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October 2016
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The February Under 18 Report plus a Youth Cup update.

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.

Penalty Arsenal Coventry
taken by result taken by result
1 Nelson Scored Leahy Scored
2 Malen Scored Smith Saved
3 Sheaf Wide Shipley Scored
4 Bennacer Scored Camwell Scored
5 Willock Scored Sambou Scored
6 Bielik Scored Finn Scored
7 Reine-Adelaide Post Whitmore Saved
8 Johnson Scored Addai (GK) Scored
9 Bola Scored Hendricks Saved

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


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11 comments to The February Under 18 Report plus a Youth Cup update.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The first of the next phase of U18 games was played this morning against Aston Villa. As I said I will give a full report next month but, by all accounts, it was a great game of football finishing three all. Look out for a highlights video on Arsenal Player in a day or two.

  • Andy Mack

    From the relatively small amount I’ve seen of the U18s on Arsenalplayer and YouTube, it looks like there’s some real potential in GK, MF and attack (but with the usual youth issue of little consistency) but the defence looks consistently poor…

  • Usama Zaka

    I think defence is a slight problem for the U-21s and U-18s because we don’t have many natural center halves in that position. Bielik is a midfielder, and Pleguezelo is the only center half by trade. Even the fullbacks are nearly playing like wingers.

    We might see some signings this transfer window in the defensive area for the academy.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sanago has scored today…


  • ARSENAL 13

    Hahahahahahahaha… Wohooo

    Sanago hattrick..

  • ARSENAL 13

    And has been subbed due to cramps…


  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Andy and Usama,
    The defence at U18 level is not good enough. This is known by the club and I’m sure that they will be looking to bring in further players from outside as and when they can. PLeguezuelo who is usually captain of the U21s seems to be technically sound but is lacking in a natural partner so the problem also exists at U21 level but to a lesser degree.
    I’m sure I can recall Arsene commenting about both a lack of centre forwards and centre backs coming through the youth systems in this country. I guess that centre back just isn’t sexy enough for the average adolescent youth of today.

  • Usama Zaka

    Yeah you are right about that. Also centre back is a position which I think requires more patience in development from both the player and the management.

  • Andy Mack

    Yes CB is a position where experience is a major factor. In the modern game I’m not sure Tony Adams would have got any 1st team minutes under the age of 22/23 and he was natural. So the young CBs future is either go out on lots of loans or move to a lesser club and get hyped so much $iteh pay a fortune for you…

  • ARSENAL 13

    for young CBs, big teams won’t be an ideal development stage. Lots of pressure, and little room for error as the stakes are too high.

    But if the player is talented enough, I personally would take a gamble and risk a couple of games in favor of player development.

  • Andy Mack

    Arsenal 13, we’ve done that in the TinPot Cup regularly but it’s the seniors that usually let the side down in those games…