by Andrew Crawshaw
On Tuesday evening at 19:00 the Arsenal U21 team who promised so much at the beginning of the season have a final chance to secure promotion to the first division of football for that age level.
A month ago we were looking good for winning the second division outright and gaining automatic promotion, but a string of poor results meant that we finished in second place behind Derby County and so entered the dreaded play-offs. The teams in second to fifth place play a semi-final and the two winners meet to see who gets the second promotion spot.
The third and fourth placed teams met last Monday with Aston Villa winning away at Swansea two one, so they await the winner of our game v Blackburn
The end of season table was :-
|11||Brighton & Hove Albion||22||-19||14|
The First Division table to date is
Man United are league champions, Norwich are definitely relegated, Leicester can avoid relegation if they win their last game which would put them above Middlesbrough.
There were suggestions from Arsène, at the pre Norwich press conference, that some of our first team players may get an outing tomorrow, the rules allow for three over-age players. Santi, The Ox, and Jack are possibilities, also Chambers is still technically U21 this season so he might get an outing in the centre of defence.
I am not entirely sure that this is a good strategy, it certainly hasn’t worked in terms of team results with Jack Wilshere who has both played in three of our last four games (one win and two losses) and Thomas Rosicky who featured with Jack in the Swansea and Newcastle games. Our record in the last three months is.
|5 Feb||Arsenal v Brighton||4 – 1|
|29 Feb||Arsenal v Wolves||1 – 1|
|9 Mar||Fulham v Arsenal||0 – 3|
|14 Mar||Aston Villa v Arsenal||1 – 0|
|1 April||Blackburn v Arsenal||1 – 0|
|8 April||Arsenal v Newcastle||3 – 1|
|11 April||Derby v Arsenal||1 – 2|
|14 April||Swansea v Arsenal||3 – 1|
|18 April||Arsenal v West Brom||1 – 2|
In general this season we have been good going forwards but have been pretty poor defensively at times with players caught out of position on quite a few occasions. Not dis-similar to the first team in fact.
Arsenal v West Brom (1 – 2)
I was at Borehamwood for the loss against West Brom, and we never really looked like winning the game. Jack scored our goal but looked far from fully match fit and West Brom were extremely well organised defensively and scored two breakaway goals. A surprise for me with Gnabry playing as Centre Forward against his former loan club and he was unable to beat the West Brom defenders at all. Right back Johnson one of the few players showing a lot of appetite for the game until he tired late on. Reine Adelaide looking the part but not actually contributing much. Jack’s goal was class.
Our team was
Macey, Reine Adelaide (77), Pleguezuelo, McGuane (72), Wilshere, Gnabry, Bielik, Sheaf, Johnson (81), Crowley and Moore
Subs – Huddart, O’Connor, Malen (72), Nelson (77) and Hinds (81)
Swansea v Arsenal (3 – 1)
Both Jack and Thomas Rosicky were in midfield for this game. Our former goalkeeper Josh Vickers had an outstanding game for Swansea. Poor defending cost the opening goal, King losing his marker to head home. Rosicky was denied a penalty appeal after going down in the box (for me a poor decision from the ref). Swansea doubled their lead before half time Gorre curling the ball past Macey. Gnabry scored a belter with twelve minutes to play but Swansea had the last word scoring their third following yet more poor defending.
Macey, Wilshere, Willock (61), Moore, Bola, Gnabry, Hinds, Bielik, Rosicky (71), Reine Adelaide (82) and Pleguezuelo
Subs Keto, Crowley (82), Sheaf (71), Nelson (61) and O’Connor
Derby v Arsenal (1 – 2)
Derby started better but failed to make anything from excellent opportunities in the opening minutes, Arsenal steadied and Malen scored with 15 minutes gone. Derby equalised before Ben Sheaf was sent off for a second bookable offence. A full half to play against the division leading team meant that the players had to dig deep. They did just that in the second half and scored the winner with a great counter attack, Hinds making the most of a great Crowley through ball
Macey, Bielik, Reine-Adelaide, Bola, Pleguezuelo, Mavididi (46), Sheaf (red card ), Nelson, Crowley, Johnson, Willock
Subs Keto, DaSilva, Hinds, Pileas and Robinson
Team for Tuesday Evening
GK – Macey
Defence – Johnson, Pleguezuelo, Chambers, M Bola
DM – Bielik, Cazorla
Mid – Reine-Adelaide, Wilshere, Crowley
CF – Mavididi
Subs Keto (GK), Hinds, Robinson, McGuane, Gnabry
If Santi doesn’t feature, I would move Wilshere into that role, Crowley into the No10 role and have Gnabry on the opposite wing to Reine-Adelaide. Without Santi and Jack I would have McGuane as second DM. Bielik has usually played as a CB this year at that level, I’m sure he is better as DM – but then I’m only a supporter and blogger!
- Arsenal lost two points for one percent of what Chelsea and the Tottenham did last night. So what will the FA do?
- Media changes its tune over Liverpool, football drugs, the police and social media. Whatever next?
- One player in, three to leave, one coaching deal. All Arsenal’s summer transfers
The anniversaries – from first to last
- 3 May 1893: George Lawrence signed the documents to turn Royal Arsenal formally into Woolwich Arsenal. He then ensured the freehold of the Manor Field was obtained by arranging contracts and the deposit with the freeholder of the Manor Ground.
- 3 May 1998: 105 years to the day after the formation of Woolwich Arsenal, and 27 years to the day after the winning the league as part of the first double, Arsenal beat Everton 4-0 and won the League in game 36 of the second Double season. Adams scored his most famous goal on 89 minutes in front of the north bank as Arsenal secured 10 successive wins, a new Premier League record. Arsène Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the English league, with an unbeaten run of 18 games starting on Boxing Day. Even the commentary of the Arsenal v Everton game became famous as Martin Tyler said, “That sums it all up” as Tony Adams scored and turned to the crowd, arms out wide. The second double: part 1, part 2, part 3.