Ben Cottrell and Josh Martin starting to make an impact for Arsenal U18s

Given that a significant amount of Arsenal’s second-year scholars are still featuring frequently for the U18s this season it has been difficult for some of the first-years to force their way into the side in the early stages of the campaign.

Gradually, though, the process is starting to occur and some of the players who signed scholarship terms in the summer are beginning to demonstrate their quality for Ken Gillard’s side.

One player who certainly falls into that category is Ben Cottrell. A winger who is capable of operating on either flank, Cottrell, who turned 17 at the end of last month, has reportedly attracted interest from Borussia Dortmund and Marseille.

If that is the case then the German and French clubs don’t have too much evidence to go on as Cottrell has been used sparingly. However, when he has featured the Hale End product has invariably made an impact, making use of his excellent close control and ability to play slick passes.

Cottrell provided an assist, his second of the season, as the U18s beat Fulham 4-0 in the Premier League Cup last weekend, and will hope that further opportunities to impress will soon be on the horizon.

Josh Martin, another winger, was on the scoresheet against Fulham. Last season, when he was still a schoolboy, Martin played three times for the U18s, but he has yet to feature in the league this campaign and there have been occasions when he has been left out of the squad entirely.

Soon, however, he should get more opportunities as members of the U18 side step up to the U23s, with Cottrell and Martin eager to establish themselves as important members of the team.


Loan report – Nelson scores again; Macey keeps clean sheet; Chambers features


Reiss Nelson was brought on in the 82nd minute as Hoffenheim took on Augsburg and scored in the 83rd minute as his loan side won 2-1. The hugely talented youngster now has six goals and one assist in seven Bundesliga appearances.

Matt Macey played the whole game and kept a clean sheet as Plymouth Argyle beat Stevenage 1-0 in the FA Cup first round.

David Ospina played the whole game as Napoli beat Genoa 2-1.

Calum Chambers played the whole game in midfield and was booked as Fulham lost 2-0 to Liverpool.

Krystian Bielik wasn’t involved as Charlton Athletic drew 1-1 with Mansfield Town in the FA Cup.

Takuma Asano missed out through injury as Hannover beat Wolfsburg 2-1.

Kelechi Nwakali wasn’t involved as Porto II won 2-1 against Cova Piedade.

Spencer-Adams hits brace as Arsenal U18s thrash Fulham in Premier League Cup

Arsenal U18s beat Fulham 4-0 today in the Premier League Cup.

Defender Bayli Spencer-Adams scored a brace, while Folarin Balogun and Josh Martin were also on the scoresheet. Winger Ben Cottrell produced an impressive performance and provided an assist.

Arsenal’s victory was all the more impressive given that they were deprived of the services of Sam Greenwood and Yunus Musah, who are on international duty with England U17s.

The young Gunners drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion in their first Premier League Cup game and host Everton next month.

FA Youth Cup preview – Arsenal to host Northampton Town or Swindon Town – who will play in the competition this season?

The draw for the third round of the FA Youth Cup has been made, with Arsenal to host either Northampton Town or Swindon Town next month.

The young Gunners got to the final last season, where they were heavily beaten by Chelsea over two legs, and will look to go all the way this time around.

Here’s a look at who could play for Arsenal in the competition this season, with players born between September 1st 2000 and September 1st 2003 eligible to feature.



Arthur Okonkwo seems set to start in goal, with Karl Hein providing backup.


Vontae Daley-Campbell has been the regular right-back for the U18s this season and looks certain to start in that position.


Mark McGuinness and Bayli Spencer-Adams have featured prominently this campaign, and should be involved.


Joel Lopez has settled in well since signing from Barcelona, while Zak Swanson can also fill in in this position if required.


James Olayinka, who has established himself as an important figure for the U23s, is a certainty to be involved, while Matt Smith should start alongside him. Jordan McEneff and Harry Clarke are both out injured.

Right wing

Folarin Balogun is more suited to playing up front but might have to play out wide to allow Tyreece John-Jules to lead the line. Xavier Amaechi remains injured. Stan Flaherty, who has impressed for the U18s, will look to make the squad.

Attacking midfield

Trae Coyle will relish the chance to play in the number ten position. Highly rated schoolboy Yunus Musah could make the bench.

Left wing

Bukayo Saka may now be part of the U23 setup but the hugely talented youngster should drop back down to the U18s for this competition.


As already alluded to, John-Jules should start up front, while Sam Greenwood is set to provide another option from the bench.

Possible team:


Daley Campbell-McGuinness-Spencer Adams-Lopez

M. Smith-Olayinka


John Jules

Subs: Hein, Swanson, Musah, Greenwood, Flaherty

Other options: Barden (injured), T. Smith (injured), Alebiousu, Cottrell, Dennis, Martin, Matthews.


When all players are fit, Arsenal’s team could look something like this


Daley Campbell-McGuinness-Spencer Adams-Saka

M. Smith-Olayinka


John Jules

Subs: Hein, Lopez, McEneff, Clarke, Greenwood


Report – Willock hits brace as Arsenal U21s beat Forest Green Rovers to progress in Checkatrade Trophy

Checkatrade Trophy

Forest Green Rovers 1 (Grubb 62) Arsenal 3 (Willock 41 (pen), 43, John-Jules 85)


Joe Willock hit a brace as Arsenal U21s made it through to the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 3-1 victory away to Forest Green Rovers.

Having been beaten 6-2 by Cheltenham Town last week, Arsenal were looking for a significant improvement and they achieved that objective, with Freddie Ljungberg’s side finishing their group games with six points out of a possible nine.

Ljungberg gave Gedion Zelalem his first start since returning from injury, while Cohen Bramall and Tolaji Bola also came into the side.

Arsenal: Iliev, Ballard, Bola, Bramall, Pleguezuelo, Willock, Zelalem (Gilmour 46), Coyle, John-Jules, Olayinka, Saka (Balogun 90). Subs not used: Hein, Thompson, M. Smith, Medley, Omole.

Forest Green put Arsenal under some early pressure, with Deyan Iliev being called into action.

However, the young Gunners did muster the game’s first attempt in the 17th minute as Tyreece John-Jules saw his effort saved.

The hosts then started to cause Arsenal further problems, but it was Ljungberg’s side who would go into the break in the ascendancy as Willock, who has impressed this season, hit a quickfire brace.

Bukayo Saka, who is always a threat, won a penalty and, with Charlie Gilmour only on the bench, Willock stepped up to open the scoring from the spot.

Just a couple of minutes later Willock found the net again and Saka was influential in the build-up once more before the midfielder finished confidently.

Arsenal made an alteration at the start of the second half, with Gilmour entering the fray in place of Zelalem.

John-Jules and James Olayinka threatened for Arsenal but Forest Green managed to reduce the deficit just after the hour mark when Dayle Grubb scored.

Saka and Gilmour were thwarted but Arsenal eventually made sure of their victory when John-Jules tucked home, with Bramall providing the assist.

Playing against experienced professionals has certainly been a beneficial experience for Arsenal’s youngsters so far and their journey in this competition will now continue.


Smith Rowe and Nketiah train with Arsenal first-team ahead of Sporting Lisbon clash

Talented youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah trained with the Arsenal first-team squad at London Colney today ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League game at home to Sporting Lisbon.

Their involvement in the session means that they are unlikely to feature for the U21s against Forest Green in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight, although Joe Willock and Julio Pleguezuelo will be available for Freddie Ljungberg’s team.

As far as first-team players are concerned, Nacho Monreal and Sokratis Papastahopoulos are back in training, although Mohamed Elneny and Konstantinos Mavropanos remain sidelined.

Loan report – Nelson scores; Bielik and Macey feature


Reiss Nelson was on the scoresheet as Hoffenheim beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-1.

Matt Macey played the whole game as Plymouth Argyle lost 2-0 to Sunderland.

Krystian Bielik played the whole game as Charlton Athletic beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0.

Kelechi Nwakali was an unused substitute as Porto B drew 0-0 with Leixoes.

David Ospina was an unused substitute as Napoli beat Empoli 5-1.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Hannover lost 3-1 to Schalke.

Calum Chambers will hope to recover from injury in time to feature for Fulham against Huddersfield Town.