by Andrew Crawshaw
Arsenal enter the third round of this competition tonight with a match against BlackburnRovers at Meadow Park Borehamwood with a 19:00 kickoff.
The Borehamwood web site say that there will be no charge, the Arsenal website says there will be a ticket price of £5 at the turnstiles. Either way it is a small price to pay to see the current U18 team strut their stuff and I would urge all of you who can get there to do so.
Arsenal play in the Southern group of the Premier Academy League a Eddie Nketiah is the leading scorer with 10 from 9 starts, Donyell Malen has 4 from 8 and Joe Willock 3 from 9 starts.
Arsenal.com only has the league table after out first 8 games when we were top ahead of West Ham and Chelsea. Here is the top half of the current table courtesy of uk.soccerway.com :-
Blackburn have played 15 games and have 21 points in the North Division currently lying fourth behind The two Manchester clubs and Liverpool. Here is the equivalent table for their half of the Country :-
Tonight’s game should be an good contest between two teams who are (according to league results) fairly evenly matched.
However, the key will be how seriously are Arsenal going to take this competition. At the start of the season Arsenal were playing with a strong squad most of whom had a lot of experience at this level and were mostly 17 or 18 years old and we were on top of our League. More recently a number of those players have been promoted to the U23 team and we have been fielding teams with far more 16 year old players and this has contributed to our poorer results.
If we field our strongest age qualified players I am quite sure that we have the skills and experience to progress, if we don’t then we may well struggle. As there are no U23 games now until January there seems to be no reason why we shouldn’t play our strongest players. I would still be surprised to see Jeff Reine-Adelaide featuring however although he is qualified.
My starting team
GK – Hugo Keto (9.2.1998)
RB – Jordi Osei-Tutu (2/10/1988)
CBs – Joseph Olowu and Kostas Pileas (11/12/1988)
LB – Tolaji Bola (4/1/1999)
Midfield – Marcus McGuane (2/2/1999), Vlad Dragomir 4/2/99), Joshua DaSilva (23/10/98)
Attack – Donyell Malen (19/01/1999), Joe Willock (2/8/99), Edward Nketiah (5/3/99)
Joao Virginia (GK), Trae Coyle, Emille Smith-Rowe, Josh Benson, Nathan Tella, Daniel Ballard, Robbie Burton
Tales from Untold