U18s to face Chelsea/ Ryo situation ridiculous/ Aneke scores again

Arsenal U18s learnt last night that their opponents in the Semi-Finals of the FA Youth Cup will be London rivals Chelsea, who beat Newcastle United 3-2.

There will be two legs, most probably played at Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge, the first of which will take place later this month. Arsenal have already knocked Chelsea out of the U21 Premier League Cup this season and could yet face them in the latter stages of the UEFA Youth League, but Chelsea were successful when these two sides last met in the Youth Cup back in 2011. 

Arsenal will hope to have Dan Crowley and Stefan O’Connor, who missed the Quarter-Final victory over Everton, available again in time for this encounter. There were plenty of positives to glean from Monday’s night’s success at Emirates Stadium, not least the standout performances of goalscorers Jack Jebb and Chuba Akpom, whilst wingers Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi, despite not getting on the scoresheet on this occasion, still impressed with their pace and trickery.

Gedion Zelalem demonstrated glimpses of his talent but once again was not at his most effective, but his midfield partner Glen Kamara was imperious in breaking up opposition attacks and helping to set Arsenal on the front foot. Arsenal also defended well for the most part, with centre-backs Julio Pleguezuelo and Leander Siemann making some crucial interventions, although left-back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, usually so reliable, was caught out on several occasions.

Attention now turns to Saturday’s U21 Premier League Cup Semi-Final against Reading at Boreham Wood, with next week’s UEFA Youth League encounter away to Barcelona also creeping into view.

Source: Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Source: Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

The situation that saw Ryo Miyaichi travel to Munich for last night’s Champions League tie only for the club to belatedly realise that he was ineligible to feature in the competition was rather ridiculous and left Arsenal with just six substitutes at the Allianz Arena. Arsenal submitted their updated Champions League squad to UEFA early last month, with Ryo being left out to accommodate January signing Kim Kallstrom. That the club were unaware of this seems rather unprofessional, particularly when this situation has occurred before involving Martin Angha and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who both travelled to Champions League games when they were ineligible. Hopefully Arsenal will learn from their mistake and ensure that this situation does not occur again in the future.

Two Arsenal loanees were in action last night, with Chuks Aneke finding the net again for Crewe Alexandra during their 1-1 draw away to Walsall. It was the midfielder’s 15th goal of an increasingly impressive season. Centre-back Zach Fagan, meanwhile, has joined Boreham Wood on loan until April 26th, and featured in their victory over Maidenhead United last night. Fagan, who missed the first half of the campaign through injury, has featured just once for Arsenal’s U21 side this year and is out of contract at the end of June.



  1. Would hate to see Chucks Aneke talent go to waste, but it seems as if Arsene Wenger don’t see him as a future Arsenal player.

  2. I don’t believe they forgot about this situation at all. If random people in this comment section could realize that then Arsenal should have too. They brought him with them only to let him watch the game. Lets face it. Källström it nowhere near close to match fitness and they rather take one more player with them than to come with only 6 substitutions. Looking at our bench at the moment makes me think all hopes are dead.

      1. But Ryo is more part of the first team than they are. Its unlikely both Olsson or Toral would have played any minutes. Its also very disrespectful to Ryo when he is the one training every day with the first team. I don’t think Ryo is good enough but to not include him in the squad is just wrong.

  3. Jeorge, any thoughts on how the youth teams will cope with four games in four days? Two Sat, one Mon, one Tues. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare in terms of planning to me, and will be especially tricky if one or two who would’ve been playing in u21 semi are called up to first team instead because of injuries.

    Hell of a juggling act if they all go ahead as you wouldn’t want too many schoolboys playing at one time but you wouldn’t want to weaken teams for cup comps either.

    They normally seem to cancel games when schedule gets overcrowded, but that’s what’s showing on fixture list right now. You’re gonna be busy!

    1. The Everton U21 game has been put back to April so that helps a little bit, but there are so many games at the moment. It doesn’t help that there are only seven U21 players who are too old for the U18s, meaning most of the U18s play for the older age groups. I’m not sure if the U18 game against Norwich will go ahead on Saturday, but if it does then it’s likely to be mostly schoolboys. Then the U21s will literally be playing every four days from March 24th to April 18th.

      1. Glad to hear of the Everton postponement. Tricky instead of absurd after that. Still, what you say about playing every four days doesn’t sound too good. The plus is that it should provide lots of chances to impress. The negative is that we could easily be too stretched and end up ruining our chances in cups, and picking up injuries, by having knackered players or imbalanced teams with too many schoolboys. Maybe Mugabo can finally get some games.

        Should they make it past Barca- and they might not be helped in that by a lot of the players facing an apparently tough Reading u21 side a few days earlier- the schedule at present looks impossible again. Ryo and Eisfeld plus schoolbuys for the u21 games basically. Wonder if they’ll ever sort it so they don’t have big gaps throughout season and the mad glut at the end.

  4. Hate to monopolise space on here, but prompted by the tweet about Zelalem’s international call-up, I checked the England squad and, sure enough, Tafari Moore’s been called up for England. If they’re at the same time both will miss first leg of Youth Cup semi. Bad news, especially about Moore. But now the good news : two of Chelsea’s biggest threats, Solanke and Brown, are in same squad. All we need now is for France to be playing too and Boga to be away!

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