Report- Akpom scores but Bielik disappoints as Arsenal U23s are outclassed by Liverpool

bielik

Image: Telegraph

Premier League 2

Arsenal U23s 1 (Akpom 67) Liverpool U23s 3 (Woodburn 13, 43, Gomes 72)

By Jeorge Bird @ Emirates Stadium

Arsenal U23s saw their disappointing start to the season continue as they were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Emirates Stadium tonight.

The young Gunners were inept defensively despite the return of Krystian Bielik, and they conceded twice in the first-half before Chuba Akpom reduced the deficit in the second period. However, Liverpool struck again shortly afterwards to condemn Arsenal to their third successive defeat of what has so far been a wretched campaign.

Arsenal named a strong side, with Akpom, Bielik and Jeff Reine-Adelaide all featuring. Ainsley Maitland-Niles moved across to right-back, whilst there was a maiden start at this level for the talented Vlad Dragomir.

There were also some notable inclusions in the Liverpool line-up, not least Lucas, who played 45 minutes at centre-back.

Macey

Maitland Niles-Bielik-Da Graca-Pileas

Bennacer-Reine Adelaide

Sheaf-Dragomir-C. Willock

Akpom

Subs: Keto, Mavididi (for Reine-Adelaide, 67), Johnson (for Bennacer, 67), Malen, DaSilva (for Maitland-Niles, 75).

Liverpool, who, like Arsenal, lost their first two games of the season, started brightly on this occasion, with full-backs Connor Randall and Trent Alexander-Arnold getting into good positions.

With 13 minutes gone Liverpool made their pressure count, with the prodigious Ben Woodburn applying the finishing touch to a swift, free-flowing move that was initiated by Lucas.

Arsenal’s defending was woeful, while the lack of a bonafide defensive-midfielder in the side was also laid bare.

Matters threatened to go from bad to worse for Arsenal when Bielik conceded an unnecessary foul on the edge of the penalty area. Liverpool captain Harry Wilson sent the subsequent set-piece over the crossbar, but Arsenal still had to be alert as their opponents pressurised them at every opportunity.

Liverpool’s second goal stemmed from an Arsenal mistake, with Kostas Pileas playing a woeful cross-field pass that was instantly intercepted. Woodburn again managed to find the net, with Bielik’s positioning questionable once more.

To sum up a dismal half for the Polish youth international he was then booked for a late challenge, with Arsenal going into the break two goals down.

Liverpool threatened again at the start of the second half, with Andre Wisdom, who played against the Gunners in the 2009 FA Youth Cup final, sending a header wide.

Macey then had to scramble across to avert the danger after another Bielik mistake, but Arsenal slowly started to make an impact at the other end of the field, with Willock playing a lofted ball into the path of Dragomir, who couldn’t find the target with his header.

Sheaf, Willock and Dragomir all had further efforts and Arsenal then levelled through Akpom, who was making his first appearance at this level since March 2015.

After good work in the build-up from Pileas and Willock, the striker swivelled and sent the ball into the back of the net via the crossbar.

Arsenal then made a double change, with Chiori Johnson and Stephy Mavididi replacing Ismael Bennacer and Reine-Adelaide.

Soon, though, the game was effectively over as a contest, with Toni Gomes taking full advantage after Matt Macey attempted and failed to punch the ball clear from a corner.

Dragomir and Johnson were booked late on as Arsenal’s frustration boiled over and, even at this early stage of the season, relegation is looking an increasingly likely prospect for the young Gunners.

The defence is the most pertinent problem, with Da Graca and Pileas clearly out of their depth at this level. Maitland-Niles certainly isn’t a right-back and Bielik delivered a disappointing performance tonight, with the suspicion remaining that he is more suited to playing in midfield.

There were a few encouraging signs going forward, with the likes of Sheaf, Dragomir and Willock showcasing their technical ability, whilst Reine-Adelaide made a few encouraging bursts in the first-half, but overall this was another disappointing night for Arsenal U23s.

Zelalem, Eyoma and Rosicky train with Arsenal first-team pre-Watford

zelalem

Arsenal held their final first-team training session today ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game against Watford, with youngsters Gedion Zelalem, Aaron Eyoma and  Marc Bola all in attendance.

The Gunners have several injury absentees, with Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, Gabriel, Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker, Yaya Sanogo and Danny Welbeck all out. Serge Gnabry, meanwhile, has been given time off following his involvement with Germany at the Olympics.

Krystian Bielik and Jeff Reine-Adelaide weren’t involved in training today, which means they could feature for the U23s against Liverpool tonight.

Former Arsenal player Tomas Rosicky is continuing to train with the squad to build up his fitness.

Possible Arsenal team v Watford

Cech

Bellerin-Holding-Koscielny-Monreal

Coquelin-Xhaka

Walcott-Cazorla-Oxlade Chamberlain

Sanchez

Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Elneny, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud

Arsenal U18s: Omole impresses at left-back while Smith-Rowe showcases potential

omole

Arsenal U18s are in a constant state of flux, with players frequently stepping up to represent the club at older age groups.

For the game away to Swansea City last weekend coach Kwame Ampadu was without six players (Hugo Keto, Kostas Pileas, Reiss Nelson, Marcus McGuane, Donyell Malen and Tolaji Bola) who were all with the U23s, while Yassin Fortune and Charlie Gilmour remain injured.

As a consequence Ampadu had to delve deep into his resources just to field a team for the trip to Wales, with several first-year scholars featuring, while four schoolboys were included in the squad.

It was one of the more experienced players on show, striker Edward Nketiah, who found the net for Ampadu’s side in the 1-1 draw, but there were some other impressive performers, not least Tobi Omole, who filled in at left-back to good effect.

Omole is usually deployed at centre-back, but, with Pileas and Bola not available, he was moved across to left-back against Swansea. The 16-year-old was impressive as he frequently made forays down the flank and produced some incisive crosses.

There were, inevitably, some mistakes, with Joseph Olowu and Josh Benson not at their sharpest, but it will take time for the team to find cohesion after so many alterations.

Emile Smith-Rowe, one of the standout prospects in this group, was impressive on the left flank, although he won’t be available for the game against Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend as he is on international duty with England’s youngsters.

On the other wing Joe Willock showcased his potential, with the second-year scholar looking to earn a professional contract, while schoolboy Trae Coyle (an attacking midifielder) caught the eye on his first start at this level and it was from his free-kick that Nketiah eventually scored the equaliser.

 

 

Arsenal youngster Tyrell Robinson scores while on trial at West Bromwich Albion


Arsenal youngster Tyrell Robinson is on trial at West Bromwich Albion and featured for their U23 side against Fulham tonight in his preferred position as a left-winger. 

Robinson delivered an impressive performance and scored with a header that proved to be the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory. 

There is a possibility that Robinson could leave Arsenal before the closure of the transfer window, with the youngster having grown frustrated with the club’s decision to deploy him at left-back. 

Robinson, who hasn’t featured for Arsenal U23s this season, came close to joining West Ham United earlier this summer but that move broke down. 

Loan report-Toral and Crowley feature; Szczesny keeps clean sheet

jon toral

Wojciech Szczesny kept a clean sheet on his first appearance of his second loan spell at Roma as Luciano Spalletti’s side ran out 4-0 winners against Udinese.

Jon Toral made his competitive debut for Granada, with the youngster playing 73 minutes on the left of a midfield three in the 1-1 draw with Villarreal.

Dan Crowley was introduced in the 81st minute as Oxford United beat Peterborough 2-1.

Stefan O’Connor made his first competitive appearance for Maastricht, with the defender featuring as a late substitute in the 2-1 win over NAC Breda.

Tafari Moore was an un-used substitute as Utrecht lost 2-1 to AZ Alkmaar.

Ryan Huddart was an un-used substitute as Eastleigh drew 0-0 with Wrexham.

Julio Pleguezuelo wasn’t involved as Mallorca lost 1-0 to Reus Deportiu.

Joel Campbell has joined Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon on a season-long loan.

 

Arsenal’s Gnabry finishes as joint-highest scorer at Rio 2016 despite final heartbreak

gnabry

Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry scored in the shootout for Germany against Brazil in the final of the football tournament at the Olympic Games, but it was the hosts who ran out winners, with Neymar scoring the decisive spot-kick with the game having finished 1-1 after extra-time.

However, Gnabry still enjoyed a hugely impressive tournament overall, with the winger finding the net on six occasions, making him the joint-highest scorer along with his compatriot Nils Petersen.

Gnabry will now return to Arsenal, although his stay may only be a short one, with the 21-year-old set to be sent out on loan again as he hopes for a considerably better experience than what he endured at West Bromwich Albion last season.

 

Nketiah strikes and four schoolboys called up as Arsenal U18s draw with Swansea

nketiah

The prolific Edward Nketiah scored again as an inexperienced Arsenal U18s side drew 1-1 away to their Swansea City counterparts today.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made several changes to his side, with Joe Willock, Josh Benson, Daniel Ballard (who made his debut at this level) and schoolboy Trae Coyle all starting. Joao Virginia, meanwhile, returned in goal after he was part of the Portugal squad at the Olympics.

New scholar Jay Beckford made the bench for the first time, whilst there were call-ups for schoolboys James Olayinka and Vonte Daley-Campbell.

Virginia

Osei Tutu-Omole-Olowu-Barden

Benson-DaSilva

J. Willock-Coyle-Smith Rowe

Nketiah

Subs: Burton (for Smith-Rowe, 64). Not used: Barden, Beckford, Olayinka, Daley-Campbell.

Swansea took the lead in the first-half courtesy of a neat finish from James Cullen that was beyond the reach of Virginia, but the young Gunners strove for an equaliser immediately, with Coyle coming close to scoring.

Eventually Nketiah managed to draw Arsenal level, with Ampadu’s team having taken four points from their first two fixtures. Next up is another away game against Brighton & Hove Albion.