As the season starts: Update on Arsenal Youngsters, Women and the PGMO referees

by Andrew Crawshaw

Recruitment at Arsenal has been going on for all levels at the Club, and we are starting to see some outgoings as well.

Starting with the Scholars there have been some notable additions.  Scholars are those players who receive a full education as well as their football training.  Players enter the academy at the age of 16 before they sign their first professional contracts aged 17.  Prior to that they are within the normal educational system in England or the EU.

Arsenal under (and just over) 18s

Karl Jacob Hein  was our first signing of the year.  He is a young Estonian Goalkeeper who joined us on 23rd May.  Karl is just 16 (d.o.b. 13 Apr 2002) and once he settles in will look to provide a challenge to Arthur Okonkwo who will probably be the starting goalkeeper for the U18s.  I don’t know what it is but we do seem to collect young goalkeepers.

Sam Greenwood has just joined us from Sunderland academy where he has earned a reputation as an all round forward.  A keen goalscorer but also adept on the wings or as a No 10.  Sam is another 16 year old so comes in as a first year Academy player.  He turns 17 in January 2019.  We didn’t have any stand out forwards coming into the Academy intake this year so he is here to fill a need.  As he already has U18 experience with Sunderland he should step straight in to Kwame Ampadu’s team.

Joel Lopez is another 16 year old who is expected to make the switch from Barcelona’s academy in the next few days – he has announced that he is leaving but Arsenal have yet to make a formal announcement.  He is a left back which is another position where there is no stand-out player already in the U18 squad so this is another case of recruiting to fill a gap.  Joel turned 16 at the end of March.

Moving up to the U23 squad and there is one notable new addition…

Matteo Guendouzi who has officially been announced by the club on July 11th.  Matteo has joined us from French second division club Lorient.  His squad number is 29 which indicates that he will be treated as part of the first team and he is included in the official first team squad. However, I would expect him to get most of his game time with the U23s at least initially. 

Now aged 19 he made his first team debut aged 17.  He is a French international at U20 level having come through their U18 and U19 teams.  Matteo claims his biggest strengths are “getting on the ball and using it, keeping the ball and passing it”.  Matteo will not count as ‘home grown’ when he becomes 21 as he signed after his 18th birthday.

Arsenal Women also have changes

Second choice goalkeeper Anna Moorhouse has left to join West Ham one of the newcomers to the WSL for this season.  Whilst a decent keeper, Anna never looked likely to take the No 1 slot away from Sari Van Veenendaal and a move to one of the newly promoted clubs was probably her best hope of regular starts in the WSL.

Josephine Henning our German defender has retired from football at the age of 28 due to injury and thus left the club.  We wish her well in the life post-player.

Pauline Peyraud-Magnin is expected to join the club from Olympic Lyonnais, the current Women Champions League champions and take over the role of No 2 keeper.  She was the No 2 to their main keeper Sarah Bouhaddi.  Pauline has been capped for France at U17, U19, U20 and B level.  No official announcement has yet been made by Arsenal regarding this appointment.

Tabea Kemme has joined us from Turbine Potsdam.  She is a versatile player, currently primarily a defender having moved back from her earlier roles as an attacker.  At the moment she is recovering from a knee injury and is unlikely to play before the new year.  A full German international, she has played for Potsdam for 12 years having made 140 appearances and with winner’s medals from The Women’s Champions League and the Women’s Bundesliga.  She is described by teammate Lia Walti as “an absolute beast.. a really physical player who’s always fighting to the end”.

Lia Walti has also joined from Turbine Potsdam.  She is a 25 year old Swiss international midfielder and obviously knows teammate Tabea extremely well.  She brings leadership having been made captain of Turbine at the age of 20.  With the retirement of a number of senior members of the Women’s squad this will be an invaluable commodity on the pitch for the coming season and it is to be hoped she will quickly form a partnership with 

Viktoria Schnaderback is another new midfielder  She is the Austrian captain and has joined us from Bayern Munich where she made 132 appearances winning two league titles.  Aged 27 and the Bayern captain she opted to leave to move out of her comfort zone.  Interestingly her cousin Sebastian Prodl who is a Watford player trains just over the road from the Arsenal base.

These changes probably make Arsenal the most cosmopolitan in the WSL.  We have :-

Country (No of players) Players
England (4) Williamson, Nobbs, Carter and Mead 
Scotland (3) Mitchell, Little and Evans
Republic of Ireland (2) Quinn and McCabe
Netherlands (4) Van Veenendaal, Van de Donk, Janssen and Miedema
France (1) Peyraud-Magnin
Germany (1) Kemme
Switzerland (1) Walti
Sweden (1) Samuelsson
Austria (1) Schnaderback

The Referees 

Lastly there are changes within the personnel who we may be seeing this coming season from the PGMOL

There are two retirements from active refereeing – Mike Jones (Cheshire) and Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire) have both hung up their whistles.  They will continue their involvement with the PGMO with a particular focus on the continuing trials of VAR.

Mr Jones (age 50) ‘blew’ for 202 PL matches, 13 last season but none involved Arsenal.  Mr Swarbrick (age 52) was somewhat busier with 20 matches, including our 2 – 1 loss at Watford in October and our 5 – 1 thrashing of Everton at home in February.

They will be replaced on the PGMP Select Group roster by Simon Hooper – age 36 (on 15 July) from Wiltshire who has been a referee since 2008 and has been appointed to the select group after an earlier trial 2015 and David Coote age 35 from Nottingham. Simon took charge of the Newcastle v Burnley match and David the Newcastle v West Brom match in the Pl last season.  Simon acted as fourth official in four matches and David in two PL matches during the year.  Both seem to have passed their test.

These two appointments will bring a slight southern shift in the overall geography of referees, but still no-one from the Home Counties.

The PGMO will start the season with 21 referees, still too few in our opinion to provide adequate rotation.  I think we should expect the same old faces to keep turning up time after time.




2 Replies to “As the season starts: Update on Arsenal Youngsters, Women and the PGMO referees”

  1. Andrew, bit of a random observation but I would have expected Guendouzi and Mavropanos to both get some game time in Europa League. But squad rules mean, despite them being u21 as they have not been with the club for 2 years, they would have to be included in the 17 places for not home grown over 21 players, which may be tricky.

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