by Andrew Crawshaw
At the end of January, the U18s needed six points from nine to ensure that they featured in the top division for the second half of the season, four points or fewer would see them in the second division – still an improvement on last season but disappointing.
Sat 6 Feb saw the first of the three games at home to Southampton. George Phillips made his debut at this level in goal with U21 striker Malen starting in attack. Arsenal started brightly, Malen pirouetting to provide an assist for Da Silva whose low shot found the corner of the Southampton net. Willock added a brace before half time to give a 3 – 0 lead at the break. In the second half a familiar defensive error gave Southampton’s Joseph Lea a good opportunity, fortunately his shot only rattled the crossbar. Malen then made the game absolutely secure with a shot from outside the box. The score remained at 4 – 0 despite a number of good opportunities to add more goals late on in the second half.
Philips (GK), Robinson (74), Fortune, Pileas, Malen, Gilmour, Eyoma (70), Johnson, Willock, Osei-Tutu, Da Silva (58),
Perrin, Dragomir, Mourgos (58), Chatzitheodoridis (70), Nkeitah (74)
The second league game was against run-away leaders Chelsea at Cobham. To be honest this was a game I wasn’t expecting us to get points from and we ended up losing by 3 – 1.
The first half was goalless and if anything we had the better opportunities, Aaron Eyoma failing to score twice when he really should have done better. Chelsea’s Jacob Maddox was given a second yellow card for a high foot in Min 50 but we couldn’t make our numerical advantage count. Christie-Davis curled a free kick into the top corner in Min 77, Harvey St Clair making it two in the 86th minute.
We gained a lifeline a minute later with Nkietah hitting a drive which deflected past Thompson in the Chelsea goal couldn’t stop. The revival didn’t last long though, Cole Dasilva scoring a third only three minutes later. Chelsea’s first two goals came from Arsenal losing the ball and allowing Chelsea to run past them.
Manager Frans de Kat said after the game that some of our players think they are big players – they aren’t yet and need to become big players.
Philips (GK), Da Silva (61), Chatzitheodoridis, Willock (67), Pileas, Nkeitak, Mourgos, Eyoma, Osei-Tutu, Dragomir, Bola (54)
Subs – Omole (54), Gilmour (61), Tella (67), Barden
The Third League game was away to Tottenham on Feb 20 and only a win would do. Unfortunately, a dreadful second half performance allowed our hosts to inflict a very painful 4 – 0 defeat.
In the first half Arsenal were the better team but couldn’t turn possession into goals, Kaylen Hinds having several chances on his return from injury. The second half saw Spurs able to capitalise on a number of defensive errors with Shashoua (53), Edwards (70 and 76) and Loft able to score four unanswered goals and condemn Arsenal to the second division.
Huddart (GK), Da Graca, Da Silva, Chatzitheodoridis, Fortune, Pileas (75), Nkeitah, Sheaf, Malen, Osei-Tutu and Hinds
Philips, Dragomir (62), Mourgos, Eyoma (75) and Tella
The Second Half of the season sees us play one game against each of Aston Villa, West Brom, Middlesbrough, Wolves, Leicester, Sunderland and Tottenham between 27 Feb and 23 April. I will cover the first game in the March report.
In the FA Youth Cup on 15 Feb we were away to Coventry City.
In the Football Association Youth Challenge Cup, to give it its full title only those players between the age of 15 and 18 on 31 August of the current season are eligible to take part. Although it is dominated by the youth sides of Premier League and Championship teams, it attracts over 400 entrants from throughout the country, and as with the FA Cup the Premier League teams enter later than other sides.
We made a slow start, Hickman scoring for Coventry mid way through the first half, that seemed to spark some life into our players and Robinson equalised shortly after the half hour mark. One all at half time and it remained like that at full time. In extra time Malen scored at the start of the second half and it seemed as though that would be that but Sambou equalised in the last minute to send the game to penalties.
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So an exciting win 7 – 6 on penalties with Keto the hero with three saves and Arsenal progress to a quarter final meeting at the Emirates against Liverpool on Friday 4 March. Kick-off is 19:00 and tickets cost peanuts so you have no excuse not to go along and see the stars of tomorrow.
Here’s the scores and fixtures in the current round:
Tuesday 23 February 2016
Blackburn Rovers 1 – 0 Luton Town
Friday 26 February 2016
Chelsea 2 – 1 Reading
Monday 29 February 2016
Manchester City v Norwich City
Friday 4 March 2016
Arsenal v Liverpool
- Welcome to the Pawson-Dean Disaster. Man U v Arsenal, 28 Feb 2016 – The Match Officials.
- Fifa survives, Infantino wins. Arsenal make a loss.
- Transfans who say, “If Flamini plays another game for Arsenal, I’m supporting Leicester”.
- 27 February 1897: Arsenal played Millwall, their closest rivals, in the United League. The crowd was 15000, the highest recorded for a United League game. Arsenal won 3-1.
- 27 February 1926: William Harper made his Scottish debut. Arsenal broke the record transfer fee for a goalkeeper to bring him in – paying £4000. Despite the fee Harper was dropped by Arsenal after 20 matches although he did get the minor consolation of winning a London Combination League Winner’s medal.
The Untold Books
The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon. Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.