by Andrew Crawshaw
It has been some time since I did an update of the progress of our U23 team this season and with their game against Chelsea being shown live on Arsenal Player at 13:00 on Friday this seems like an appropriate moment to do so.
The league is split into two groups with Arsenal having gained promotion to the top group along with Derby at the end of last season. The current league table is:-
With 8 games to play, Everton look to be out of reach for us but second place looks to be possible if we have a good run. Not easy as there is little to chose between the teams in second to 6th place.
Who has played this year?
We have used a total of 32 players this season (including a couple of first team players returning from injury) In descending order of games played they are :-
|Player||Position||Games Started||Games as Sub||Goals scored|
|Kristopher Da Graca||CB||7||3||0|
Top scorers are Stephy Mavididi with 6, Eddie Nketiah has 5. Chuba Akpom and Chris Willock each have 3, Reiss Nelson 2 and Savvas Mourgos Kaylen Hinds and Mathieu Debuchy one apiece.
Last time we played Chelsea was on the 23rd September at Chelsea and we won 2 – 1 courtesy of strikes from Stephy Mavididi and Reiss Nielson. Highlights of that game are on Arsenal Player Match video: Chelsea v Arsenal U-23s
Who is likely to start on Friday?
I am assuming that Gedion Zelalem will have completed his loan move and will be unavailable.
With our FA Cup game against Southampton on Saturday the starting lineup will depend to a large degree as to which (if any) of the regular U23 players will be involved with the senior squad. It will be no surprise to me if Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide are with the first team and I think they may well be joined by either Ben Sheaf or Ismael Bennacer as defensive midfield cover.
If all of these players are included it will leave the U23s light, particularly in midfield so the team may well have a scratch look about it
I would therefore think that we will start with
Chiori Johnson Kristopher Da Graca Krystian Bielik Cohen Bramall
Marcus McGuane, Vlad Dragomir, Ismael Bennacer (c)
Chris Willock, Stephy Mavididi, Chuba Akpom
On the Beach
GK – Hugo Keto, Carl Jenkinson, Kostas Pileas, Eddie Nketiah, Donyell Malen
The game kicks off at 13:00 and will be shown live on Arsenal Player for details see :-
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