Ilias Chatzitheodoridis joined Arsenal on scholarship terms in the summer following a successful trial, but, owing to complications with paperwork, he has yet to feature for the club at U18 level.
That looks set to change next week, with Chatzitheodoridis scheduled to play at last some part when Arsenal U18s host Tottenham Hotspur at London Colney on Friday.
The Greek left-back, who is impressive defensively as well as going forwards, featured for the U16s in their game against Southampton yesterday, but he will be sure to find that playing at U18 level, particularly against Tottenham, will be a much tougher challenge.
Marc Bola has started every game at left-back so far this season for Frans de Kat’s side, but that could be set to change in the coming weeks.
Chatzitheodoridis’ compatriot, and fellow summer arrival, Savvas Mourgos, has already played twice for the U18s, but has yet to develop an understanding with his new team-mates, as evidenced by him conceding possession on numerous occasions against West Ham yesterday. However, it is still very early days for the midfielder and it is hoped that his performances will improve as the weeks progress.
The other two foreign recruits, goalkeeper Hugo Keto and centre-back Krsitopher Da Graca, will also hope to be cleared to play for the U18s in the near future.
As ever, Arsenal have often deployed very young teams at U18 level so far this season. For instance, yesterday, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Tafari Moore, Stefan O’Connor, Gedion Zelalem and Dan Crowley could have all featured if necessary, whilst the likes of Renny Smith, George Dobson, Julio Pleguezuelo, Tyrell Robinson and Ben Sheaf were all unavailable.
Goalkeeper Ryan Huddart and centre-back Elliot Wright were the only second-years involved yesterday, but de Kat’s team have still delivered an impressive set of results in the early weeks of the campaign, registering 15 points from their opening eight fixtures.
They have just three fixtures left, against Tottenham, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion, before reaching the halfway point of the first stage of the season.