The Arsenal Junior Teams January Update – Part 1 the U18s

by Andrew Crawshaw

Our U18s are currently managed by Ken Gillard.

The U18s are currently second in their league, the U18 Premier League South having played 13 of their 22 games.  We are 2 points behind Spurs and 3 ahead of Chelsea.  Aston Villa are fourth by a big margin so it looks to be a three horse race.

Our recent league results have been:-

Jan 12 – Aston Villa 0 – Arsenal 2  Goals from Greenwood and Cottrell earned all three points away at Aston Villa.  We won the reverse fixture four nil on the opening day of the season and started this one in a similar attacking fashion.  Greenwood, s summer signing, continued his great form by applying the finishing touch to a wonderful free flowing move in the 9th minute.  He received the ball on the edge of the box, beat his marker and fired into the top corner with his left foot.  This was his 6th goal in 12 appearances this season.  We should have made it two but Zak Swanson’s penalty was poor.  Midway through the second half we made sure of the points with 17 year old Cottrell capitalising on a defensive error to beat the keeper for two nil.

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Jan 5 – Arsenal 3 – Brighton 1

Neither side were at their best in the first half which was pretty uneventful until in the 44th minute when Brighton’s Longman was found by an excellent curving ball by Cashman.  Longman twisted and turned on the edge of the box before finishing into the top corner.  The half time team talk seemed to do the trick as we became more composed in the final third.  Balogun went close with a header, Matt Smith had a shot saved but the rebound fell nicely for Sam Greenwood who finished from a yard.  In the 57th minute we introduced 16 year old Azeez and this was the real turning point as he first set up Ben Cottrell and then got the third himself from an excellent pass by Vontae Daley-Campbell.

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Dec 1 – Arsenal 6 – Fulham 2

A dominant performance for the young Gunners, we were three up inside the first 25 minutes and five in 50 minutes.  We then relaxed somewhat allowing Fulham to get a toe-hold in the game and come back to 5 – 2 before getting a sixth at the death.  Musah got the first in the 12th minute, Balogun added a second from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute and Matt Smith made the game safe in the 25th.  After the break Balogun and Musah both got a second to effectively end the game.  Ken Gillard would have been disappointed to see us relax and concede two goals before regaining our desire for Zak Swanson to add a sixth goal.

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And our FA Youth Cup Results

Jan 17 – Arsenal 5 – Spurs 2 (AET, 2 – 2 full time)

We had the best of the opening exchanges but found ourselves behind when Troy Parrot found space down the left wing, squared the ball for an easy tap in by Armando Shashoua.  The lead didn’t last long though as Cottrell fired into the roof of the net for the equaliser.  In an open attacking encounter Spurs regained the lead in a manner reminiscent of their first, Maghoma passing the ball to J’Neil Bennett.  Amaechi nearly equalised for a second time on the stroke of half time but his shot was well saved.  After the break, we continued to press and we were rewarded when Amaechi was brought down in the box and we were rightly awarded a penalty.  Saka, somewhat luckily, converted from the spot his shot bitting the inside of the right hand post and just going inside the left hand post.  In extra time it seemed as though we were fitter and we scored three unanswered goals to progress, Amaechi got our third from close range, Balogun the fourth from 6 yards and finally the best  goal of the night, a stunning 20 yarder from Saka.

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Dec 12 – Arsenal 2 – Northampton Town 0

This was a typical cup tie against lower league opposition who fought hard, defended in numbers and looked to hurt us on the counter attack.  We were on top for most of the game with early chances for both Greenwood and Balogun.  We also had to thank Vontae Daley-Campbell for a good defensive header away from an onrushing Northampton attacker.  We broke the deadlock in the 35th minute thanks to Balogun and made the game safe with a quarter hour of the match remaining with Zach Swanson marauding forward from left back and seeing a cross/shot loop over the Northampton keeper into the net.

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P W D L GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 2 0 41 35
2 Arsenal 13 11 0 2 26 33
3 Chelsea 13 9 3 1 14 30
4 Aston Villa 13 6 1 6 3 19
5 West Ham United 13 6 1 6 -9 19
6 Southampton 13 5 2 6 0 17
7 Leicester City 12 5 2 5 -6 17
8 Fulham 13 3 6 4 -1 15
9 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 3 1 9 -9 10
10 Reading 12 3 1 8 -16 10
11 Swansea City 13 2 2 9 -16 8
12 Norwich City 13 2 1 10 -27 7

The Northern Group looks to be between four clubs, Liverpool, Everton, man United and Derby.  Middlesbrough and Man City in fifth and sixth look to be too far back to challenge.

P W D L GD Pts
1 Liverpool 12 10 0 2 18 30
2 Everton 11 9 1 1 24 28
3 Manchester United 11 8 2 1 20 26
4 Derby 12 8 2 2 17 26
5 Middlesbrough 12 5 1 6 -7 16
6 Manchester City 12 3 6 3 13 15
7 Stoke City 11 4 1 6 -3 13
8 Blackburn Roverts 10 3 1 6 -6 10
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 3 1 7 -9 10
10 Newcastle Utd 11 2 1 8 -31 7
11 West Bromwich Albion 12 1 3 8 -16 6
12 Sunderland 11 1 3 7 -20 6

Sunderland with 7 points and Newcastle with 8 are the two teams to have scored the fewest goals, Wolves are next with 13.  In contrast all of the top three have scored 38 and Derby have 35.

Once the regional matches are complete the two regional winners will play in a one-off final.

Next up for the U18s is a home match against Leicester on Thursday evening with a 19:00 UK kick-off time.  The game will be at Leicester’s training ground so little chance of there being a live stream.

Our next game in the Youth Cup is against West Brom, on paper that should be an eminently winnable game given the difference in the two team’s league positions.


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