by Andrew Crawshaw
The U18s have now played 19 of their 22 League games and sit in third place in the Southern Group table. Chelsea have already won the Group but second is still ‘up for grabs’ with Reading, Ourselves and West Ham in the fight.
If we win our game in hand over Reading then we move into second place.
Who have we used so far this season?
Of the 32 players who have been used (including those named as substitutes) Right Back Jordi Osei-Tutu has been the only ever present member of the team. Joseph Olowu at Centre Back has played 16 games. Striker Donyell Malen and Kostas Pileas (at LB or CB)have each played 13 Marcus McGuane (DM) and Tolaji Bola (LB/CB) have each played 12 and Striker Eddie Nketiah, GK Joao Virginia, Joe Willock AM/Winger and Josh DaSilva AM/Striker have each played 11. Trae Coyle, Daniel Ballard and Vlad Dragomir are the only others who have featured in 9 or more games.
Top Scorers are Eddie Nketiah (11 goals from 11 starts), Donyell Malen (7 goals from 13 starts), Trae Coyle (4 goals from 10 starts). Joe Willock and Emille Smith-Rowe each have 3 and Jordi Osei-Tutu, Josh DaSilva, and Vlad Dragomir have two.
It has been particularly pleasing to see schoolboy Trae Coyle scoring at this level. At 16 years of age he is regularly playing against boys 2 years older than himself. We have been sent the following video clips by FFDTV Online highlighting some of his skills.
and here is an older tape from when he was only 15
Here are links to the videos on Arsenal Player of the four games we have played in 2017
Note if you haven’t got an account for the Arsenal Player you may need to set one up before being allowed to watch the videos. It is free and will give you access to a phenomenal range of games, interviews and comment.
between them these brief videos highlight both our good and not so good play, we are still much better going forwards than in defence and we still get caught out by a well placed through ball. We do, however tend to score more goals than we concede and are good value this season for our much improved place in the table.
What happens next?
Our remaining games in the U18 League are
Arsenal v West Ham Sat Feb 18 11:00 at Colney (access by invitation only)
Arsenal v Swansea Fri 24 Feb 11:00 at Colney (access by invitation only)
Arsenal v Spurs Sat 4 Mar 11:00 at Colney (access by invitation only)
On the conclusion of these games the two halves of the U18 Leagues (North and South) are each split into three groups those finishing in positions 1 to 4; 5 to 8 and 9 to 12. The teams then play each other in the 3 combined groups once with the winners of the top group being crowned champions. More details later once the Group games are completed.