Wellington shows glimpses of potential and Miyaichi impresses as Reserves defeat Boreham Wood with ease

After a slow start to pre-season for the Arsenal Reserves, things are certainly beginning to pick up with the new season rapidly approaching and tonight’s 3-0 victory over Boreham Wood at Meadow Park was an exquisite example of the realms of attacking talent that the young Gunners possess.

A stunning first-half goal from Mark Randall was added to by a typically clinical finish from Benik Afobe and an own goal following good work from Roarie Deacon down the left flank but, even more pleasing was the contributions of the two debutants, the much-vaunted Brazilian Wellington Silva and Japanese trialist Ryo Miyaichi.

Despite being named in the initial squad, Jay Simpson was not involved this evening, sparking speculation that he is currently in talks with Bristol City over a possible move. In his absence, Miyaichi was handed a starting berth on the left flank of a forward three that also contained Rhys Murphy, on the right, and Afobe up front. Randall anchored the midfield with Oguzhan Ozyakup, whilst Chuks Aneke operated just in front of them. The back four consisted of Havard Nordtveit, Ignasi Miquel and the returning Kyle Bartley and Thomas Cruise. Wellington began the game on a substitutes bench that also included Nacer Barazite and Gavin Hoyte.

The Gunners were determined to impose themselves from the off and began at a startlingly brisk pace that saw them take the lead within two minutes. Following several neat interchanges in midfield, Randall picked the ball up around the half-way line and launched a stupendous effort on goal from distance that found the back of the net. It was a surefire way to answer back to his many critics although it is somewhat difficult to comprehend how he can score such an amazing goal from distance but couldn’t find the net from much closer in against AC Milan in the Emirates Cup at the weekend.

The hosts responded with a tame effort wide but, in truth, they offered little going forward all evening and could only marvel at the fabulous football the young Gunners were playing around them. Afobe was next to try his luck, showing good ball control with his back to goal but firing his effort just wide.

Cruise was proving a useful attacking outlet on the left-flank and crossed for Murphy but the striker couldn’t finish, before Miyaichi made his first meaningful contribution to the game, embarking on his trademark mazy dribble and showing good pace to win a corner. From the resulting set piece Aneke skewed an effort well wide.

Miyaichi, spurred on by his earlier foray, then displayed his astute dribbling skills down the left flank once more and this time nearly had an end product to show for it but was denied by the crossbar. Shortly afterwards he hit a shot straight at the ‘keeper but his determination and directness was a refreshing sight indeed.

By now, the Gunners were brimming with confidence and Randall tried another pot shot from distance but to no avail on this occasion. Miquel, Bartley and Ozyakup all spurned further opportunities before goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was called into action for the first time, barely having to work to stop a tame effort from distance.

Miyaichi  fired another shot just wide before the hosts had a couple of opportunities of their own. That, on each occasion, the ball went out of the ground tells you all you need to know about their accuracy, or lack of it, in front of goal.

Ozyakup was proving a creative force in midfield and he crossed for Miquel who headed over before playing a key part in Arsenal doubling their advantage just before the break. He played in Aneke, who demonstrated his telepathic understanding with Afobe by playing a deft lob which the England under-17 raced onto and converted with aplomb for his first goal at this level.

Murphy and Randall squandered further opportunities before the half was out and, in truth, the Gunners really should have been four or five goals to the good at the very least at the interval considering the vast number of chances they created in the first half.

Banfield made three changes at the break, introducing Hoyte and Barazite for Miquel and Randall, whilst also bringing on Wellington for Murphy for his Reserve debut.

The Brazilian appeared keen to impress and demonstrated his skills with a couple of stepovers and mazy runs. He took a little while to integrate into the flowing pattern of play but, once he did, there was no stopping him dancing through hordes of defenders. Playing on the left flank, with Miyaichi on the right, he linked well with Aneke and Afobe on several occasions.

Aneke and Afobe teamed up again, with a fine move culminating in the latter firing a shot straight at the ‘keeper. Afobe then turned provider for Aneke, but the powerhouse midfielder somehow managed to only win a corner when a goal appeared a certainty.

Aneke had another shot saved before Miyaichi, who was tiring by now, hit a scuffed effort on goal. Wellington was becoming increasingly involved and found Aneke with a beautifully executed lofted pass but Afobe couldn’t finish once threaded through.

At this point, Banfield made a further four changes, bringing on James Shea, Roarie Deacon, Cedric Evina and Daniel Boateng. Miyaichi was one of those to depart and he left the field to rapturous applause, although he did also appear to be hobbling a little. Aneke, another of those to be withdrawn, was considerably disappointed to have been taken off but he can be pleased with his contribution this evening.

A poor misjudgement by Boateng, as he was still attempting to accustom himself to the surroundings upon his introduction, allowed Boreham Wood a glimmer of hope in front of goal but it was merely a brief respite for the hosts and Arsenal resumed their attacking procession shortly after, with Afobe heading just over from a Nordtveit cross and Barazite hitting another effort over.

Wellington began to get back into the game and frequently drifted inside, linking well with Barazite on one occasion and forcing a good save with a fierce drive. He then had another shot deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, Hoyte smacked the crossbar after meeting the ball with a swift connection.

Wellington thought he had a goal to remember his debut by when he played a sumptuous 1-2 with Afobe and found the net but saw his effort disallowed, presumably for offside.

There were further chances before Wellington won a free-kick with another mazy dribble, with Ozyakup directing the set-piece straight at the wall. There was still time for a third, with Deacon interchanging well with Evina down the left and the former crossed for a Boreham Wood defender to convert into his own net.

In the end it was only three but it should have been at least double that. The Reserves continue their preparations against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday but tonight’s affair, which was attended by Jack Wilshere, Conor Henderson, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and former Gunner Luke Ayling, will be remembered as the first time many got to see Wellington in the flesh, whilst the impressive contribution of Miyaichi may well have been enough to earn him a permanent deal.


Szczesny and Shea barely had a save to make between them, so can hardly be judged on tonight’s events.

In defence, Nordtveit was solid and dependable at right-back and got forward well. Bartley and Miquel were rarely troubled and Boateng settled in well after his early mistake. Cruise wasn’t really involved at left-back but played some good passes in central-midfield when Evina came on, with the Cameroonian a good attacking outlet down the left flank. Hoyte hit the crossbar but wasn’t tested defensively.

In midfield, Randall seemed determined to prove a point and did so with his stupendous early goal and was impressive with his neat passing thereafter. Ozyakup was a little sloppy with his passes in the first half but improved greatly in the second period and linked up well with Barazite, who was a direct threat on goal. Aneke was slow to grow into the game but he was impressive linking up with Afobe in the second period, whilst Miyaichi impressed with his dribbling and directness, although he was overwhelmed a little physcially. Deacon tried his utmost and finally got his reward in the dying moments with the cross that led to the third goal being converted.

Up front, Murphy was one of the few Gunners players who didn’t really shine and the former England Youth international did not have many attempts on goal, unlike Afobe who probably should have had two or three more but nonetheless will be happy with his first goal at this level. Wellington, as mentioned, was a real handful for the Boreham Wood defenders and certainly looks an impressive talent.




    (AP- MOLDOVA – Aug 4) Arsenal’s bid to sign the talented Moldovan international goalkeeper Nilain Levroji in a bid to solve their ongoing goalkeeping crisis moved closer last night with the talented stopper flying to London for a medical.
    The 23-year-old from Iskra-Stal Ribnita will join the Gunners in a €5million deal to be completed on Thursday.
    Levroji has played twice for the Moldovan national team but has been rated as one of the top young keepers in European football.
    News of his transfer to Arsenal was confirmed on Moldovan TV yesterday (Sunday).
    Arsenal had been expected to sign Australian international goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from fellow London team Fulham but the deal has fallen through with the West London club demanding €4million for the 37-year-old.
    Levroji will join fellow Eastern European Emir Spahic at the Emirates Stadium for the new season.
    Arsene Wenger has confirmed he is looking to bring in at least one more defender before the close of the transfer window and reports over the weekend suggested Spahic, 29, was a possible target.
    “The most important thing is that so far the negotiations go as planned and that the transfer could be completed soon,” Spahic told SportSport.ba.


  2. @ Jeorge Bird. Kiyaichi has not been on trial with Ajax. I live in Amsterdam and I am well informed. The U19’s of Ajax are only a few days in training. I think he goes when he finished his trial at Arsenal.

  3. Great report, thanks. It surely is an exciting time for the Arsenal youth team. Lots of talents coming in. Older reserve players must be feeling the pressure to perform now.

  4. Good article, Jorge.
    Hopefully the Japanese boy will get a contract. We need direct and skillfull wingers, not many of them either in the first team squad or in the reserves. And on top of that, it would turn out well financially in Asia if the boy becomes a hit.

  5. SWAZILAND – Arsenal expected to sign 24-year old international keeper for Swaziland, Wagawaga Ylieimputro in deal which is set to bring Wagawaga to London and as player-exchance, transferring Immanueelo Aluminium to Swaziland’s serie allstar team Aumauyga FC, it could be that Immanuelo will find out stiff competition in Aumauyga, with Swazilands first choice international keeper Umbula Krapanapa, who’s going to leave spaniard behind and taking the place in Aumauyga’s bench, but there should be some consolation for Aluminium in Aumauyga’s reserve team games, and reserve league in Swaziland is very highlevelled, so it should be the very challenging for Immanuelo in his new life in Swazi, and he’s gonna take place in Swaziland’s second choice keeper in international level after getting his citizenship for his new homecountry.

  6. SWAZILAND – FC Aumauyga’s international keeper Umbula Krapanapa is very excited about gettting Immanueelo Aluminium as his second choice keeper next season, saying “That’s great to have him here and polish my shoes cause nowadays i have to do it myself, and i’m sick of it, and i have been doing some pondering, and i think i let him play few games at first-team level next season, cause i’m 52 years old now, and i just don’t be able to play all the games, cause i have 7 wifes, 43 children and 59 grandchildren, and i have been thinking to let him play about 2 or 3 games, but not anymore, and if he’s behaving well enough, he could carry my stuff and lead my camel, and if he’s patient and work hard maybe some day he could get one too”

  7. By the way the Wellington Silva goal wasn’t disallowed, it went JUST wide of the post, but just looked like it’d gone in.

    Wellington Silva is going to be a class act.

  8. I propose that Arsenal fans World wide post letters once a week for the next four weeks to UEFA & FIFA complaining about Barcelona FC’s ‘tapping up’ of Cesc Fabregas. Also post a letter just once to Arsenal FC requesting that they formally complain to UEFA & FIFA. I have drawn up 3 template letters that I will email to willing participants. All you need to do is type in your own Name & Address before printing off & posting. Momentum will be boosted by you forwarding the email to every one of your Arsenal FC fan family & friends, encouraging them to participate.
    Please see …. http://www.goonerettesonline.co.uk/452/other/an-overview-of-the-cesc-saga-time-for-the-fans-to-bite-back/#more-452
    The aim of repetitive letters is to create an Admin headache for UEFA & FIFA with thousands of letters received from all over the world & display the strength of feeling from Arsenal FC fans. The purpose of the single letter to Arsenal FC is again to display the strength of feeling from us fans.
    My email address for this campaign from where I will email you the letter templates is …….. ArsenalFansHateBarcelonaFC@gmail.com

  9. Went to the game too – my first reserves game in years – and have to say Ryo and Wellington were fantastic. Both playing with this group of players competitively for the first time, and both controlling and dictating the flow of the game around them to their own higher pace. Wellington was clearly too good for this level, just as Jack Wilshire stood out a mile, so does this guy. Can’t wait to see what happens with him.

    Not sure I wholeheartedly agree about Afobe though. The guy seems to just walk around the pitch not doing much, and providing half hearted passes and tackles – and then the most amazing thing happens to him, as if a light switches on in his head, he wakes up for 5-seconds and becomes unbeatable, quick as lightening – leaving everyone in his wake from where ever on the pitch ending up in front of the keeper in no time. But throughout the second half, as if its toooo easy for him, he fell asleep again and again in front of the keeper missing chances which were far easier for him to put away compareed to the mazy runs and intricate play that got him there in the first place – Afobe should have finished with at least 4 from the ton of 1 on 1’s last night. When he maintains his concentration he wil be an incredible striker.

    The 2-at the back were also very impressive – both very very big boys, who can play with the ball at their feet, the future back 4 last night looked great.

    Have to say, and because the media are always running down top players, that Jack Wilshire stood in the stands last night with some friends and family last night, and throughout the match signed autographs, had pictures taken and made so many kids and supporters happy last night. He was so humble and gracious, a real credit to his family. Great guy.

  10. jeorge, would you say that we will definitley be moving on the senior reserve players one way or another to make room for the new bacth eg afobe, aneke, ozyakup, yenarris

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