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It’s not all doom and gloom in the Arsenal Universe, you just have to look beyond the First Team

by Andrew Crawshaw

So our first team lost to the Tots for the first time in what seems for ever and the Ladies put in a pretty dismal performance at Sunderland ending up with a no score draw.  This was the second game in a row that they have failed to score and that is about as rare an occurrence as Spurs finishing above us in the league.

To find something more positive we have to look to our more junior teams.

Our U23 team have only one more game to play this season – at the Emirates on Monday night against Manchester United kick-off is 19:00.  Tickets are now on general sale priced at £4 for adults and £2 for concessions Click here for full details.

Arsenal are currently fourth in the table which really isn’t at all bad considering we were only promoted back to the top division at the beginning of the season.  Unfortunately we cannot now finish higher than we are as Liverpool, Manchester City and the League winners Everton are uncatchable.  If Chelsea win and we lose then they will overtake us but fifth is the lowest possible place for us.

Team Pl W D L +/- Pts
1 Everton 21 15 3 3 28 48
2 Man City 21 12 6 3 19 42
3 Liverpool 21 12 4 5 19 40
4 Arsenal 21 10 2 9 8 32
5 Chelsea 21 7 9 5 9 30
6 Sunderland 21 6 7 8 -9 25
7 Spurs 20 6 4 10 -7 22
8 Man United 20 5 7 8 -10 22
9 Southampton 21 5 6 10 -10 21
10 Derby County 21 5 6 10 -12 21
11 Leicester 21 4 8 9 -14 20
12 Reading 21 5 4 12 -21 19

Looking further down we at last come to some really good news – it is our U18 team who are currently performing the best of our teams.  They are in the table comprising the top four from each of the Southern and Northern groups and (so far) are the only unbeaten team after 4 games.

Team Pl W D L +/- Pts
1 Chelsea 5 4 0 1 5 12
2 Arsenal 4 3 1 0 8 10
3 Man United 5 2 2 1 3 8
4 Reading 5 2 1 2 -2 7
5 Man City 4 1 2 1 1 5
6 Liverpool 6 1 2 3 -2 5
7 West Ham 6 1 2 3 -5 5
8 Blackburn 5 1 0 4 -8 3

So far in our games we have played :-

29 April Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal (1 – 5)

Highlights video on Arsenal.com

Blackburn had defeated our U18s in the FA Youth Cup earlier this season so we would have hoped for a response in this game and it came courtesy of A quick fire hat-trick from Reiss Nelson and a brace from Donyell Malen which were enough to earn all three points.

The majority of the action and five of the goals came in the first half Nelson confirming his status as one of our brightest prospects at this level with a 12 minute hat-trick.  Eddie Nketiah made his mark after coming on in the second half by combining with Dragomir to provide the assist for Malen’s second and nearly a second assist but Malen’s shot came back off the post.

22 April Arsenal v Liverpool (4 – 1)

Highlights video on Arsenal.com

One of the most unusual games with the result being decided by no fewer than four penalties (all deservedly given as far as I can tell from the highlights).  Three to Arsenal and one to Liverpool.

Charlie Gilmour returned to the side following a long term injury and scored that rerest of things a hat-trick of penalties.  Tyrece John-Jules scored the fourth following an assist by Charlie.  The Liverpool penalty came after Amaechi fouled Adam Lewis.  The referee in this game clearly requires some re-training to fit the PGMO profile!

12 April Man Arsenal v Man City (4 – 3)

(For some reason Arsenal player don’t have a highlights video  of this match)

A hat-trick from Eddie Nketiah and a rare goal from Tolaji Bola earned us the three points over a determined City team at Colney.

Lucas Nmecha (one of City’s outstanding prospects) put City ahead on 14 minutes before a quick brace from Nketiah gave us the lead midway through the first half.  City drew level again immediately before the interval with a goal by Jadon Sancho.  13 minutes after the restart Bola fooled everyone with a cross/shot that went in at the back post.

City then equalised again following a penalty awarded when Nmecha went to ground on the edge of the penalty area when surrounded by three Arsenal players.  Five minutes later Arsenal were ahead again following the best move of the game, McGuane and Nketiah swapping a series of quick passes before Nketiah spun away from his marker and finished with his weaker foot.

Arsenal could have made it five at the end after Nketiah was fouled in the penalty area but his spot kick was saved by City’s keeper Muric.

13 March Arsenal 2 – Reading 2

Highlights video from Arsenal.com

An awful start from Arsenal as our keeper got his feet in an awful tangle and presented the ball to Reading 5 yards from goal.  He then somewhat made amends with a great stop to prevent Reading from making it two.  The Arsenal equaliser was a scruffy goal following a good counter attack, Fortune looking as though he chested the ball into the net at the far post.  Reading re-took the lead following some more poor defending from Arsenal with Medford-Smith being unchallenged in the box as he met a headed on free kick.  Arsenal were much better in the second half and eventually their pressure told as Emile Smith-Rowe was able to score after Dragomir’s free kick was deflected into his path by Zach Medley.

Our three remaining games are :-

  • 3 May Man United v Arsenal
  • 9 May Chelsea v Arsenal
  • 13 May Arsenal v West Ham at London Colney

So in four games at this level we have scored 15 goals and conceded seven.

Our offence is more than compensating for our familiar failings in defence so still things to work on at this level.  I do wish that we would bring in some ‘Northern’ defensive coaches at junior level to teach our players the basics of that aspect of the game.  If they ‘get it’ before the age of 14 they will have it for life, if they haven’t learned by then they probably never will.

All hail Arsenal’s next manager.

3 May 1971: Arsenal won the league at WHL (for the first time)

What changes do we really need at Arsenal?

Gordon Bremner: a tremendous talent whose career was lost to the war

Local football teaches us all that the sun will come up again

Does Arsenal have owners who care about the club? And if not, why do they so dislike our last great benefactor?

 

 

14 comments to It’s not all doom and gloom in the Arsenal Universe, you just have to look beyond the First Team

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Andrew for this update.
    Man United have some live streams of their youth matches so might be worth to try to see if I can find a stream to have a look

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Kickoff is 14:00 UK time. No indications on the Arsenal site of any coverage apart from intermittent twitter updates.

  • Goonermikey

    It’s interesting to note that in both leagues Maureeniho’s influence is all pervading with Man Utd seemingly preferring to draw games far more than winning them 🙂

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    There is a live text report on the Manchester Evening News site. Into extra time now and Arsenal lead by one nil. United with all the pressure we have one shot on target but that was enough for Joe Willock to score the only goal of the half. The half time comment “how United are behind is anyone’s guess”

    Arsenal team – Virginia, Osei-Tutu, T Bola, McGuane, Olowu, Medley, J Willock, Da Silva (c), Nketuah, Nelson & Malen

    Bench
    Cream (gk), Gilmour, Fortune, Omole

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Sorry on the bench it’s Crean (auto correct!)

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Game now half time

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Arsenal dominating the third quarter of the game, denied a second goal by a good save from United keeper Richardson.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Joe Willock makes it two nil. One of his brothers (Mathew) moved from Arsenal to United a couple of seasons ago.

    Described as a nice run and finish.

  • WalterBroeckx

    0-3 in the end with a late goal from Fortune

  • WalterBroeckx

    That win takes the u18 top of the league now

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Full time and we win three nil, not sure who scored the third. First time since September that United have failed to score. Good performance from Arsenal who remain unbeaten in the seven match play-offs for the title. The game against Chelsea next Tuesday likely to be the title decider

    COYYG

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Yassin Fortune scored our third goal.

  • Pat

    That was an unexpected treat! Well done to the players!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some good news, after a few difficult years, congratulations to them.
    Hopefully , an indication of strengthening the first team in years to come as well, arsenal are not afraid to play youngsters

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