FA Youth Cup preview- Charlton v Arsenal- Former Gunners seeking victory

FA Youth Cup 5th Round

Charlton Athletic v Arsenal

Stonebridge Road, 21.02.14, 7pm kick-off

Arsenal have made rather serene progress in this season’s FA Youth Cup so far, with Carl Laraman’s side dispatching of Torquay United and Peterborough United with relative ease, scoring a combined eleven goals across the two fixtures and conceding just one.

Now, though, things are going to become a little harder for them as Arsenal attempt to win the prestigious competition for the first time in five years. For tomorrow night’s visit to take on Charlton Athletic they will have to cope without the supreme talent of Dan Crowley, who is still recovering from an injury suffered whilst playing for the U21s last month.

Crowley has been Arsenal’s star performer in this competition so far, with his virtuoso performance against Peterborough, during which he played a key part in all six of his side’s goals, earning him widespread acclaim. His absence means that Jack Jebb, who has been called upon from the bench in the two previous rounds, is likely to be elevated into the starting line-up.

First-choice right-back Tafari Moore, who was stretchered off after suffering a dead leg whilst playing for the U21s against Reading on Monday, but the England U17 international is expected to be available. If he doesn’t make it then a defensive re-shuffle will be required, with Leander Siemann ready to start, whilst Julio Pleguezuelo could also fill in at right-back if needed.

Chuba Akpom will start, with the striker eligible to feature under the terms of his youth loan at Coventry City, meaning Austin Lipman will most likely have to settle for a place on the bench.

This is an exciting Arsenal side, possessing plenty of pace and power and, as evidenced against Torquay and Peterborough, a genuine goal threat, with wingers Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi particularly dangerous. Glen Kamara adds resilience in midfield, whilst Gedion Zelalem should also feature.

Charlton dispatched of Nottingham Forest and Southampton to reach this stage, and this fixture will hold an extra sense of importance for two members of their squad. Right-back Aaron Barnes and midfielder Regan Charles-Cook both featured fleetingly for Arsenal’s U18 side in the first half of last season before being released. Both players have settled in well at Charlton and will be determined to prove a point against their former employers in what is sure to be an engaging encounter.

Initially scheduled to take place at The Valley last week, the game was postponed and will now be played at Ebbsfleet United’s Stonebridge Road ground.

The winners will host Everton in the Quarter-Finals, with the opportunity to play at Emirates Stadium a particularly inviting one for the young Gunners. First, though, they must negotiate their way past what is likely to be a tricky obstacle in Charlton.

Possible Arsenal team:


Moore-Pleguezuelo-O’Connor-Ormonde Ottewill


Maitland Niles-Jebb-Iwobi


subs: Huddart, Mugabo, Dawkins, Siemann, Lipman.



  1. Dawkins would be a bit unlucky not to start given his recent form but, yeah, I guess those you name are still ahead of him.

    Gotta say, add Crowley and Akpom to that group and I feel extremely upbeat about prospects. Add Akpom on his own and I still feel good. As it stands, though, without either of them, it looks a tiny bit short.

    Hopefully among the available players there are those to take on the roles of leader, chief creator and main man in attack but my instincts tell me it might not be the case. If they get through without two of my three biggest hopes in the ranks that’ll be good news indeed, especially as the third of those, Zelalem, looks dependent on those around him so far

    Would especially like to see Jebb do well as what I know of him- great free-kicks, good passer, not small- is encouraging. Reckon there’ll be one of the younger lads in the squad somewhere.

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