Loan report – Bielik and Nwakali feature; Nelson injured


Calum Chambers played the whole game as Fulham lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur.

Krystian Bielik played the full game as Charlton Athletic beat Accrington Stanley 1-0.

Kelechi Nwakali played the whole game as Porto B beat Estoril 2-0.

David Ospina was an unused substitute as Napoli beat Lazio 2-1.

Matt Macey was an unused substitute as Plymouth Argyle beat Coventry City 2-1.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Hannover lost 1-0 to Werder Bremen.

Reiss Nelson missed out through injury as Hoffenheim lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich.


Amaechi excellent as five-star Arsenal thrash Tottenham in FA Youth Cup

FA Youth Cup fourth round

Arsenal 5 (Cottrell 13, Saka 51 (pen), 108, Amaechi 95, Balogun 102) Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Shashoua 8, Bennett 34)

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park, Borehamwood


Before this game the focus was on whether Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka would start as Arsenal looked to make it through to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup.

As it transpired, the two hugely talented wingers were both involved from the outset and they both had a pivotal part to play as Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 after extra time in a high octane encounter.

With Bayli Spencer-Adams out injured, schoolboy centre-back Mazeed Ogungbo was given a starting berth, while in midfield Jordan McEneff was preferred to James Olayinka.

Perhaps the most surprising inclusion was that of Ben Cottrell, whose impressive form for the U18s in the league saw him selected ahead of Trae Coyle and Sam Greenwood.


Daley Campbell-McGuinness-Ogungbo-Swanson

M. Smith-McEneff



Subs: Olayinka (for McEneff, 46), Lopez (for Swanson, 90), Coyle (for Balogun, 113), Greenwood (for Cottrell, 116). Not used: Graczyk.

Given the rivalry between the two clubs, and the fact that both sides have been impressive in the league this season, an intense encounter was expected.

That proved to be the case from the first whistle, with each player who had possession constantly being harried by the opposition.

Tottenham almost made a mistake on one such occasion as a back pass nearly resulted in an own goal.

The visitors soon gained their composure, however, and they took the lead in the eighth minute when Armando Shashoua slotted home after Arsenal were unable to deal with a cross.

The lead didn’t last for long, though, with Cottrell justifying his selection with a fine strike in the 13th minute that caught Tottenham out.

Arsenal suddenly had much in the way of momentum and were adamant that they should have been awarded a penalty when Folarin Balogun was challenged in the area, but the referee waved play on.

Tottenham took full advantage and proceeded to make it 2-1, with their second goal similar in style to their first as a cross was sent in after Vontae Daley-Campbell was caught out and this time J’Neil Lloyd-Bennett scored.

In what was now a pulsating contest, Amaechi embarked upon an excellent run, although his subsequent shot was saved.

Despite that, it was Tottenham who ended the half in the ascendancy, and they merited their lead going into the interval.

Arsenal made a change at the start of the second half, with Olayinka replacing McEneff, who seemed rather rusty having only recently returned from injury.

Daley-Campbell wasn’t at his best in the first half, but he improved significantly after the restart and on one occasion got forwards well only for his effort to be off target.

Having not been given a penalty earlier on, Arsenal did eventually get one when Amaechi was brought down, with Saka stepping up to score from the spot.

Mark McGuinness had to be alert at the other end, though, to make a crucial block shortly afterwards.

The Arsenal supporters, buoyed by their team’s efforts, were now in full voice, and Ken Gillard’s side were starting to carve out chances with increasing regularity.

Firstly Matt Smith played a superb pass into the path of Balogun, who saw his shot saved, and then Amaechi came close to scoring.

The game then became rather scrappy, with both sets of players becoming tired and some late challenges being made. McGuinness and Smith both received yellow cards, and extra-time seemed a formality.

That proved to be the case, and Arsenal started extremely well in the first half of extra-time, with Amaechi making it 3-2 as he scored from close range after good work from Balogun.

Then it was 4-2, with Balogun this time on hand to score after Amaechi’s initial effort was blocked.

The Arsenal supporters were certainly enjoying themselves, singing ‘is there a fire drill?’ as some Tottenham fans elected to leave early.

Arsenal effectively secured victory early in the second half of extra-time, with Saka scoring the goal of the game – a fiercely struck effort that left Tottenham goalkeeper Josh Oluwayemi with no chance.

That was that, and Arsenal saw out the game as they brought on Coyle and then Greenwood.

The final whistle blew, with Arsenal’s place in the fifth round, where they will host West Bromwich Albion, confirmed.

It cannot be emphasised enough how impressive a victory this was, with Tottenham boasting one of the standout teams in England at this level at present.

Saka and Amaechi certainly deserve much praise, but there were others who also made a significant contribution, not least Daley-Campbell, who became increasingly effective as the game wore on.

Cottrell, too, had some impressive moments, and Ogunbgo coped very well at centre-back for the most part.

There is more to come from this team, especially with Tyreece John-Jules still to come back from injury, and it is hoped that the young Gunners can enjoy a lengthy run in the competition.

The last time that Arsenal beat Tottenham in the Youth Cup – ten years ago – they went on to win the trophy. Could history repeat itself this year?

FA Youth Cup preview- Arsenal must start Saka and Amaechi against Tottenham

Arsenal versus Tottenham Hotspur is always a significant fixture at youth level, but tomorrow night’s meeting between the two rivals is especially important as they face eachother in the fourth round of the most prestigious tournament at U18 level in England, the FA Youth Cup.

This is the first time that the clubs have met in this competition for a decade and, in contrast to regular games at Meadow Park, tickets have been issued, with Arsenal and Tottenham supporters to be segregated.

The team news for Arsenal going into this game isn’t especially positive, with both Tyreece John-Jules and Bayli Spencer-Adams having been ruled out with injuries.

Folarin Balogun should lead the line in John-Jules’ absence, while schoolboy Mazeed Ogungbo, who featured as a substitute against Northampton Town in the previous round, could be promoted to the starting line-up to replace Spencer-Adams in defence.

Against Northampton Arsenal elected not to play Bukayo Saka, who was involved with the first-team that week, while Xavier Amaechi missed out through injury.

Both players are available on this occasion, although it remains to be seen if they will start as they featured for the U23s against Manchester City on Monday.

If Arsenal are serious about winning the Youth Cup, however, they must start Saka and Amaechi, with the wingers capable of deciding the outcome of the tie if they are at their best.

That’s not to discredit the other options at Arsenal’s disposal. Sam Greenwood has adapted extremely well after joining from Sunderland, while Ben Cottrell has also caught the eye for the U18s in the league.

Saka and Amaechi, though, possess vast experience of U23 football and Saka has also learnt much from being in and around the first-team squad.

Trae Coyle, who can play out wide or as an attacking midfielder, will also hope to start and will be determined to provide a reminder of the quality that he possesses.

Deeper in midfield, Matt Smith will be tasked with attempting to set the tempo for Arsenal, with James Olayinka likely to be deployed alongside him.

Vontae Daley-Campbell, who still hasn’t committed to a professional contract, is set to start at right-back, while at left-back Zak Swanson should see off competition from Joel Lopez, and Mark McGuinness is ready to feature at centre-back.

In goal, Karl Hein impressed in the last round but may miss out due to injury, with Arthur Okonkwo ready to step in. If that is the case then schoolboy goalkeeper Remy Mitchell may make the bench.

It is clear that Tottenham will be no pushovers. They are top of the U18 Premier League, two points ahead of Arsenal and can call upon some excellent prospects.

Troy Parrott, for example, boasts 11 goals in just seven U18 appearances this season, while Rodel Richards is also a threat.

Winger Dilan Markanday is another player to watch out for and Mauricio Pochettino’s son, Maurizio, could make an appearance.

Arsenal will certainly have to be at their very best if they are to prevail and it should be an absorbing contest.

If Saka and Amaechi start then it could well swing the game in Arsenal’s favour as they look to make it through to the next round where the winners will face either West Bromwich Albion or Queens Park Rangers.

Possible Arsenal team: Okonkwo; Daley-Campbell, McGuinness, Ogungbo, Swanson; M. Smith, Olayinka; Amaechi, Coyle, Saka; Balogun. Subs: Mitchell, Lopez, McEneff, Greenwood, Cottrell.

Other options: Musah, Azeez, Alebiousu, Dennis, Flaherty, Martin, Matthews.

Injured: John-Jules, Clarke, Spencer-Adams, Barden, T. Smith

Doubtful: Hein

Arsenal U23s 5 Man City 1 – Mavropanos returns; Saka and Willock impress

Premier League 2 

Arsenal 5 Manchester City 1

By Jeorge Bird @Meadow Park, Borehamwood


There have been enough disappointing results for Arsenal U23s to endure this season, but there was much to be pleased about tonight, with Freddie Ljungberg’s side producing an excellent display as they thrashed Manchester City 5-1, while Konstantinos Mavropanos received a runout as he made his return from injury.

Bukayo Saka, who was again excellent, hit a brace, while Robbie Burton, Joe Willock and Xavier Amaechi also managed to get on the scoresheet. Willock in particular stood out, with the midfielder also providing two assists, indicating that he is worthy of more minutes with the first-team.

This was Arsenal’s first victory at this level since October 1st, and part of that may have been down to Ljungberg having a strong squad to choose from.

The Arsenal coach made four alterations to the team that drew with Brighton & Hove Albion as Jordi Osei-Tutu, Mavropanos, Willock and Nketiah came in for Joseph Olowu, Zech Medley, Dominic Thompson and Tyreece John-Jules.


Osei Tutu-Sheaf-Mavropanos-Pleguezuelo




Subs: Ballard (for Mavropanos, 71), Thompson (for Saka, 76), Balogun (for Amaechi, 87). Not used: Okonkwo, Zelalem. 

Arsenal started the game in impressive fashion and they opened the scoring with just four minutes gone after Saka found the net with a calm finish.

Just six minutes later it was 2-0 with the lively Xavier Amaechi being fouled in the area and Robbie Burton stepping up to convert the subsequent spot-kick.

There was an element of concern for Arsenal shortly afterwards, with Mavropanos, who hadn’t played since August, having to receive treatment, but the first-team defender was thankfully able to continue.

Amaechi saw a free-kick saved as Arsenal looked to further extend their lead, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic with goalkeeper Deyan Iliev having to be alert at the other end to race off his line and make an impressive stop.

City threatened with a free-kick that went just wide, with Arsenal responding with an effort from their own as Julio Pleguezuelo, up from left-back, came close to scorng.

Arsenal’s first-half performance deserved another goal and they eventually managed to get it. Willock, fittingly, was the scorer, as he capped off an impressive 45 minutes with a slick finish.

If Arsenal thought that the game was over at that stage, they were quickly reminded after the interval that City still posed a threat.

Indeed, just a minute into the second half City reduced the deficit, with Luke Bolton slotting home after Ben Sheaf had initially lost possession. Iliev had made a smart save in the direct aftermath of Sheaf’s error but was unable to prevent Bolton from scoring.

That goal sparked Arsenal back into life, and they soon went 4-1 up, with Willock doing well to find Saka, who got his second goal of the game.

In the 66th minute it was 5-1, with Amaechi the scorer on this occasion after Nketiah teed him up, while Robbie Burton deserves credit for a fine pass in the build-up to the goal.

Mavropanos was then replaced by Daniel Ballard in the 71st minute in a pre-planned change, with the Greek defender having coped rather well overall, while showing some expected signs of rustiness.

City threatened intermittently in the closing stages, but Arsenal managed to stand firm and secured the three points, while second-year scholar Folarin Balogun received a run-out towards the end of the game.

This victory should do much to boost the confidence of Ljungberg’s team, who have struggled in many of their recent fixtures.

At times Ljungberg has found it difficult to get his tactical ideas across to the players, but that certainly wasn’t the case here as Arsenal, albeit against a disappointing City side, were in top form.

Saka was a constant threat and is extremely difficult to defend against, while Willock continues to go from strength to strength as he pushes forwards with regularity and dribbles excellently.

Nketiah, meanwhile, continued to work hard as he always does, and managed to get an assist for Amaechi’s strike, although the forward didn’t have much luck in front of goal himself on this occasion.

Overall, though, this was a hugely encouraging display for Arsenal and Ljungberg will now be looking for his team to start showing greater consistency.


Greenwood and Cottrell strike as Arsenal U18s beat Aston Villa

U18 Premier League

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 2 (Greenwood 9, Cottrell 63)

Arsenal U18s warmed up for their eagerly-anticipated FA Youth Cup clash against Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-0 victory away to Aston Villa today.

Coach Ken Gillard made four alterations to his team, with Arthur Okonkwo, Mark McGuinness, Yunus Musah and Trae Coyle coming in for Karl Hein, Mazeed Ogungbo, Joel Lopez and Folarin Balogun. Schoolboy goalkeeper Remy Mitchell was amongst the substitutes.


Daley Campbell-Spencer Adams-McGuinness-Swanson

M. Smith-McEneff



Subs: Lopez (for Swanson, 70), Dennis (for Coyle, 73), Martin (for McEneff, 82). Not used: Mitchell, Alebiousu.

Arsenal started well and opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Sam Greenwood, who continued his excellent first season at the club.

The young Gunners squandered an opportunity to make it 2-0 when Zak Swanson missed a penalty.

However, they eventually managed to get their second goal of the game courtesy of Ben Cottrell.

Arsenal’s victory means they are two points behind leaders Tottenham, who they face on Thursday in the Youth Cup.

It will be intriguing to see whether some of the more experienced players available for that game, such as Bukayo Saka, Xavier Amaechi and Tyreece John-Jules, will be called upon.



Report – Zelalem scores late equaliser and Amaechi impresses as Arsenal U23s draw with Brighton


Premier League 2

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Dreyer 56, 73) Arsenal 2 (Amaechi 43, Zelalem 86)

Gedion Zelalem scored a late equaliser as Arsenal U23s brought a run of four consecutive defeats to an end with a 2-2 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion last night.

Coach Freddie Ljungberg gave starts to Julio Pleguezuelo, Robbie Burton and Xavier Amaechi, who have all struggled with injuries recently, while Zech Medley and Bukayo Saka, who featured for the first-team against Blackpool, were also involved.





John Jules

Subs: Omole (for Pleguezuelo, 51), Coyle (for John-Jules, 60), Zelalem (for Burton, 74). Not used: Okonkwo, Bola.

Arsenal sought to commence to game in impressive fashion and they almost took the lead through Saka, but the winger was thwarted by former Gunners goalkeeper Hugo Keto.

Tyreece John-Jules then had an effort blocked before Keto reacted well to keep out an attempt from the lively Amaechi.

Arsenal eventually managed to take the lead just before half-time, and Amaechi was the scorer as he finished emphatically following typically impressive work from Saka.

It was expected that Brighton would be eager to respond immediately after the restart, and that is what transpired, with Arsenal goalkeeper Deyan Iliev having to be alert to stop James Tilley from scoring.

Soon, though, Brighton were level, with Anders Dreyer cutting inside prior to sending the ball beyond the reach of Iliev.

Arsenal lost Pleguezuelo, who suffered a minor injury and was replaced by Tobi Omole, and they suddenly lacked defensive cohesion.

Dreyer took full advantage as he put Brighton ahead when he capitalised upon confusion between Dominic Thompson and Medley.

Despite that setback, Arsenal pushed forwards as they attempted to salvage a point, and they pulled level when Amaechi found Zelalem, who steered the ball home for just his second ever goal at this level.

Arsenal have still gone seven league games without a win, but their losing streak is at least over, and Amaechi’s return to both form and fitness is a major positive.

Defensively, however, there remain many concerns, although Jordi Osei-Tutu and Daniel Ballard will be back from suspension for next week’s game at home to Manchester City.

Willock hits brace and three other youngsters feature as Arsenal beat Blackpool

Arsenal progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory at Blackpool and all of the Gunners’ goals were scored by Hale End prodcuts.

Joe Willock was given a starting berth and seized his opportunity as he scored a brace which comprised a header from close range and a neat finish.

Willock, who has improved immensely this season, could have had a hat-trick had he not been caught offside in the second half.

Alex Iwobi was lively throughout and scored Arsenal’s third goal, but Eddie Nketiah, who started up front, will be disappointed not to have found the net as he had some inviting opportunities to score.

Further youngsters entered the fray in the closing stages, with Zech Medley being brought on at left-back, while highly regarded winger Bukayo Saka received another runout.

Emile Smith Rowe was initially going to be Arsenal’s 19th man, but the starlet, who has just returned from injury, was promoted to the bench after Laurent Koscielny suffered a knock in the warm-up.