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Arsenal Under-18s beat Everton to reach semi-finals of FA Youth Cup.

By Tony Attwood

There are all sorts of parallels between the FA Cup and the FA Youth Cup.   For example, the biggest teams enter in the 3rd round after a series of preliminary rounds are played out (six in the case of the FA Youth Cup).   And we played Everton in the quarter finals.  And beat them.

But that could have come as a surprise if you consider what the youngsters are doing in their leagues.

We’re 18 out of 22 in the under 21s league, and ninth out of 11 in the under 18s league.  Which doesn’t sound too good.  Except…

In the case of the under 21s league we have three or four games in hand of the clubs above us.  Winning our games in hand won’t take the club to the top of the league, but will take us to mid-table respectability.

However there is something else – a tendency to promote players as far as possible, irrespective of their age.   Take Akpom who played in tonight’s game.  He started playing for the under 18s aged 15, and has already had a bit of first team experience.   Intrepid Untold reporters (well Drew, Emma and me actually) checked him out a week ago playing for Coventry on loan.  OK it was division 3, but there he was playing with the big boys, and doing ok.

So here he is now playing for the under 18s in the youth cup having made 20 under 21 appearances last season.  He also scored 10 goals in 10 games in the Elite Group Stage (a knock out tournament held at the end of last season’s under 21 league).

That’s how it goes these days – the kiddies are promoted fast to see if they can really make it.  But of course the under 18 youth cup has stricter rules, and so the top players from the academy drop down to their actual age group for these games because of the prestige of the competition.

Anyway, Arsenal, despite their academy league difficulties, have done well thus far:

  • 3rd round: Beat Torquay 5-0
  • 4th round: beat Peterborough 6-1
  • 5th round: beat Charlton 2-0
  • 6th round: beat Everton 3-1

And wouldn’t you know it, Chuba Akpom got another goal tonight, and we now play  either Newcastle United or Chelsea in the semis. 

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The other name you’ll know from the Youth Cup is Gedion Zelalem who has already played for the first team, and had such an impact in the summer tour (as did Chuba).

Here’s the full line up.  The trick now is to pick out someone else, other than the two mentioned, who is seriously going to challenge for a place in the first team…

  • Vickers
  • Moore
  • Ormonde-Ottewill
  • Kamara
  • Siemann
  • Pleguezuelo
  • Maitland-Niles
  • Zelalem
  • Akpom (1)
  • Jebb (2)
  • Iwobi

So, anyway, we won 3-1, and on the youth front, despite the league form, things are looking ok.

6 comments to Arsenal Under-18s beat Everton to reach semi-finals of FA Youth Cup.

  • bc

    Moore Pleguezuelo maitland-niles vickers are all outstanding prospects however 3 of those are back 5 players Which makes it a lot harder for youngsters to break through

  • Gord

    Congratulations to the U-18s! Keep going!

    The express is reporting that Gedion Zelalem has signed professional terms to 2017.

    Who knows if that is accurate, the article mentions a presumed wage, which could be entirely fictitious.

  • If it is true on Zelalem that is great news, as it also suggests he is rejecting the chance to play for the USA.

    To do that he would need to adopt USA citizenship, which he can do because of his past residency, but if he does that, we would have to apply for a work permit for him, and that could cause problems.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I dont care where they actually end up. I believe these under age leagues and cup games are for developmental purpose. The main aim here should be on developing players and not winning shiny stuff. But I would cheer them and hope that they do well in every game they play.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I was at the game and it was really quite good. Everton were strong and well organised and looked a handful when attacking. Our boys looked to be technically better, but in general a bit smaller and at times that counted. The biggest exception to that was Chuba Akpom who was immense all game and really looks to be a great prospect. He won a penalty and scored goal and was a real threat all evening.
    The two full backs Tafari Moore and Brandon Ormonde Ottewell both had good games both attacking and in defence and Kamara was also good in midfield.

    When was the last time you saw an Arsenal player place an unstoppable free kick into the roof of the net? Jebb did it last night and really the first team should seek him out for tips – his kick was that good. He also dispatched the penalty with aplomb.

    Zelalem at times was very quiet and seemed to lack conviction in some of his defensive duties, he was part of the double pivot with Kamara (who was the more impressive at times) but certainly knows how to pass the ball, some of his passes were exquisite.
    Vickers in goal made some excellent saves and was not at fault for the goal.

    Finally Maitland Niles and Iwobi provided excellent support on the flanks and also showed promise.

    It was an excellent team performance and the lads were good value for their victory. Nearly 3,000 people were in the stands to watch and when the next opportunity comes I would urge you all to turn up. It was free to all members or £4/2 for non members so there really isn’t an excuse.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    For a full report on the game Jeorge Bird specialises in youth team matters and does it far better than I can – here is the link to his piece