Arsenal u-18s lost their third successive League game this morning as they went down 2-0 to West Ham at London Colney. Wojciech Sczczesny started in goal, whilst Jonas Rasmussen played on the right flank, with Luke Freeman partnering Nacer Barazite up front. It was an icy cold day at London Colney as Luke Freeman went close with a couple of efforts but the ‘keeper was equal to them. Nacer Barazite looked in impressive form as well, making some decent touches and dictating play as he often dropped back to support the midfield. It was also good to see Havard Nordtveit in the u-18s again after so long out; he looked a little rusty but gave a composed performance nonetheless. West Ham’s physical power was too much for Arsenal as on more than one occasion, Arsenal players were sent flying by outstretched elbows. Emmanuel Frimpong wasn’t allowed to dictate things up front and Arsenal’s passing game just didn’t seem to be working. Jay Thomas, playing on the left-wing, was getting increasingly frustrated with goalie Wojciech Szczesny’s inability to pick him out with his goal kicks and was calling for the tall Pole to stay on his line. In truth, it would be harsh on Szczesny to say that he was at fault for the first goal. West Ham played some neat passes before firing a low shot underneath the ‘keeper, but in truth there wasn’t much that ‘Tech 9′ could do. Arsenal were seeing a lot of the ball on the right-hand side but struggled to create chances; on the rare occasions that a chance did occur, Arsenal fluffed their lines. Nacer Barazite was unlucky as the bounce of the ball decieved him at the crucial moment, and Rasmussen fired a weak shot at goal. However, West Ham held on and as Arsenal came forward in the second half, piled on the pressure and ended up doubling their advantage. Steve Bould will be disspointed with the result, but knows that it was a very young team out their today, and that they were missing the creative influence of the likes of Lansbury, Fonte, Murphy and Wilshere. The Gunners are at home to Southampton next weekend and will hoping to end their run of three straight defeats. One other piece of news, it appears that Liam O’Brien, who was on trial from QPR, has not been offered a permanent deal by Arsenal as he didn’t start the game and James Shea was on the bench.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Eastmond, Nordtveit, Hoyte (c), Cruise; Rasmussen, Frimpong, Dunne, Emmanuel-Thomas, Barazite, Freeman. Subs: Shea, Evina, Blackwood, Ayling.
Next three games:
Sat Feb 9- Southampton (h)
Sat Feb 16- Crystal Palace (a)
Sat Mar 1- Norwich City (a)