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October 2016
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Arsenal progress in the FA Youth Cup. The U18 Team January Report

by Andrew Crawshaw

Here is the current League Table for the U18s

Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Chelsea 20 13 5 2 35 44
2 Reading 20 13 2 5 21 41
3 Fulham 19 11 2 6 15 35
4 West Ham 21 10 4 7 -1 34
5 Aston Villa 21 10 3 8 7 33
6 Arsenal 19 9 5 5 6 32
7 Leicester 20 9 4 7 3 31
8 Spurs 19 6 4 9 -3 22
9 Brighton 20 6 3 11 -17 21
10 Norwich 20 6 2 12 -19 20
11 Southampton 20 4 2 14 -19 14
12 Swansea 21 3 4 14 -28 13

We still have 3 games to play in the first part of the season and our goal must be to finish in the top six.

For the second part of the season the top 6 (or maybe top four – see below) teams in the southern table join the top six from the northern table for the ‘top tier’ play-offs.  Similarly the bottom six in each table form the ‘second tier’ playoffs.  During the playoffs each team meets the others once.

At least that was the format last year – Jeorge Bird is saying that a finish in the top 4 is required this year.  Last year we finished bottom of the second tier so this year is already a considerable improvement.

09 January – the month started well with a 5 – 2 win against Swansea (our first game since November).  The team was :-

Keto, Nketiah, Mourgos, Fortune (69), Eyoma (54), Dragomir, Da Graca, DaSilva, Chatzitheodoridis, Nelson (54) and Bola.

Subs – Phillips, Willock (54), Tella (54) and Pileas (69)

We started well and Fortune opened the scoring in Min 9 with a header at the far post, six minutes later Nelson headed home Eyoma’s cross.  Two nil at half time.

Five minutes into the second half Dragomir made it a trio of headers from a cross by Eyoma, Nketiah then made it four racing on to Dasilva’s through ball to roll the ball home and then completed our scoring from a pull back by Willock.  Swansea got two late goals, a deflected shot by Edwards and Jones beating Keto.

Arsenal Player has a highlights video of the game – you can find it under Matches – Academy – January

Friday 15 January – Swansea 1 v Arsenal 3 FA Youth Cup

Six days later we had the same opponents, this time in a Youth Cup game and we fielded a virtually completely different team comprising our best eligible players (in practice most of the U21 team).  The only players who started the earlier game being Keto and Bola.  But it was still an under 18s match.

The starting line-up was :-

Keto, Reine-Adelaide, Mavididi, Sheaf (64), Bielik, Bennacer, Willock (90), Robinson, Bola, Malen (46) and McGuane

Subs – Phillips, De Graca (46), Nelson (64), Mourgos (90) and Eyoma

Swansea started brightly in a game in wet and windy conditions, Keto making a good save from Lewis.  It was Arsenal who took the lead through Sheaf who’s corner found Malen at the back post with the striker making no mistake.  A minute later and we had doubled the score, Reine-Adelaide with a beautiful piece of skill flicking the ball past his marker and then shooting past Thomas.  Cullen pulled one back for Swansea when he flicked Lewis’ cross past Keto.  The half ended with Robinson being given a straight red card for an altercation with James who was given a yellow card.

The whole second half to play with 10 men, could we hold out?  Swansea, not surprisingly looked to make their numerical advantage tell, Cullen firing over early on when he could have done much better.  Quigley certainly should have done better when his shot went both high and wide from only a few yards out.  A real rush of blood to the head and relief for the Gunners.

We continued to seek a third goal when opportunities presented, Nelson forcing a Thomas into a good save.  The final goal came with six minutes to play, Mavididi poking the ball home from close range after Swansea failed to deal with a loose ball in their area.

Celebrations were cut short, however, when it became obvious that the Swansea Keeper Thomas had suffered a serious injury and eventually he was stretchered off.  When play restarted Swansea had to put an outfield player in goal as they had used all three of their substitutes.  Not surprisingly little happened in the closing minutes.

Again video highlights are available as above on the Arsenal Player and I really do urge you to look at this one even if only for Reine-Adelaide’s goal – it’s worth it!

Saturday 16 January Leicester 1 Arsenal 3

Yes that’s right the following day our U18s were back in action again – WTF!  This time our starting eleven were :-

Huddart, Dasilva, Chatzitheodiridis, Fortune, Pileas, Nkeitah, Mourgos, Tella, Eyoma, Dragomir and Bola

Subs – Osei-Tutu(89), Gilmour (89), Willock (78) and Phillips

So of the players featuring the day before only Willock and Phillips were involved, both starting on the bench.

Leicester opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Mitchell’s shot deflected of Pileas and looped over Huddart in our goal.  We were level before half time when Fortune raced into the box and scored in the bottom corner following an assist by Mourgos.

Early in the second half we took the lead when Mourgos had a shot that was only parried by Yates, the resulting loose ball was collected by Tella who cut it back to Mourgos who made no mistake the second time.  Six minutes from the end Dasilva made it three with a wonderful curled free kick into the top corner.

Again video highlights on the Arsenal Player as before

Tuesday 26th January Arsenal 1 Fulham 3.

The team reverted to a more normal set-up for this game the starting 11 were :-

Keto, Robinson, Nelson, Pileas, Nkeitah (72), Mourgos (69), Eyoma, Osei-Tutu (55), Dragomir, Bola and Dasilva

Subs – Phillips, Fortune (55), Gilmour (69), Willock (72) and Chatzitheodoridis

In torrential rain at London Colney, Nkeitah gave us the lead with a tidy finish in the 10th minute, following an early chance for Fulham when Adebayo ‘s looped shot from outside the box rattled the bar.  Kwietniewski equalised when (not for the first time this year) our defence failed to deal with a loose ball.  Two minutes later we were behind when Adebayo deflected Osei-Tutu’s attempted clearance past Keto and immediately before half time Kwietniewski made it three for the visitors when he was first to a through ball and finished un-erringly.

The second half was quieter, with Fulham coping with everything we could muster.  Nkeitah’s fine effort late on being our best effort but Norman in the Fulham goal was equal to the shot.

Again video highlights are on Arsenal Player

Friday 29 January Aston Villa 3 Arsenal 2. haven’t yet posted their review of this game or the usual highlights video so the following is courtesy of Jeorge Bird (

Chiori Johnson made his first appearance of the season, coming back from a long-term injury.  I am particularly glad to see him return as my Daughter knows the family.  The full starting line up was :-

Keto, Johnson, T Bola, Pileas, Chatzitheodoridis, Gilmour, Dragomir, Tella, Willock, Fortune and Nkeitah

Subs – No info available.

With an U21 game the following day several key players were missing.  We were a goal down in five minutes but responded quickly with a first goal at this level for Tella.  Villa restored their lead before the break but we equalised for the second time courtesy of Nkeitah.

Villa made it three and hung on for the win, Arsenal finishing with 10 players following an injury to Fortune after all three subs had been introduced.

Upcoming Games

Arsenal’s next opponents are Southampton at home this coming Saturday and then away trips to Chelsea (13th Feb) and Spurs (20 Feb).  Two wins will guarantee a top 4 finish.



Bob Wilson on Untold Arsenal (click on the title to see the story)

The Untold Books

The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with an introduction by Bob Wilson.   Details of this and our other titles can be found Arsenal Books on this site.

1 comment to Arsenal progress in the FA Youth Cup. The U18 Team January Report

  • Gord

    Nice report. The only thing I would alter, is that you should note something about Jeorge Bird. Point to his blog or something. People following Arsenal youth for any length of time will have seen his name before, new people will not know why he has been referenced. I guess just nit picking.

    Now, if I could quit making stupid typos.