U18 Development Group

Brown returns as U18s arrest slump with Norwich draw

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U18 Premier League- Development Group 2

Arsenal 0 Norwich City 0

Arsenal U18s registered their first point under Carl Laraman and halted their run of three consecutive league defeats with a 0-0 draw at home to Norwich City this afternoon. Both sides crafted regular attacks but were unable to find a breakthrough, although Arsenal perhaps should have won it with a flurry of late chances. This was the fourth meeting of these sides at this level this season and the second time that the game has ended goalless.

Coach Laraman made three changes to the side that lost 6-1 to Aston Villa last week, with Josh Vickers, George Dobson and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill coming into the side in place of Ryan Huddart, Zach Fagan and Alfred Mugabo, with the latter failing a late fitness test. Anthony Jeffrey has joined Stevenage on loan and Serge Gnabry, Hector Bellerin, Kristoffer Olsson and Chuba Akpom are in line to play for the U21s against West Bromwich Albion tomorrow. Jordan Brown returned from an injury lay-off to make the bench.

Vickers

Moore-Dobson-O’Connor-Ormonde Ottewill

Kamara-Jebb

Maitland Niles-Iwobi-Dawkins

Lipman

subs: Hinds (for Maitland-Niles), Brown (for Lipman). Not used: Iliev, Smith, Bola.

Arsenal, seeking to respond to the mauling by Villa, were in determined mood early on and came close to opening the scoring seven minutes in when Alex Iwobi found Tarum Dawkins, who struck the crossbar with a fierce shot. Norwich then enjoyed a sustained spell of possession without creating a clear cut chance before Iwobi diverted Jack Jebb’s corner just wide.

Schoolboy centre-back Stefan O’Connor almost conceded possession with an under-hit pass, but it trickled out of play before Norwich could capitalise. Dawkins then had a shot blocked following good work from the industrious Austin Lipman, with Norwich responding by gallivanting up-field, only for Tafari Moore, restored to his usual right-back role, to make a timely interception.

Vickers was forced into a simple save and Dawkins, a lively presence throughout, saw a shot deflected for a corner before the interval. It was an even start  to the second period, but Arsenal created the first chance of note when Jebb drilled an effort wide from distance before another schoolboy, Kaylen Hinds, who has impressed in recent weeks, was introduced in place of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Arsenal continued to exert pressure, with Lipman shooting just wide when well positioned on the edge of the area, before Jebb did likewise from slightly further out. Norwich substitute Dominic St Louis should have done better than drag his effort wide when well placed, but Arsenal continued to threaten as the game wore on, with Dawkins shooting straight at the Norwich goalkeeper and Hinds having a header well saved.

Brown made just his second appearance of 2013 when he replaced Lipman in the closing stages, and there was a chance for Arsenal to score a late winner when Dawkins was brought down just outside the area, but Jebb curled the free-kick over. Brown skewed an effort into the side netting as the clock continued to tick down, but the game ended goalless.

Arsenal’s next game is at home to Middlesbrough in a fortnight.

Extremely young U18s comprehensively beaten by Man. City

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U18 Premier League

Manchester City 4 Arsenal 1 (Hinds)

An Arsenal U18 side composed entirely of schoolboys suffered a 4-1 defeat away to their Manchester City counterparts today. City found themselves three goals to the good inside 23 minutes after capitalising on some poor Arsenal defending, but the impressive Kaylen Hinds, making his first start up front, pulled a goal back for the Gunners before the interval. Joe Nuttall, however, struck again for City after the break to complete his hat-trick and make it 4-1.

Coach Carl Laraman rested his entire FA Youth Cup squad ahead of Monday’s tie with Everton, whilst Arinse Uade, Leander Siemann, Tom Dallison and Jordan Brown were also unavailable due to injury. Laraman handed debuts at this level to midfielder Chris Toonga and attacker Chris Willock, whilst four further schoolboys, Stephy Mavididi, Aaron Eyoma, Femi Olomola and Aaron Eyoma earned their first call-ups on the bench. George Dobson, Tyrell Robinson and Hinds, meanwhile, made their first starts after coming off the bench against Blackburn Rovers last weekend. City also fielded a rather young side by U18 league standards.

Huddart

Moore-O’Connor-Bola-Robinson

Dobson-Toonga

Maitland Niles-Smith-Willock

Hinds

subs: Mavididi, Eyoma, Olomola, Ejaria.

City took the lead through striker Joe Nuttall with just three minutes on the clock, before winger Bersant Celina doubled their advantage from the penalty spot seven minutes later. Nuttall then struck again before Hinds reduced the deficit for Laraman’s side.

Any hopes of that goal reinvigorating the visitors soon dissipated, however, when Nuttall completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark with a fine strike past Huddart.

Arsenal have now taken just four points from a possible twelve since the commencement of the new league after Christmas, and face Aston Villa at home next week.

With thanks to @AFCFixtureNews

Debutants aplenty as U18s lose Laraman’s first game in charge against Blackburn

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U18 Premier League

Arsenal 0 Blackburn Rovers 2

London Colney

An Arsenal U18 side overseen for the first time by Carl Laraman, and containing several of the players he has coached at junior levels, couldn’t fend off the challenge of a comparatively experienced Blackburn Rovers side at London Colney on Saturday morning.

Laraman, who has taken over at this level after Steve Gatting was promoted to U21 duty, handed debuts to centre-back Stefan O’Connor and left-back Marc Bola, whilst Renny Smith, who came on at right-back last week, started in midfield after completing his move to the club from Chelsea. Fellow schoolboys Tafari Moore and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were also handed starts with several players rested for this evening’s U21 trip to face Manchester United. Several members of the U15 side made the bench.

Iliev

Moore-Fagan-O’Connor-Bola

Kamara-Smith

Dawkins-Jebb-Maitland Niles

Lipman

subs: Hinds, Dobson, Robinson. Not used: Huddart, Thorbourne

Arsenal looked to dictate proceedings early on, with Jack Jebb, a comparatively experienced figure in midfield, receiving plenty of possession, but Blackburn took the lead when Bola’s attempted clearance fell to Dean Rittenburg, who beat Deyan Iliev in the Arsenal goal with ease.

Smith was making his first appearance since joining from Chelsea last week.
Smith was making his first appearance since joining from Chelsea last week.

Arsenal nearly responded instantly when Jebb found Austin Lipman, but the striker’s shot was saved before, at the other end, Blackburn missed a presentable opportunity as Arsenal’s unfamiliar back four invited them to attack. Blackburn’s advantage was doubled just after the break when Glen Kamara, usually a force of consistency, squandered possession and Modou Cham fired home to make it 2-0.

In the second half, Jebb, who was by far Arsenal’s most influential player operating in an advanced midfield role, saw a shot saved following good work on the right flank from the tricky Tarum Dawkins, before substitute Kaylen Hinds, who was lively after being introduced as a substitute also came close. Rittenburg missed a good chance for Blackburn, then Ainsley Maitland-Niles shot wide for Arsenal but claimed his shirt was being pulled by a Blackburn player as he did so.

Laraman can take heart from the fact that Arsenal delivered an improved second half performance following a difficult opening period, with Jebb and Lipman becoming increasingly influential, and several players receiving their first taste of action at this level. Arsenal, who have taken four points from their first three games of this section, face Manchester City away on Saturday.

Gnabry scores stunner and Lipman goes in goal as U18s beat Newcastle

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U18 Premier League 

Arsenal 1 (Gnabry) Newcastle 0

He was the goalscoring hero against Fulham in the FA Youth Cup just four days previously, but on Saturday Austin Lipman had the unusual experience of going in goal following an injury to Josh Vickers during the 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in the U18 League.

This was the second time an outfield player has gone in goal for the U18s this season. Isaac Hayden did so against Norwich in September.
This was the second time an outfield player has gone in goal for the U18s this season. Isaac Hayden did so against Norwich in September.

Arsenal had named Macedonian shot-stopper Deyan Iliev on the bench, but were unable to use him as coach Steve Gatting had already made all three of his substitutions by the time Vickers picked up a knock late on. Thankfully, Lipman had just one relatively straightforward stop to make in the dying stages, meaning that Arsenal secured three points courtesy of Serge Gnabry’s stunning strike nine minutes in.

Following good build-up play in which the steadily improving Alex Iwobi was involved heavily, Gnabry took a touch to steady himself before finding the top corner of the Newcastle goal with an unstoppable drive. Arsenal’s victory was largely deserved, although the tempo of their passing did drop considerably in the second half, and they were fortunate not to be punished when Isaac Hayden dwelled on the ball for too long.

Despite the fact that Anthony Jeffrey was missing through injury and Chuba Akpom and Kristoffer Olsson were rested, this was still a strong Arsenal line-up, containing the likes of Gnabry, Hector Bellerin, Hayden and Zach Fagan. Substitute Jordan Brown, making his first appearance at this level since the turn of the year, was a lively presence following his introduction, striking the crossbar with an acrobatic effort having previously come close to doubling his side’s advantage with an effort from distance.

Arsenal also gave playing time to Renny Smith, a trialist from Chelsea, who came on right-back in the second-half, although the youngster didn’t provide the best showcase of his ability. It is expected that several further players will trial with the club at this level in the near future in order to boost the number of players signed on scholarship deals next summer.

Vickers

Bellerin-Fagan-Hayden-Ormonde Ottewill

Mugabo-Kamara

Iwobi-Jebb-Gnabry

Lipman

subs: Iliev, Dawkins, Brown, Smith, Moore.

* Arsenal U21s goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook has joined Blue Square Bet South side Chelmsford City on loan for a month. Charles-Cook, who has impressed on his fleeting outings for the club at second-string level thus far, currently finds himself behind Damian Martinez, James Shea and Deyan Iliev in the goalkeeping hierarchy at Arsenal. With Arsenal’s next action in the NextGen Series, a competition Charles-Cook has featured in regularly this season, not until March 9th, away to Inter Milan, this move seems the perfect opportunity for Charles-Cook to receive some much-needed experience of professional football.

Strong U18s held by Norwich in final preparation for Youth Cup test

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U18 Premier League- Development Group 2

Norwich 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal U18s warmed up for next week’s FA Youth Cup adventure with a goalless draw away to Norwich City in the first game of the new phase of the U18 league. Despite dominating for large periods and carving out several opportunities, Steve Gatting’s side couldn’t find the net against a resolute Canaries side.

Gatting named a strong squad which, along with striker Chuba Akpom, who was rested today, is likely to form the side that takes on Fulham in the Youth Cup Fourth Round at Underhill on Thursday.

Iliev

Bellerin-Fagan-Hayden-Ormonde Ottewill

Mugabo-Olsson

Jeffrey-Jebb-Toral

Lipman

subs: Iwobi (for Lipman, 85). Not used: Vickers, Siemann, Kamara, Dawkins.

After a tame opening in which both sides struggled to create any clear-cut openings, Arsenal gradually assumed control of proceedings, with Anthony Jeffrey, on his return from injury, testing Will Britt with a fierce effort.

Austin Lipman was the next to try his luck, but lofted his effort over the crossbar. Norwich threatened the Arsenal goal intermittently, but the Gunners almost took the lead through Kristoffer Olsson just after the break.

Norwich then tested Deyan Iliev, with the Macedonian goalkeeper making a good save. Following that, Alfred Mugabo and Jeffrey both went close in quick succession, before Britt made another impressive stop, this time parrying Jack Jebb’s effort from the edge of the area.

Arsenal introduced Alex Iwobi in place of fellow England youth international Lipman late on,

The U16s also drew 0-0 with the same opponents, with midfielder Gedion Zelalem amongst those who featured.

With thanks to @AFCFixtureNews