Crowley and Akpom in imperious form as Arsenal thrash Peterborough in Youth Cup

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Peterborough United 1 (Duggan 90) Arsenal 6 (Maitland-Niles 28, Akpom 37, 49, 62, Crowley 72, 75)

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Another FA Youth Cup fixture and another victory by a heavy scoreline. Arsenal U18s may be enduring their worst ever league season but an admittedly much stronger Youth Cup side continues to enthral, with Dan Crowley and Chuba Akpom in scintillating form as the young Gunners swatted aside Peterborough United with a 6-1 victory at London Road this evening.

Akpom, having struggled for goals during the first half of the campaign, scored a hat-trick in just under an hour, whilst Crowley, having earlier laid on two goals for his team-mates, found the net twice himself in the second-half as he continued to underline his vast potential.

With Julio Pleguezuelo still recovering from injury, coach Carl Laraman named the same starting line-up that dispatched of Torquay United in the last round, with the only change to his squad seeing winger Tarum Dawkins replace Arinse Uade amongst the substitutes.


Moore-O’Connor-Siemann-Ormonde Ottewill


Maitland Niles-Crowley-Iwobi


subs: Lipman (for Maitland-Niles 70), Jebb (for Kamara, 75), Mugabo (for O’Connor, 82). Not used: Huddart, Dawkins

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was impressive against Torquay, was heavily involved from the offset here and the winger was presented with an early opportunity after he was found by Glen Kamara, but his shot lacked conviction and was deflected wide.

Peterborough responded imminently with Robert Duggan shooting just over, but it was evident that the hosts were missing the firepower of Janaai Gordon, the 18 year old striker who helped them dispatch of Hull City in the last round and who has subsequently earned a move to West Ham United.

Crowley, by this point, was beginning to grow into the game and the midfielder played an excellent pass into the path of Maitland-Niles, whose effort rattled the far post. Crowley then threaded a beautifully weighted pass through to Alex Iwobi, who saw his shot saved, before the former Aston Villa player found Maitland-Niles again, with the latter this time making no mistake in finishing well to open the scoring.

Crowley then came close to finding the net himself and capped off a virtuoso first-half display by claiming another assist before the interval, this time crossing for Akpom to head home and double Arsenal’s advantage.

Akpom would add another just four minutes after the re-start, with the powerful striker embarking on a solo run, rounding the stranded goalkeeper and tucking the ball into the empty net.

After squandering so many opportunities against Torquay, it was a welcome sight to witness Akpom rediscover the goalscoring touch that he has been lacking at times this season. He missed an inviting chance to complete his hat-trick as he instead directed the ball just wide of the target when well placed, before Maitland-Niles and Leander Siemann wasted further efforts.

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Akpom’s moment would come, however, with the England U19 international taking his tally for the season to seven after he applied the finishing touch to a slick, multi-pass move.

Arsenal were rampant at this stage and seemed determined to inflict as much misery as possible on the forlorn Peterborough youngsters. Crowley was unrelenting even as the game edged towards its conclusion and, in the closing stages, would add two goals to the two assists that he claimed in the first-half.

His first goal was a thing of beauty as he effortlessly curled the ball into the back of the net before making it 6-0 after linking up well with Akpom and finishing from close range.

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Peterborough scored a late consolation through Duggan, but, after enduring some difficult results at various levels earlier this season, tonight’s events will no doubt provide a huge morale boost for the Arsenal youngsters.

As for Crowley, the fact that he hasn’t even featured competitively for Arsenal’s U21 side yet speaks volumes of the amount of talent currently at the club, but it will surely not be too long until he is a fixture in Steve Gatting’s side.

Arsenal would have expected to dispatch of both Torquay and Peterborough with the minimum of fuss, but the manner in which they did so has been hugely encouraging, with there being no signs of the youngsters underestimating the opposition.

Hopes will be high for a lengthy run in this competition as Arsenal seek to regain the trophy that they last won in 2009, when Jack Wilshere, a player not dissimilar in style to Crowley, was the fulcrum of the team.



  1. Yestarday was the first day of Germany U17’s training camp in Spain(La Manga). Zelalem was called up for it.Jeorge, do you know if he is still going ? It is a 10-day training camp. Zelalem has already missed the first two days but it would be good for his development if he went there. Germany U17 are supposed to have a friendly with Barca u17 and some other team(maybe Valencia U17).

    1. Absolutely gutted for theo whats it with him and world cups?

      Been thinking who we should go for and at 4,5m combined kalou and berbatov are suddenly looking strong possibilities, both title winners and proven sol players though perhaps it’s time to really spend big or just show faith in our youngsters, gnabry ryo afobe and akpom could all benefit?

  2. Sir Jeorge, What’s Anthony Jeffreys loan status I think Arsene should get him in 1st team with Theo out? Or Akpom more time? Also thoughts on Serge maybe make Germany roster WC?

    1. Jeffrey’s on loan at Borehamwood until March. Akpom could go on loan as well, although he might stay for another couple of months. Would say that it’s unlikely that Gnabry would get in their World Cup squad at the moment given the options they have, but if he can perform regularly between now and the end of the season then you never know.

  3. Just saw a report saying Akpom’s linking up with Brentford from tomorrow. I thought with Theo’s injury there might just have been a chance he’d have a sniff of first team in coming weeks. Thought his fantastic understanding with Gnabry, who looks set to be involved a lot now, might come into it.

    Oh well, nowt can lift my football gloom this evening but the youth team were very impressive by the sounds of it. They must be on the young side out of the teams in the tournament,too. 5 16 year olds and Pleguezuelo would’ve made six. I would say next year’s team should be something special but Crowley,at least, sounds like he’ll have moved on by then.

    Let’s hope he’s a grounded fellow because the hype will explode if he keeps this up (and, yes, I’ve made my own little contribution). Takes a hell of a performance to deny prominence to a striker who gets a good hat-trick and, from the reports, that’s what he did.

    One thing that might help keep a lid on it is Fa Youth Cup highlights aren’t easy to find, if I remember correctly from last round.

    We need Arsenal tv back! I had it for one year with Setanta, last time they won the youth cup, and it was good.

  4. Jeorge, what’s the situation with Akpom.
    Is he going to Brentford, or had there been a change of heart following Walcotg’s injury?
    And if he still ends up going to Griffin Park, will he be allowed to participate for us in the FA Youth Cup, much as Lipman does?

  5. Kudos to Akpom, this game must have reinstated the believe in himself. But I think he may not yet be the answer to the immediate needs of the First team.
    What a midfield we have now in the Youth team! And Jebb did not even start? I see that he has a bulky figure. Can Jebb be developed into a creative defensive midfielder ala Vieira?

  6. Seems reality is hitting the hype on Zelalem. Getting consistently outplayed by DC in youth games ……… Why isnt he getting u21s games and first team training seems he’s the better player

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