Dasilva hits winner and Iliev impresses as Arsenal U23s beat Dinamo Zagreb in Premier League International Cup

Premier League International Cup quarter-final

Arsenal 2 (Willock, Dasilva) Dinamo Zagreb 1 (Borna)

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Arsenal U23s overcame their Dinamo Zagreb counterparts with a hard-fought 2-1 victory in the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup today, with midfielder Josh Dasilva scoring a late winner.

Having finished top of a group containing Bayern Munich, Porto and Reading, Arsenal were rewarded with another home fixture.

Coach Steve Gatting could call upon Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah again, with the trio replacing Yassin Fortune, Xavier Amaechi and Tyreece John-Jules in the starting lineup.

Iliev

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Dragomir-Nelson-Smith Rowe

Nketiah

Subs: Virginia, Gilmour, John-Jules, Amaechi, Ballard, Fortune.

Nketiah, who was an unused substitute for the first-team against Ostersunds, had an effort saved after linking up with Nelson, but it was Willock who opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a composed finish.

Willock later had to go off after suffering an injury following some rash challenges.

Dinamo Zagreb showed impressive spirit in the second half and made matters difficult for Arsenal, with goalkeeper Deyan Iliev making several fine stops.

Iliev was disappointing in the league defeat to Leicester City last week but he was in inspired form on this occasion, even though he was eventually beaten when Miklic Borna scored.

Arsenal, however, managed to prevent extra-time as Dasilva scored the winner in the 87th minute.

(Team via @AFCFixtureNews)

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Report – Coyle and Benson star as Arsenal U18s thrash Brighton

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 5 (Benson 48, Coyle 62 (pen), 81, Saka 74, Olowu 86) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Onen 45)

Arsenal U18s, inspired by Trae Coyle and Josh Benson, produced an impressive display to come from behind and beat Brighton & Hove Albion 5-1 at home in the league today.

Having been beaten by rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League Cup last weekend, Arsenal were determined to return to winning ways.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made four alterations to his side, with Vontae Daley-Campbell, Tobi Omole, Robbie Burton and Bukayo Saka replacing Zak Swanson, Harry Clarke, Matt Smith and Jordan McEneff.

Virginia

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Benson-Burton

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Balogun

Subs: Swanson (for Olayinka, 66), McEneff (for Saka, 79), Clarke (for Daley-Campbell, 79). Not used: Barden, M. Smith

Arsenal sought to cause problems for Brighton in the first half, but it was the visitors who took the lead just before the break when Jayden Onen, who was released by the Gunners last year, headed the ball past Joao Virginia.

The young Gunners showed renewed determination in the second half and soon clawed themselves level when Benson found the net.

Thereafter, Arsenal took control of the game and they went ahead when Coyle scored from the penalty spot.

Arsenal continued to push forwards and added further to their lead as schoolboy Bukayo Saka made it 3-1.

Coyle then got the goal of the game with a sweet strike after being teed up by Benson and there was still time for defender Joseph Olowu to get his first goal at this level and add further gloss to the scoreline.

The win sees Arsenal apply pressure on league leaders Chelsea, who are three points above them with a game in hand.

From Crowley to Willock – What happened to the 11 youngsters that left Arsenal last summer?

As is usually the case each year, a host of youngsters left Arsenal last summer, with some having been released, whilst others elected to move on themselves.

Here’s an assessment of how each of them have got on since leaving the club.

Stefan O’Connor

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The youngster joined Newcastle United after being released and has been heavily involved for the Magpies’ U23 side, whilst he has also played in the EFL Trophy.

Although he was usually deployed as a centre-back at Arsenal, O’Connor has demonstrated his versatility at Newcastle, featuring as a midfielder and at right-back on occasion.

Kostas Pileas

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Another defender who was let go, Pileas struggled to perform consistently for Arsenal at youth level, but he was snapped up by Anorthosis, who play in the top tier in his homeland of Cyprus.

Pileas has made five league appearances so far but has mostly been an unused substitute.

Kristopher Da Graca

Fotboll, Allsvenskan, IFK Gšteborg - …rebro

The Swedish centre-back also returned to his home country with IFK Goteborg, with whom he has made his first steps into senior football.

Da Graca was sent off on his debut against Malmo but made several appearances thereafter.

However, having struggled he lost his place in the side.

Chris Willock

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Perhaps the most high-profile youngster to leave Arsenal last summer, Willock turned down a new contract with the Gunners to instead sign for Benfica.

Despite being involved with the first-team in pre-season, Willock has only featured for Benfica’s B side so far, although the winger has impressed, scoring three goals and providing two assists in 17 games.

Kaylen Hinds

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A player who frequently linked up with Willock when the pair were at Arsenal, Hinds left the club without having made a senior appearance.

The forward joined Wolfsburg and made his Bundesliga debut against Borussia Dortmund but became less involved with the first-team after former Arsenal academy chief Andries Jonker was sacked as the club’s manager.

Hinds subsequently joined second division side Greuther Furth on loan.

Glen Kamara

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Kamara may have been unable to make the cut at Arsenal but the midfielder has thrived since leaving the club.

The Finnish youngster joined Dundee and has been a regular for the Scottish Premiership side, making 36 appearances across all competitions.

Dan Crowley

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Once regarded as one of Arsenal’s standout youngsters, midfielder Crowley, having impressed on loan at Go Ahead Eagles, made the permanent switch to Dutch football with Willem II.

Crowley flitted between the first-team at the B team in the first half of the season prior to linking up with second division team Cambuur on loan.

Ismael Bennacer

The talented Algerian midfielder made it clear that he didn’t want to spend any more time playing U23 football and left Arsenal for Empoli.

Bennacer’s decision looks to have paid off so far as he has been a regular for the Serie B side and has impressed.

Savvas Mourgos

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The midfielder was unable to really thrive at U23 level for Arsenal and ended up signing for Norwich City.

So far the Greek youngster has been a key figure for the Canaries in the second tier of Premier League 2, scoring twice in eight appearances.

Jon Toral

Jon-Toral

Strangely, given his quality, Toral left Arsenal without having made a competitive senior appearance.

Since then he has managed to hold down a regular starting berth for Hull City in the Championship, featuring as a right winger and, at times, an attacking midfielder.

Toral has scored once and provided three assists in the league for Hull as he looks to help the club avoid relegation.

Donyell Malen

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A surprise departure right at the end of the summer transfer window, Malen returned to Holland with PSV Eindhoven.

The forward excelled for PSV’s U21 side in the first half of the season, scoring eight goals and providing two assists, and he has since stepped up to make two senior appearances in the Eredivisie.

 

Report – Dragomir scores but ten-man Arsenal U23s are outclassed by Leicester

Premier League 2

Leicester City 3 (Gordon 9, Eppiah 22, Barnes 60) Arsenal 1 (Dragomir 84)

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Arsenal U23s’ hopes of winning Premier League 2 suffered a blow tonight as they were beaten 3-1 away by a spirited Leicester City side, with the young Gunners’ misery compounded by the dismissal of striker Tyreece John-Jules.

Vlad Dragomir, who had been pushed up front following John-Jules’ sending off, scored a late consolation but Arsenal missed out on the chance to go top of the table and produced a woeful performance that was sorely lacking in terms of cohesion and the creation of clear cut chances.

There were some positives to take from proceedings, with Josh Dasilva, who captained the side, performing very well in midfield, whilst left-back Tolaji Bola was rewarded for his persistence as he provided the assist for Dragomir’s goal.

However, Arsenal were very disappointing, with goalkeeper Deyan Iliev especially culpable as he frequently gave the ball away on account of his inaccurate distribution.

There were some mitigating circumstances, with Arsenal deprived of the services of Reiss Nelson, Matt Macey, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock, who are all expected to be involved in some capacity in the Europa League encounter against Ostersunds on Thursday.

Still, though, this was an abject Arsenal performance, quite possibly the worst of the season so far.

Coach Steve Gatting made four alterations to the side that beat Everton last time out, with Dasilva, Zech Medley, John-Jules and the lesser spotted Yassin Fortune all coming into the side.

Meanwhile, scholars Daniel Ballard and Vontae Daley-Campbell, who have caught the eye for the U18s this season, received their first call-ups at this level.

Iliev

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Smith Rowe-Dasilva

Fortune-Dragomir-Amaechi

John Jules

Subs: Eyoma (for Fortune, 82). Not used: Keto, Gilmour, Ballard, Daley-Campbell.

Arsenal are used to starting games in the ascendancy, but, providing an indication of what was to come, that wasn’t the case on this occasion.

Leicester were impressive from the outset and signalled their attacking intent almost immediately as Harvey Barnes sent an effort wide.

With just nine minutes gone Leicester were in front and Arsenal goalkeeper Deyan Iliev should have done better than to flap at a corner, with Josh Gordon slotting home from close range to open the scoring after George Thomas sent the ball back into the area.

Leicester, who are in contention to win the title themselves, could have made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but Iliev partially redeemed himself by stopping Barnes’ effort.

Arsenal usually revel in dominating games with their slick, passing football but they struggled to muster any sort of momentum for much of the game.

They did manage to create one half chance when Dasilva prodded the ball into the path of John-Jules, but the latter’s effort was deflected over.

Leicester were utterly dominant and it was of little surprise when they made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute, with Josh Eppiah sending a fine strike beyond the reach of Iliev.

The pressure was unrelenting, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s free-kick whistling just wide, and Arsenal at times found it very difficult to cope with the situation they found themselves in.

As the first half drew to a close Arsenal started to grow in confidence and saw slightly more of the ball.

Xavier Amaechi, who will take some time to adapt to this level after stepping up from the U18s, found Dasilva, whose effort rattled the post, and then Dragomir and Konstantinos Mavropanos came close with further attempts.

There was, however, always something to fear at the other end of the pitch, with a Leicester cross deflecting off Mavropanos and hitting the crossbar and then Iliev made a good reaction stop to tip over from a header.

Arsenal, undoubtedly having received some stern words at half-time, emerged for the second half in determined mood and started to keep the ball a little better.

Dragomir shot wide from distance when he perhaps should have elected to pass and then Dasilva found the Romanian, who turned expertly but again couldn’t find the net.

Arsenal were made to pay for their lack of ruthlessness as, following an impressive move, Barnes rounded Iliev and scored to put Leicester 3-0 up and effectively end the game as a contest.

Their hopes of getting back into the game may have been all but over, but there was still more misery to come for Arsenal as, almost immediately, John-Jules was sent off for a reckless challenge on Barnes.

The young striker, who is a very exciting talent, lost his composure and will surely learn from this experience.

Dragomir then moved up front but much of the action was occurring down the other end of the pitch, with Leicester looking to make the most of their numerical advantage.

Iliev made a good stop but then, as he has a habit of doing, the goalkeeper squandered possession with a woeful ball out, and he was fortunate that Leicester didn’t take advantage, with Gordon hitting the post and Eppiah shooting wide.

Arsenal then brought on Aaron Eyoma, who was recently on trial at Queens Park Rangers, in place of the ineffective Fortune.

There was at last something for Arsenal to celebrate as Tolaji Bola pushed forwards and found Dragomir, who sent a sweet strike into the top corner to reduce the deficit.

Bola now has three assists in Premier League 2 this season, while Dragomir has six goals, but it was too late to spark a comeback.

Mavropanos, who didn’t disgrace himself despite the scoreline, saw an effort deflected wide and then had to make an impressive defensive intervention at the other end.

Leicester, though, fully merited their victory and outclassed Arsenal tonight, with Gatting’s side lacking dynamism.

The absence of Nelson, Nketiah and Willock, as well as those who left on loan in January, was certainly felt, as a run of six league games unbeaten came to an end.

Arsenal are back in action on Saturday when they host Dinamo Zagreb in the Premier League International Cup but they will certainly have to perform much better in that game if they are to avoid being eliminated.

Loan report – Akpom scores; Reine-Adelaide and Nwakali feature

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Chuba Akpom scored his first goal for Sint-Truiden as he found the net with a fine strike in the 1-0 victory over Anderlecht.

The forward played 80 minutes and also missed a penalty.

Lucas Perez played the whole game as Deportivo La Coruna lost 1-0 to Alaves.

Carl Jenkinson played the full game and Cohen Bramall was an unused substitute as Birmingham City lost 1-0 to Millwall.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide was brought on in the 72nd minute as Angers lost 1-0 to Saint-Etienne.

Julio Pleguezuelo played the whole game as Gimnastic de Tarragona lost 2-0 to Real Zaragoza.

Marc Bola played the entirety of Bristol Rovers’ 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon.

Tafari Moore played the full game as Wycombe Wanderers beat Cheltenham Town 2-0.

Kelechi Nwakali played 86 minutes as MVV Maastricht won 4-1 against NEC Nijmegen.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved for Stuttgart against Augsburg. 

Stephy Mavididi was absent due to injury as Charlton Athletic beat MK Dons 2-1.

Krystian Bielik missed out through injury as Walsall drew 0-0 with Gillingham.

Injury also meant that Ben Sheaf didn’t feature for Stevenage in their 4-1 win over Yeovil Town.

Joel Campbell is set to miss out when Real Betis face Real Madrid tonight as he isn’t fully fit.

Emiliano Martinez is likely to be an unused substitute when Getafe host Celta Vigo tomorrow night.

 

 

Balogun strike not enough as Arsenal U18s are thrashed by Tottenham in Premier League Cup


U18 Premier League Cup semi-final

Tottenham 4 Arsenal 1 (Balogun)

Arsenal U18s saw their unbeaten run come to an end today as they were knocked out of the Premier League Cup at the semi-finals stage with a 4-1 defeat away to rivals Tottenham Hotspur. 

Folarin Balogun opened the scoring for the young Gunners, but Tottenham assumed control of proceedings thereafter, with Arsenal’s run of 13 games without defeat across all competitions being brought to a halt. 

Coach Kwame Ampadu made three alterations to his side, with Joseph Olowu returning from injury, while Dominic Thompson and Trae Coyle also started, with Zech Medley, Daniel Ballard and Tobi Omole all not involved. 

Meanwhile, schoolboy Alfie Matthews received his first call up at this level and was on the bench. 

Virginia

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M. Smith-Benson

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Balogun

Subs: Barden, Saka, Spencer-Adams, Beckford, Matthews. 

Arsenal started in positive fashion as Balogun opened the scoring with a neat finish with just three minutes gone. 

However, Tottenham managed to equalise through a header from Paris Maghoma following a spell of sustained pressure. 

Arsenal tried their utmost to restore their lead before the break, with Balogun and substitute Bukayo Saka coming close, but Tottenham stood firm. 

Tottenham took the lead in the second half as Reo Griffiths headed in following good work from J’Neil Bennetts. 

The ever-lively Saka struck the crossbar for Arsenal but Tottenham were in the ascendancy and made it 3-1 when Griffiths scored again. 

Griffiths proceeded to complete his hat-trick and inflict further misery upon Arsenal as he sent an effort beyond the reach of Joao Virginia in the closing stages.

Arsenal will be extremely disappointed to have been eliminated at this stage, especially given that they thrashed Tottenham 6-0 earlier in the campaign, but the hosts were deserved winners on this occasion. 

There is still much for Arsenal to focus on, though, as they look to win the league and the FA Youth Cup. 

(Team via @AFCFixtureNews)

Tyreece John-Jules set to sign first professional contract with Arsenal

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Arsenal forward Tyreece John-Jules is set to sign his first professional contract with the club.

The Hale End product, who turns 17 today, has broken into Arsenal’s U23 squad this season, scoring three goals in four games at that level, while he has also caught the eye for the U18s and has particularly impressed in the FA Youth Cup.

Although he is capable of playing up front or behind the striker, John-Jules is most frequently deployed on the left flank and has trained with the first-team this season.

John-Jules is just back from international duty where he scored for England U17s in a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands, with his Arsenal team-mate Xavier Amaechi also getting on the scoresheet.