Arsenal’s lack of defensive options are such that manager Arsene Wenger was forced to call upon four young defenders for today’s training session.
Hector Bellerin and Isaac Hayden have frequently trained with Wenger’s squad in recent weeks, whilst centre-back Stefan O’Connor and left-back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill joined them for the final preparations ahead of tomorrow’s UEFA Champions League group stage game against Galatasaray.
Jack Wilshere also took part in training, but the midfielder could be rested against the Turkish side having suffered an injury scare against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal, Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud are all out.
Abou Diaby is not yet fit enough to play regularly but he came through today’s session unscathed, whilst Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry are back in light training, with the wingers set to return to action next month after long lay-offs.
Players in training today: Szczesny, Ospina, Martinez, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky, Podolski, Wilshere, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez, Cazorla, Flamini, Welbeck, Campbell, Coquelin, Bellerin, Hayden, Ormonde-Ottewill, O’Connor, Diaby.
Arsenal U19s face Galatasaray’s youth team tomorrow in the next instalment of their UEFA Youth League campaign. The game kicks off at 2pm.
Coach Frans de Kat was left disappointed despite Arsenal U18s staging a stunning comeback to win 3-2 against Fulham at Motspur Park on Saturday.
A second-half fightback inspired by substitute Kaylen Hinds, who set up one goal for Stephy Mavididi and scored the other two himself, earned Arsenal all three points, but only after a deeply disappointing first-half display.
Fulham tore through the Arsenal midfield at will, with the Gunners’ defence struggling to cope. Goalkeeper Ryan Huddart was called upon to make a couple of impressive saves, but, in truth, Arsenal were fortunate to go into the break just two goals down, with Tolaji Bola and Marc Bola finding it difficult to prevent the likes of Mattias Kait and Stephen Humphrys from wreaking havoc.
De Kat said that he told the players at half-time that most of them were delivering performances that rated at 2 or 3 out of 10. Their prospective marks would have been much higher for the second-half, but Arsenal owed much to Hinds, whose pace and clinical nature in front of goal helped to drag Arsenal back into the game.
Hinds did well to cut the ball back for Mavididi, who scored his tenth goal of the campaign. Hinds then found the net himself after latching onto Aaron Eyoma’s cross and then finishing well. His second goal and Arsenal’s third was remarkably similar in terms of technique, although Chiori Johnson, another substitute, was the provider on this occasion.
For all their frailties at the back Arsenal could have even extended their lead late on, but Eyoma’s shot lacked conviction. Ben Sheaf was impressive following his introduction from the bench and the midfielder will hope to feature more regularly in the next few weeks.
A large proportion of the squad that faced Fulham are likely to be involved when the U19s continue their Youth League campaign against Galatasaray on Wednesday afternoon. The challenge of playing two games in a week is a tough one but will provide the youngsters with ideal preparation for first-team football.
Huddart is set to be in goal against the Turkish side and the Hale End product certainly deserves to be playing at a higher level after some impressive performances. He will have to bide his time before he can break into the U21 set-up, however, with Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev and Josh Vickers all ahead of him at present.
Arsenal U18s continue their league campaign at home to Southampton on Saturday.
It is barely surprising any more to check the latest MK Dons result and see Benik Afobe‘s name on the scoresheet. The 21 year old was amongst the goals again this week as he scored twice against Bradford City in the Capital One Cup before capitalising on a weak backpass to score in a defeat to Bristol City yesterday. Afobe has now entered double figures in terms of goals for the campaign.
Wellington was introduced early in the second-half as Almeria beat Deportivo 1-0. In midweek the Brazilian winger played 74 minutes as his temporary team lost to Atletico Madrid.
Ryo started and played 53 minutes as FC Twente beat Utrecht 3-1. Former Arsenal player Kyle Ebecilio was amongst the scorers for Twente.
Austin Lipman played 64 minutes as Boreham Wood beat East Preston 3-2 in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. Lipman created a good chance for Graeme Montgomery before being substituted in the second-half.
Carl Jenkinson replaced Guy Demel in the 65th minute of West Ham United’s defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Jon Toral was an un-used substitute as Brentford beat Leeds United 2-0.
Kristoffer Olsson wasn’t included in the Midtjylland squad this weekend.
U18 Premier League- Game 6
Fulham 2 (Humphrys (25), Walker (40) Arsenal 3 (Mavididi (52), Hinds (56, 72)
Kaylen Hinds came off the bench to help Arsenal U18s complete an impressive comeback away to Fulham yesterday.
Frans De Kat’s side found themselves two goals down at the break following strikes from Stephen Humphrys and Josh Walker, but Stephy Mavididi’s 10th goal of the season brought Arsenal back into the game.
Hinds then worked his magic, with the attacker, who made his debut for the U21s last week, scoring twice to secure victory for Arsenal.
De Kat was still without the new foreign signings, whilst further changes saw Elliot Wright, Chris Willock and Joshua Da Silva return to the side in place of George Dobson, Ben Sheaf and Tyrell Robinson.
Centeno-T. Bola-Wright-M. Bola
subs: Phillips, Hinds, Johnson, Sheaf.
The Capital One Cup may be the least glamorous of the four major competitions that Arsenal participate in on a yearly basis, but it still represents a genuine chance of silverware. That possibility for this season was eroded as Arsene Wenger’s side suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Southampton at Emirates Stadium this evening.
Arsenal, having made ten changes from the win over Aston Villa, took the lead through a superb free-kick from Alexis Sanchez. Thereafter, however, they struggled to deal with a hard-working Southampton side, who levelled courtesy of a penalty from Dusan Tadic before scoring what proved to be the winner when Nathaniel Clyne beat David Ospina with an excellent strike.
Arsenal fielded an unfamiliar-looking defence, with Hector Bellerin and Isaac Hayden being called upon, whilst Francis Coquelin was deployed at left-back. This was a side that hadn’t played a competitive game together and it showed. Abou Diaby played some neat passes in his first start for over a year and Jack Wilshere attempted to drive the team forward without much success, but Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski, two of the more experienced players on show, struggled throughout.
The majority of the players who featured for Arsenal haven’t played regularly of late and, as such, the team seemed to be devoid of sharpness as well as quickness of thought with regards to decision-making.
Joel Campbell demonstrated his technical ability but his decision making, on this evidence, still requires some work. Hayden made some good interventions, but Arsenal were guilty of not closing down Clyne for his goal.
Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chuba Akpom were all called upon as the game wore on, but Southampton, with better finishing, could have inflicted further damage on the Gunners. Akpom can count himself a little unlucky not to have started, especially with Podolski being so ineffectual. The visitors used the ball intelligently throughout, something that could not be said of Arsenal.
Bellerin and Hayden didn’t disgrace themselves, and it can be argued that the latter was one of the very few Arsenal players to put in a positive performance this evening, but, with Arsenal now out of the competition, it appears that there won’t be too many further opportunities for youngsters in the first-team this campaign.
It was a disappointing night, and, like last year, Arsenal have exited the Capital One Cup at a very early stage.
U21 Premier League
Arsenal 1 (Ormonde-Ottewill 87) Newcastle United 2 (Streete 20, 63)
Arsenal U21s saw their unbeaten start to the season come to an end as they lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle United this evening, although Steve Gatting was without four of his most prominent players who will instead be in the first-team squad to take on Southampton in the Capital One Cup tomorrow night.
Hector Bellerin, Isaac Hayden, Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi will all be involved in some capacity with the senior side tomorrow. In their absence there were U21 debuts for first-year scholars George Dobson and Kaylen Hinds, as well as starts for the likes of Tafari Moore, Alex Iwobi and Glen Kamara, who haven’t been regularly involved for the second-string so far this season. Stephy Mavididi made his U21 debut as a substitute.
Gedion Zelalem, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Dan Crowley all trained with the first-team this morning, but they were back on U21 duty this evening against a comparatively experienced Newcastle side containing the likes of Haris Vuckic, Shane Ferguson and Gael Bigirimana. Newcastle prevailed courtesy of two almost identical goals, with Remi Streete scoring with a header in each half, although Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill struck late on for Arsenal.
Streete’s first goal came in the 20th minute when he sent a header beyond the reach of Matt Macey after latching onto Daniel Barlaser’s cross. He doubled both his and his team’s tallies in the 63rd minute when he scored a rather similar goal from a corner.
Ormonde-Ottewill offered Arsenal a glimmer of hope when he found the net with three minutes remaining, but Newcastle held on to win.
Arsenal, maybe as was to be expected with a rather unfamiliar line-up, struggled to create many attacking chances apart from that, although this game did at least provide some of the lesser-used youngsters with some much-needed playing time. Jack Jebb, however, missed out through illness and is yet to make an appearance at any level this season.
Zelalem may consider himself a little unfortunate not to even make the bench for tomorrow’s game, but Arsene Wenger is likely to give playing time to the likes of Tomas Rosicky and, if fit, Abou Diaby, who have barely featured this season.
Bellerin will be seeking to rid himself of the memories of last week’s encounter in Dortmund, whilst Akpom will hope he is finally provided with the opportunity to prove his worth in a competitive fixture having been so impressive at U21 level so far this season.
It will be a big night for Hayden, too, with the England U20 international set to be entrusted with a starting berth at the heart of the defence. Ajayi is likely to be amongst the substitutes.
Arsenal U21 team: MACEY; MOORE, DOBSON, O’CONNOR, ORMONDE-OTTEWILL; KAMARA, ZELALEM; MAITLAND-NILES, CROWLEY, IWOBI; HINDS. Subs: VICKERS, M. BOLA, SHEAF, SMITH, MAVIDIDI.
Benik Afobe was on the scoresheet again this weekend, with the striker coming off the bench to find the net as MK Dons trounced Crewe Alexandra 6-1. Afobe was introduced in the 59th minute and scored after latching onto a long ball from hat-trick hero Dele Alli.
Ryo made his first start for FC Twente, with the Japanese winger playing 68 minutes of their 4-1 win over Heracles Almelo.
Having made his West Ham United debut against Hull City on Monday night, Carl Jenkinson again came off the bench yesterday, playing the last half an hour as his temporary side beat Liverpool 3-1. Jenkinson was booked shortly after his introduction for a foul on Alberto Moreno.
Austin Lipman started and played 74 minutes as Boreham Wood lost 2-1 to Basingstoke Town. Lipman did well to set up Graeme Montgomery, whose subsequent shot was saved.
Jon Toral came on for the final 15 minutes of Brentford’s 4-0 defeat away to Middlesbrough.
Kristoffer Olsson was an un-used substitute as Midtjylland took on Nordsjaelland, whilst a similiar fate befell Wellington as Almeria beat Real Sociedad.