Mavididi opens account as Arsenal U18s lose to Villa

U18 Premier League- Game 8

Aston Villa 2 Arsenal 1 (Mavididi)

Arsenal U18’s disappointing run of form continued with a 2-1 defeat away to Aston Villa on Saturday. Villa took the lead early on and, although Arsenal equalised through a Renny Smith strike that deflected off Stephy Mavididi, the hosts proceeded to seal the points late on. Arsenal were somewhat unfortunate not to emerge with any points, however, particularly after Mavididi missed a penalty and fellow schoolboy Tyrell Robinson struck the crossbar.

Coach Carl Laraman made three changes from the side that drew with Bolton Wanderers last time out, with Leander Siemann, Robinson and Mavididi coming into the side. Schoolboys Chiori Johnson and George Dobson retained their places in the starting line-up, whilst all of the outfield substitutes were under-16 players.






subs: Iliev, Eyoma, Thorbourne, Bola, Ejaria.

Villa started the strongest and took the lead after Thomas Strain capitalised on Ryan Huddart’s hesitation to head home a dangerous cross.

Arsenal responded almost instantly, however, with Mavididi doing well to win a free-kick which was taken by the in-form Jamaal Raage. The Swedish youngster’s effort was a powerful one and forced Villa goalkeeper Aidan Grant to tip the ball out for a corner via the crossbar.

Arsenal’s momentum eventually came to fruition with Tarum Dawkins doing well to find Smith who struck a powerful effort into the net and out of the reach of Grant. Replays showed that Smith’s strike took a decisive deflection off Mavididi, meaning that the goal counted as the latter’s first at this level.

The Gunners could then have taken the lead early in the second-half after Dobson threaded the ball through to Robinson, and the winger went for goal with a stupendous effort that rattled the crossbar.

The diligent Dobson then played another perceptive pass into the path of Mavididi, who was brought down in the area. Mavididi stepped up to take the spot-kick himself but, despite getting much power behind the ball, was unfortunate to see it ricochet off the post.

Villa made Arsenal pay for their misfortune, with a quick passing move culminating in Jerell Sellars stroking the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1 to the home side.

The two Villa goalscorers then combined in the closing stages, but Strain somehow headed against the post after yet more excellent work from Sellars.

Arsenal’s next game at this level is at home to Reading a week on Saturday, with Laraman’s admittedly inexperienced side having registered just six points from their first eight games.



  1. Jeorge ive heard so much about this charlie gilmour ..why hasnt he yet played for u18s and also what about donovan and that da silva kid

    1. From what I’ve heard, the four standouts in the u15’s are Joe Willock, Charlie Gilmour, Tolaji Bola and Marcus Agyei-Tabi. They all played at the Lions City Cup back in June, which was a tournament for 1998 born players and they were 1999’s. Only Tolaji is physically ready to play in the u18’s now and I would expect him to get games when he turns 15 in Jan. The others are still too small right now, especially Joe Willock, but if they grow a lot this year they may get a game in. I thought Joe performed the best out of the 4 at the tournament and he was also the youngest.

  2. All three of them are very promising and you can add James Blanchfield to that as well, but they are all 14 or 15, so we’ll probably wait until the second half of the season before using them at this level as there are still a few second-years involved at the moment.

    1. Geogre went to watch Canvry today good to see Vickers 5/6 quality saves this loan deal is doin lad good they won into next round Thks to him quality

  3. Wilock has not even been in the subs it seems the past couple games. Is he hurt or just cant find a place. And do you think Hinds is better than Willock?

    1. He was on international duty for the u16s but didn’t play as he was injured. Hinds played and missed a penalty but more importantly seemed to have a good game in the victory shield.

    2. Hinds had a bit of a shocker in front of goal for England. His shooting was very timid. Otherwise he would have been half way to matching Michael Owen’s u16 goal record.

  4. The amount of Arsenal players in England national team is quite sad. I thought our players did well for the national teams. In some age groups we don’t have a single one.

    1. what the hell are you talking about?

      u16s – willock, hinds, u17s – Huddart, and we would have moore and crowley if they weren’t injured, u18s – Iwobi, u19s – akpom and hayden, u21s – Jenkinson

      1. If that is a lot for you then thats you. I don’t see Iwobi in U18 as he dropped out. 8 players in total in 5 national teams. Jenkinson is 21 and got picked after someone was injured. I mean I can see at least 5-6 more players in the national teams.

        At least our foreigns youth are being recognized.

      2. Jom, you have proven yourself time and time again as being someone who is completely out of touch as far as football is concerned. You really think that out one football club should be providing that many players? this isn’t Spain where Madrid and Barca virtually monopolize the youth squads, and Arsenal’s academy just isn’t good enough especially to be as prolific as you’re suggesting.

      3. I mean yennaris, aneke, afobe, niles, jebb, lipman, ottewill, a few more coming up from U18 is a far far far stretch from your side. Yeah arsenal isn’t madrid or barca.. Don’t put words in my mouth stupid. I think having 3 players from arsenal in all age group is not far from being realistic stupid.

        I know for fact that niles could be in there. Jebb could too and ottewill could too. Thats 3 players who are realistic targets. lipman is doing well at the moment and so is o’connor. Thats 5 players.

        If you think NONE of them could make it then thats you. 3 of them was once in the national team. they can do it again. Niles is playing for our U21 and is only 15 years old. Now stfu.

        I wasn”t even close to say we need 5 players in each age group. But 3 players is not far from being realistic since this is Arsenal. If chelsea, city, aston villa, united can do it then so can we. If that is not a possibility for you then you know NOTHING about football. I hope you got a little perspective.

        this is not madrid or barca………… stupid argument. Thats coming from YOU. Not me.

      4. i want to take you seriously. I think that blogs like this are a good chance to talk about things like this, but if you can’t write one reaction w/o getting defensive and resorting to name calling then its hard to engage with you. Just because “This is Arsenal” doesn’t mean we’re going to be the best at everything. the Academy was reformed in the late 90s, and only recently have we developed a reputation for producing quality academy graduates. Man U have certainly been doing it for a lot longer, so to Liverpool and a lot of the mid table PL clubs and some championship clubs have much better academy systems (as far as producing talent) than Arsenal does. Quite frankly i’m glad we don’t monopolize the youth teams, its a sign of how competitive the a footballing nation is unlike in Spain. You completely missed my Madrid and Barca analogy btw, I wasn’t comparing our academy to theirs I was comparing the respective national youth setups of Spain and England. Since those two clubs monopolize football in Spain they tend to flood the youth teams, whereas in England, where realistically six teams are competitive and smaller clubs tend to have good academies, we see a lot of variety in the national teams as far as which teams produce national level talent.

      5. Saying re reformed the academy in the late 90s is a bad excuse. That was 17 years ago! There is no doubt we got top coaches at Arsenal and top class talents. When we won FAYC and the league we got like 1-2 players in the national team. We should have had like 7-8 players at least! The second year we won the league. I think we got like 1 player in the national team. Just because we don’t have a lot of players in the national team doesn’t mean we are worse than their academes. You think Chelsea of all clubs haven’t reformed their academy? Its only 4-6 years old since they did so with a new philosophy of playing football.

        We got AT LEAST 10 years of top coaching. GREAT facilities to train and develop in. Don’t come with excuses just to make excuses why we don’t have more players in the national team. At least 3 players in every age group is something we should aim for. We are no doubt right up there in terms of coaching and training facilities like villa, united, chelsea and so on. Aneke was overlooked for a very very long long time. Once he got the chance he took it. Yennaris did so too. Wilshere wasn’t even picked for U21 for a long time. Jenkinson haven’t been picked either for U21 for a long time.

        Does that mean we are a bad academy with players that are not good enough for the national team and not being able to produce quality? I don’t like stupid excuses and it was YOU who jumped on me first! I guess you totally forgot that one. And then think I should not call you any names when in fact it was YOU who did so first. Fucking joke.

        Its people like you who fucked this “discussions” up by first saying.. you prove how little you know about football again and again again again and again. Wait… why do you call me names after I said so… so strange… stupid. Please think before you say anything again to me.

      6. There’s a difference between criticism and name calling. Me calling you out of touch is a criticism, crude maybe, but a criticism nonetheless. You calling me stupid is name calling and not criticism and its a sign (whether you know it or not) that you don’t think that the force of your argument is convincing. Since reforming the academy theres really been one truly great player to come out of it and that was Wilshere and it took ten years (Wilshere broke through in 2008) for that to happen. And if you recall Wilshere wasn’t exactly a star in the youth national teams, in fact being selected for the national team at youth level is a rather poor indicator of future success. Getting one or two players into the national team is enough and quite frankly with the level of competition that is offered at club level even during youth its probably unnecessary and sometimes detrimental (as far as injury is concerned) for our young players to be involved in the youth teams, at least until U21 level.

      7. Its getting increasingly harder for young players to make it in EPL today. You don’t only need the talent but also the physics to make it. I definitely think Arsenal academy is right up there like chelsea, united and so on in england. Thats was the main point of this discussions. I am not talking about the first team here. I think Arsenal should have and should be more recognize for the national team weather it is an indication you will make it or not. That is not my point. You said Arsenal isn’t good enough to produce quality like the rest. I don’t agree.

        For Arsenal not being able to produce a wilshere every 2 year is not a shame like you seems to think. Its not easy to compete in the highest level like wilshere is doing. Frimpong is another one who Arsenal has produce and was playing regularly for EPL. You forgot him. Lansbury, JET and Watt was also playing in the championship. I don’t know what happaned to the rest of 2008 group but Conor Henderson is in Hull? Afobe was in championship? Also manage to get our highly rated oversea players to get in the first team.

        To have 3 players in every age group is not impossible and I stand by my point saying Arsenal should have more players in the national teams because I think they are that good. Saying we are a bad academy or complaining we don’t make world class players by the age of 22 is ridiculous. We still make more players in the highest division than chelsea, united and so on.

    2. Honestly who cares. I don’t think players getting called up to the national youth team is some great indication that they’ll be guaranteed superstars, I mean jeez Francis Jeffers is still top (joint) top scorer for Endland U21’s. It’s really not something to worry about. We have a lot of young talent coming through the ranks at different age groups but there’s enough there that it has me excited for the future of Arsenal.

  5. Is it true that Jon toral Will be realseed by the club this summer because of all injuries? What a talent he is “or” was

    1. Well it depends how good he will be when he is playing and if he will stay away from injuries. I can’t see him make it when he is out every 6 months.

  6. Just rumours, he has been injured for 11 months know, and before that he was out for like 8 months. He have played like 20 games in 3 years …

  7. Toral played for the U21s 7 times, in the NextGen 5 times and for the U18s 21 times. And a couple of FA Youth Cup as well.

    When he first joined he couldn’t play because of paperwork issues, it happened to Bellerin, Olsson, Gnabry etc as well.

    Toral’s last game in the 11/12 season was against Pompey on 21/10/2012 then missed the rest of the season through injury.

    Toral’s last game for Arsenal last season was in Jan against Norwich for the U18s in a 0-0 draw. So he’s been out since late January.

  8. Bringing through one player, good enough for the 1st team, per season, is pretty good going for any Academy…
    Not bothered if our youngsters represent England or not. Can’t really say that playing for England at any level, essentially, makes you a good player or not, or a player technically good enough for the Arsenal 1st team squad???!!!

  9. I agree with the argument that we should expect no more than 1 or 2 players per age group to play for the first team and no more than 1 every 2 years to become a regular. However Arsenal are not even close to half that proportion.
    Some of the problem are clearly educational and maybe we also need to train Men rather than just footballer.
    Kerrea Gilbert being the poster boy of the too young too soon immature footballer who mess up his entire life. JET being the second example of how to mess your career. JET may still save his career and end up in the premiership if Crystal Palace under Ian Holloway decides to buy him mid season,but he is currently playing for a League 1 club. He was supposed to the great hope of Arsenal football academy.
    But the Academy has also problem on the technical side.
    Recently most of the younger players who are now in the first team squad are 16 years and older players that Arsenal bought from other teams (Gibbs: Wimbledon; Jenkinson: Charlton; Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain: Southampton; Ramsey: Cardiff; Ryo: Feyenord; Gnabry, Eisfeld: Germany; Olson: Sweden; Bellerin, Toral: Barcelona, …).
    Arsenal academy not only does not produce enough Arsenal first team quality players, but it does not seem to produce any more just premiership quality players.
    Akpom may become an Arsenal regular, time is his died. However if Arsenal decide to buy a Suarez level type of striker, he would unlikely to make it.
    I will give the benefit of injury to Benik Afobe, but it is unlikely that some premiership or even championship club will vie for his services.
    Chuck Aneke is not a regular starter anymore at league 1 level. With the arrival of Mezul Özil raising the bar even higher I cannot see him displacing any of Wilshere, Rosicky. Also he does not have the versatility of a Oxlade Chamberlain or Gnabry who can also play on the wide midfield.
    10 years ago in the reserve you had Aliadière, Jerome Thomas, Jermaine Pennant, Steve Sidwell, James Harper, etc. Players who have carved a decent career at the top level. None of the current crop look likely to fare as well.

    Maybe the generation after next, but it looks more and more like wishful thinking from the part of fans.

    1. Arsenals youngsters are competing against top quality players around the world at Arsenal. I don’t agree that we are technically worse than any player we bought in. The main difference is the vision and intelligence on and off the ball that set world class youngsters apart. Some players are no doubt worse than the academy youngsters but they have got the pro contract which I think is so stupid. There is no doubt about it that some for the players we brought in are leapfrogging our own youngsters not because they are better.

      while our youngsters needs to be exceptional to earn the pro contract and play for the U21 team, some foreigners get if for free since they sign a scholarship when they was 16 years old.

      We are obviously capable of producing senior players like Lansbry and JET and many more. I do agree that we need to be producing EPL players though. Lansbury did play for a team 4 times in a row which advanced to EPL, Frimpong can play there too, Conor Henderson is in Hull, Bartley was in swansea, Meade is in Swansea at the moment.

      We now got 6-7 top quality teams that require world class talents just to be on the bench! Maybe only bottom 6-7 teams are realistically targets for our youngsters to take a spot and that is our top 2-3 youngsters we are talking about. If one of them are injured that will mean maybe 1 youngsters every year MAYBE being able to take a spot on a team and he might get a better offer in championship and take that instead. That means we wont see many Arsenals youngsters for a EPL team regularly.

      1. Yes the level required to be playing in the premiership has never been higher. That means academies have to raise their game. Arsenal academy has not, in fact it has even gone stale. When I look at the Arsenal raised academy youngsters (I.e. Not 16-18 years old plucked from other teams), none of them impress me. Decent league 1 and league 2 players but definitely not premiership material. The best can hope to become championship players. To me that shows a failure of the Arsenal academy.

        Jom argues that Arsenal youngsters are as good as anybody technically, but that lack of vision and intelligence on and off the ball impair them. Both those skills can be improved. Spatial awareness can be improved, so can decision making. However I do not see massive improvement in our academy players in those. That reveals itself when you have to play under pressure or with your back toward goal.
        There is the reason why Arsenal had not produced a single decent striker for ages. Nobody teaches those kids to make the right runs. Sometimes one of them has that natural instinct (see Akpom), but quite often they never make it. It does not need to be like that. With better coaching most of our strikers should be championship level.

        Maybe some 17 years old kids are blocked by those with automatic contract, but then they should be training even harder to get their chance. I suspect that instead of making them hungrier the Arsenal academy makes them complaisant. Playing on loan at a lower league club comes as big shock for them. Most of them don’t seem ready to handle that. That’s why so many fail when in loan. Psychological test and better life coaching may be necessary but better preparation would help more.

        Most of those that you name were raved when in the U21, however real life premiership football managers have all decided that they are not good enough. Some may end up in the premiership, but that will take time.
        Mark Randall took the plunge to go to a série B club to get his career back on track. JET is suddenly discovering the benefit of hard training. Sanchez Watt gave an interview last year that he had to change to become more professional.
        To me that proves that the psychological aspect of the training is being neglected at Arsenal.
        I am not advocating a new sergeant major approach, but 17 years old male may benefit more from a more directive approach. A change of tact may yield better results. A laissez faire approach only works for grown ups with inside motivation.

        Other academies have adapted better. I can see Southampton, Aston Villa and even Charlton producing better players and more rounded persons.

      2. while world class teams needs to develop youngsters with the help of lesser teams in league 1, championship, premiership and abroad to help our youngsters to take that final step the smaller teams have to give youngsters a chance and develop them in the first team because they don’t have the money to always buy new great players.

        It’s not a coincidence we actually make out top 16 year olds first team players. We give them so many chances to develop and take that final step for our first team. Only the best will be given the chance and take the chance to keep earning those chances to make it here.

        I really doubt gibbs, walcott, and a few more in our first team would have been this good if we didn’t give them the opportunity to develop them in the environment we want them to be.

        Some of aston villas youths taste first team football and is constantly training with the first team at the age of 17-18. While our youngsters only can play U21 and that is with other 17-18 years old.

        Then going out on loan a new system with a complete new team with new manager and players besides him. Complete new tactics on the pitch. Its too much new for our youngsters. Aston villas youth is given the opportunity with a similar system as the youth teams and know the first team players already when they will be given the chance.

        The smaller teams will always be able to make more players for Premiership and championship I think. Unless our youth players are absolute top quality and dominate the u21 every week we will never know for sure how good they will be on loan. The most important thing is we are able to make 16-17 year old players to world class players play for our first team.

        Our U18 and U21 will always be one of Englands best as a team. 4-5 players will make a descent career somewhere else, 1 will make it for our first team every other year. We will always have a hard time competing with teams like villa Southampton and such because they are doing the exact same thing as we do with some of our quality youngsters. But our youngsters are becoming world class for our first team while their will be a descent premiership player.

        If the smaller teams could, they would try to scout around the world and get those highly rated oversea players to them and then make their first team quality and stay up there.

        I would like to know how many premiership/championship any top 5 teams are making VS teams placing 6-10.

  10. It’s simple… B teams should be afforded a league of their own or they should be allowed into league one, two and three according to seeding and they should be allowed to compete and gain promotion with the Championship as the ceiling and the bottom of the bin as the floor. Some of these talents fizzle out because they are not competing with top talents week in and week out. Iron sharpens Iron.

    1. Which teams should be allowed to have b teams then? I mean only the top 4 club of EPL? Isn’t that unfair? I mean if we want to see an open league and not like in Spain where there are 2 teams competing every year. Every championship and EPL team will want to have a B team in a league. Its not that simple to put a b team in a league.

      1. Nobody proposed to restrict B teams to only the top four.
        The FA could have a system of points based on a combination of results of the first team previous four years, catchment area and the number of youngsters trained at the academy who are playing in the premiership and the championship.
        So oligarch play thing without any players from their own academy, do not have a B team. However teams maybe less successful but with plenty of successful trained academy graduates would benefit.
        SOUTHAMPTON and Aston Villa are producing a lot of premiership youngsters. It make sense to help them produce more and of even better quality.

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