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October 2020
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Two seasons have ended and no one really minds as a signing is made

by Sir Hardly Anyone

2017/18 may not have been the very best for Arsenal in the Premier League, but in PL2 – the under 23 League, it wasn’t so bad…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1
Arsenal
22 13 3 6 48 32 16 42
2
Liverpool Under 23
22 13 1 8 43 27 16 40
3
Leicester City Under 23
22 11 6 5 36 20 16 39
4
Swansea City Under 23
22 11 4 7 40 31 9 37

Much the same could be said of 2018/19

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1
Everton Under 23
22 12 5 5 31 14 17 41
2
Arsenal
22 10 7 5 48 36 12 37
3
Brighton and Hove Under 23
22 9 8 5 37 27 10 35
4
Liverpool Under 23
22 9 7 6 38 27 11 34

But we’re not really going to miss the 2019/20 season

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1
Chelsea Under 23
18 10 8 0 34 20 14 38
2
Leicester City Under 23
18 10 5 3 36 21 15 35
3
Brighton and Hove  Under 23
18 10 1 7 36 26 10 31
4
Derby County Under 23
18 7 6 5 33 32 1 27
5
Liverpool Under 23
17 7 5 5 34 34 0 26
6
Arsenal Under 23
18 6 7 5 32 32 0 25
7
Everton Under 23
18 5 7 6 32 33 -1 22
8
Manchester City Under 23
18 6 3 9 30 29 1 21
9
Blackburn Rovers Under 23
17 6 3 8 27 26 1 21
10
Tottenham Hotspur Under 23
18 6 3 9 31 34 -3 21
11
Southampton Under 23
18 4 3 11 23 47 -24 15
12
Wolverhampton W Under 23
18 2 5 11 21 35 -14 11

In fact both the under 18 and under 23 (the PL2) seasons have been abandoned.  The under 18 table saw us in 9th a long way off the pace.

Team
P W D L F A GD Pts
1
Fulham U18
17 12 4 1 53 24 29 40
2
West Ham United U18
17 11 4 2 51 28 23 37
3
Chelsea U18
16 11 3 2 44 21 23 36
4
Leicester City U18
18 8 3 7 44 35 9 27
5
Tottenham Hotspur U18
17 8 2 7 43 33 10 26
6
Brighton & Hove Albion U18
17 7 3 7 30 33 -3 24
7
Aston Villa U18
17 6 4 7 33 37 -4 22
8
Southampton U18
18 6 1 11 27 40 -13 19
9
Arsenal
16 4 5 7 28 34 -6 17

One of the issues with the under 23s and under 18s is injuries – as Mr Wenger once said the one thing that is certain about young players is that they will get injured.

Another thing that happens is that players who are particularly good in the under 18s move up to the 23s, and those who are good in the 23s can go on loan or move up to the first team.  It’s not really a stable environment.

But it is interesting to see just where we stood on those two tables at a time when it is clear that we have a plethora of young players coming through.  And indeed maybe that is the point – we are moving the best players up ever more quickly.

And it is interesting that the media (or at least one part of the media) is treating another youngster signing as the big Arsenal story of the moment.

For yesterday afternoon Football London came out with the story “Mikel Arteta’s first permanent Arsenal signing ‘confirmed’ as wonderkid teases announcement” while then in the early hours of this morning they followed it up with “Wonderkid ‘confirms’ Arsenal transfer move as warning sent about Aubameyang successor.”  (Why is confirms in inverted commas?)

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The Wonderkid in question is the winger George Lewis, a 19 year old – although I am not convinced he is a “Norwegian” at FoLo claim.

It is true he has been playing in the 3rd division in Norway but I think he was born in Rwanda, and the signing looks a little like Mr Wenger’s signing of Cohen Bramall.

He had been with Crewe Alexandra for a little while and played with non-league clubs like Kidsgrove Athletic, Nantwich Town, Market Drayton Town and Newcastle Town, and was playing as a part timer with Hendesford Town when Mr Wenger saw him play.  He signed a two and a half year deal with Arsenal, but didn’t get a game.

Such signings are actually quite common although it is primarily the ones at Arsenal which don’t work out which are highlighted by the media, always keen to poke fun at the club.  This is another which might or might not work.  But what is clear is that clubs have to take these risks if they are going to find the truly amazing youngster who can move up to being a first team player.

Meanwhile another one of the names in our list of the 101 players Arsenal are due to sign this summer is back doing the rounds: Arkadiusz Milik, a striker from Napoli.

According to the Star, La Repubblica would happily sell him to Arsenal for a discount rather than sell him for the full price to Juventus.

We shall see.

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