Strong U18s crush Blackburn and learn Youth Cup opponents

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 5 Blackburn Rovers 0

It’s safe to say that the first half of this season hasn’t exactly run smoothly for Arsenal’s U18s. The dismissal of coach Pat Holland after less than two months in the job wasn’t particularly helpful, whilst the young Gunners have struggled for consistency after many of their leading lights, such as striker Chuba Akpom, stepped up to the U21s on a full-time basis.

Today, though, Steve Gatting’s side ensured that the year will end on a positive note as a strong Arsenal outfit comfortably dispatched of their Blackburn Rovers counterparts at London Colney with a 5-0 victory. Tarum Dawkins, Alex Iwobi, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Arinse Uade were all on target, in addition to Hector Bellerin, who, along with Akpom and Kristoffer Olsson, was making his first appearance at this level this season.

With the U21s having already concluded their fixtures for the first half of the campaign, Gatting was able to name his strongest league side of his tenure so far, with Akpom starting and the likes of Deyan Iliev, Jon Toral, Bellerin and Olsson on the bench. Uade returned from suspension, whilst Alfred Mugabo and Isaac Hayden, who have broken into the U21s this season, dropped back down to this level.


Mugabo-Hayden-Uade-Ormonde Ottewill




subs: Brown (for Dawkins, 46), Olsson (for Iwobi, 67), Bellerin (for Dawkins, 67). Not used: Iliev, Toral.

Both sides started slowly in this re-arranged encounter and, for a while, it seemed as if a repeat of September’s draw between the teams in Lancashire in September was on the cards.

Arsenal eventually asserted their control on proceedings, however, with Akpom and Austin Lipman both coming close to opening the scoring. The breakthrough eventually came when Lipman found Dawkins, who latched onto the pass and finished succinctly. The former Luton Town winger has, by his own admission, endured a difficult start to the campaign, but this was his second goal in recent weeks.

It would be 2-0 before the break after Akpom and Iwobi re-kindled their old understanding and the latter prodded home to double Arsenal’s advantage.

Schoolboy Jordan Brown replaced Dawkins at the break and very nearly made an immediate impact, shooting just over, before the ever-impressive Ormonde-Ottewill put the game beyond all doubt with a fine finish. He would soon be outdone, however, by Bellerin, with the Spaniard, who has been in fine fettle of late, embarked on one of his trademark mazy runs upfield before finishing with aplomb.

Uade, who, in contrast, has struggled somewhat so far this campaign, then tucked home following a scramble in the Blackburn penalty area to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Despite the emphatic nature of the victory, it was not enough to prevent Gatting’s side from missing out on participation in both the Elite Group Stage and Qualification Group 1, with their poor results over the course of the first half of the season meaning that they will instead face fellow struggling sides in Qualification Group 2, which Arsenal must top if they are to then reach the semi-finals of the overall competition.

It was a rather busy day for the U18 side as they also continued the club tradition of singing Christmas carols to the first-team squad, in addition to learning that they will host either Fulham or Middlesbrough, who play tomorrow, in the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup.



  1. Bellerin again! How good does this kid look?! With every game he seems to get stronger. Brandon oo looks the business too. Really exciting young full backs :).

  2. We are in a bad state, there is no denying that, so it makes me wonder why Jack Wilshere is going to commit a large portion of his career to us. I’m happy that he is, and will be very sad, if or when, he leaves. I mean of course you want to tie the player down on a contract to raise the transfer fee, but still, if he was thinking of leaving, then why would he sign a long term contract??? I’m just a little confused as to why our best player would sign, but some of our other players aren’t as committed??? (Theo) It’s confusing for me…If I were him I would have signed too!!! I don’t know how much he is signing for though, and that could be the clincher if it’s worth anything near 80 to 100 k per week.

    1. what a strange question some things are bigger than trophies Jack obviously supports arsenal, I’ve never heard Liverpool fans questioning Steven Gerrard.

  3. I’m not questioning him…even Thierry left because we couldn’t compete for the champions league…there are plenty of players who support clubs that they played for or are playing doesn’t mean they wouldn’t leave no matter what. I have a feeling that Jack is a very driven individual, and IF we don’t win anything in the next six years or so, he WILL leave. I don’t think that will happen, but it’s worth thinking about at least. I don’t know about you, but I’m long past the days of believing that players stick to one club out of loyalty, no matter how good they are, or indeed, how loyal they seem to be

  4. I was only speculating as to why Wilshere would have signed RIGHT NOW in this period of turmoil. That is what I was trying to do…I’m hoping that you are right, and that he signed out of love for the club…I think he did too, but we are lucky that his contract wasn’t run down to it’s final season!!! He would probably have had some very interesting offers. At the beginning of the season, I said we had what it took to finish second. We are only 12 points off that pace!!! I don’t think we will catch United, BUT IF we finish second, we could overtake them in a year’s time…It all depends on whether the coaching staff and players can get it together and finish strongly.

  5. AND if you read the full interview like I did, Jack even said that it is “understandable” that our top players have left for pastures anew in the recent past. He said he has lots of time on his side though, which is a good thing!!! But make no mistake about it, if we don’t win anything soon, he too will be gone.

  6. Just because you sign a long term contract doesn’t mean you stay long term. Arsenal has been OK the past years its only this year we really see bad shit. Its something called loyalty for the club.. thats why he sign for us. Walcott can go to hell. He is shit! Not a single good season behind him and he demand 100k a week. Its time to buy someone new for that sell and will turn good season for us for less than that.

  7. Anybody heard something ’bout Chuks? His loanspell with Crewe is ending today, is he coming back and maybe get another loan stint in january or staying at Crewe the whole season?

  8. Akpom could have scored a hat-trick in each half but could not finish! Did everything else right though, just had a worrying amount of chances not to have notched one.

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