By Tony Attwood
We don’t actually have an under 21 team as such, but the under 21s play in the Football League Trophy. So we invent one just for the occasion.
You may recall the excited reportage from Untold of the first game in the series: Coventry v Arsenal in which Ian and I met and shook hands with Per Mertesacker and Tony Adams. That game (rather overshadowed by the handshaking) was won 3-0 and a very jolly evening it was in front of a mass crowd of 1500 or so – with the Arsenal supporters segregated into our own end. There were as many stewards and catering peoples as there were fans. Well, ok not quite, but still. A bit dopey.
Anyway here is our progress thus far…
|12 Sep 2018||Coventry City v Arsenal||W||0-3||Group round 1|
|30 Oct 2018||Cheltenham Town v Arsenal||L||6-2||Group round 2|
|07 Nov 2018||Forest Green Rovers v Arsenal||W||1-3||Group round 3|
Cheltenham Town won the group on goal difference from us, and Coventry City lived to fight another day, or in the case of their parlous situation, maybe not. One can only hope that the machinations of idiot owners don’t lead to another club vanishing.
The Cheltenham result was largely influenced by an early red card (“that’s what you get playing for Arsenal son” as the ref allegedly muttered) for Robbie Burton, but we won the last game to make it into the dizzy heights of the last 32.
Joe Willock scored three of the eight goals we have and Tyreece John-Jules got two. Now we play Portsmouth of League One – very much the team in form. First their three Checkatrade games…
|04 Sep 2018||Portsmouth v Gillingham||W||4-0||Group round 1|
|09 Oct 2018||Crawley Town v Portsmouth||W||0-1||Group round 2|
|13 Nov 2018||Portsmouth v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-2||Group round 3|
Here we can see that Portsmouth beat the mighty Tiny Totts 3-2 – the Totts also managing just a draw with Crawley to go out of the competition at the first hurdle.
As for Portsmouth tonight they are on a terrific run…
|03 Nov 2018||Bradford City v Portsmouth||W||0-1||League One|
|10 Nov 2018||Maidenhead United v Portsmouth||W||0-4||FA Cup 1|
|13 Nov 2018||Portsmouth v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-2||Football League Trophy|
|24 Nov 2018||Scunthorpe United v Portsmouth||W||1-2||League One|
|27 Nov 2018||Portsmouth v Walsall||W||2-0||League One|
|02 Dec 2018||Rochdale v Portsmouth||W||0-1||FA Cup 2|
and with that last win got into the third round of the FA Cup, which every third division team wants to do. They will be away to Norwich.
As for our team we might also see another game from Bukayo Saka who played in the Europa Frozen match last week. Eddie Nketiah and John-Jules should be playing again. Given the way the kiddies dealt with matters in foreign parts they ought to be able to put on a good show tonight. Smith-Rowe again maybe?
Overall since losing to Gillingham on 6 October Portsmouth have played 11 games, winning nine and drawing two and not surprisingly they are now top of the league:
However their prime strength is away from home. At Fratton Park they have won five, drawn three and lost one, so there is a vulnerability there.
As for games between Portsmouth and Arsenal this can’t be added to the full list as we can only put out our under 21 team, but we can perhaps note that in the last 21 games between the two, Portsmouth have not won a single match. They did however get a draw in eight of those 21 games.
If this game in the round of 32 ends in a draw there will be no extra time (remembering that some of our lads are quite young and need to be tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour). There will however be penalties.
As far as I know, no semi-skimmed newspaper website editor has been crass enough to put up an “All you need to know” and “What channel is it on” piece.
So I thought I would instead. It’s not on TV but I suspect Sky might keep us in touch with the score. And hopefully Arsenal.com will do the honours.
- Man U v Arsenal: the scientific (ish) prediction of the result
- Matchweek 15 – All the games and Officials for the midweek matches
- Pulis v Wenger: the blame must be shared between Pulis, the supportive media and the inactive League.
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour
- With Balogun will Arsenal be heading toward goalscoring records