All Guns Blazing: Young guns see red in troublesome tests

Serge Gnabry

Serge Gnabry - Credit: Archant

Arsenal Youth blogger Jack Singer gives his round-up of youth matches this last week

The last week at Arsenal has had its ups and downs. A home loss to Dortmund in the Champions League, a win against Crystal Palace in the League which ensured we’re top of the table, but also saw Arteta sent off and Flamini injured. Now we have been knocked out of the Capital One Cup to Chelsea.

The academy has suffered too, notwithstanding the great news for all Arsenal fans. Serge Gnabry has signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2018 and will now deservedly be earning £20,000 a week. In no doubt he will prove himself, the young German has buckets of potential.

Isaac Hayden was included in yesterday’s Capital One Cup fixture, but was an unused sub. The chances of Akpom, Bellerin and Olsson making the cut would have been higher if our opponent’s second string team weren’t as strong as we’d imagine. I believe Akpom should have made the bench in front of Park, after all this is where players start out (a fine example would be Wilshere).

Unfortunately two of our most gifted stars, Gnabry and Zelalem, weren’t available for the game. Although Gedion has retuned to training and will feature for the U18 fixture against Southampton, Gnabry has a small knock on his ankle.

Going down the levels at the club, our defensive midfielder Alfed Mugabo is also injured, which could give Renny Smith the chance to step-up. New signing Jamaal Raage has also picked up a groin issue, and with Lipman now on loan to Borehamwood FC theres a great chance Dawkins or Mavididi will be called up. Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill also picked up a slight injury featuring for the U18s, luckily fullback Tafari Moore returns at a great time. Finally, playmaker Toral is back from a heavy injury that he was fighting since January and it’s important he stays fit.

Arsenal U19s had difficulties in their clash with Dortmund U19s in the UEFA Youth League, the game was a goalless draw and by the final whistle both teams had only 10 men on the pitch.

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Chuba Akpom had the chance to put the young guns ahead with a brilliant penalty opportunity, unluckily the striker was not able to convert the chance and the opponent’s goalkeeper saved the spot-kick.

Arsenal U19s never stopped fighting to create another golden opportunity to win this match and leave with 3 very precocious points, but not a single sub was made by Gatting, if we were really pushing for the win close to the final whistle it would have been wise to bring on an attacking option from the bench to replace Akpom who was already booked. Lipman would have been a decent choice.

Foolishly Akpom was shown a second yellow and was sent off within the last kicks of the game. He misses the next fixture; away to Dortmund.

If it wasn’t for Iliev the score would have been very different, and I feel that Dortmund would have gone home smiling. Arsenal’s defence were also solid and close down almost every attacking chance Dortmund attempted.

Jebb and Olsson took all set-pieces, but in spite of that fact that the deliveries accurately landed on an Arsenal’s player’s head, not one player could convert any of the clear chances on goal.

The U18s faced Man City U18s on the weekend and suffered a 2-0 loss. With many of the schoolboys featuring in the U16 International Cup, Laraman was able to put out a stronger and more experienced side than usual. Arsenal U18s are yet to win a game this season.

The one that got away? Denzeil Boadu who chose to leave Arsenal over a contract issue earlier this year made a move to Manchester City, he featured in this meeting and set-up both goals for City U18s. Putting Arsenal further down the table, with only 6 points int the last 10 games.

Matt Macey who signed a 4 year contract with Arsenal in the last week made his competitive debut for the club after previous trials. Brighton & Hove Albion have signed centre back Tom Dallison, after joining us from West Ham last Summer.

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