Nextgenseries round of 16 : Inter Milan – Arsenal 0-1

By Walter Broeckx

Arsenal have battled their way to the quarter finals of the Nextgenseries, the competition that is in reality the youth version of the champions league.

The round of 16 was played in one game and Arsenal had to travel to the defending champions of last year Inter Milan.

Contrary to what we might expect the weather in Italy was not that good. In fact the conditions were unworthy for any game to take place. Rain, rain and more rain made the pitch looking more like a swimming pool in some places. Puddles everywhere made sure that there would be no fluent football from either side in this game.  Of course the players tried to play some football but you never knew if the ball would slid on the water or suddenly stop. That kind of pitch.

I think if it had been any other game it would have been cancelled. But because of Arsenal travelling all the way to Milan to play this game I think the ref decided to let the game start and hope for the best.

At first both teams tried to produce some football. But after a while it was clear that football would not be played. So a “hoof the ball” game started. And as a result it was not a great game of football.

What did I notice on my stream? An Italian ref. Falling for lots of falls from the Inter players. I know it looked like a swimming pool but that is no excuse to dive like the Inter players did. Most of the time the ref bought it. And when he didn’t it was very clear that he “forgot” to book the Inter players for diving.

I also noticed that he didn’t like strong challenges from Arsenal players. Hajrovic who was continuing despite a bleeding head wound (that was covered) and I can understand the booking for his frontal tackle.  But the tackle from Bellerin was on the ball and still he got booked despite being it a tackle with a nice angle on it.

Chances were rare. But when Inter came close I saw a good keeper in Illiev. He looked confident and cool. Not that being cool was a problem in those conditions.

At half time it was 0-0 and Inter had most of the ball but no real chances. The chances that came along was more a result of the ball doing what the ball wanted to do and not what the players wanted the ball to do.

More of that in the second half. Inter was having most of the ball but it all was too difficult on this pitch. And after 68 minutes Arsenal won the ball on the half way line. The ball was played to captain of the day Yennaris and he ran central on goal and unleashed a low fizzling shot that beat the keeper. A really nice strike.

Arsenal still had some 20 minutes to defend. And that is what they did. An impressive work rate from most players running left and right, up and down. Wherever a foot or a body was needed you could see an Arsenal player. Inter threatened a few times but maybe the most dangerous thing was almost an own goal when Monteiro headed the ball just wide from his own goal.

Inter clearly became frustrated and Arsenal tried to get the tempo out of the game. The Italian ref was eager to hand out cards against Arsenal players. I only saw him hand out a card in extra time against an Inter player when he stopped a possible counter attack from Arsenal.

And finally even the ref had enough of running in those bad conditions and blew the final whistle. The Arsenal players celebrated like mad. Yennaris was buried under the whole team after the game and I hope they brought a shovel to dig him out the mud. You could see it meant a lot to the boys.

Against the weather conditions that made a decent game impossible, against a slightly and partially suspicious home referee at first sight, against the champions of last season the Arsenal U19 fought hard and dug deep to come out with a win.

It wasn’t nice but this was not possible in those conditions but the boys got the vital win. And as it was a one leg contest and playing at the last years winner was no gift we now get a home game against CSKA Moscow in London in a few weeks time.

This game was shown on the internet but from the quarter finals on  the games are shown on Eurosport. I hope I will be able to have the time to see that game then.

Players that impressed me most: Bellerin. I really think he could be a massive right back in a few years time.  I thought Illiev was also great in goal in. And for the rest the whole team for the immense desire and work rate in the whole 90 minutes.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

18 Replies to “Nextgenseries round of 16 : Inter Milan – Arsenal 0-1”

  1. the first thing I did today, opened the ARSENAL website to see the result.

    And Nico…..the Gooner Gunner fires the young gunners into the QFs. Hope they get to play the home games at the Ems. Also hope that it will be infront of 60000 Gooners.

  2. Well done to Arsenal Under 19s but its worth noting that already Villa and Chelsea are into the last 8 alongside Arsenal

  3. Yes ARSENAL13, it sure would be a great thing if they would play that game at the Emirates.

  4. @Mike T,

    There are 4 english clubs I guess. Even our shitty neighbors are in last 8.

  5. I’m impressed with many of the kids so far, they seem to have that desire that many of our current first team players lack. I really wish they would be involved in first team games more often. In some of the League Cup games, they’re the ones that made the crucial difference. I actually think if we had included some of the kids, we would have been able to get a result at Bradford. The kids don’t seem to have a handbrake.

  6. Arsenal 13

    Couldnt sort of bring myself to mention them!

    Ok Ok I confess that I knew they had drawn 1-1 but for some reason hadnt picked up they had won the peanlty shoot out.They sort of went of my radar!

    In truth 4 teams in the last 8 is quite remarkable unlike the EPL teams in the senior version.

  7. @C4
    March 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm
    ‘I’m impressed with many of the kids so far, they seem to have that desire that many of our current first team players lack.’
    Come on, don’t be shy, give us the names of the ‘many’ 1st teamers who lack desire.

  8. @Mick
    Squidward, Andrey, Andre, to name but a few. Others just play with the handbrake on, like Aaron, Vermaelen, and at times Bacary and Jenkinson. They seem to be under so much pressure (at least in the home games) that they are afraid to make mistakes. I think if the kids were breathing down their necks and occasionally out-shining them, they would be forced to up their game. I don’t see that fear (or handbrake) in the kids.

  9. Walter
    I saw a clip of the entire match and I thought exactly the same as you regarding the referee. At the start of the second half he seemed a bit fairer, but as soon as we scored, he reverted back to giving free kicks to Inter Milan like they were sweeties, and holding them back from us like they were gold nuggets. Our boys were fantastic – even after they scored, they kept going for it until the last 5 minutes or so and then they defended heroically. Nico Yennaris was Captain Fantastic and I also agree about Bellerin – what a player.

  10. @C4
    Squidward, Andrey, Andre are hardly 1st team players, about half a dozen games between them all this season. The others you mention may not have always been up to the mark quality wise but you cannot accuse them of lack of effort. However I do agree with you regarding the youngsters, I too would like to see them more often. The question is, is youthful exuberance sufficient at the top level. We have to trust our managers judgement on that one as throwing them in the deep end could dent their confidence if things do not go well and possibly put their development back in the longer term. If the Bradford game had been in the earlier rounds he may well have played a few more youngsters, whether the result would have been any different we will never know. Mind you if he had played the kids and we had still lost imagine the hammering he would have taken for doing so from the trophy hungry fans.

  11. Can’t we just read about the youngsters without this pointless stereotyping and comparison with the first team?

  12. I agree with you Walter — Bellerin is a player to watch for sure! I would be extremely disappointed if the team allows Sagna to leave, but they likely aren’t desperate to keep him at any price, considering that Jenkinson and Bellerin both have many years ahead of them.

  13. yeah,
    Come on Gooners, make this day a memorable one for the young gunners.

  14. @Mick
    I didn’t accuse any of them of a lack of effort. I said they sometimes play with the handbrake on. The kids with no handbrake might be able to show them how to play without being crippled by the fear of making a mistake. Otherwise I think we’re on the same page. I’d be happy to see them get gradually introduced, starting with short appearances at the end of games that are already “in the bag”. Based on pre-season performances, Eisfeld is one that I think might be ready to start making such appearances, along with Nico Yennaris and perhaps Gnabry. And Miquel, and Aneke, and…
    Anyway, is the NextGen game at the Emirates going to be screened on any channels you are aware of? I’d love to watch it or lay my hands on an avi file.

  15. C4,
    On the website of the nextgen they said that the 1/4 finals will be shown live on eurosport.
    Can’t wait to see it.

  16. Prices are very very low. Maybe the media could report it for a change? 😉

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