U18 Premier League- Game 23
Arsenal 0 West Ham United 3 (Bywater 5, Amoo 8, Onariase 86)
Arsenal U18s saw their recent good form come to an abrupt halt as they were beaten 3-0 by West Ham United at London Colney this morning.
Carl Laraman made three changes from the side that dispatched of West Bromwich Albion last week, with Alfred Mugabo, Kaylen Hinds and Marc Bola coming into the team, the latter making his first start of the season.
subs: Robinson (for Lipman, 59), Mavididi (for Dawkins, 65). Not used: Iliev, Kamara, Maitland-Niles.
Arsenal struggled to get going, with West Ham dominating from the off. The visitors took the lead with just five minutes on the clock after Jerry Amoo cut the ball back into the path of Kieran Bywater, who finished past Ryan Huddart in the Arsenal goal.
West Ham’s dream start then got even better, with Amoo capitalising on some static defending at a corner to double West Ham’s advantage.
Having awoken from their early slumber, Arsenal gradually began to assert themselves, but Huddart still had to be alert to deny Emmanuel Onariase from a corner.
Arsenal’s best chance fell to Hinds in the second-half, but the England U16 international couldn’t find the target with a volley from the edge of the area. Hinds later came closer with a free-kick, whilst Hale End Academy product Jordan Brown was denied a goal on his return to Arsenal by some resolute defending.
Arsenal struggled to carve out any more meaningful chances and West Ham merely confirmed their victory in the closing stages when Onariase headed in from close range.
It was a disappointing result for Arsenal given their recent performances, but Laraman is likely to change his entire starting line-up for Monday’s FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final against Everton at Emirates Stadium on Monday.
*Updates via @tommywathen
Promising goalkeeper Ryan Huddart has today signed his maiden professional contract with Arsenal, becoming the first member of this season’s group of scholars to commit his future to the club.
Signed from Charlton Athletic as a schoolboy, Huddart has developed well this season, with the shot-stopper making 15 appearances for the U18s to add to the two run-outs he received at that level last campaign. In addition, the England U17 international has made the bench in the U21 Premier League, the U21 Premier League Cup, the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup. He made his debut for the U21s as a substitute during the defeat to Colchester United in pre-season.
Huddart only turned 17 yesterday, with the promptness of his new deal highlighting just how highly regarded he is by the club, despite the fact that he has several other young goalkeepers ahead of him in Damian Martinez, Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev and Josh Vickers.
Given that there appeared to be no complications in Huddart signing his contract, it is a little surprising that Gedion Zelalem and Julio Pleguezuelo, who have been eligible to sign a professional deal since January, have not yet put pen to paper. Zelalem is already part of the first-team squad at just 17, whilst Pleguezuelo has established himself as a key component of the U21 side since joining from Barcelona in the summer.
It is expected that right-back Tafari Moore and the hugely promising midfielder Dan Crowley will be offered professional contracts when they turn 17 later this year, whilst winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles and centre-back Stefan O’Connor have both been hugely impressive this campaign. Renny Smith and Elliot Wright are the other current first-year scholars, with both players having featured regularly for the U18s.
The club are also no closer to making a decision on the respective futures of the remaining second-year scholars, although it is expected that Alex Iwobi, Glen Kamara, Josh Vickers and Tarum Dawkins will all be offered extended stays, with Alfred Mugabo and Arinse Uade facing a fight to prolong their Arsenal careers.
Arsenal’s youngsters have some important matches on the horizon, with games to come in the latter stages of the FA Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League and the U21 Premier League Cup in the next few weeks, but their preparations suffered something of a blow yesterday when an Arsenal U19 side lost 3-0 to their Vietnamese counterparts in a behind-closed doors friendly at London Colney.
Arsenal were without several players who were on international duty, but still fielded a side containing the likes of Ryan Huddart, Tafari Moore, George Dobson, Elliot Wright, Arinse Uade, Renny Smith, Glen Kamara, Chris Willock and Austin Lipman. Canadian trialist Caniggia Elva also featured, with the striker coming close to scoring.
Arsenal U18s face West Ham United on Saturday morning before taking on Everton in the FA Youth Cup at Emirates Stadium on Monday.
Joel Campbell- Costa Rica 2 Paraguay 1
Campbell scored Costa Rica’s first goal on the stroke of half-time, with the Arsenal loanee then being substituted at the break.
Yaya Sanogo- France U21 1 Belarus U21 0
Sanogo started and played the first 56 minutes as France continued their U21 European Championship Qualifying campaign with a victory over Belarus.
Carl Jenkinson- England U21 1 Wales U21 0
Jenkinson played the whole game at right-back, with Nathan Redmond’s goal edging England closer to qualification for the U21 European Championships.
Kristoffer Olsson- Malta U21 1 Sweden U21 2
Olsson emerged off the bench in the 74th minute to make his debut for Sweden at U21 level during their victory over Malta.
Deyan Iliev- Portugal U21 2 Macedonia U21 0
Arsenal goalkeeper Iliev was an un-used substitute as Macedonia U21s lost out to Portugal.
Thomas Eisfeld- Germany U20 3 Switzerland U20 2
Eisfeld made his first appearance for Germany for several years, with the midfielder playing the final 17 minutes of Germany U20s’ win over Switzerland.
Isaac Hayden, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill- England U19 3 Turkey U19 0
Hayden played the whole game as a defensive-midfielder as England U19s eased to victory over Turkey, whilst Ormonde-Ottewill, who was a late call-up to the squad, replaced Matt Targett after 67 minutes to make his debut at this level.
Hector Bellerin- Spain U19 1 Netherlands U19 2
Bellerin gained more international experience as he was involved in Spain U19s’ defeat to the Netherlands.
Thomas Eisfeld had been waiting for this moment for three years. Last Tuesday it finally arrived as the midfielder learnt that he had been called up by the German U20 side for their friendly against Switzerland this week, ending his prolonged absence from the national team set-up.
Eisfeld could be said to have been in need of a boost. Despite scoring on his maiden start for the first-team in the Capital One Cup win over West Bromwich Albion in September and now appearing to be fully over the injury problems that plagued the early stages of his development, the 21 year old has struggled to receive much of a look in for the first-team and has had to watch on as his compatriot Serge Gnabry has made the breakthrough into the senior set-up.
A deadline-day signing from Borussia Dortmund in January 2012, Eisfeld immediately made his presence felt at Arsenal by finding the net with regularity, and his goalscoring record since joining the club has been mightily impressive as he has scored 14 times in 35 appearances for the U21 side to date, operating in numerous positions across the attacking line and even, on occasion, as a striker.
Now, though, Eisfeld is approaching a pivotal stage in his development. His contract expires at the end of next season and, with an abundance of creative players ahead of him in the first-team squad (Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are the most prominent), he will certainly have his work cut out to earn an extended stay.
Given his situation and the fact that he surely has little new to learn from second-string football, it was rather surprising that Eisfeld didn’t join the likes of Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom in heading out on loan in January. He may well go on temporary transfer next campaign, with his performances elsewhere likely to dictate whether he will still be at the club in two seasons’ time.
A hard-working player with good movement, concerns have arisen regarding Eisfeld’s tendency to drift out of games, offering the impression that if he fails to score then he contributes little else, which, for a midfielder, is not exactly ideal. His performance level certainly seems to have picked up somewhat in recent weeks, though, as he impressed for the U21s away to Reading at the Madejski Stadium, a ground where he made his first-team debut last season.
Two years on from joining Arsenal, Eisfeld has just two competitive appearances for the first-team to his name, and the fact that he has not been called regularly to train with the senior side this season indicates that he still has some way to go in order to make a breakthrough.
His call up to represent Germany, however, for whom he hadn’t featured since U17 level, just goes to show that sometimes, if you are patient and put in enough hard work, you will eventually get your reward, even if you didn’t anticipate it.
Chuks Aneke set up a goal, missed a penalty and struck the crossbar during an eventful afternoon for the 20 year old as Crewe Alexandra drew 1-1 with Swindon Town. Aneke stepped up to take the spot-kick after the ball had struck Ryan Harley’s arm, but he sent his effort well over the target. The midfielder then struck the crossbar in the second-half before finally receiving a reward for his endeavours when he teed up Vadaine Oliver to equalise.
Chuba Akpom started and came close to scoring as Coventry City drew 0-0 with Shrewsbury Town. The striker shot just wide early on and was eventually replaced with 72 minutes gone.
Daniel Boateng made his debut for Hibernian, with the defender coming off the bench in the 71st minute during his temporary side’s 3-1 defeat to Dundee United.
Joel Campbell played the whole game as Olympiacos suffered a surprise 3-0 defeat at home to Panathinaikos, whilst Johan Djourou couldn’t prevent Hamburg from losing 1-0 to Hertha Berlin.
Josh Vickers was involved in an entertaining encounter as Canvey Island beat Carshalton Athletic 3-2 in a game that saw two penalties and two red cards.
Ju-Young Park was an un-used substitute as Watford trounced Blackpool 4-0, with Ignasi Miquel again not being called upon for Leicester City, who beat Charlton Athletic 3-0. Benik Afobe remained on the bench throughout Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, whilst Damian Martinez was left out of the squad entirely.
Francis Coquelin wasn’t involved as Freiburg drew 0-0 with Hertha Berlin. Wellington was named amongst the substitutes for Real Murcia’s game against Numancia this evening.
U18 Premier League- Game 22
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Oldnall 30) Arsenal 2 (Dobson 3, Willock 6)
Arsenal U18s continued their recent resurgence with a commendable 2-1 victory away to West Bromwich Albion this morning.
Carl Laraman’s side won just one league game between August and January, but have turned a corner since then, with today’s success ensuring that they have taken ten points out of the last 12 available.
Goals from schoolboys’ George Dobson and Chris Willock, their first strikes at this level, saw Arsenal establish an early lead, and, although Ged Oldnall reduced the deficit before half-time, Laraman’s side held on to secure the win.
There were four changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Chelsea a fortnight ago, with Tafari Moore, Alex Iwobi, Austin Lipman and Willock all coming into the side, whilst Kaylen Hinds returned from international duty to play the final half an hour.
subs: Hinds (for Lipman, 61), Robinson (for Willock, 69), Olomola (for Smith, 90). Not used: Mavididi, Bola.
Arsenal host West Ham United at London Colney next Saturday before taking on Everton at Emirates Stadium in the FA Youth Cup two days later.