Dasilva and Willock make debuts while Nelson features as Arsenal beat Doncaster in Carabao Cup

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Arsenal edged to a 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Emirates Stadium tonight, with Reiss Nelson making his first competitive senior start.

Doncaster produced an impressive performance and, although Arsenal found the net through Theo Walcott in the 25th minute, the League One side continued to cause problems for the Gunners, especially towards the end of the game.

Arsenal managed to hold on for victory, however, and will host Norwich City in the next round of the competition.

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Nelson was deployed at right wing-back and struggled at times defensively, although he looked comfortable on the ball when he managed to get into attacking positions.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, was on the left flank and also appeared vulnerable when defending, even though he made a couple of good interventions.

With Calum Chambers having suffered an injury, Josh Dasilva was brought on at the start of the second-half for his debut.

Having previously featured as a striker and a central-midfielder, Dasilva has been used as a left wing-back for the U23s of late but on this occasion he was deployed as a centre-back; a position he only has fleeting experience of playing in.

Dasilva played some impressive passes out from the back, but, like some of his colleagues who were being played out of position, the 18-year-old wasn’t entirely comfortable with the task asked of him. He coped well overall, however, and will hope for further first-team minutes in due course.

Joe Willock was brought on as a late substitute as he too made his competitive first-team debut, while Eddie Nketiah and Matt Macey were un-used substitutes.

 

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Nelson and Dasilva amongst eight youngsters to train with Arsenal first-team pre-Doncaster

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Arsenal held their final first-team training session today ahead of tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup third round tie at home to Doncaster Rovers.

As expected, several youngsters were in attendance, with Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Marcus McGuane, Josh Dasilva, Eddie Nketiah, Matt Macey and Deyan Iliev all called upon along with schoolboy goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo.

Nelson is the only member of the quintet who has already featured competitively for the first-team, while McGuane, who has played at centre-back for the U23s of late, has yet to be called up to the senior squad.

With regards to first-team players, Laurent Koscielny, Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac were all rested from the session, while Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla missed out through injury. Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Mathieu Debuchy didn’t train.

Petr Cech Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi, who started against Chelsea last weekend, all trained along with David Ospina, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Mohamed Elneny, Per Mertesacker, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Chuba Akpom.

 

Jordi Osei-Tutu and Josh Dasilva – Arsenal’s flying young wing-backs

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As far as the first-team are concerned, Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are firmly established as Arsenal’s first-choice wing-backs.

There is a lack of clarity, however, regarding who exactly their deputies are. Ainsley Maitland-Niles can fill in on either side but is much more suited to playing in central midfield, while Nacho Monreal is now seen almost exclusively as a centre-back.

At U23 level, however, the Gunners have a pair of talented young wing-backs who are hoping to force themselves into the first-team reckoning in due course.

Jordi Osei-Tutu joined Arsenal from Reading in 2015 and hadn’t made a competitive appearance at U23 level prior to this season. In recent games, though, he has featured prominently at right wing-back and has provided a frequent attacking threat; it was his cross which led to Leicester City scoring an own goal last week.

Osei-Tutu is very composed in possession and has pace and power in abundance, while he regularly gets into dangerous attacking areas.

It must be stressed that the 18-year-old is far from the finished article – that much is in evidence by the fact that he often pushes too far forwards, leaving the defence exposed, while he can struggle in one-on-one situations.

Certainly, though, Osei-Tutu has raw qualities that make him a useful asset, especially at U23 level, and he will hope to continue to thrive this season, although Tafari Moore’s return from injury could limit his game time somewhat.

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Over on the left side of defence, Josh Dasilva is now a mainstay in the U23 team having been involved with the squad over the past couple of seasons.

Previously a striker, the Hale End graduate switched to central-midfield and then ended up moving into defence.

Dasilva hasn’t lost his attacking tendencies, however, and has quietly been one of the most effective performers for the U23s in the early stages of the campaign, with his superbly-dispatched free-kick away to Manchester United undoubtedly the highlight so far.

While Osei-Tutu may struggle defensively at times, Dasilva is rather more impressive in that regard and is capable of making precisely-timed interceptions with regularity.

Last season Dasilva was on the bench for the Arsenal first-team in the FA Cup and the League Cup and he will hope for further senior involvement this campaign, with tomorrow night’s encounter against Doncaster Rovers in the latter competition perhaps a chance for him to make his debut.

Loan report – Bola starts; Asano and Nwakali feature

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Marc Bola started and played the whole game as Bristol Rovers lost 3-0 to Wigan Athletic.

Takuma Asano came on in the 72nd minute as Stuttgart beat Wolfsburg 1-0.

Kelechi Nwakali was introduced in the 75th minute as VVV-Venlo beat Vitesse 1-1.

Lucas Perez was brought on in the 77th minute as Deportivo La Coruna lost 2-1 to Real Betis, for whom Joel Campbell wasn’t involved.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe lost 2-1 to Barcelona.

Cohen Bramall was an unused substitute as Birmingham City lost 3-1 to Preston North End. Carl Jenkinson missed out for Birmingham due to injury, while Stephy Mavididi was an unused substitute for Preston.

 

 

Arsenal U18s surrender three-goal lead to lose against Manchester United in Premier League Cup

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U18 Premier League Cup

Manchester United 4 (Burkart, Bughail-Mellor, Gomes (2) Arsenal 3 (Saka, Smith Rowe, Olayinka)

Arsenal’s first fixture in the U18 Premier League Cup proved to be eventful for the wrong reasons as they surrendered a three-goal lead to lose 4-3 away to Manchester United.

The young Gunners were three goals up at half-time but were woeful defensively in the second period and were duly punished by an impressive United side.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made two changes to the team that lost to Chelsea in the league last weekend, with Zech Medley and Dominic Thompson coming in for Robbie Burton and Tobi Omole.

The alterations saw Daniel Ballard move into midfield, while Harrison Clarke was back in the squad.

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Subs: Clarke (for Thompson), John Jules (for Saka), Smith (for Ballard). Not used: Okonkwo.

Arsenal got off to a flying start with schoolboy Bukayo Saka opening the scoring after cutting inside and finding the net with a fine strike early on.

Emile Smith Rowe then made it 2-0 after he was found by Folarin Balogun, with James Olayinka proceeding to score Arsenal’s third and seemingly secure victory.

However, at United’s Cliff training ground, Arsenal’s performance levels fell off a cliff in the second half as the hosts somehow managed to assume control of the game.

Substitute Dylan Levitt crossed for Nishan Burkart to reduce the deficit and then D’Mani Bughail-Mellor finished well past Virginia.

United got a third goal when Bughail-Mellor was fouled in the area, with the prodigious Angel Gomes scoring from the penalty spot.

Gomes was on hand again to score another penalty after Largie Ramazani was fouled, with Arsenal’s capitulation complete.

Ampadu will be left livid at the manner of his side’s defeat, although the young Gunners will have an opportunity to redeem themselves in their remaining group stage fixtures against Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

via @AFCFixtureNews

 

Report – Chambers and Osei-Tutu impress as Arsenal U23s beat Leicester

Premier League 2

Arsenal 1 (Johnson o.g. 32) Leicester City 0

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park, Borehamwood

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Calum Chambers impressed, playing 73 minutes on his return from injury, as Arsenal U23s continued their encouraging start to the season with a 1-0 victory at home to Leicester City tonight.

The young Gunners had to be patient to break down a well-organised and tactically astute Leicester side but eventually did so when Jordi Osei-Tutu, who was a constant attacking threat from right wing-back, sent in a teasing cross that Foxes defender Darnell Johnson inadvertently sent into his own net.

Arsenal had opportunities to extend their lead but for much of the second half they were focused on protecting their advantage as Leicester pushed forwards with regularity.

Ultimately Arsenal managed to prevail, with goalkeeper Matt Macey making some important stops, although there was one negative on the night for Steve Gatting’s side as captain Julio Pleguezuelo hobbled off with an injury having been the victim of some rash challenges.

Leicester adopted an aggressive approach, as evidenced by the fact that they ended the game with four players on yellow cards; cautions are normally something of a rarity at this level.

The game, though, was an excellent education for Arsenal’s youngsters in terms of how to deal with different types of challenges.

In addition this fixture was notable for the attendance of a group of Cologne supporters, who chanted “come on Leicester”.

Having fielded a back four in the past two U23 games, Arsenal switched to a back three for this fixture, with Chambers joining Marcus McGuane and Pleguezuelo in defence.

Nelson started despite featuring for the first-team yesterday, while Osei-Tutu and Josh Dasilva were deployed as wing-backs.

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Subs: T. Bola (for Pleguezuelo, 63), Dragomir (for Chambers, 73). Not used: Iliev, Gilmour, Fortune.

The early stages of the game were rather subdued, with Arsenal attempting to create openings only to be met by a Leicester side that closed them down at every possible moment.

It was Leicester who had the first chance of the game when George Thomas shot wide before Arsenal eventually managed to carve out an opportunity, which culminated in Jeff Reine-Adelaide shooting just wide.

Nelson, who wasn’t at his sharpest tonight and seemed tired having played several games recently, then sent an effort out of the ground, but Arsenal eventually managed to make the breakthrough.

Osei-Tutu is enjoying a breakthrough season for the U23s and, after excellent work in the build-up from Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, the wing-back sent in a dangerous cross from which Johnson scored an own goal.

The goal led to the game becoming rather more open and Willock, who was very impressive in central midfield, almost found Nelson at the far post with a cross.

Nketiah, who was also one of Arsenal’s most impressive performers in the opening period, then did well to create space for himself before forcing a corner with a powerful effort.

Just before the break, though, Leicester provided Arsenal with a warning sign as Macey was forced to make an important intervention from a corner.

Arsenal started the second period very brightly and came close to doubling their advantage when Dasilva pushed forwards from left wing-back and sent the ball in towards Osei-Tutu, who shot just wide.

Nelson then sent a free-kick over before Arsenal were dealt a blow when Pleguezuelo, who hasn’t had much luck with injuries in recent seasons, had to be substituted after some heavy challenges.

Tolaji Bola entered the fray in place of Pleguezuelo, and the 18-year-old was called upon on several occasions in the closing stages.

Arsenal managed to create an opening when Nelson found Chuba Akpom, who dragged his effort wide, but from that point forwards Leicester looked most likely to score next.

Chambers exited to applause from the crowd and was replaced by Dragomir. The Romanian youth international is a very talented player but he isn’t renowned for his defensive qualities and, given that he was deployed at left wing-back Leicester looked to exploit him at every possible opportunity.

The Leicester pressure was relentless and at one stage Macey managed to prevent a goal by sheer luck as the ball hit off him.

Not long afterwards, however, the 23-year-old made a fantastic stop to preserve Arsenal’s lead and he was called upon again before the final whistle as Gatting’s team somehow managed to get through five minutes of additional time without conceding.

Arsenal’s youngsters will certainly have learnt a lot from this game, while Osei-Tutu can be pleased with his performance and Reine-Adelaide also produced one of his better displays.

Nketiah and Willock showed some encouraging signs and will hope to have done enough to feature for the first-team against Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup next week.

It was a rare off night for Nelson but, in terms of the overall learning curve, this was a very important victory for Arsenal.

 

Arsenal add Pleguezuelo, Zelalem and Dragomir to Europa League squad

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Arsenal have updated their Europa League squad, with Julio Pleguezuelo amongst the players now eligible to play for the club in the competition.

Jordi Osei-Tutu, Gedion Zelalem, Vlad Dragomir, Yassin Fortune, Emile Smith Rowe and Nathan Tormey have also been added.

Pleguezuelo trained with the first-team today at London Colney and will hope to be involved in tomorrow night’s opening group stage fixture at home to Cologne.