Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal tonight: under 23 team news

By Tony Attwood

The reports doing the rounds suggest that Emile Smith-Rowe will play for Arsenal under 23s tonight against Blackburn and that Rob Holding has travelled with the squad. 

Others in the squad whose names have sneaked out are Coyle, Olayinka, Hillson and Clarke.

The news of Holding’s inclusion is particularly good, as it means that reports of his recovery from injury are right and he is well on the way to making a comeback.   He played for an hour in the game against Watford under 23s so is clearly progressing.

Indeed given the very decent performance by Calum Chambers at the weekend, this could well mean that the centre back crisis that has so occupied the media all summer might be reaching an official ending.

Last season’s table ended like this…

1 Everton PL2 22 12 5 5 31 14 17 41
2 Arsenal PL2 22 10 7 5 48 36 12 37
3 Brighton and Hove Albion PL2 22 9 8 5 37 27 10 35
4 Liverpool PL2 22 9 7 6 38 27 11 34
5 Blackburn Rovers PL2 22 9 4 9 38 37 1 31
6 Chelsea PL2 22 9 4 9 34 33 1 31
7 Derby County PL2 22 9 3 10 29 34 -5 30
8 Manchester City PL2 22 9 3 10 38 48 -10 30
9 Tottenham Hotspur PL2 22 7 7 8 26 38 -12 28
10 Leicester City PL2 22 8 3 11 24 33 -9 27
11 West Ham United PL2 22 8 2 12 41 43 -2 26
12 Swansea City PL2 22 3 7 12 28 42 -14 16

As we can see, last season we were easily top scorers in the league.

Meanwhile on 10 July, Joe Miles wrote in the Sun “With Arsenal strapped for cash this summer, Unai Emery has turned to the young guns to bolster his squad.   Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock are the latest players to be promoted to the first-team.”

Well, actually we were not strapped for cash, and Eddie went off on loan this season, so not many out of ten for accuracy.   Nelson and Willock did play for the first team this past weekend, and Emile Smith Rowe gets his chance tonight – probably.

Looking back to the end of last season here’s the squad we put out against Leicester


Osel Tutu, Sheaf, Ballard, Bramall


Thompson, Burton

Amaechl, John-Jules, Saka

I would imagine that John-Jules, and Robbie Burton will play probably with Balogun at centre forward.

Per Mertesacker is the academy manager, with Luke Hobbs his assistant.  Steve Bould is now under 23 head coach with the long serving Ryan Garry as his assistant.

Meanwhile The Premier League International Cup fixtures have been confirmed for the season and this is of interest as Blackburn have now entered the competition for the first time.

Arsenal are in Group A and will play Villareal at home on 27 November,  Dinamo Zagreb at home on 17 December, and Leicester City at home on 9 January.  Quite why we are blessed with home games throughout I am not sure, but I am sure someone can tell me.




11 Replies to “Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal tonight: under 23 team news”

  1. I can’t seem to find it on but the team elsewhere is reported as

    1 J. Hillson
    5 Rob Holding
    10 Emile Smith-Rowe
    2 Z. Swanson
    3 T. Bola
    4 R. Burton
    6 H. Clarke
    7 T. Coyle
    8 J. Olayinka
    9 F. Balogun
    11 N. Tormey

  2. Confirmed as a 3-1 win away for Arsenal, Balogun got all three goals. Terrible to non-existent coverage on – they really ought to be able to do much better than that.

  3. It has been really difficult to see another person in charge after the glorious, reign of AW for 2 decades.
    With all the highs and lows of AW period the attacking football style remain the true hallmark which became Arsenal identity posr 2000+ the Emirates stadium move.
    With UE arrival I had an initial feeling that he may continue with the clubs philosophy of playing attacking football but we saw a dull defemsive playing style with inconsistent line-ups depriving us of the beautiful game we were so fond of watching.

    His continuous berating of Ozil and Ramsey cost us points at low ranked oppositions which ultimately cost us the coveted 4th place.
    Surprisingly the idiot Wobs who mocked Wenger for finishing in Top4 for 2 decades suddenly lowered their bar from winning the Epl and CL to a much maligned top4 spot.
    Wih no improvement om the defensive side of the game as we conceeded the same number of goals and had it been not the goal scoring prowess of Auba and Laca we couldn’t have scored 70 goals with this negative playing style.

    On the management front the departure of Ramsey for me is a complete failure. Siging of aeging Sokratis and Luiz for big bucks seems poor decisions. Had such decisions were done by AW he would have been crucified then and there.
    I dont see Pepe and Cabelos as outstanding signings as well.

    Compare AW sigings with UE. AW stands out surely.

    From Henry to Anelka ,From Viera to Cesc, From Rosicky to Ozil, From Nasri to Arshavin, From Cech to Scezney we sae a blend of youth and experience hand in hand with the little magician Cazorla to our Golden boy Aron Ramsey AW glorious reign has filled our world with joy and happiness .

    Let’s see how this season pans out.

    The idiot mob who thinks the club is progressing are a dumb lot as the club has lost it’s playing style it’s values and morals after selling Ramsey and Koscielny 2 great and loyal servants of the club.

  4. Progress happens over time. You are a bit early in your attempt to denegrate the qualities that UE has brought into the club. Remember he is the coach not the manager.

    I think the squad is excellent and will get us some good results.

  5. Menance
    Let’s c how the season pans out.
    I was correct the last season and I predict a poor season this time as well.
    The pigmob will ensure that Arsenal will finish outside Top4.
    Kudos to Wenger he defied the Pigmob for 2 decades.

  6. The initial systems that coach UE implemented was the retention of the ball from the back inducing the opponents to come forward. That took a while to implement without losing the ball. We probably gave away 20 goals because of it.

    The next system was the retention of the ball through the midfield which has also taken a while to clean up. This has improved the forward movement of the team while retaining a defence.

    The use of the long ball to our forwards has been an additional tool for the squad.
    The forwards have been getting many goal scoring chances and are gradually improving the conversion rate.

    The team have all been improving their speed training and stamina and positional flexibility.

    Despite the loss of some of our players to injury the whole squad appear to have bought into the systems.

    My opinion is that the squad still need to be taught kicking technique (the ability to manipulate the ball in the air with a known result). The technique of penalty shooting without giving the goalkeeper a chance of saving the shot. A dead ball should never result in an unknown pass. The waste of positional advantage should never be lost.

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