Saka and Okoflex amongst 10 Arsenal youngsters given scholarships; six released

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Arsenal have made their decisions on their intake of first-year scholars for next season, with ten players being offered deals including talented winger Bukayo Saka.

Saka has been one of the standout performers for Arsenal at U18 level this season and has scored four goals in ten league appearances, while he has also provided two assists.

Exciting attacker Armstrong Okoflex, who has been capped by the Republic of Ireland at youth level, is also being retained along with goalkeepers Arthur Okonkwo and Tom Smith.

Midfielders Stan Flaherty and Joshua Martin, who featured for the U18s against Leicester City this season, have been offered deals, as have two more midfielders in Ben Cottrell and Alfie Matthews.

Another midfielder, Matthew Dennis, is also being kept on, with Ryan Alebiosu also set to extend his stay at the club.

Six players have been told that they are released, the majority of whom are defenders. David Agbontohoma, James Matthews, Ismail Diallo, Samuel Okoye-Ahaneku, Bertie Valler and Sam Elwood all fall into this category.

As is always the case, there is a possibility that some of the players who have been released could still be offered deals at a later stage, while those have been offered scholarships may decide to move elsewhere.

Miguel Azeez, Yunus Musah and Hubert Graczyk, who have been called up to the U18 squad this season, will all still be schoolboys next campaign.

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Robbie Burton continuing to impress for Arsenal U18s

Arsenal U18s have played some excellent, cohesive football at times this season and Robbie Burton has often been heavily involved.

This is an important season for the Welsh midfielder as he attempts to earn his first professional contract at Arsenal and he is certainly doing everything possible to try and convince the club to retain his services.

Capable of playing as a deep-lying midfielder or slightly further forwards, Burton relishes unlocking opposing defences with precise passes and this season has provided four assists in the league for the U18s.

The highlight of Burton’s season so far, though, was undoubtedly his spectacular strike in the 2-2 draw at home to Fulham last weekend and the 18-year-old will now hope to add more goals to his game.

Burton earned his first competitive call-up to the U23 squad for the defeat to Swansea City in November and he will hope to make his debut at that level before the conclusion of the campaign, although he does have several players ahead of him in the pecking order.

If he continues to perform so impressively then Burton will surely be granted an extended stay by Arsenal, and it will be intriguing to see how he fares if given a chance in the U23s.

Report – Nketiah hits brace and Mavropanos excels as Arsenal U23s thrash Manchester United

Premier League 2

Arsenal 4 (Reine-Adelaide 19, Dragomir 60, Nketiah 84, 87) Manchester United 0

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park, Borehamwood

2018-01-15 22_28_26-Eddie Nketiah Photos Photos - Arsenal U23 v Reading U23 - Premier League Interna

Zimbio

Arsenal U23s produced an outstanding performance as they thrashed Manchester United 4-0 at home tonight, with Eddie Nketiah hitting a brace and new signing Konstantinos Mavropanos making a positive first impression on his debut.

There were an abundance of positives for Arsenal to take from this display against an underwhelming United side, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who opened the scoring, and Vlad Dragomir, who made it 2-0, both making a major impact.

Reiss Nelson was, unsurprisingly, at the very forefront of proceedings, providing two assists, while Ben Sheaf was excellent in defence and the midfield pairing of Josh Dasilva and Joe Willock managed to both harry United out of possession and also enable Arsenal to build up attacking momentum.

Arsenal were without Krystian Bieik, who is out with a hamstring problem, and Chuba Akpom, but still fielded a strong side, with Nketiah starting having been on the bench for the first-team against Bournemouth yesterday.

Macey

Sheaf-Pleguezuelo-Mavropanos

Osei Tutu-Dasilva-Willock-Dragomir

Reine Adelaide-Nelson

Nketiah

Subs: Smith Rowe (for Reine-Adelaide, 66). Not used: Virginia, T. Bola, Fortune, Gilmour.

Arsenal initially found United difficult to break down but Steve Gatting’s side were still dominant in the early stages and signalled their attacking intent when Joe Willock set an effort wide early on.

Reine-Adelaide has often been on the periphery of matches, but on this occasion he was in the thick of the action and played a precise through ball into the path of Nketiah, who saw his shot saved by Theo Richardson.

Soon Arsenal took the lead, with Reine-Adelaide opening the scoring with a fine finish as he was rewarded for his impressive start to the game.

Not satisfied with just the one goal, Reine-Adelaide immediately attempted to double his tally after being found by Nketiah but his effort was saved this time.

Reine-Adelaide then came close once more as he headed over from Osei-Tutu’s teasing cross and the pattern of the game was well and truly set as Arsenal laid siege to the United goal.

Matt Macey had to make a rare intervention at the other end to gather from a United free-kick but Arsenal were well in control and constantly looked to torment their opponents.

Nketiah was working extremely hard up front, frequently turning into space, and Arsenal performed cohesively as a unit.

At the back Mavropanos showed just why he has impressed in training. The Greek defender demonstrated his composure in possession, passing the ball with the elegance of a midfielder, while he used his strength well and was also dominant aerially.

Josh Bohui had an effort saved for United but Arsenal continued to cause problems at the other end with Dasilva shooting over.

Having been in control of proceedings in the first half, Arsenal made their dominance count with further goals in the second period.

Dragomir, deployed as a left wing-back, constantly found himself in acres of space and the skillful Romanian took great joy in frequently getting into dangerous attacking areas.

United almost equalised when an effort struck Dasilva and deflected wide, but Arsenal soon doubled their advantage.

It was Dragomir who found the net as he applied the finish to an intricate move and the 18-year-old has become a much more mature player this season.

Emile Smith Rowe then entered the fray in place of the excellent Reine-Adelaide, with Arsenal continuing to push forward in search of more goals.

Macey made a superb save as he tipped the ball over the crossbar but the majority of the action took place at the other end, with Nketiah proceeding to make it 3-0 with the goal of the night.

The sprightly forward turned sharply, then demonstrated his speed before finishing emphatically, with the United defence simply unable to cope with him.

Just three minutes later Nketiah got his second of the game, with Nelson teeing him up.

The striker had been determined to find the net all game and now, having hit a quickfirre brace, was eager to complete his hat-trick.

Nketiah almost did so in the closing stages but in truth Arsenal had already caused enough damage to a struggling United side who are in danger of relegation.

Arsenal are still four points adrift of Premier League 2 leaders Liverpool, but in terms of performances there was much to be pleased about with this display, with the whole team making an impact and some individuals – Nketiah, Nelson, Reine-Adelaide, Sheaf, Dragomir and Mavropanos – especially excelling.

Next up is a Premier League International Cup group stage game at home to Bayern Munich, but it will take something special to top this display.

 

Hamstring injury could prevent Arsenal’s Bielik from going on loan 


Arsenal defender Krystian Bielik’s hopes of going on loan in this month’s transfer window have been put under threat after he was ruled out for three to five weeks with a hamstring problem. 

Bielik recently returned to action after recovering from a dislocated shoulder that prevented him from going on loan in the summer transfer window. 

The Polish youth international impressed on loan at Birmingham City in the second half of last season but has been pushed further down the pecking order following the arrival of Konstantinos Mavropanos. 

Loan report – Moore impresses on Wycombe debut; Martinez keeps clean sheet

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Emiliano Martinez played the whole game and kept a clean sheet as Getafe beat Malaga 1-0.

Lucas Perez played the whole game as Deportivo La Coruna lost 2-1 to Valencia.

Tafari Moore made his debut for Wycombe Wanderers and played the full 90 minutes of the 3-1 victory over Colchester United.

The right-back, who was making his first competitive appearance in English football, was impressive, particularly in an attacking sense.

Marc Bola played the entirety of Bristol Rovers’ goalless draw away to Blackpool.

Stephy Mavididi started in the number ten position and played 88 minutes as Charlton Athletic beat Bury 1-0.

Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall weren’t involved as Birmingham City lost 3-0 against Derby County.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Stuttgart beat Hertha Berlin 1-0.

Kelechi Nwakali is likely to feature when VVV-Venlo play Venray in a friendly tomorrow.

Joel Campbell is likely to miss out due to injury when Real Betis host Leganes tomorrow night.

 

Report – Amaechi and Burton strike as Arsenal U18s come from behind to draw with Fulham

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 2 (Amaechi 58, Burton 80) Fulham 2 (Garrido 20, Abraham 32)

2017-12-13 22_42_15-(no subject) - jlrbird@googlemail.com - Gmail

Arsenal U18s saw their winning run come to an end with a 2-2 draw at home to Fulham today but Kwame Ampadu’s side still showed impressive spirit to come from behind and earn a point courtesy of goals from Xavier Amaechi and Robbie Burton.

The young Gunners went into this game having won their last seven matches in a row across all competitions and were determined to extend their run.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made seven alterations to his team, with Vontae Daley-Campbell, Zech Medley, Tobi Omole, Burton, Amaechi, Emile Smith-Rowe and Tyreece John-Jules all coming into the side.

Virginia

Daley Campbell-Ballard-Medley-Omole

Benson-Burton

Amaechi-Coyle-Smith Rowe

John Jules 

Subs: M. Smith (for Benson, 72). Not used: Barden, Beckford, Olayinka, Clarke.

Fulham started impressively and opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Jose Garrido found the net before doubling their tally 12 minutes later courtesy of Timmy Abraham, the brother of Chelsea loanee Tammy.

Arsenal lacked cohesion in the first half but they were rather more impressive after the interval and reduced the deficit courtesy of a fine strike from Amaechi, who was teed up by Trae Coyle.

Ampadu’s side were determined to at least take a point from the game and then did just that as Burton scored with a spectacular strike to give Arsenal a point.

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to face Liverpool next weekend in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

Arsenal defender Tafari Moore joins Wycombe Wanderers on loan

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Arsenal defender Tafari Moore has joined League Two side Wycombe Wanderers on loan for the rest of the season.

Moore, a graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, has made just three appearances at U23 level this season and it appears that his future lies away from the club, with this loan giving him the chance to impress potential suitors.

The 20-year-old, who is usually deployed as a right-back but can also operate as a left-back, gained experience on loan at Utrecht last season, when he mainly featured for the Dutch club’s reserve side.

Moore goes straight into the Wycombe squad for tomorrow’s game at home to Colchester United.