U18 Premier League- Game 2
Arsenal 5 (Mavididi 22, 60, Donovan 63, Robinson 79, 89) Chelsea 1 (Ali 42)
After several years of many demoralising results, things are finally starting to look up for Arsenal U18s under new coach Frans De Kat. The young Gunners have taken maximum points from their first two games under the Dutchman, with last week’s impressive win at Brighton & Hove Albion followed by an emphatic dispatch of Chelsea at London Colney yesterday.
De Kat certainly seems to have managed to get his team to play as a cohesive unit, something that was sorely lacking for most of last season when Carl Laraman was in charge. Development always takes precedence over results at this level, but surely victories such as this one, and the confidence that it will bring, will be hugely beneficial for the players involved.
De Kat was able to call upon Elliot Wright and Renny Smith, who were unused substitutes for the U21s on Thursday, whilst Ben Sheaf and Joshua Da Silva were brought into the starting line-up. De Kat will have even more options at his disposal when the new foreign signings- Hugo Keto, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis, Savvas Mourgos and Kristopher Da Graca- are permitted to play.
subs: Phillips, Donovan, Robinson, T. Bola.
At this rate it will be difficult for De Kat to settle on his best side. Stephy Mavididi continues to impress in the lone striker role and the forward scored a brace yesterday. He spurned an early opportunity to give Arsenal the lead when his shot was kept out by Chelsea goalkeeper Bradley Collins, but he made amends shortly afterwards when he headed home from Marc Bola’s cross from the left flank.
Chelsea, despite struggling to assert control in the opening 45 minutes, went in level at the break after Mukhtar Ali’s shot deflected in off George Dobson.
Arsenal soon gained control after the interval, however. Schoolboy Da Silva, already a regular inclusion in the squad, played an intelligent pass to Kaylen Hinds, who crossed for Mavididi to double his tally.
It was 3-1 soon afterwards when substitute Harry Donovan seized possession before finishing confidently to score his first goal at this level.
Another substitute, Tyrell Robinson, secured the victory. The winger made it 4-1 from close range before concluding the scoring with a superb solo goal that showcased his excellent close control and dribbling.
There were plenty of positives to take from the game, with Chris Willock continuing to impress, whilst Marc Bola has also demonstrated some signs of improvement at left-back.
It is still early days for De Kat, but things could hardly have gone better for the Dutchman so far. Arsenal are top of the fledgling U18 Premier League table and they host Aston Villa next week.