by Andrew Crawshaw
Here is the current League Table for the U21s
|4||West Bromwich Albion||14||6||6||2||6||24|
|5||West Ham United||15||7||2||6||1||23|
|12||Brighton and Hove Albion||14||1||4||9||-17||7|
We are well placed for one of the two promotion places back to the first division of Under 21 football, one point behind both of the teams above us and with games in hand on both of them.
Our January games have been quite fruitful, wins over Blackburn and Aston Villa and draws against West Brom and Swansea.
5th Jan Arsenal 3 – Blackburn 2
Arteta played the first 45 minutes as part of his comeback from injury. The full team (but not in normal positional order – thanks Arsenal.com) was:-
Huddart, Jeff Reine-Adelaide (71), Iwobi (79), Crowley, Sheaf, Willock, Bielik, Malen, Robinson, Pleguezuelo and Arteta (46).
Subs Keto, Mavididi (79), Bola, Bennacer (46) and Moore (71)
We started at a very fast pace and were rewarded with a goal by Reine-Adelaide. Minutes later it was nearly two as Central Defender Pleguezuelo powered a header against the crossbar. Arteta drew a good save from Blackburn’s keeper Crump, and Iwobi curled one wide. Blackburn then had a chance of their own with Rittenberg rattling our post.
The second half started with Bennacer replacing Arteta and with a similar pace as the first half.
Four minutes after the re-start we were two up, Reine-Adelaide’s shot was only parried by Crump into Malen’s path and he made scored from a few yards out. Four minutes later it was three, Malen providing the assist for Reine-Adelaide to roll the ball into the bottom corner. Mansell pulled one back for Blackburn just after 60 minutes and then set up a tense finish with his second bur we were able to hang on to our lead.
Arsenal Player have a highlights video of this game – go to Matches – Academy – January
11th Jan West Bromwich 1 – Arsenal 1
Having featured in our 3rd round Cup Tie, Reine-Adelaide and Iwobi were both rested, Bennacer and Kamara replacing them. There were starts for Tafari Moore making his return from injury, Marc Bola and Stephy Mavididi. The full team was :-
Huddart, Bielik, Bennacer, Bola, Willock, Pleguexuelo, Mavididi, Kamara, Sheaf (83), Moore and Crowley.
Subs: Keto, Malen (83), McGuane, Eyoma, Mourgos
Playing conditions were difficult and we started rather tentatively and were punished when we failed to mark Roberts at a free kick and he made it one-nil. The free kick was soft, Bielik being adjudged by the linesman to have fouled Wright. Our two best chances of the half both fell to Crowley, first curling one wide and then firing wide of the top corner.
We started the second half much better, the West Brom keeper, Rose, making two good reaction saves. We had a golden opportunity to equalise when we were awarded a soft penalty. Crowley took the kick but it was far from his best as Rose was able to save it fairly easily. We eventually got a deserved equaliser in Min 65 through Willock. Both sides continued to push for the winner but in the end had to settle for the draw.
Arsenal Player has a highlights video of this game – access as above
22nd Jan Arsenal 0 – Swansea 0
Rosicky played the first 45 minutes as part of his rehabilitation from injury, Kris De Graca replaced Krystian Bielik at Centre Back and Malen also started. The full startingline-up was :-
Macey, Moore, Crowley, De Graca, Rosicky (46), Bola, Willock, Pleguezuelo, Malen, Bennacer and Reine-Adelaide (63).
Subs – Keto, Bola, Da Silva, Mavididi (63) and McGuane (46). A note here that Marcus McGuane was formerly known as Marcus Ageyi-Tabi
Swansea fielded a very experienced team many with first team playing time and proved very tough opponents on a rain soaked day at London Colney. In truth chances were few and far between at both ends throughout the game. Rosicky hit a volley over the bar and Willock was closer, at the end of the first half hitting the bar. Macey had a routine save from Fulton.
In the second half despite dominating proceedings we failed to create clear cup chances. Crowley forcing Zabret into a good save from a free kick and then late on making another save from Willock. A tough game with the scoreline telling the story.
I can’t find the usual video highlights on Arsenal.com at the moment.
29th Jan Aston Villa 2 – Arsenal 3
Bielik, McGuane and Mavidi all started, Rosicky, Moore werem’t in the squad and Malen dropped to the bench. The starting 11 were :-
Macey, Crowley, Reine-Adelaide, De Graca, Bielik, Bennacer, Willock (70), Bola, Pleguezuelo, Mavididi and McGuane (75).
The bench – Keto, Eyoma, DaSilva (75), Nelson (70) and Malen
Crowley had a good start forcing Bachman into a save from a curling ball in the 10th minute. In Min 18 he robbed a Watkins-Clark on the wing before driving into the box and passing to Mavidi who finished adroitly. As the half progressed Stoke came more into the game and nearly equalised through N’Goy who really should have done better after working his way into our box.
Macey had an early save to make from Telford in the second half, pushing the ball out for a corner, before making a good block from N’Goy. Watkins-Clark then made another error deep in the Stoke half allowing Mavididi to rob the ball. He passed to an on-rushing McGuane who slotted home through the keeper’s legs.
Somehow in the goal celebrations that followed Crowley must have said something to the referee and was given a red card for dissent. Stoke made the most of their extra man advantage with attack following attack and pulled one back in the 78th minute N’Goy powering through our defence and beating Macey.
We had the last word though as a Stoke attack failed deep into extra time, Mavididi again being first to a loose ball and taking it 60 yards before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball into the empty net.
Video highlights as before on ArsenalPlayer.
Next game at U21 Level is on Friday at the Training Ground at 13:00 against Brighton where Wellbeck is scheduled for 45 minutes as part of his comeback.
After that many of the players will be travelling to Anderlecht for the U19 Uefa Youth League game on Tuesday afternoon 17:00 UK kickoff. I’m joining Walter and the Belgian Gooners for that one so there should be a full game report and a catering report from that one.
The game is a one-off knockout, the winner remains in the competition, the looser goes home. The draw for the final 16 clubs in the knockout stage of the competition will be held on 15 February. The semi finals and final will be at Colovray Stadium, Nyon, Switzerland opposite UEFA’s headquarters (860 seats) so they are clearly not expecting a lot of people to turn up!
4 February 2006: Adebayor scored on his debut which ended Birmingham 0 Arsenal 2. He played 104 league games for Arsenal and scored 46 goals.
4 February 2012: After three defeats and a draw in last four games, Arsenal beat Blackburn 7-1. Robin Van Persie got a hatrick, and Oxlade Chamberlain 2.