FA Youth Cup competition preview- Arsenal to face Torquay or Chipstead in 3rd Round

Arsenal have been handed a home tie against either Torquay United or non-league Chipstead in the 3rd Round of the FA Youth Cup, which will take place at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park before December 21st.

The Gunners have won the prestigious competition seven times in their history, most recently in 2009, but, since that triumph they haven’t progressed past the Fifth Round stage. Last season they saw off the challenges of Newcastle United and Fulham at Underhill, but eventually exited to a spirited Everton side at the next stage.

This season there will be considerable competition for places in the side. Here’s the lowdown on who could feature in each position.


With Deyan Iliev no longer eligible to play in this competition, Josh Vickers could be called upon to start in goal if the fixture does not clash with his loan commitments with Canvey Island. If Vickers is unavailable, then recent signing Matt Macey is likely to take his place, with first-year scholar Ryan Huddart another option.


Young professional Leander Siemann is an option to start at right-back, but, provided that he is fully fit, England U17 international Tafari Moore should be selected.


Stefan O’Connor has established himself as a regular for both the U21s and U19s despite still being in the early months of his scholarship, so seems certain to be involved in this competition as well. Elliot Wright will also be in contention, but Julio Pleguezuelo, who joined in the summer from Barcelona, is set to be involved.


Arinse Uade’s chances of earning a professional deal at the club appear to be diminishing, whilst Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, in contrast, has already trained with the first-team on several occasions.


Second-year scholar Glen Kamara has made more appearances at youth level for Arsenal than any other player so far this season and seems a certainty to start. He may face some competition, however, from Alfred Mugabo, depending on whether the latter is back to full fitness by the time the competition gets underway. Renny Smith could make the bench, but his opportunity to shine in this competition will come next season.

Source: Masashi Hara/Getty Images AsiaPac

Source: Masashi Hara/Getty Images AsiaPac


Jack Jebb, a player who possesses considerable experience of youth-team football, is set to start alongside Kamara.


Ainsley Maitland-Niles is another first-year scholar who has made tremendous strides so far this season and is likely to be rewarded with a start on the right-wing. Jamaal Raage, meanwhile, will be hoping to recover from injury in time to make the bench.

Central attacking midfield

Gedion Zelalem is already part of the first-team squad at the age of 16, but injuries have dictated that is yet to make his competitive debut for the senior side. The supremely talented midfielder should be heavily involved in the Youth Cup campaign. Dan Crowley, another player of much promise, is likely to be on the bench.


Alex Iwobi earned an unexpectedly early call-up to the first-team squad earlier this season and will hope to use the Youth Cup as another opportunity to prove his credentials to Arsene Wenger and the coaching staff. Tarum Dawkins will be in contention to make the bench.


Chuba Akpom has already played, albeit fleetingly, in the Premier League, but is still expected to lead the line in this competition, with Austin Lipman, who is on a flexible loan at Boreham Wood, a more than able deputy.

Possible Arsenal FA Youth Cup team:


Moore-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-Ormonde Ottewill


Maitland Niles-Zelalem-Iwobi


subs: Macey, Siemann, Mugabo, Crowley, Lipman



  1. That team is my personal preference but with Zelalem deep and Crowley as the number 10. However, I think your team will be the team that will start providing they are all fit.

  2. When zelalem played during the pre-season he played as one of the 2 pivots right? I know he has an eye for a pass but does not seem the kind to score very much which is not a neccesity(like ozil) but i think he would be better as a center mid. But Wenger is probobly giving specific instructions onto what he wants so I trust him 100%.

    1. CM AM… what difference will that make? It just a word at Arsenal. He will play in the middle or in the wings but will attack more or end up doing those final balls often. No way will he be able to battle senior players and take them down with tackles. He won’t be able to do so as AM either. Preseason does not mean everything. He will for sure be force to be mobile on the pitch. Midfielder is what he is and he will be great as long as he don’t get injured.

      It will be a lot tougher as AM for him in a real competition. Not like in the preseason where they are trying not to hurt you. I can’t see him play for the first team in a long time. 18 years old then lets see what he can do.

      1. Much is made of our “double pivot” but in fairness I think we are more of a 4141 when attacking switching to a 451 when defending. But when doing neither ie just keeping possession and biding our time we are a 460. Its the fluidity of our play that has caused team problems in particular away from home with all 3 of our defeats coming in home matches.

        As for zelalem he has obviously got a big future ahead of him but like above I see him playing a deeper role eventually. But it will depend on who is manager then. At the moment it appears that our “5 man midfield” has 10 main players competing walcott chamberlain arteta flamini ramsey wilshire rosicky ozil cazorla podolski. After that we have a back up squad including loan players of gnabry campbell yennaris frimpong hayden olsson toral diaby aneke coquelin eisfeld zelalem ryo. The next 2 seasons will be crucial as rosicky arteta are already in their 30s while flamini cazorla and podolski will all be there by then. In that back up squad we will do very well to find 5 replacements with probably gnabry campbell hayden olsson and zelalem the best hopes at present.

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