Late penalty forces Arsenal U18s to settle for point away to Chelsea


U18 Premier League- Game 21

Chelsea 2 (Clarke-Salter 80, Abraham (pen) 85) Arsenal 2 (Smith 56, Mavididi 72)

Arsenal U18s came perilously close to registering their first away league victory of the season today, but a late penalty meant they had to settle for a point against an inexperienced Chelsea side at a blustery Cobham.

Coach Carl Laraman made four alterations to the side that defeated Southampton last week, with Renny Smith, Alfred Mugabo, Tyrell Robinson and Stephy Mavididi coming in for Glen Kamara, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alex Iwobi and Austin Lipman.

Huddart

Siemann-Dobson-Wright-Uade

Mugabo-Smith

Dawkins-Jebb-Robinson

Mavididi

subs: Johnson (for Uade, 59), Bola (for Mugabo, 81). Not used: Vickers.

Chelsea, whose starting line-up included seven players from their U16 side, were the dominant team in a first-half that yielded little in terms of clear-cut chances. Arsenal goalkeeper Ryan Huddart had to be alert, though, to gather Kasey Palmer’s dangerous free-kick, before later making impressive stops from Tammy Abraham and Muhktar Ali.

Arsenal’s most notable attacking forays in the opening period came courtesy of Robinson, with the schoolboy, who has been hugely impressive this season, causing considerable problems for the Chelsea defence with his pace and trickery down the left flank.

After much brinkmanship, the contest finally exploded into life in the second-half, and it seemed rather appropriate that Smith was the player to open the scoring. Released by Chelsea around this time last year, the youngster has adapted well to life at Arsenal and put the Gunners ahead by capitalising on a defensive mistake and lofting the ball over the on-rushing Chelsea goalkeeper Brad Collins.

Smith could have scored again shortly afterwards, but Arsenal’s second goal came from a different source with the lively schoolboy Mavididi finishing calmly past Collins for his third goal at this level this season.

Arsenal’s lead would be halved eight minutes later, though, with Jake Clarke-Salter latching onto Kyle Scott’s cross before firing the ball past the stranded Huddart.

Chelsea cranked up the pressure in the closing stages and it finally told with the referee pointing to the penalty spot after Abraham was alleged to have been fouled in the area. The striker, who has been with Chelsea since under-8 level, took the spot-kick himself and converted confidently past Huddart to earn the hosts a point.

It was a little disappointing for Laraman’s side to squander a two goal lead, particularly in such circumstances, but their overall level of performance has certainly improved in recent weeks, which is being reflected in some more positive results.

They are scheduled to face Tottenham Hotspur at London Colney next Friday, but that game may well be re-arranged due to Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup commitments.

9 comments

  1. Wow our U18 team must be really weak if it cannot beat a U16 Chelsea. Alot of people here don’t like the foreign youth players. But this has to be done as the youth system at Arsenal needs some help. Yes we produced Ashley Cole, but since then only Gibbs and Wilshere came through. We need to buy Gnarbs’s & Zelalems because our academy youth are not good enough.

      1. English academies and in particular London academies have been disadvantaged for years due to the radius rule. in London alone you have 14 clubs after the same 9-14 year olds, not to mention the teams in the home counties. compare that to Barcelona or munich where there is only one or two teams. also compare it to places like Southampton, Newcastle and even Norwich all one club citys that basically have had the pick of the talent in their area. that is why we need to cast the net for foreign talent, not that home grown players aren’t good enough, they just get lost to our rivals or later on in our 100+ professional club pyriamid or flounder around reserve football, due to the lack of a b team being allowed to compete in the 2nd tier, like in spain.

  2. Well we had four u16s as well (Dobson, wright, Robinson, mavididi) in addition to a few who are likely to be released so it’s not that much of a difference (Chelsea were playing home too). Must be kept in mind that we tend to play players already set for departure unlike other clubs. May not bode well in terms of results but I like the fact that we don’t prevent them from making an impression or freezing them out.

    Bit torn on Chelsea’s route in certain matters which diverges from ours. They obviously bought all three musonda brothers with the intention of retaining one (charlie) while we let the eldest willock (mathew) leave opening up the possibility (hopefully unfounded) of the other two following suit. In hindsight we may have misjudged him as he was a winger at the time but should we have kept him regardless for the sake of he other two?…I’m not quite sure myself.

    1. Saw somewhere, and this could easily be wrong, that it was a question of money with the older Willock. Would be surprised by that if true,as I’d have thought wages were pretty basic across the board for first year scholars.

      Truth is, we just don’t know half of what goes on, but I think you’re probably onto something in that I doubt we would base a decision on, say, brothers who were also at the club, while some others probably would. Likewise there could well be clubs who are willing to give 16 year olds a good bit of dosh, and I doubt we’re one of them. Figures I saw quoted for Afobe and Aneke’s wages were surprisingly low considering how brightly they must’ve been rated at the start (Frimpong’s weren’t mind- very high- but that was no doubt a later decision and at one point they were almost sure he’d be a big player).

      I’m more than a bit nervy about Willock ,mind, and even a tad for others too like Hinds and the other guy who’s apparently very good, Dobson, even though those who know more seem fairly confident. That’s just the way the system is, nothing confirmed till the Summer.

      We’re hardly do-gooders- Villa can attest to that- but there are surely other clubs who are a lot more ruthless- where money’s no object for first team business, it probably isn’t right through- out there, and if we’ve top prospects it’s almost sure they’ll fight for them.

      1. Definitely not do-gooders but these days that’s very much a relative concept not to mention crowley would’ve probably left regardless of whether or not we stepped in (city apparently very keen).

        Possible with regards to mathew but seems bit dicy considering he left for reading pretty early on (before moving to utd) and doubt they’re paid much if anything at that point. Like this batch of scholars though especially in midfield. Financial incentive for the outstanding is a given but line has to be drawn somewhere. Looking at it from their perspective of the other players they’re aspiring pros too and hardly likely to think ‘yeah that’s fine this guys obviously much better than me’. They’re in football bcse they believe they’re as good as anyone. They’re colleagues too so you can hardly expect wages to reman undisclosed in every case.

  3. Yaya Sanogo played well. Not the easiest game to play vs so many good players but he will be extremely important for the rest of the season.

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