Kristoffer Olsson has finally got his wish of securing a loan move away from the club, but the destination of the Swedish midfielder may come as a surprise to some after he joined Danish side FC Midtjylland on a temporary transfer until January.
The deal comes with an option of a permanent transfer at its conclusion, raising the possibility that Olsson’s Arsenal career could come to an end in a few months’ time. Olsson, who joined as a scholar in 2011, has grown increasingly impatient about his lack of first-team opportunities at Arsenal, with the youngster having only made a solitary appearance as a substitute in the Capital One Cup to date.
He has featured for the senior team in pre-season, notably scoring in the victory over Boreham Wood in July, but it is clear that he is in need of regular football to further his development. Olsson, who is extremely skilful, has a penchant for unlocking opposition defences with precise passes, but has not always delivered consistent performances at U21 level.
Ignasi Miquel’s Arsenal career has come to an end this evening after the centre-back signed a permanent deal with Championship side Norwich City.
The 21 year old joined Arsenal as a schoolboy from Cornella in 2008 and went on to make 14 competitive appearances for the first-team, featuring in all four major competitions and scoring his only goal against Coventry City in the League Cup.
The Spanish U21 international spent last season on loan at Leicester City but failed to feature regularly for the Foxes and will be hopeful of reviving his career at Carrow Road.
Although he demonstrated much promise as a youngster, making his debut for the Reserves at 16 years of age, Miquel failed to really progress in recent seasons and was particularly disappointing when asked to play out of position at left-back. With the defender having entered the final year of his contract and now being classed as a senior player according to Premier League and Champions League regulations, now seems the correct time to let him leave, especially with Julio Pleguezuelo and Isaac Hayden progressing well.
Ryo Miyaichi, who only recently recovered from a serious injury, has today joined FC Twente on a season-long loan, whilst also extending his Arsenal contract by a further year until 2016.
The best spell of Ryo’s career to date came in Holland when he represented Feyenoord in 2011 and it is hoped that this temporary transfer will help to restore the winger’s confidence after a series of injury setbacks in the past few seasons.
The 21 year old has also had stints with Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic and has made seven competitive appearances for the Arsenal first-team since joining in 2010.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Kristoffer Olsson could join Danish side FC Midtjylland on a one-year loan deal with an option for a permanent transfer next summer. Olsson previously stated that he wanted to go on loan this season to play first-team football, having had to be patient for such opportunities at Arsenal.
Other players, such as Francis Coquelin and Chuba Akpom, have also been linked with loan moves, but the pair look likely to remain at Arsenal for now.
Benik Afobe started and scored his fifth goal of the season as MK Dons beat Crawley 2-0. The striker had earlier struck the post with a free-kick in an impressive performance.
Jon Toral marked his league debut for Brentford with an assist in their 2-0 victory over Rotherham. Toral, on as an 82nd minute substitute, crossed for Nick Proschwitz to seal the win.
Austin Lipman played the last 29 minutes as a substitute as Boreham Wood lost 2-1 at home to Bath City. The striker directed an effort wide of the near post.
Wellington didn’t make the squad as Almeria lost 1-0 to Getafe, whilst Carl Jenkinson is still yet to make his West Ham United debut owing to injury.
U18 Premier League- Game 3
Arsenal 2 (Mavididi 17, Robinson 84) Aston Villa 3
SUBS: SHEAF (FOR PLEGUEZUELO, 46), T. BOLA (FOR M. BOLA, 67). NOT USED: HOUSE, TABI.
Arsenal U18s suffered their first defeat under new manager Frans De Kat as they lost 3-2 to Aston Villa at London Colney this afternoon.
De Kat was deprived of the services of Chris Willock and Kaylen Hinds, who featured for England U17s in midweek, and watched his side fall behind to early goals from Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn Murphy.
Stephy Mavididi pulled a goal back before the break, but Hepburn Murphy struck again in the second-half to secure the win for Villa. Robinson scored with the aid of a deflection late on, but Arsenal were ultimately left disappointed.
Julio Pleguezuelo was deployed in midfield as he played 45 minutes on his return from injury, whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles also featured having been amongst the substitutes for the U21s on Thursday. Robinson and Harry Donovan made the starting line-up, with schoolboy goalkeeper Brad House being named on the bench after earning his first call-up at this level.
U21 Premier League- Game 3
Arsenal 4 (Crowley 3, Akpom 31, 63, 70) West Bromwich Albion 2 (Howkins 79, Roofe 90)
By Jeorge Bird @ Emirates Stadium
Arsenal U21s, helped by the selection of several first-team squad players, continued their unbeaten start to the new season against West Bromwich Albion, but it was two of the younger cast members in Dan Crowley and Chuba Akpom who emerged with the most credit from this entertaining game.
Crowley, again deployed on the left wing, gave Steve Gatting’s side the lead with a sublime free-kick, with Akpom then proceeding to further underline his own credentials by scoring a hat-trick. Abou Diaby made his first appearance of the season and completed 45 minutes, whilst there were also run-outs for Francis Coquelin and Joel Campbell, with the latter setting up the goal that clinched Akpom’s hat-trick.
There were further changes, too, with Deyan Iliev starting in goal and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill returning at left-back. In fact, such was the strength of Gatting’s side, regulars such as Kristoffer Olsson, Gedion Zelalem and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were only on the bench, whilst Jack Jebb, Alex Iwobi and Glen Kamara didn’t even make the squad. Ignasi Miquel was absent amidst speculation linking him with a permanent move to Norwich City.
subs: Macey, Olsson, Zelalem (for Diaby, 46), Moore, Maitland-Niles (for Crowley, 77).
Arsenal started brightly and they were swiftly rewarded following a quick piece of thinking by Crowley. Akpom was brought down outside the area and Crowley took the free-kick quickly, confidently dispatching the ball into the back of the net.
West Brom seemed a little stunned at conceding so early, but they soon mounted something of a response, with Samir Nabi forcing Iliev into a save.
Crowley was beginning to wreak havoc at the other end, though, with the diminutive midfielder finding Campbell, who sent an audacious lofted effort just wide of the far post.
Arsenal continued to dominate proceedings, with Diaby forcing a corner after his effort was deflected wide. Stefan O’Connor had to be alert at the other end, however, to make a double block to prevent West Brom from equalising.
Arsenal were always dangerous when breaking forwards, but on one occasion Crowley’s effort lacked conviction and instead ended up in the grateful hands of goalkeeper Jack Rose. Campbell then tried his luck without success, but it was soon 2-0 when Akpom finished from close range after Semi Ajayi’s initial effort was repelled.
Iliev still had to make an impressive one-handed save to deny Kemar Roofe, but Arsenal were mostly on top in the opening period.
Diaby, who performed well, was withdrawn at the interval and replaced by Zelalem. West Brom still threatened intermittently, but it was Arsenal who continued to carve out the majority of the chances. Isaac Hayden, deployed as an unorthodox right-winger, did well to work space for himself, but his fierce effort was kept out by Rose.
Ajayi then headed wide from Crowley’s corner as Arsenal looked to seal the win. They did just that in the 63rd minute, with Zelalem sending a sweeping pass into the path of the marauding Hector Bellerin, who crossed for Akpom to head home and make it 3-0.
The fourth, and Akpom’s third, came not long afterwards. Campbell was the creator this time, with the Costa Rican sending a chipped pass into the path of Akpom, who finished well again for his 23rd goal at this level. A loan spell, perhaps after Arsenal’s Capital One Cup endeavours are over, surely beckons.
That looked to be game over, but West Brom, much to their credit, continued to press forwards and were eventually rewarded for their persistence when slack marking allowed Kyle Hawkins to head in. The deficit was reduced further still when Kemar Roofe made it 4-2, much to the delight of the small pocket of West Brom supporters.
It was the 1000 or so Arsenal fans who walked away happiest, however, after witnessing a largely impressive performance. The displays of Crowley and Akpom were the biggest positives, whilst Campbell looked sharp at times and Bellerin attacked well down the right flank. Seven points from three games is not a bad return for Arsenal U21s, whose next assignment is at Villa Park early next month.
Benik Afobe has enjoyed some memorable moments in his fledgling career to date- equalling Michael Owen’s goalscoring record for England U16s, playing for Reading as they were promoted to the Premier League, training with the likes of Ronaldinho and the Brazil national team.
Tonight, however, he played a significant part in a game that may well eclipse all of those heights. The striker may have counted himself a little unfortunate to begin the Capital One Cup tie against Manchester United on the bench, but he certainly made the most of his opportunity after being introduced in the 68th minute as he scored two well-taken goals in an incredible 4-0 victory for his loan side MK Dons.
Afobe, who has endured terrible luck with injuries in recent seasons, found the net just two minutes after coming on and then added to his tally shortly afterwards, demonstrating tremendous perseverance to shrug off the United defence’s attempts to stop him.
For a player who is in his sixth loan spell away from the club, it was hugely satisfying to see him finally playing with confidence. He is perhaps capable of playing above League One level, but, for now, he is certainly enjoying himself and has four goals already this season.
Afobe will be hoping for another game against Premier League opposition in the next round, but fellow Arsenal loanee Jon Toral’s Brentford side will not be involved any further after they lost 1-0 to Fulham. It was still a significant night for Toral, however, as the midfielder made his professional debut and played 63 minutes before being substituted.
Austin Lipman, meanwhile, found the net again yesterday as Boreham Wood beat Sutton United 3-1. Lipman came on as a substitute with 14 minutes remaining and scored in stoppage time after he eluded two defenders before slotting home comfortably.