkietah
The game is at Borehamwood on Friday Evening with a 19:00 Kick-off. It is another game where admission is free. The Lunch Box inside the ground does good Jumbo Sausages for £3.50 with reasonable priced drinks and the Golden Plaice on the High Street excellent fish and chips for something more substantial post game!
You might also find Arsenal have managed to halve muscle injuries sustained by Academy players makes an interesting read.
- 1 December 2001: Ipswich 0 Arsenal 2 with goals from Ljungberg and Henry. League match 14 of the third Double season. Although part of three consecutive wins it was in fact just part of a run of three wins in nine.
- 1 December 2007: Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2. Arsenal five points clear and the media began to talk of another unbeaten season. Flamini and Adebayor scored. However the run lasted just one more game