Last season saw Arsenal’s second-string side experience a radical overhaul, with the Reserves being reformed as the U21s as part of a new Premier League set-up, whilst the club also made their maiden outing into European football at youth level by participating in the NextGen Series.
This time around, further changes are afoot, and one key issue centring on where the majority of the club’s home U21 fixtures will be played in the forthcoming season following Barnet’s decision to leave Underhill has been made a little clearer this evening, with Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis revealing at a meeting that, as things stand, Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park ground will take over as the lead venue for Steve Gatting’s side. An Arsenal XI have played a pre-season friendly at the ground for several years.
Several matches will also be staged at Emirates Stadium, whilst, as per usual, home games in the winter months will take place at London Colney so that players do not pick up any unnecessary injuries owing to the bad conditions. Fixtures for this level are expected to be announced towards the end of next month.
Arsenal also have a decision to make regarding their participation in the NextGen Series for the forthcoming campaign. Despite reaching the semi-finals of the competition in 2012/13, should the first-team win their impending Champions League qualifier in August, then the club will automatically be invited to participate in the UEFA Youth League, a competition established by European football’s governing body in order to rival the NextGen tournament. It is believed that Arsenal are leaning towards the UEFA tournament, which is open to, but not compulsory for all Champions League clubs.