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FA Youth Cup 2016/17 – Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers 16/12/2016: Match Preview

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 :-

Position Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Chelsea 15 10 3 2 20 33
2 Reading 15 9 2 4 4 29
3 West Ham 15 8 3 4 10 27
4 Spurs 15 7 3 5 13 24
5 Arsenal 13 6 5 2 12 23
6 Fulham 15 5 4 6 1 10

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 :-

Position Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Man City 14 10 4 0 32 34
2 Man U 15 9 3 3 20 30
3 Liverpool 15 9 3 3 10 30
4 Blackburn 15 8 3 4 5 27
5 Everton 14 6 5 3 9 19

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)

Subs from

Joao Virginia (GK), Trae Coyle, Emille Smith-Rowe, Josh Benson, Nathan Tella, Daniel Ballard, Robbie Burton

COYYG

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5 comments to FA Youth Cup 2016/17 – Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers 16/12/2016: Match Preview

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Arsenal.com are now confirming that it is free entry tonight so no excuses not to be there!

  • Gord

    AFCU18 to face Rovers: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Dasilva, Olowu, T. Bola, McGuane, Dragomir, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Malen, Nketiah

    AFCU18 substitutes: Barden, Pileas, Tella, Willock, Coyle

    COYYG!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Half time here and no score. The main talking point being a mass coming together by both team’s players after an initial altercation between the two No 10s. They were both head to head and looked equally responsible. The referee saw it differently giving the Blackburn player a yellow and Reiss Nelson a red. Arsenal to play 71 minutes with 10 players

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    It really should have been two red cards. A big bonus for Blackburn whose player made the initial foul which was probably worth a yellow on its own

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Final score 1-0 to Blackburn. The two teams pretty much cancelled each other out despite Arsenal being a man down for 70 minutes but 8 minutes from full time (about) Blackburn put in a great cross from the left hand side which was met by Daniel Butterworth who gave Keto no chance. It was one of very few clear chances at either end.

    A difficult loss but Nelson only had himself to blame for his red card. Why Darren Knox didn’t also send off Joseph Rankin-Costello God only knows. He was as guilty as Nelson and should also have been shown red , not the yellow he got.

    Another game where we talk about the referee rather than the football