Arsenal U21s and U18s may have suffered contrasting fortunes against Bolton Wanderers last week, but they will both be hoping for a positive outcome when they take on their respective Blackburn Rovers counterparts tomorrow.
Pat Holland’s young charges travel to Lancashire for an 11am kick-off at Rovers’ training ground, before the U21s do battle in the afternoon at Emirates Stadium a few hours later.
Both Arsenal sides are expected to be somewhat altered from last week’s excursions. The U21’s could have a more senior feel to it, with Craig Eastmond poised to feature as an over-age player, whilst Serge Gnabry, who trained with the first-team today and has been spoken of in glowing terms by Arsene Wenger recently, should be afforded another run-out. Kyle Ebecilio, who impressed in his cameo appearance against Bolton, will be pushing for a start, whilst Martin Angha may also be drafted in at right-back in place of Hector Bellerin.
In an attempt to keep a happy camp, some of the players who didn’t make the squad on Monday, the likes of Josh Rees, Samir Bihmoutine and Nigel Neita could also be involved, although Zak Ansah and Jordan Wynter remain sidelined.
For the under-18s the big team news is that goalkeeper Josh Vickers, who conceded five goals on his debut at that level last week, has not made the trip due to injury, and, with Reice Charles-Cook now over-age and also carrying a knock, schoolboy stopper Ethan Ross could be handed a start. Elsewhere, winger Anthony Jeffrey continues in his pursuit of a professional contract, whilst Alex Iwobi, who showed flashes of potential after coming on last week could find himself elevated to the starting line-up.
U21- Shea; Angha, Boateng, Miquel, Bihmoutine; Eastmond, Henderson; Ebecilio, Olsson, Gnabry; Akpom. Subs: Bellerin, Rees, Neita, Meade, Hajrovic, Toral, Eisfeld.
U18- Ross; Mugabo, Fagan, Hayden, Ormonde-Ottewill; Kamara, Jebb; Dawkins, Iwobi, Jeffrey; Lipman. Subs: Huddart, Uade, Dallison, Siemann.